Jack FM would like to wish [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Queen[/lastfm] guitarist Brian May a very happy 64th birthday today!
And somewhere out there, Dirk Nowitzki is STILL singing “We Are The Champions.”
The name says it all: Queen ARE rock royalty.
With 18 #1 albums, 18 #1 singles, 10 #1 DVDs and over 150 million albums sold worldwide, Queen are one of the best-selling and best-known acts in the history of rock and roll.
Formed in London in 1971 by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Freddie Mercury[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Brian May[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]John Deacon[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Roger Taylor[/lastfm], Queen rose to fame in the U.K. with the release of their first two albums, Queen and Queen II. But it wasn’t until their third album that the band saw success overseas.
In 1974, Queen released Sheer Heart Attack. The album peaked at #12 on the Billboard 200 chart, and the single, “Killer Queen,” became their breakthough hit. The band was on their way to international superstardom.
Following the success of Sheer Heart Attack, Queen released their next album, A Night at the Opera, in November 1975. Voted by fans and critics as the band’s finest work, A Night at the Opera was an even greater success than its predecessor. The album reached #4 on the charts and was certified triple-platinum in the States. It produced two singles, “You’re My Best Friend” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which became Queen’s first U.S. Top 10 hit. (“Bohemian Rhapsody” would again chart in 1992 due to the popularity of the movie, Wayne’s World).
A Day at the Races came out in 1976 and was the first album Queen produced by themselves. The album went to #1 in the U.K., Japan and the Netherlands. It peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200. The second single, “Tie Your Mother Down,” was written by guitarist Brian May, and it’s Jack’s Song of the Day. The song only reached #49 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, but it became a staple of their live shows.
Queen released two more commercially successful albums before the end of the decade: 1977′s News of the World and 1978′s Jazz. They continued adding more hit singles to their catalog with “We Will Rock You,” “We Are The Champions,” “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Bicycle Race.”
As the ’70s gave way to the ’80s, Queen had become one of the biggest stadium rock bands in the world, playing to sold out audiences all over. And as a new decade dawned, there was no stopping the boys from London.
In June 1980, Queen released The Game. The album became the band’s first #1 album in the U.S., staying on top of the charts for five weeks. The Game spawned two #1 singles as well: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Another One Bites the Dust.”
By 1982, Queen had departed from their signature ’70s sound, causing some turmoil within the band. Also at this time, the band’s popularity began to wan in the States, and sales of their albums weren’t as successful as they had been a few years earlier.
In the summer of 1986, Queen embarked on their final tour with Freddie Mercury. They released two more albums, The Miracle and Innuendo, before Freddie’s death in 1991.
On April 20, 1992, a tribute concert for Freddie Mercury was staged at London’s Wembley Stadium. 72,000 people attended and more than 1.2 billion watched on television as acts such as [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Def Leppard[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Guns N Roses[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Elton John[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]David Bowie[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]George Michael[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Annie Lennox[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Metallica[/lastfm] paid tribute to one of rock’s legendary frontmen. This concert is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the “largest rock star benefit concert” ever.
In 2001, Queen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they continue to inspire and influence music lovers from all over the world 40 years later.
Here’s Queen performing a medley of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Radio Ga Ga” at 1985′s Live Aid concert. Many have said this is one of the greatest performances in rock history, and Jack FM agrees.
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