Everybody’s talking about Queen at the moment, for obvious reasons – the new film “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a huge hit. I have mixed feelings about whether I want to see it or not – with Freddie at the heart of the story, but not here to help tell it, tragically.
But what I have been doing recently is digging into the treasure-trove of YouTube footage available of the band, and in this post I thought I’d share a few of my favourites from what I’ve found.
The great thing about this is that it’s reminded me what a huge part of my life Queen were as a young teenager. Of course I watched their incredible Live Aid performance like everyone else – in fact, we watched it so many times during the school lunch-hours that the VHS tape started to wear out ! But we were all huge Queen fans long before then – “Sheer Heart Attack” was the third album I ever taped to listen to on my treasured Aiwa personal cassette player, and is still probably my favourite.
(What were the others ? I’d rather not say.
Oh, all right then: “Oxygene” by Jean Michel Jarre and… “Cats”. By Andrew Lloyd Webber. At least you can’t say I didn’t have eclectic taste ! And the fourth was “Script For A Jester’s Tear” by Marillion.)
What’s interesting with hindsight was that I didn’t think much about how the songs were recorded at the time, even though I was already deeply interested in recording an audio technology. So I just took a studio masterpiece like “Bohemian Rhapsody” for granted. Not any more, though ! And to help fill in the blanks, the first piece of YouTube footage I found was the footage above of Brian May listening to the original takes of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 2002. And perhaps the most amazing thing about it is simply to realise that Freddie had the whole thing in his head, from the outset – choir section and all.
Watching that video reminded me of an excellent documentary about the recording of the song that I posted on my site way back in the very early days of my blog. A quick check revealed that several of the original links were dead, but happily I was able to track them all down again and update it – you can watch and read here:
Still highly recommended ! (Make sure you check out the links to the Sound On Sound articles in that post, too – essential reading.)
And there’s footage of Queen actually recording in the studio together in this clip – specifically the song “One Vision” from “A Kind Of Magic”, another album we listened to constantly at the time – and, yes, played air-guitar to with tennis rackets, if you must know. Watch out especially for the “alternative” lyrics to the song towards the end…
Lots more interviews and some live footage from the same time (immeditately after Live Aid) in this video:
And finally a “behind the scenes” documentary from the tour here. (If you haven’t already heard the amazing “Live Killers” album from a few years earlier, that should probably be your next step.)
So, there you go – several hours of high-quality Queen-in-the-studio-related footage – I hope you find them as fascinating and inspiring as I do !