Sheer Heart Attack

I’ve finally finished work for the week, only four days later than expected though. Tomorrow we’re off to the seaside for an elongated weekend and I have the misfortune of attending my first ever Queen convention over in Mablethorpe. 

The wife and I have experienced a few Doctor Who gatherings over the last few years, but I feel this weekend is going to be something completely different. Wall to wall Queen geeks who, in the main, will know their Day at the Races and a Night at the Opera inside out. 

All fans have their diehards and some of that fanbase will be of the über fan variety. Geekiness in all fandoms is on a sliding scale of casual through to obsessive, and without a doubt there will be a massive dose of one up man-ship throughout the duration. Whether it’s from that obscure tour shirt from ’76 someone is adorned in or some piece of useless information offered up as an answer in the inevitable quiz, fans always try to impress, intentionally or subliminally is another question though. 

Every fan of every band claims their fans are the best in the world, it’s hard to disagree with them as that’s the way they perceive their musical world from within their rose tinted bubble. Having said that though I think I’m a fan of bands with some of the most rabid and reverent followers on the planet. 

Metallica and Iron Maiden announce tours and bookings and flights from every corner of the world descend upon every city on the tour. I’ve travelled over Europe to see both bands over the years, I’ve even hopped over to North America to see them both. Bars around the arenas are heaving with black clad metal heads wearing a plethora of tour merch form all over the world and spanning the decades. I used to assume I was the only person in a crowd in Toronto for a show then you overhear dozens of British accents amongst the buzz of the Canadian drawl. 

One of the first forays on to foreign shores for the reluctant wife and I was to Paris to see Iron Maiden at the Bercy. Pretty much a day there in a coach and a day back with nothing but Maiden fans. And what was played through the buses sound system during the trip? An assortment of Maiden tunes from varying live releases and studio albums. Definitely three days of Iron Maiden overkill, but most people wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I have no doubt a Queen fan, or a fanatic of any other artist from all genres is as fanatical, but I do think metal fans have that edge in fanaticism. I’ve never seen a Queen fan carve the bands name into their skin outside a venue. Slayer on the other hand… Metallica’s imminent British tour sold out in minutes of some of the countries biggest sheds and that’s with a ticket price leaving peanuts from a £100 note if such a thing was legal tender. 

Even if it’s not the high priced ticket at the arenas of the world, the fans that traverse the country week after week to catch the up and coming act (or in some cases the fading star of yesterday) are just as, if not more, of a fan. It takes much more effort and will power to drag yourself to the venues in the middle of nowhere to see that band play a half hour set to you, one man and his dog on a snowy January evening then head off home. You just know one day that night with a handful of people will be one of those shows that all in sundry will we talking about when the band breaks into the big time. 

To kick off what might be a Queen themed weekend on this blog (internet permitting – but I’m not hopefully) here’s something from Queen. Quel surprise! 

October 28th marks the forty year anniversary of the bands sixth album News of the World, and from the bite size pieces of information I have seen in relation to this years convention it is based around this album. Confusingly the track Sheer Heart Attack featured on this album rather than the album of the same name released three years earlier. This live version of the track is taken from the live album Queen Rock Montreal (recorded in 1981). Without consulting iTunes I’ve probably played this track more than most of their tracks. 



A Kind Of Magic

Today is the 24th anniversary of Farrokh Bulsara’s passing. Born and raised in Stone Town in the Sultanate of Zanzibar until he moved to Bombay aged 8. Due to civil unrest in Zanzibar Bulsara with his family moved to Feltham (50 miles west of London) aged 17.

He has performed all over the world in some of the biggest venues over the world. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, UK Music Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His band have sold over 200 million records.

Out of the blue on November 23rd 1991 a statement was made confirming long standing press speculation that Bulsara had been tested HIV positive and he had AIDS. Just over 24 hours later, aged just 45, music’s greatest frontman and a legend had died.

I’ve never been the biggest of Queen fans – yet again in this household that accolade goes to my wife. I knew all the singles from radio airplay and how could you not like them?

Queen are another band I’ll always associate with films. They composed the music to the 1980 version on Flash Gordon and in 1986 A Kind Of Magic was used in the first Highlander film. Shaun of the Dead used 1978’s Don’t Stop Me Now to hilarious effect. And who can forget the use of the UK’s biggest single ever, Bohemian Rhapsody, in Wayne’s World?


Long Live The Queen

R.I.P. Freddie Mercury

1946 – 1991

Death On Two Legs

Tonight’s random track is Queen. Kind of!!

The absolute joy of being the only car driver in the family is having to perform taxi duties at the drop of a hat!!

Tonight was one of those nights as my better half didn’t have her usual lift home so I had the pleasure! As she doesn’t like most of my “noisy $h!t” music I have playing I have to compromise. This evening was a Queen half hour, not that I’m complaining about Queen, far from it.

Anyway, back to the shuffle. Death On Two Legs was originally from Queen’s A Night At The Opera album, released in 1975.

This version is by the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers Heathen. This track is taken from the bands Recovered album – an album of mainly covers and remastered demo tracks. This was their first release after a nine year hiatus. They got back together originally to perform at the Chuck Billy and Chuck Schuldiner (Testament and Death vocalists respectively) charity show Clash of the Titans. If time travelling Delorians are invented or I find an abandoned Tardis, San Francisco’s Maritime Hall on August 11th 2001 would be a destination for sure!