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article imageReview: ‘Queen — Days of Our Lives’

By Alexander Baron     Feb 18, 2013 in Entertainment
Queen were one of the biggest bands of the 1970s and one of the most influential of the modern era. This BBC 4 two part documentary is a must for all dedicated Queen fans.
This documentary (or two part series) was first screened back in 2011, but it is worth seeing again, even for those who are not diehard fans, if only for the archive footage which dates back to 1969 and Queen precursor Smile. Some of it had never been broadcast before.
Queen have a heavy presence on SongFacts, but here you get the inside track on the story behind Death On Two Legs, and a great deal more.
This programme is about the trials and tribulations of the band as much as about their music, with of course a heavy emphasis on front man Freddie Mercury, who wrote a legendary six minute plus song Bohemian Rhapsody, lived a Bohemian lifestyle, and paid the price for it, dying of AIDS in 1991 at the far too young age of 45.
Paul Gambaccini appears here and recounts how he warned Mercury against the latter, and although he does not contribute, we learn that Elton John warned against releasing the aforementioned song as a single. His words appear to have been - you must be mad, you'll never get that on the radio. Surprisingly they did, and it became a monster hit, even though it had to be recorded in six studios.
There was of course much more to Queen than mere music; they pioneered the dedicated music video, and they were never afraid to experiment. Needless to say you can't please everyone; Brian May graduated from Imperial College London, and was headed for an academic career. His father let it be known he thought his son had thrown away his career if not his life; it was only after May flew him to New York by Concorde to see the band perform at Madison Square Garden that finally he got the message.
Guitarist Brian May. - File photo
Guitarist Brian May. - File photo
Although he appears on archive footage, bass player John Deacon did not put in an appearance for this documentary, so it was left to the other two surviving members May and Taylor to face the camera; they are chalk and cheese in much the same way as Blackmore and Lord.
There was also brief footage of Queen's free Hyde Park concert of September 18, 1976. I was clean shaven then and didn't wear glasses, nor did I stay until the end, but if you look closely, you'll probably see me in one of these photos.
More about Queen, Brian may, roger taylor, freddie mercury, john deacon
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