By guest blogger Mike Brown
They say that history is written by the victors. Well, one could argue that the music industry is shaped by the success of previous bands. Who would Coldplay be without the earlier shaping of U2? Who would Lady Gaga be without Madonna? Who would any number of young male solo artists be without Michael Jackson?
Speaking of musical influences, I was warmed by seeing the video tributes to the late great Freddie Mercury who would have celebrated his 65th birthday last week. Katy Perry, Taylor Hawkins (of the Foo Fighters,) Gerard Way (of My Chemical Romance,) and Lady Gaga all stepped up to offer the mustachioed frontman their posthumous birthday wishes.
This is such a touching testament to the strength of this man’s legacy. With a West End musical dedicated to the music he unleashed onto the world, and the surviving members of the band still making show stealing live appearances to legions of screaming fans at other peoples shows (something that not many people can realistically get away with,) truly Queen and their astonishing front man will live on.
The word legend is bounced around far too easily in modern music. It seems you only have to make more than one hit album and you have the title bestowed upon you. In fairness with the brutality of the industry as it is, perhaps creating two albums that sell well could be classified as heroic. Try to cast your mind back to the 1970’s, when things were very different, and legends weren’t created by a voracious public and avaricious media frenzies, legends were created by solid music, glittering live shows and a sense of solidarity with the people listening.
One only has to view the old footage of the original live aid concert in 1985, in which Freddie holds tens of thousands of people in the palm of his hand, almost as comfortably as if he was playing to ten people in his local pub on Karaoke night. The flamboyant showmanship and simply unmatched vocal strength won him fans across the world, and clearly his legacy remains as he inspires generation after generation of artist to pick up a microphone and emulate.
Queen probably had no idea of the success they would garner through their career. Queen also probably didn’t realize that their career would live on long after the tragic and untimely death of their charismatic lead vocalist. Though anyone who has been to see “We Will Rock You,” or like me, will anytime of the day sit on youtube and watch some of his extraordinary live footage, or anyone who has entered the music industry, hoping to aspire to this man’s obvious genius, will attest that Freddie Mercury lives on.
“Who Wants to Live Forever…” sung Freddie in one of Queens most touching and haunting tracks. Sorry Freddie…it doesn’t look like you have much choice on this one. Viva la Mercury!!