In 1968, Astronomy student and guitarist
Brian May (b. 19 July
1947, Hampton, Middlesex, England) and bass player
Tim Staffell, both
students at Imperial College, decided they wanted to
form a group. Brian placed an advertisement on the
college notice board for a “Ginger Baker type”
drummer, and a young dental student called
Roger Taylor (b. Roger
Meddows-Taylor, 26 July 1949, Kings Lynn, Norfolk,
England) auditioned and got the job. They called the
Smile were signed to Mercury
Records in 1969, and had their first experience
recording at Trident Studios that year.
Tim Staffell was at Ealing
College of Art with
Freddie Mercury (then
Freddie Bulsara) (b. Farrokh Bulsara, 5 September 1946,
Zanzibar, Africa, d. 24 November 1991, London, England),
and introduced him to the band. Freddie soon became a
keen fan. Sadly, in 1970,
Smile decided to call it a
day, as nothing seemed to be happening for them. Tim
went off and joined a band called Humpty Bong
(featuring former Bee Gees drummer Colin
Freddie left his band
Wreckage and joined up
with Brian and Roger - it had all begun. Freddie changed
his name by deed poll to Mercury, changed the band's
name to Queen, and
John Deacon (b. 19 August
1951, Oadby, Leicestershire, England) was asked to
audition as their bass player (they had had three
temporary ones so far in their short history). In
John Deacon was taken on as
the fourth member of Queen.
band rehearsed tirelessly and played several small gigs
at Imperial College. Then they were offered the chance
to test a new recording studio called De Lane Lea. In
return for trying out the new equipment, they could also
make free demo tapes. They did. No one was interested!
signed a recording contract and publishing and
management agreements with Trident in 1972 and during
that year were paid just £60 per week. Queen were given
the “down time” (out of hours studio time) at Trident
Studios, where they began work on their first album.
1973, Trident and EMI signed a contract for a recording
deal for Queen, and July of that year saw the release of
their first album. The band were offered a big break -
their first major tour as support band to Mott The
Hoople. It began in Leeds in November 1973, and it
was said by many people during that tour that 'Queen
were more than a support act ....' Queen II was
finally released in March 1974 - it should have been
earlier, but there was a minor printing error on the
sleeve that Queen insisted on having corrected! The band
embarked on their first headlining tour of Britain,
starting in Blackpool in March 1974. In April 1974, the
band embarked on their first-ever USA tour as guests to
Mott The Hoople. But in May of that year, whilst on
tour, Brian collapsed with hepatitis, and the band had
to cancel the rest of their dates.
on their third album began without Brian and with a lot
of help from Roy Thomas Baker. Brian finally felt
well enough to go into the studios to record his guitar
parts, although he was still ill and spend much time
between takes in the studio bathroom being very sick!
But eventually, the album was finished, and Sheer
Heart Attack was released in November 1974. It was a
huge hit both sides of the Atlantic as the world came to
realize that Queen were certainly a force to be reckoned
In January 1975, Queen left for the USA on their very
first headlining tour. Ticket sales were phenomenal, and
demand was so high that they had to add more shows,
doing two shows in one day at some venues, both shows
being sold out. Quite a few shows on that tour had to be
canceled, as Freddie had developed a severe throat
problem, but he soldiered on and performed as many as
possible, although doctors had advised him against it.
Also in January 1975, Queen engaged the services of a
Music Business lawyer, Jim Beach, to negotiate
them out of their Trident agreements, as Trident were no
longer being as supportive as they should have been, and
the band were unhappy with the situation. Their first
Canadian gig was in Edmonton on April 2nd, where they
were joined on stage by support act
of '75 saw Queen set to pay their first-ever visit to
they arrived at the airport, there were over three
thousand fans there to greet them, as Sheer Heart
Attack was Number One in Japan at the time. It was a
scene reminiscent of Beatlemania in the Sixties, and the
band were quite surprised at their 'pop star' welcome!
In May 1975, Freddie was presented with an Ivor Novello
Award by the Songwriters Guild for Killer Queen.
began work on their new album in June. Links with
Trident were finally severed - to the band's great
relief - in August, and by September Queen had signed
with new management: enter John Reid. When the
band decided to release “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 1975,
everyone told them it was far too long and just would
not be a hit at 5 minutes and 55 seconds. But Freddie
gave a copy of the single to friend and London DJ
Kenny Everett, informing him that it was for him
personally, and that he must not play it on air. But of
course he did - fourteen times in two days!! From then
on, every major radio station played the song in full,
and not edited versions as was first thought. It was a
colossal hit, and really established Queen as THE band
of the era. The video for the single, directed by
Bruce Gowers using ideas from the band themselves,
was considered to be the one that began the whole video
craze - they just didn't know what they were starting!
The single stayed at Number One for an amazing NINE
album was, at the time, one of the most expensive ever
recorded, but when A Night At The Opera was
released in November 1975, it was a massive hit, and
gave them their first platinum album. Freddie had
designed a Queen logo for the Queen album, which
was re-worked and used as the cover for A Night At
The Opera. The now-famous 'crest' features the
band's star signs - two fairies for Virgo, a crab for
Cancer and two lions for the two Leos. The launch party
for the album was held in the exclusive Opera Bar at the
London Coliseum Theatre.
January 1976, Freddie was presented with another Ivor
Novello Award, for “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Also in January,
the band set off on their third American tour, which
took them all over America and continued until the end
of March. They then flew direct to Japan, arriving yet
again to a riotous reception. By this time, all four
Queen albums were in the UK Top Twenty, which was an
unheard-of feat. They undertook an extensive tour of
Japan, and then flew on to Australia. Their tour 'Down
Under' began at the Perth Entertainment Centre.
flew back to the UK to begin work on their next album,
A Day At The Races, but recording was halted
while the band took off on a short UK tour. On September
18th, 1976, Queen decided they wanted to say thanks to
their dedicated fans, and so - in true extravagant style
- they staged a huge free concert in London's Hyde Park.
The crowds were estimated at between 150 and 200
thousand people - the largest audience Queen had played
to up to that time, and to date still the highest-ever
attendance record for a concert in Hyde Park.
September, and the band were hard at work on their new
album. A Day At The Races was released in
December 1976. The band all attended a special horse
race at Kempton Park to promote the album, and in 'A Day
At The Races Stakes', a special race sponsored by EMI,
they all backed the same horse without telling each
other - and it won! Five days before its release, the
advance orders for A Day At The Races were in
excess of half a million - the highest orders EMI had
ever received for any album.
had only been around for four days before Queen jetted
off to America to rehearse for their forthcoming tour.
They were on the road constantly through January,
February and most of March in the USA and Canada. Roger
decided, at the end of all that, to record a solo
single, which he paid for out of his own pocket. "I
Wanna Testify" was released in August. In May of 1977,
Queen flew out of Stockholm to begin an extensive
European tour. Their concert at Earls Court in London
featured the famous 'Crown' lighting rig. It was 54 feet
wide, 26 feet tall and weighed in at 5,000 pounds.
October 1977, the fan club members were asked for the
first time to take part in one of the band's videos. "We
Are The Champions" was filmed at the New London Theatre.
After initial filming was finished, the band remained on
stage and played an impromptu gig to say thanks to the
fans who had turned up and worked so hard. October '77
also saw the band presented with a Britannia Award for
the Top British Single: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, of course!
released News Of The World on October 28th, 1977.
The cover was a drawing that Roger had discovered, by
Science Fiction artist Kelly Freas. Roger asked
him if he would mind adapting his illustration for the
album cover, and Freas readily agreed.
November they were off to the USA again for rehearsals
for the forthcoming tour. For the first time, their
finances enabled them to charter a private plane for the
tour - it made life on the road that much more
comfortable. The tour began on 11th November - their
second USA tour that year. They all arrived back in the
UK just in time to spend Christmas with their families.
That Christmas, "We Will Rock You" was knocked off the
French Number One slot after 12 weeks ...... by "We Are
February 1978, Queen decided they should set up their
own management structure. They parted company with John
Reid more amicably than their split with Trident - this
severance agreement was actually signed in the back of
Freddie's Rolls Royce during a break in filming "We Will
Rock You" in the back garden of Roger's house in Surrey!
A short (by Queen standards!) tour of Europe began in
April 1978 - again in Stockholm. In July, the band
started work on their new album. They recorded it in
Montreux and France - the first time they had ever
recorded outside Great Britain.
publicity for the forthcoming single "Bicycle Race", the
band hired Wimbledon Stadium, and fifty naked girls had
their own bicycle race. The original cover of the single
featured the rear view of one of those naked girls, but
due to public outcry in some countries, panties had to
be drawn on! More touring in the USA and Canada began in
October. November 10th saw the release of Jazz,
the band's seventh album. The sleeve was packed to
contain a fold-out poster of the naked bicycle race. The
Americans banned it from the actual album sleeve, and
inserted an application form instead so that fans could
send away for their poster. The launch party for Jazz
was held in New Orleans, and has since gone down in
North American tour finished in late December, and the
back flew back to the UK for Christmas, but they didn't
get too much time to rest, as by January 1979 they were
off to Europe yet again. The tour kicked off in Hamburg,
and by March were ensconced in Mountain Studios in
Montreux, working on their 'live' album. The band
enjoyed the peace of Montreux and liked the studio
there, so they decided to buy it. When Freddie was asked
by resident engineer David Richards why they had
bought it and what they intended to do with it, Freddie
quipped '...dump it in the lake, dear'!!
band flew out to Japan for yet more touring in April
1979. In June, they approached the All England Lawn
Tennis Club and asked if they could use the Centre Court
at Wimbledon (after the tournament, of course!) for a
concert. Permission was refused. The band's first live
album (and their only double album to date), Live
Killers, was released in June 1979. It was an album
released by very popular demand. Queen were approached
to write the musical score for the science fiction film
Flash Gordon. When the idea was first discussed
with producer Dino de Laurentis, he simply asked
'...but who are the queens?'!! The band agreed to work
on the score, and started work during June in Munich.
end of 1979 found Queen embarking on 'The Crazy Tour'.
It included such illustrious venues as Tiffany's in
Purley, the Lewisham Odeon, Alexandra Palace, and
finally, the Hammersmith Odeon. They were one of many
bands who performed at the venue to raise money for the
starving people of Kampuchea. During that Crazy Tour,
the band's tour manager, Gerry Stickells,
collapsed backstage and had to be rushed to hospital.
Gerry had been with Queen on every tour since 1976 (and
has done every one since!).
start of 1980, the band were working hard on their new
album, The Game - it was the first album to use
the electronic wizardry of synthesizers. In June they
were off to tour North America - again! Roger also
started work on his first solo album in 1980. The
Game was released in June 1980, and it went FIVE
times platinum in Canada alone! “Another One Bites The
Dust” became the band's biggest-ever, worldwide-selling
single to date. It became a huge “crossover” hit in the
USA, topping the charts in Rock, Soul and Disco. The
song received an American Music Award in January 1981,
for Favorite Pop/Rock Single (Queen were also nominated
for best group at that year’s AMA’s); a top Billboard
Music Award for “Top Crossover Single”; and was
nominated for various other awards including a Grammy
and Canadian 'Juno' awards.
December 8th 1980, the soundtrack album for Flash
Gordon was released. At the end of 1980, Queen had
sold over 45,000,000 albums worldwide. In February 1981,
after another Far East tour, the band flew to Rio de
Janeiro for the start of their first tour of South
America. Queen were the first rock band to undertake a
stadium tour of South America, paving the way for many
more bands to follow. The band's equipment had to be
flown in a privately hired 'Flying Tiger' 747 cargo
plane from Tokyo - the flight between Tokyo and Buenos
Aires is the longest air route between capital cities in
first South American gig was Buenos Aires, on February
28th 1981. They then filled three more Argentinean World
Cup soccer stadiums, playing five sold-out stadium gigs
in just eight days. They then played two nights at the
massive Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paolo. On the first
night, 131,000 people attended, and Queen created rock &
roll history as it was the largest paying audience for a
single band anywhere in the world. During those two
nights at the Morumbi Stadium, 251,000 people saw the
Queen spectacle - that's a larger audience than most
bands can expect in their whole career! Every single one
of Queen's albums was in the Top Ten in Argentina during
their tour - a first for any band.
they were in Sao Paulo, the band celebrated the fact
that the single, “Love Of My Life”, had been in the Sao
Paulo singles chart for over 12 consecutive months. In
April 1981, Roger released his first solo album, titled
Fun In Space. Queen were back in South America -
it was a return trip, being hailed as 'The Gluttons For
Punishment Tour'! Unfortunately, their last two gigs in
Caracas had to be canceled after former Venezuelan
President Rómulo Betancourt died. So the band moved on
to play in Mexico, in Monterrey and Puebla - just
outside Mexico City. Whilst there, the band's promoter,
Jose Rota, was arrested and jailed. Jim Beach had
to pay over $25,000 bail money to release him so the
tour could continue!
Greatest Flix and Greatest Pix were
released simultaneously in October 1981. Greatest
Hits - the album - entered the charts as soon as it
was released, and has rarely been out of the British
charts since! Greatest Flix - the video - was the
first real collection of promo videos released
commercially by any band. Greatest Pix - the book
- was compiled by Jacques Lowe, who was
President Kennedy's personal biographer during his
term of office. It was Jacques' personal selection of
the greatest Queen pictures of the previous decade.
The band's twelfth album, Hot Space, was released
on May 21st, 1982 whilst the band was in the middle of
an extensive European tour. On June 5th that year, they
played the huge open-air Milton Keynes Bowl. The whole
show was filmed by Tyne Tees Television, under the
direction of Gavin Taylor, to be shown on Channel
Four's The Tube programme at a later date. In
September 1982, the Japanese company, Mercury Records
released an album called Gettin' Smile. It was at
first thought to be a bootleg, but after listening to
the album, Roger and Brian declared it to be the REAL
Smile, although neither of
them recalled having recorded so much with that band! In
December 1982, Queen made it into the Guinness Book of
Records as Britain's highest-paid executives.
January 1983, Freddie began work on a solo album, and
Roger began work on his second solo album. During the
early part of the year, Brian had flown out to Los
Angeles and gathered together a few close friends in the
Record Plant studios there. Brian had some basic ideas
to work on, but it was generally a lengthy jam session.
However, Brian had no intention of wasting the talents
of Edward Van Halen, Alan Gratzer, Phil
Chen and Fred Mandel - and so kept the tapes
rolling throughout the whole session. The result was the
mini album Star Fleet Project, which was released
in October 1983.
band went back into the studios in August 1983 to start
work on their next album. Work commenced at the Record
Plant in LA - the first time the band had recorded in
America. After a number of months, recording switched
from LA to Munich - a city that the band spent so much
time in during that recording session that they almost
thought of it as home!
In February 1984, the band released their thirteenth
album - The Works. “Radio Ga Ga”, taken from that
album, became a worldwide hit, reaching Number One in
nineteen different countries. The video for the single,
directed by David Mallett, featured fan club
members again. The hand clapping chorus became a
favorite with live audiences all over the world. Another
single from The Works was "I Want To Break Free",
and that had an even more outrageous video also
featuring members of the fan club. It featured the band
dressed as the characters of a popular British
television soap opera,
Coronation Street. When asked
why, Roger said he had become bored with serious epic
videos, and thought it was about time they had some fun
and proved they could still laugh at themselves. MTV in
America refused to show the video.
June 1984, Roger released his second solo album,
Strange Frontier. Also in June, a company called
Guild Guitars launched a special copy of Brian's
home-made Red Special guitar. It was called the BHM1,
and Brian had been closely involved in all the aspects
of its production. Sadly, about a year later, Brian and
Guild had some discussions about the design of the
instrument which resulted in Guild ceasing production.
August, Queen flew out to Belgium to start The Works
Tour. Queen's first-ever full-length video was
released in September 1984. "We Will Rock You" was
filmed during the band's 1981 Montreal concerts. During
September, Queen had no fewer than NINE albums in the UK
was the year of 'Rock In Rio'. It was billed as the
biggest rock festival to be held anywhere in the world,
and Queen were headlining the event. The whole festival
was recorded for broadcast throughout South America, but
Queen were the only band able to obtain the rights to
release their performance on video. Live in Rio
was released in May 1985.
band performed their first-ever concert in New Zealand
on April 13th, 1985 in Auckland. The band were met
outside their hotel on arrival by a group of chanting
anti-apartheid demonstrators. Tony Hadley, singer
with British band Spandau Ballet, flew over from
Australia where his band was on tour to see the Queen
show, and was honoured to be asked to join Queen on
stage for their encore.
Freddie's first solo album, Mr. Bad Guy, was
released on April 19th whilst the band was on tour in
Australia. The gig in Melbourne had to be played with no
lighting rig at all, as the whole computer system that
controlled the lights had broken down. After an
Australian tour peppered with problems - not least being
the incessant rain - the band flew across to Japan.
Their concert at the Tokyo Olympic swimming pool was
filmed by NHK to be shown on network Japanese
13, 1985, was a day that went down in history as the
“Live Aid” concert took the world by storm from London's
vast Wembley Stadium (where Queen performed) and from
Philadelphia in the USA. Queen were just one of a
multitude of top bands who all performed a short,
20-minute set. The world was watching, and Queen were
unanimously voted - by press and public alike - as the
band that stole the show. That event was a turning point
had decided some time previously to take a break from
each other, but that day brought them together with
renewed vigour and enthusiasm. One Vision was the
first release to come from that new inspiration.
were approached by Russell Mulcahy to record the
soundtrack to his first feature film - a fantasy tale
about an immortal Scotsman - called Highlander.
In an interview, Mulcahy stated that Queen had been the
first band he had thought of for the score.
March 1986, John formed a new band, called
The Immortals, to write and record some of the
music for a forthcoming film called Biggles. They
recorded just one track - "No Turning Back" - and the
band folded. On June 2nd, Queen released their
fourteenth album, the soundtrack to Highlander,
entitled A Kind Of Magic. The album entered the
UK chart at Number One and remained in the top five for
thirteen consecutive weeks.
June 7th, the Queen machine was in action again as the
band embarked on their 'Magic Tour of Europe'. The first
UK gig was Newcastle's St. James Park football stadium.
The band, and promoter Harvey Goldsmith, donated
all the proceeds from that concert to the International
Save The Children Fund. On July 11th, the 'Queen
Tornado' - as Freddie had dubbed it - hit London and two
sold-out shows at the vast Wembley Stadium. During the
set, four enormous inflatables, modeled on the
characters from the A Kind of Magic album, were
released from amongst the audience into the night. The
following night's show was filmed by Tyne Tees
Television, again directed by Gavin Taylor, to be shown
on TV at a later date.
that concert was finally shown on television, it became
the first-ever simulcast between Channel Four and the
Independent Radio network in Britain. This feat has
never since been repeated - possibly because, in order
to achieve this, a satellite dish had to be delivered to
every single independent radio station in the UK so that
they could receive the sound by satellite whilst
receiving the pictures by the normal land lines.
27th July, Queen made history again (something of a
habit with this band!) when they played the beautiful
Nepstadion in Budapest, Hungary. It was the first time a
major rock band had played a stadium date in the Eastern
Bloc, and it was completely sold out well in advance.
The concert was filmed by the Hungarian State Film
Agency, MAFILM, in connection with Queen Films - they
had to commandeer every 35mm camera in Hungary to film
August 9th, the band flew into Knebworth Park,
Hertfordshire, in a specially repainted helicopter
featuring the characters from the Kind of Magic
album cover. It was the final date on the Magic Tour,
and the biggest audience so far - estimated at well over
120,000 people. It caused one of the biggest traffic
jams in history as everyone tried to arrive in plenty of
time! Over ONE MILLION people saw Queen on that European
Magic Tour - in excess of 400,000 in the UK alone.
In November 1986, EMI Records released the entire Queen
catalogue of albums on the Compact Disc format - the
first time any band's complete collection had been made
available simultaneously. In December, Queen's fifteenth
album - and their second live album - was released.
Entitled Live Magic, it entered the British chart
at Number Three. On 13th December, the band's film
Live In Budapest
opened in Budapest at 9 a.m., and proceeded to play to
nine sold-out houses in that one day. Seven completely
full screenings were shown each day for a week.
1986, in the UK alone, Queen sold a staggering 1,774,991
albums. On February 3rd, Freddie released a cover
version of the great old Platters song, “The Great
Pretender”. In the video to accompany the song, Freddie
recreated many scenes from his own and Queen videos, and
actor Peter Starker, Roger Taylor and Freddie all
donned wigs, made up their faces, and became the female
backing singers! It was an expensive video!
Freddie's all-time heroines was opera diva Montserrat
Caballé, and in March 1986, he met with her in her
home city of Barcelona. An astonishing partnership was
forged with Montserrat agreed to record an album with
Freddie. He penned a song about Barcelona for her, and
the two began to write and record that album. Freddie
and Montserrat appeared on stage together for the first
time in May 1987 at the Ibiza '92 festival, held at the
famous Ku Club on the holiday island. They performed
In August 1987, Roger advertised for, auditioned and
chose musicians to form a new band,
The Cross. He wanted a
band he could write with and, more importantly, tour
with during Queen's increasingly lengthy 'quiet'
single “Barcelona” was released in Spain in September
1987, and 10,000 copies were sold in just three hours.
The Spanish Olympic Committee adopted the song as the
theme for the Olympic Games being held in the city in
1992 - then decided against it, which caused much anger
amongst the fans.
and Hannes Rossacher are an Austrian
director/producer team who followed Queen all over
Europe during the Magic Tour, filming them on stage,
back stage, resting, playing and generally 'touring'.
They then searched the archives for footage of live
shows, interviews or out-takes from videos. After that,
they interviewed the band, their friends, their fans and
other 'stars'. Finally, in November 1987, a trilogy of
documentary-style videos was released, called The
Magic Years. The trilogy received numerous awards,
including the famous Silver Screen award in the USA (the
biggest film and TV festival in the world) and the IMMC
award at the Montreux Golden Rose TV festival. Also
during 1987, Queen were presented with the prestigious
Ivor Novello award for their 'Outstanding Contribution
to British Music'.
In January 1988, Queen went into the studios to start
work on their next album. On January 25th,
The Cross released their
debut album called Shove It.
The Cross also embarked on
their first European tour, playing club and university
dates throughout the UK, then clubs in Germany.
Freddie and Montserrat appeared together again on
October 8th at the huge La Nit event staged in
Barcelona, which was held to celebrate the arrival of
the Olympic Flag from Seoul. Freddie and Montserrat
closed the event, held in the presence of the King and
Queen of Spain, with “Barcelona”, “The Golden Boy” and
“How Can I Go On” - tracks taken from their forthcoming
the duet album from Freddie and Montserrat, was released
on October 10th, 1988. The launch party was a typically
extravagant affair held in the Crush Bar of the
beautiful Covent Garden Opera House - a fitting venue!
On December 4th,
The Cross played a one-off
gig at London's Hammersmith Palais, at a party held
exclusively for fan club members. Special guests on
stage were Brian and John.
released their sixteenth album on May 22nd 1989,
entitled The Miracle. It entered the UK chart at
Number One and went on to become a massive worldwide
success, reaching Number One in most European countries.
To promote the release, the four members of the band
gathered in a Radio One studio and allowed themselves to
be interviewed by DJ Mike Reid - a scoop for him,
as the band had not given a joint interview in many
was the end of a decade, there were numerous 'Best of
the Eighties' style programmes on television, especially
in the UK, and Queen were voted the 'Best Band of the
Eighties' by the viewers of Independent Television and
readers of its magazine TV Times. It was an accolade
they were immensely pleased with, and they all appeared
together on the show to collect it.
late November 1989, Queen were already back in studios
working on the next album - they had felt so inspired by
the huge success of The Miracle.
February 18th, 1990, Queen were honored yet again when
they were recognized by the British Phonographic
Industry (at last!), and presented with an award for
their 'Outstanding Contribution to British Music'. They
all collected the award, and went on to host a huge
star-studded party at London's Groucho Club.
The Cross released their
second album on March 26th, called Mad: Bad: And
Dangerous To Know, a title taken from a quote used
to describe the eccentric Lord Byron!
The Cross also undertook a
short German tour.
meanwhile, wrote and produced the haunting music for a
version of Shakespeare's Macbeth, performed at
London's Riverside Theatre.
November 1990, Queen signed a major new recording deal
in North America with the Disney-financed Hollywood
Records. Hollywood immediately began the task of pushing
Queen back up the popularity ladder, and plans were laid
to re-master and re-release the entire back catalogue on
CD - up till then, the collection had not been available
on CD in North America.
On December 7th,
The Cross played their only
UK date for some time at London's Astoria Theatre, at
yet another Queen fan club party. Brian joined them on
stage for the encore.
January 14th 1991, the band released the
six-and-a-half-minute long epic "Innuendo" as a single.
It was a massive success, giving the band their third UK
Number One single and ensuring them the Number One slot
throughout Europe. The album of the same name was
released on February 4th, and crashed straight into the
UK chart at Number One, hitting the high spot again
throughout Europe - and it even charted top thirty in
In March 1991,
The Cross went into studios
to start work on their third album, Blue Rock
(which was completed in July and scheduled for release
in September, however, the album was only ever released
in Germany, on Electrola Records).
30th, 1991, Freddie filmed what was to become his final
video for Queen - the haunting “These Are The Days Of
Our Lives”. A version featuring Disney animation was
made for the USA.
July 1991, Brian flew to Montreux to continue work on
his long-awaited solo album.
organized the Rock section of the Seville Guitar Legends
festival, and amongst those chosen by Brian to perform
their music were Nuno Bettencourt, Steve Vai,
Joe Satriani and Joe Walsh - to name but a
few. The concerts were performed live in October on the
site of the Seville Expo '92 exhibition.
Greatest Hits II
was released in October 1991, a double album featuring
17 tracks. They also repeated their earlier success by
releasing Greatest Flix II and Greatest Pix II
- this time compiled by Richard Gray. A special
box was also released called Box of Flix,
featuring Flix One and Two plus four bonus
tracks. Needless to say, both Hits II and Flix
II were Number One!
So Sad It
November 23rd, Freddie announced to the world that he
had AIDS. Just the next day, his fight was over, and he
died peacefully at his home surrounded by friends and
family. The world was in shock. Freddie had kept his
illness very private, and only those closest to him had
been aware of just how close to the end he really was.
Fans from all over the world sent flowers and cards, and
many even traveled to London to be at Freddie's house. A
cremation service was held three days after his death,
with family and close friends in attendance. The service
was conducted in the Zoroastrian faith that Freddie's
September 5th 1946 - November 24th 1991
November 25, 1991, Brian’s first solo single, “Driven by
You”, was released. (Freddie had urged Brian to go ahead
with the planned release date.) Originally written as a
commission piece for use in a Ford cars advertising
campaign, the single made the top ten in the UK charts.
tribute to Freddie, and to raise funds for the Terence
Higgins Trust to continue the fight against AIDS - as
Freddie's last wishes requested – “Bohemian Rhapsody”/
“These Are The Days Of Our Lives” was released as a
double A-sided single on December 9, 1991. It entered
the UK chart at Number One, where it remained for five
weeks, raising over one million pounds for the AIDS
December 1991, Queen had no fewer than 10 albums in the
UK top 100.
February 1992, the annual Brit Awards recognized Freddie
with a special posthumous award for 'Outstanding
Contribution to British Music', and - out of three Queen
nominations – “These Are The Days Of Our Lives” won the
Best Single of 1991 award. At that awards ceremony,
Roger and Brian announced plans for a massive open-air
concert at London's Wembley Stadium to celebrate
Freddie's life and give him a send-off to remember.
tickets went on sale the next day, with no announcement
of who was going to play apart from Brian, Roger and
John, and all 72,000 tickets sold out in just six hours.
Easter Monday, April 20th 1992, many of the world's top
stars joined Roger, John and Brian on stage at Wembley
Stadium to pay an emotional tribute to Freddie. The
stadium was packed to capacity, and it was televised
live to over one billion people.
April 1992, Queen were awarded an Ivor Novello award for
Best Single with “These Are The Days Days Of Our Lives”,
and Brian also won an award for “Driven By You” for Best
TV Commercial Music.
summer of 1992, the Mercury Phoenix Trust, a registered
charity, was founded to distribute the money raised by
the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness.
The Mercury Phoenix Trust is still active, and has
donated more than £8 million to AIDS charities
worldwide, to date. It is currently concentrating its
efforts on education and awareness in the Developing
World. The trustees of the Mercury Phoenix Trust are
Roger Taylor, Brian May, Mary Austin and Jim
September 1992 saw the release of the long-awaited Brian
May solo album, called Back To The Light. The
album went into the UK charts at number 6 and achieved
double gold status.
Brian May Band was then formed. Having warmed up in
Chile, Argentina and Brazil in November 1992. The Brian
May Band embarked upon a World Tour, beginning in the
USA and Europe as special guests to Guns 'N' Roses.
They then went on to headline their own sell-out tour of
North America, Japan and Europe, finishing in Portugal
in December 1993.
to Christmas 1992, a double video of the Freddie Tribute
Concert was released, with all proceeds being donated to
the Mercury Phoenix Trust.
Freddie Mercury Album was released in November 1992
with the first single “In My Defence” on 30 November
1992. This single was followed by “The Great Pretender”
in January 1993 and “Living On My Own” in Spring 1993.
This latter single won a posthumous Ivor Novello Award
as the 1993 International Hit of the Year.
saw the release of the George Michael / Lisa
Stansfield / Queen mini album Five Live EP.
This mini album and the single “Somebody To Love” were
released worldwide in aid of the Trust. They reached the
top ten in 31 countries worldwide and the single reached
number one in the UK on 22nd April.
February 1994 EMI released The Brian May Band Live At
Brixton Academy on album and video, the first live
recordings of the band.
September 1994, Roger Taylor released his solo album
Happiness?. This was preceded by the May 3rd release
of a single, “Nazis 1994”, which addresses the issue of
Europe's increasing rise of Neo-Nazism. The second
single “Foreign Sand” was released throughout Europe at
the end of September 1994. Roger Taylor's band toured
the UK and Italy in November 1994 - January 1995.
four years in the making, November 6, 1995 saw the
worldwide release of Made In Heaven, Queen's
twentieth and final album. Begun in April 1991, the
album was the last work to be recorded by the band with
Freddie Mercury, recording continuing through to the
last months of Freddie's life.
album, much of the finishing work undertaken by John,
Brian and Roger after Freddie's death, carries a
dedication to the 'immortal spirit of Freddie Mercury',
in recognition of his request that the material be
completed and be heard by the public.
finality of the album is underlined in two particular
tracks, "A Winter's Tale", the last song written by
Freddie, and "Mother Love" a Brian and Freddie song
which features the last vocal track Freddie laid down.
of the recording on Made In Heaven was carried
out at Queen's studio in Montreux, Switzerland, the town
where Freddie was also living at the time. This landmark
point in the history of Queen is immortalized in the
album sleeve - a landscape view across the lake which
Freddie's home overlooked.
recognized for their innovative music videos, Queen
wanted to look at an entirely new way of presenting the
tracks of the album in a visual form. This was achieved
by joining forces with the British Film Institute in a
unique venture to produce a series of short films based
around each of the album tracks using the talent of new
young directors working with the BFI. The first of these
was “Evolution”, a film made by director Simon
Pummell inspired by Heaven For Everyone. As
well as being seen on television, the film is expected
to be seen also on cinema screens. Under the BFI
project, further six-eight films are anticipated to be
release of the album also provided a fitting occasion to
reflect on the highlights and achievements of Queen's 25
years. A week after its release, November 13, comes the
release of Ultimate Queen, a deluxe box set of 20
Queen albums presented in a wall mounted presentation
case. Available as a limited edition, Ultimate Queen
contains the complete studio work of the group with the
classic live albums Live Killers, Live Magic
and Live At Wembley '86. Individually numbered,
each case presents the album collection on high quality
litho printed picture CDs accompanied by an embossed
12-page colour booklet.
companion to the box set, Queen also released the
definitive video documentary, Champions Of The World.
In two hours of film and music, the video contains a
wealth of material not previously available. More than
simply re-telling the band's history, "Champions of the
World" also provides a rare insight into the lives of
John, Brian, Freddie and Roger.
release of the album was also celebrated on television
with two Channel 4 specials on Queen: a new one-hour
documentary, The Queen Phenomenon, to aired on
December 4 at 10pm, and Queen At Wembley, a live
recording of one of the highlights of the group's 1986
Magic Tour, was screened on December 6 at 11pm.
November 6 Queen fans worldwide were able for the first
time to communicate with each other and connect with the
band with the launch of the Queen web site on the
2002, May, Deacon and Taylor collaborated with comedian
and novelist Ben Elton on a musical featuring
Queen's songs. Developed in association with Robert
De Niro's Tribeca Productions, We Will Rock You
opened at London's Dominion Theatre on May 14.
+ Paul Rodgers
November 2004 saw, Brian May and Roger Taylor team up
with former Free and Bad Company vocalist
Paul Rodgers to perform a couple of Queen
classics at the UK Hall Of Fame awards in London.
Shortly after Brian May, Roger Taylor and Paul Rodgers
then announced they would be undertaking a lengthy
European tour the following spring.
saw the start of the Queen + Paul Rodgers world
tour. The tour led the band through Spain, Italy,
Holland, Belgium, Germany, Britain, Switzerland,
Austria, the Czech Republic and Sweden featured both
classic Queen tracks as well as material from Paul
Rodgers. The tour experienced a great deal of success in
Europe, with many dates selling out. On the heels of
this, in June 2005 guitarist Brian May announced that
they will do a couple US dates in the autumn, and return
in the spring for a full-blown tour. A successful tour
of Japan was completed after the two US dates.
June 2005, of the Queen's list of birthday honorees,
Brian May was awarded the title of Commander of the
British Empire. Other honorees included
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.
+ Paul Rodgers embarked on a full scale tour of North
America in March 2006. This was the first time the band
had toured North American since the Hot Space
tour in 1982. Though the tour had its ups and downs
overall it was a success for the band.
late 2006 Brian May announced plans for Queen + Paul
Rodgers to enter the studio to start work on an album.
As of May 2007 the band have completed around 9 tracks
and have written around 12 - 13 tracks for the album. It
is tentatively scheduled to be released before the end