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The Complete Story: Queen

The Complete Story: Queen

The Complete Story: Queen

Almost 50 years after Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor recruited bassist John Deacon to the newly-formed Queen, the band's music continues to resonate with audiences all over the world. Discover the stories behind their eclectic discography, including how Bohemian Rhapsody defied the critics to become a chart-topping success – widely-regarded as one of the greatest songs ever written. This special edition chronicles Queen's rise from student band to rock gods, including their sell-out world tours, scene-stealing Live Aid performance and enduring legacy.

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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd

in this issue

8 min
there can be only one

Russell Mulcahy remembers attending a typically opulent party at Freddie Mercury’s West London mansion, Garden Lodge, sometime in the mid-80s. After the festivities wound down, Mulcahy crashed in one of the singer’s many guest rooms. He was woken the next morning by the bedroom door opening. It was the host, in ebullient mood. “He went, ‘Come on dear, come downstairs, I’m making you breakfast,’” says Mulcahy today. “And so I’m in his kitchen, just him and me, he’s making me eggs and bacon. I’m sitting thinking to myself, ‘Freddie fucking Mercury is cooking me breakfast. Wow.’ It was so surreal.” Mulcahy was no stranger to working with stars of the Queen singer’s calibre, even if they weren’t normally frying up a couple of rashers of Danish for him. The Australia-born filmmaker had…

1 min
killer queens

BRIGHTON ROCK Fastbacks Seattle pop-punks (and Duff McKagan’s old band) turn in a shambolic version of Brian May’s guitar-hero showcase. On: Bike-Toy-Clock-Gift KILLER QUEEN Glenn Hughes Old leather lungs brings some Black Country earthiness to Freddie Mercury’s foppish tale of a high-class hooker. On: Stone Cold Queen: A Tribute TENEMENT FUNSTER/FLICK OF THE WRIST/LILY OF THE VALLEY Dream Theater Hirsute Yanks park the neo-prog workouts for a faithful rendition of Sheer Heart Attack’s triple-headed cornerstone medley. On: Black Clouds & Silver Lining: Special Edition NOW I’M HERE Foo Fighters Never ones to hide their Queen fandom under a bushel, Dave Grohl’s mob have been known to deliver a rough-and-ready version of May’s signature song live. On: various live bootlegs STONE COLD CRAZY Metallica James Hetfield’ and co. add muscle to Queen’s proto-thrash original. Unveiled at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, and a live…

19 min
“this is different from before but the same, sort of.”

Back in November 1975 I was granted an audience with Queen. It was shortly before the release of the band’s magnus opus, the career-defining A Night At The Opera. I witnessed a group fussing and fretting – over what they would probably call the imminent escape of said record – so much so that they went back in the very next day and started remixing the whole blasted thing. Almost 33 years later, I find myself in a state of déjà vu, but this time in a parallel universe. With Freddie Mercury sadly long departed, John Deacon gone, having taken on the mantle of enigmatic recluse, Brian May and Roger Taylor are now on the eve of releasing the first Queen album in almost 13 years, this time in collaboration with…

2 min
playing the red special

How the love affair between a young Brian May and guitar music began will be familiar to most who grew up suburban England in the late fifties. Be it the Little Richard 45s he played on a friend’s Dansette record player, the crooners coming from the family radio or experimental strums of his father’s banjolele, something awoke inside the quiet, somewhat introverted, only child and the seeds were sown. “I could hear guitar music in my head and I wanted a guitar more than anything in the world,” he says. On his seventh birthday, his parents presented him with an Egmond acoustic, an instrument he still owns. “It was amazing, pure magic. I can still smell the varnish!” He was soon hankering after an electric guitar and, with the music of Les…

3 min
dear john

LEE SKLAR (Phil Collins, Toto, James Taylor) “I performed at the first Rock In Rio festival in 1985 with James Taylor—we were on before Queen on that show. All I have to say is that it took me a day to lift my jaw off the floor. I sat with my mouth agape watching one of the most professional shows I’d ever seen. I’m such a huge Queen fan and John created some wonderful bass parts.” MARK KING (Level 42) “John’s role in Queen is often overlooked, given the larger-than-life characters he was in the band with, but having played many of his bass-lines with Brian and Roger, and having had the pleasure of standing stage-side watching him perform on tour in Germany back in 1986, I was in awe of his ability…

17 min
stone cold crazy

“Darling, he’s far too busy in the studio. That’s what happens when you get sick in Queen – you have to make the time up.” In the South London offices of his band’s PR company, a characteristically flamboyant Freddie Mercury is entertaining the press. It’s the autumn of 1974, and Queen have almost completed their third album, Sheer Heart Attack. Almost. For Mercury’s bandmate Brian May there’s still work to do. It’s just a few months since the guitarist was felled by a virulent bout of hepatitis mid-way through their debut US tour, and subsequently hospitalised for a second time with a stomach ulcer, forcing him to miss initial sessions for the album. May is currently holed up in the studio, finishing off his guitar parts, hence his absence today. It’s typical…