I recall when I was a kid my parents would take me on vacations to the Adirondacks (Lake George area) in upstate New York.  It was about a 6 hour trip from our Northern New Jersey home and I’d spend the time sitting bored in the car watching the trees goes by.  Many times prior to this trip my mother would run out and purchase fresh music, she’d even let me pick out some stuff although all I remember picking out a was a few Weird Al albums.  Anyway, one of the albums she brought one year was a Queen greatest hits comp.  I remember it vividly.  It was the year they were practicing for the winter Olympics at Lake Placid.  Pretty much the entire drive up there and all subsequent transports through the four day trip was accompanied by Queen’s music in the background.  And to be honest, I didn’t mind.  It left an impression on me but sentimental value aside song for song Queen has got to be one of the most rocking bands of their time.Queen in a stack.

Queen was formed in London England in 1970 by vocalist Freddie Mercury(back then he used his birth name Farrokh Bulsara), guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. At first they cycled through a few bassists but a year later they were joined by John Deacon who would become a fixture. Other then a few minor changes for tours here and there Queen’s lineup never faltered in their twenty year plus run. Tragically Freddie Mercury died from complications brought on by the AIDS virus in 1991. This effectively ended Queen. They continued on with an album recorded just prior to Mercury’s death, “Innuendo” and another album pieced together with older studio material, “Made in Heaven” but the gig was up and it would never be the same. Queen died on that November day in 1991.

I gotta say Queen is one of my favorite all time bands. I’m not in love with their complete catalog, there are some big duds in there in my opinion but their early stuff and their hits are stupendous. Originally Queen was a hard rock act. While they showed influences from other genres a hard rock act was at their core. Even today if you look back at their catalog most of their albums show their hard rock roots. While that may not be completely apparent to someone only familiar with some of their synthed out lighter hits like “Under Pressure”. They truly challenged the statues quo with all the different directions they could take a track. This showed both their sheer skilled musicality and their openness to try new things out. For anyone interested in Queen I’d highly recommend picking up their 1981 “Greatest Hits I” album. That album is the core of what made Queen Queen. From there you can span off to their albums. Their “Sheer Heart Attack” album is great as well as “A Night At The Opera” but there’s plenty of others to take a look at. Oh and as a testament to that “Greatest Hits I” collection, it is the highest selling record ever to be sold in the UK. Those Brits sure love their local boys.

1) Queen [1973]
2) Queen II [1974]
3) Sheer Heart Attack [1974]
4) A Night At The Opera [1975]
5) A Day at the Races [1976]
6) News of the World [1977]
7) Jazz [1978]
8) The Game [1980]
9) Flash Gordon [1980]
10) Hot Space [1982]
11) The Works [1984]
12) A Kind of Magic [1986]
13) The Miracle [1989]
14) Innuendo [1991]
15) Made in Heaven [1995]
16) The Cosmos Rocks [2008]

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