Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, Holiday Edition where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar, went to boarding school in India, and came to England with his parents in 1964. His birth name is Farrokh Bulsara, but due to racial abuse he suffered in his early teens, he legally changed his name in 1972.

Mercury died of AIDS the day after announcing he had the disease. He died the morning of November 24, 1991 at age 45.

May is an accomplished scholar. He studied astronomy and physics at Imperial College in London.

All four members wrote at least one of their hits. Since they all wrote, it gave them a very diverse sound.

Before forming Queen, May and Taylor were in a psychedelic band called Smile.

Brian May’s guitar is called the Red Special, and was made with the help of his father, who was an engineer, while Brian was still in high school. The body was made from an old mantelpiece that a family friend had discarded while renovating his house and the whammy bar was made from parts of an old bicycle kick stand. It is the interesting mix of materials that make May’s guitar tone impossible to duplicate and why he sounds so original. It has a unique tone, which has become his signature, and it allowed him to create various sound effects found on many of Queen’s songs, such as “Get Down, Make Love.”

They first toured the US as the opening band for Mott The Hoople in 1974.

In 1981, they did the soundtrack for the movie Flash Gordon, which was a huge flop.

All of the members are very intelligent. In addition to May’s degree in astronomy, they have degrees in biology (Taylor), illustration (Mercury), and electronics (Deacon).

They proudly declared that no synthesizers were used in their music until 1980. Roger Taylor was the first member of Queen to get a synth. Taylor recalled to Mojo: “Freddie was all over it – ‘Ooh what does this do?’ It changed the way we did things.”

When Mercury moved to England in 1959, he lived less than a football field distance from May, but the two never met until 1970.

Mercury’s stamp collection was purchased by the British Postal Service for almost $5,000. It is currently on display at the National Postage Museum.

May and Taylor have continued to represent Queen. In 2005, they toured with Paul Rodgers, best known for his work with Bad Company and Free. In 2012, they started performing with Adam Lambert up front, first touring with him in 2014.

In 2004, in Japan, a very popular TV drama called Pride, featuring SMAP’s Kimura Takuya and about an Ice Hockey player, featured a mainly Queen soundtrack. This brought the Queen Greatest Hits album to a record breaking #1. The show and music appealed to people of all ages – just like Wayne’s World, this brought Queen to a whole new generation.

John Deacon has not participated in any Queen projects since the ’90s. He maintains his privacy and stays clear of the media.

Although Freddie Mercury was the primary vocalist for the band, all the members of the group except Deacon sang lead vocals on different songs. Deacon did, however, provide backing vocals during live shows.

The Official International Queen Fan Club was set up in 1973 after the release of the band’s first album. At its peak, membership exceeded 20,000. It is certified by Guiness World Records as the longest running Rock group fan club.

Queen was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001. In 2003, they also became the first band to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. They were inducted into the UK Music Hall Of Fame in 2004, and have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Widely considered as one of the greatest vocalists in popular music history, Freddie Mercury possessed a very distinctive voice. Although his speaking voice naturally fell in the baritone range, his singing voice was that of a tenor. His recorded vocal range spanned nearly 4 octaves (falsetto included), with his lowest recorded note being the F below the bass clef and his highest recorded note being the D that lies nearly 4 octaves above. In addition to vocal range, Mercury often delivered technically difficult songs in a powerful manner. However, due to vocal nodules (for which he declined surgery), he would often lower the highest notes during many concerts. Mercury claimed that he never had any formal vocal training.

According to the official UK charts company, Queen have sold more albums than The Beatles from 1955-2005 in the UK. Queen’s Greatest Hits (5,407,587) has sold a little over half a million more copies than The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (4,811,996), and almost 2 million more than Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (3,781,993). The results are based strictly on sales figures, not fan voting or expert analysis. This begs the question that if, as John Lennon once suggested, The Beatles were “More popular than Jesus,” what does that make Queen?

In 1984, Queen performed in South Africa during the Apartheid era, which caused some controversy as most artists were boycotting the country because of the racist policy. Any ill-will was erased by their performance at Live Aid a year later, where their set was one of the highlights.

Freddie Mercury designed their “Queen Crest” logo. He had a degree in Art and Graphic Design from Ealing Art College in England.

Brian May was named Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University in 2007.

A study by Austrian, Czech, and Swedish researchers released in 2016 concluded that Freddie Mercury had a rare and unique singing voice. The study stated that Mercury likely employed subharmonics, in which the ventricular folds vibrate along with the vocal folds. Most human vocal patterns never use the ventricular folds, with the exception of Tuvan throat singers. In addition, Mercury’s vocal cords just moved faster than other people’s. While a typical vibrato will fluctuate between 5.4 Hz and 6.9 Hz, Mercury’s was 7.04 Hz. To look at that in a more scientific way, a perfect sine wave for vibrato assumes the value of 1, which is pretty close to where famous opera singer Luciano Pavarotti sat. Mercury, on the other hand, averaged a value of 0.57, meaning he was vibrating something in his throat even Pavarotti couldn’t move.

What are the guys in Queen really like? Their longtime photographer Neal Preston talked about it in an interview.
Roger was the rock star, with the looks, the talent, the clothes.

Freddie was a bit more soft spoken off stage than you’d think, but he always had the swagger that came with being Freddie Mercury. He loved the camera.

John seemed to have eyes in the back of his head – he’d always be aware of everything going on but wouldn’t necessarily talk about it. Then all of a sudden, a zinger would come out of his mouth.

Brian, at first, seemed a bit aloof to me but I came to realize that he’s just not a boisterous guy. He’s pensive, brilliant, and he understands what it truly means to be a fan.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Legends,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Freddie Mercury was a British singer, songwriter, record producer, and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. Regarded as one of the greatest lead singers in the history of rock music, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range.

The son of Bomi and Jer Bulsara, Freddie spent the bulk of his childhood in India where he attended St. Peter’s boarding school. He began taking piano lessons at the age of seven. No one could foresee where a love of music would take him.

The rest is rock history. EMI Records and Elektra Records signed the band and in 1973 their debut album ‘Queen’ was released and hailed as one of the most exciting developments ever in rock music.

Very soon Queen’s popularity extended beyond the shores of the UK as they charted and triumphed around Europe, Japan and the USA where in 1979 they topped the charts with Freddie’s song ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’

Through Freddie’s ability to project himself and the band’s music and image to the four corners of 70,000 seater venues they became known as the prime developers of stadium rock, a reputation perpetuated by their pioneering tactics in South America where in 1981 they performed to 231,000 fans in Sao Paulo, a world record at the time. They also became known as the key innovators of pop videos as their catalogue of 3-minute clips became more and more adventurous in style, size and content.

In the mid 80’s, Freddie started concentrating on his solo career, which was to run in tandem with Queen (“the mothership”) for several albums commencing with the 1985 release of ‘Mr. Bad Guy’. Freddie’s much loved sense of self-parody reached a zenith with his cover version of The Platter’s song ‘The Great Pretender’ in 1987, the video of which recorded him descending a sweeping staircase among acres of identical cardboard cutouts of himself.

While most publicly recognised as the front man to one of the most progressive rock bands of the 70’s, Freddie defied the stereotype. A taste for venturing into new territories – a trait that was to have a marked influence on the direction Queen would take – took Freddie to explore his interests in a wide spectrum of the arts, particularly in the areas of ballet, opera and theatre, even taking a participating role: in October1977 the sell-out audience of a charity gala at the London Coliseum organised by Royal Ballet Principal dance Wayne Eagling received the surprise of an unannounced appearance by a silver-sequinned leotard-clad Freddie performing an intricate routine choreographed for him by Eagling. In 1987 he made a one-night appearance in Dave Clarke’s Time at the Dominion Theatre, although legend has it Freddie occasionally turned up at the theatre to support friend Clarke’s musical, one night selling ice-creams in the stalls! Freddie would have loved the fact that The Dominion now plays host to the band’s phenomenally successful musical We Will Rock You which has now held the Dominion stage nearly seven years longer than Time’s two year run.

Freddie Mercury, who majored in stardom while giving new meaning to the word showmanship, left a legacy of songs, which will never lose their stature as classics to live on forever. Some of the most poignant of these were immortalised on the Queen album ‘Made In Heaven’ released in November 1995. The sleeve of the album shows a view from Freddie’s Montreux home.

September 5, 2010 saw The Mercury Phoenix Trust launch ‘Freddie For A Day’, a major annual initiative designed to celebrate Freddie’s life each year on his birthday and to support the on-going work of the Trust. The project encourages fans to dress as Freddie for a day and in doing so raise funds for MPT through sponsorship. No one could have imagined the extraordinary response which resulted, with fans from 24 countries around the world, from Argentina to Ukraine, seizing on the idea to pay their own special tribute to Freddie.

Some sent pictures strutting their stuff at home, singing into a microphone in their bedroom. Others took the plunge and spent the whole day as Freddie, including one US enthusiast who dressed herself as ‘Slightly Mad’ Freddie and then spent her day at the local mall and then at Columbus Zoo in Ohio with a penguin and a gorilla. Another took a TGV trip from France to Switzerland dressed in a harlequin leotard. The stories of extraordinary and fun days spent come in their hundreds, and as a result, Freddie For A Day is now an annual event.

A major Hollywood movie about Freddie and Queen, produced by GK Films, Robert de Niro’s Tribeca Productions and Queen Films is expected to start shooting shortly.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Cool Movie Soundtracks Edition,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Bohemian Rhapsody 2019

Queen, one of the worlds most iconic rock bands is immortalized in the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” named after their most popular songs to date. Written before its time, Bohemian Rhapsody, a rock opera song is the bands signature sonata.

Freddie Mercury — the lead singer of Queen — defies stereotypes and convention to become one of history’s most beloved entertainers. The band’s revolutionary sound and popular songs lead to Queen’s meteoric rise in the 1970s. After leaving the group to pursue a solo career, Mercury reunites with Queen for the benefit concert Live Aid — resulting in one of the greatest performances in rock ‘n’ roll history.

  • Freddie Mercury wrote the lyrics, and there has been a lot of speculation as to their meaning. Many of the words appear in the Qu’ran. “Bismillah” is one of these and it literally means “In the name of Allah.” The word “Scaramouch” means “A stock character that appears as a boastful coward.” “Beelzebub” is one of the many names given to The Devil.

    Mercury’s parents were deeply involved in Zoroastrianism, and these Arabic words do have a meaning in that religion. His family grew up in Zanzibar, but was forced out by government upheaval in 1964 and they moved to England. Some of the lyrics could be about leaving his homeland behind. Guitarist Brian May seemed to suggest this when he said in an interview about the song: “Freddie was a very complex person: flippant and funny on the surface, but he concealed insecurities and problems in squaring up his life with his childhood. He never explained the lyrics, but I think he put a lot of himself into that song.”

    Another explanation is not to do with Mercury’s childhood, but his sexuality – it was around this time that he was starting to come to terms with his bisexuality, and his relationship with Mary Austin was falling apart.

    Whatever the meaning is, we may never know – Mercury himself remained tight-lipped, and the band agreed not to reveal anything about the meaning. Mercury himself stated, “It’s one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then make up their own minds as to what it says to them.” He also claimed that the lyrics were nothing more than “Random rhyming nonsense” when asked about it by his friend Kenny Everett, who was a London DJ.

    The band were always keen to let listeners interpret their music in a personal way to them, rather than impose their own meaning on songs, and May stated that the band agreed to keep the personal meaning behind the song private out of respect for Mercury.
  • Mercury may have written “Galileo” into the lyrics for the benefit of Brian May, who is an astronomy buff and in 2007 earned a PhD in astrophysics. Galileo is a famous astronomer known for being the first to use a refracting telescope.
  • The backing track came together quickly, but Queen spent days overdubbing the vocals in the studio using a 24-track tape machine. The analog recording technology was taxed by the song’s multitracked scaramouches and fandangos: by the time they were done, about 180 tracks were layered together and “bounced” down into sub-mixes. Brian May recalled in various interviews being able to see through the tape as it was worn so thin with overdubs. Producer Roy Thomas Baker also recalls Mercury coming into the studio proclaiming, “oh, I’ve got a few more ‘Galileos’ dear!” as overdub after overdub piled up.
  • Was Freddie Mercury coming out as gay in this song? Lesley-Ann Jones, author of the biography Mercury, thinks so.

    Jones says that when she posed the question to Mercury in 1986, the singer didn’t give a straight answer, and that he was always very vague about the song’s meaning, admitting only that it was “about relationships.” (Mercury’s family religion, Zoroastrianism, doesn’t accept homosexuality, and he made efforts to conceal his sexual orientation, possibly so as not to offend his family.)

    After Mercury’s death, Jones says she spent time with his lover, Jim Hutton, who told her that the song was, in fact, Mercury’s confession that he was gay. Mercury’s good friend Tim Rice agreed, and offered some lyrical analysis to support the theory:

    “Mama, I just killed a man” – He’s killed the old Freddie he was trying to be. The former image.

    “Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead” – He’s dead, the straight person he was originally. He’s destroyed the man he was trying to be, and now this is him, trying to live with the new Freddie.

    “I see a little silhouetto of a man” – That’s him, still being haunted by what he’s done and what he is.
  • Queen made a video for the song to air on Top Of The Pops, a popular British music show, because the song was too complex to perform live – or more accurately, to be mimed live – on TOTP. Also, the band would be busy on tour during the single’s release and thus unable to appear.

    The video turned out to be a masterstroke, providing far more promotional punch than a one-off live appearance. Top Of The Pops ran it for months, helping keep the song atop the charts. This started a trend in the UK of making videos for songs to air in place of live performances.

    When the American network MTV launched in 1981, most of their videos came from British artists for this reason. In the December 12, 2004 issue of the Observernewspaper, Roger Taylor explained: “We did everything we possibly could to avoid appearing in Top Of The Pops. It was one, the most boring day known to man, and two, it’s all about not actually playing – pretending to sing, pretending to play. We came up with the video concept to avoid playing on Top Of The Pops.”

    The group had previously appeared on the show twice, to promote the “Seven Seas of Rhye” and “Killer Queen” singles.

QUEEN’s BRIAN MAY: ‘Why We Must Take Extreme Measures Now’ To Slow Coronavirus

QUEEN guitarist Brian May has urged the public to take seriously the threat of coronavirus and change behaviors to slow its spread.

On Monday (March 16), May took to his Instagram to share a article warning about the risk of inaction in response to the pandemic, and he included the following message:


“There is so much false information out there – people saying the CoronaVirus is not a threat – even that it doesn’t exist. And our own Government has failed to act promptly, acting on catastrophically bad advice, which will eventually be the cause of thousands of deaths.

“It’s too late to contain the CoronaVirus in Britain – but we CAN still save some of the lives of our dear ones by doing NOW what we should have done 3 weeks ago.

“ISOLATE – minimise our social contacts. Minimise them, if possible, to almost zero. The more interactions you have, the more chance you have of bringing the virus in to threaten your family. The less people you meet up with, the better the chance of saving yourself and your family, and the greater chance we will have to limit the damage this awful plague will do.

“PLEASE READ the article these screen shots come from. It will take you 30 minutes or so to absorb it – but at the end you will truly understand why we must take extreme measures NOW. Do not confuse this with panicking. It is simply taking the measures we need to adopt to protect ourselves from a Hellish future.

“THE LINK IS IN MY BIO. Do it, please – and forward it to all your friends and family. This could save countless lives.

“My God – I am praying that [U.K. Prime Minister] Boris[Johnson] will read it – and throw his advisors out the door. Extreme Action is needed – delaying is shite. And please, politicians, stop talking about the economy, just for a moment. A million lives are at stake. Bri

There is no known cure yet for the flu-like virus, which originated in China.

Officials have made it clear that the elderly — especially those with heart, lung and immunological conditions — are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, with at least 25 deaths linked to one nursing home in Washington.

In Italy, which has one of the oldest populations in the world, one hundred percent of the people who have died have been over 60, and the vast majority over 80.

According to the Centers For Disease Control And Protection (CDC), coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person — between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet), and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Queen: A Night at The Opera

Today I went to see the film Bohemian Rhapsody, so in tribute to its excellence I am going to review Queen’s 1975 magnum opus, A Night At The Opera.

This monumental creative masterpiece included the operatic Bohemian Rhapsody, a work of Freddie Mercury’s pure genius, and one of the greatest achievements in all of rock’s history.

As incredible as Mercury was (and he was astronomically talented), Queen were a team comprised of 4 very different musicians who together formed something greater than the sum of their parts, and all of them contributed songs to A Night At The Opera.

Guitarist Brian May wrote The Prophet Song, another epic sonic creation with layers and layers of Mercury’s godly vocals.

John Deacon brought in his first song for the band and hit the top ten in the charts with You’re My Best Friend.

Drummer Roger Taylor wrote I’m In Love With My Car and performed lead vocals on it.

All 4 members added to the layered opera section of Rhapsody, a track that contained so many overdubs that the recording tape nearly wore out before the song’s completion.

One of my all time favorite Queen songs is also on this staggering epic, the achingly gorgeous Love Of My Life, wonderfully sung by Mercury in the studio, and often sung by the crowds at Queen’s live concerts.

Do yourself a favor, go see Bohemian Rhapsody, and go revisit A Night At The Opera.

Freddie Mercury was a singer for the ages and Queen were royalty of the highest order.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

I have this persistent memory that the first time I heard Queen was on AM radio on the way to middle school. The song was Killer Queen and it simply mesmerized me from the first time I heard it. Freddie Mercury’s voice, the magical tone of Brian May’s guitar, the insanely catchy hook of the chorus (indeed, the entire song), and just the blend of all the elements coalescing into that SOUND that was uniquely Queen. The album Sheer Heart attack was released late in 1974, just before my 13th birthday. That was the year my love for rock music just shot into the stratosphere and never came down. I love the diversity of Sheer Heart Attack. It has some killer hard rock stuff (Brighton Rock, Now I’m Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Flick Of The Wrist), anthems (Killer Queen, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited), and off the wall (Bring Back That Leroy Brown, In The Lap Of The Gods, She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettos). The production on this album highlighted all the elements that made Queen so magnificent…the vocals (both lead and harmonies…oh, the harmonies!), guitars, drums, and did I mention vocals? This was the album where Queen became a global superpower, where they found their signature sound…Queen had arrived!

Written By Braddon S. Williams

On This Day in History

On this date in history, 8/5/1982, Queen graced Indianapolis with a stop on their final tour of America in the Freddie Mercury era.
The show took place at Market Square Arena and featured Billy Squier as the opening act. By 1982 Queen were global superstars, touring on their latest (and arguably least popular) album, Hot Space.
They had embraced a keyboard heavy, dance and disco influenced sound for the record, but I don’t recall that affecting their live performance.
Brian May’s glorious guitar work was still front and center on the classic ’70’s material that comprised the lion’s share of the songs they played at this concert.
One thing that never wavered in any of Queen’s various styles was the majestic tone of Freddie Mercury’s one-in-a-million voice.
That voice, coupled with his commanding and charismatic flair as a front man, was my primary memory of the performance.
In the studio, Queen were all contributing songs and ideas, but live, it was Mercury’s playground, and he elevated the band to legendary heights.
The light show was state of the art and innovative for its time, and the sound was crystal clear and perfectly defined for those glorious Queen harmonies.
Billy Squier did a fine job with his opening set. Squier had just released Emotions In Motion, his second consecutive platinum album.
Freddie Mercury and Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor, sang backup vocals on the album’s title track, and the co-producer of the record had previously produced Queen’s The Game, so that probably accounts for him being on the tour. It proved to be a show full of great songs, great production and fantastic musicians making magical moments. This one was special and everyone felt it, beyond a doubt.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: