Possibly the most unusual (and perhaps improbable) hard rock band ever, Queen blended light with heavy, complex with simple, art rock with rock ‘n roll, macho with fey, ruffles and flourishes with knobs-to-eleven bombast, the layered harmonies of singer Freddie Mercury with the scorching electric guitars of Brian May. The quirky result attracted a remarkably diverse fan base, from urban club hoppers to blue collar rabble rousers.
Best known, perhaps, for their mock-operatic epic Bohemian Rhapsody, the band was responsible for a long chain of hits from the early seventies until Mercury’s death in 1991 (the highest profile AIDS-related death since Rock Hudson’s). Singles like Another One Bites the Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and the phenomenal double A-side We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions became irreplaceable threads in rock’s grand tapestry.
Many tributes and retrospectives followed Queen’s breakup. In 1995, the surviving members went back in the studio and finished work on the material they had been working on when Mercury died. The resulting album, Made In Heaven, brought a sense of closure to the band’s history. After the band received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in October of 2002, Brian May and Roger Taylor responded by reforming the band for its first U.S. concert in twenty years, in tribute to their fans.