It would be quote wrong for me to comment on the so called Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody since I have not seen it and have no desire to ever see it. The only good thing Mercury and Queen did was to help bring about punk and, more importantly, the new wave of music which gave to us real music like the Clash, the Jam, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury and the like. Whatever Queen’s music was, it wasn’t rock and roll and I didn’t like it.
Meanwhile, Queen fans have loved the movie, many referring to it as a Freddie Mercury ‘tribute’, which tends to suggest the critics who suggested this was a warts-free, sanitised tale of his life were reasonably accurate.
I did not take an instant dislike to Queen. I even bought their first single Keep Yourself Alive because I like the guitar sound, even if it was buried too far down the mix for my liking. By the time the Seven Seas of Rhye came out, I had rumbled the band for what they were.
To my ears, they just got worse and worse as time when by. Turgid anthems like Radio Gaga and pretentious nonsense like Killer Queen had me reaching for the sick bag. When We Will Rock You came along, I wondered if Rock and Roll was dead. It certainly wasn’t alive in the hands of Mercury, May and co.
Queen did not produce bad music because there is no such thing as bad music, except Queen I would argue. There is a reason why millions of people found Somebody to Love a decent song because I found nobody and nothing to love on that record.
I remember watching their set on Live Aid and thinking, “What a load of shit that was!” only to walk into my local several hours later to hear middle aged men telling me – I was far from middle aged at the time – how great they were. “Oh, that lead singer: brilliant. And a glass of Liebfraumilch for the wife.”
I was never, ever interested in Mercury’s sexuality or his race. I only judged him on his music and I found that terrible. Luckily, rock music survived despite all the attempts to reduce it to show and nonsense. One night, back in the 1970s, I failed to get tickets for a show at the Bristol Colston Hall headlined by the excellent Mott the Hoople. The support act was a virtually unknown band called Queen. What a lucky escape that turned out to be.