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With the benefit of hindsight, I think I can pinpoint the very first time I fell in love with rock music.
And I suspect I am not alone in nominating Queen classic Bohemian Rhapsody as the song that did it for me.
Not the whole song, of course. But “the heavy bit”.
“So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?”
The four minutes and eight seconds of balladry and operatic pomposity which precedes this magnificent aural explosion is very good in its own right.
But it’s that moment when Beelzebub puts a devil aside for me, for me, FOR ME that really sends my pulses racing.
Cue smoke bombs, explosions, pounding riffs, screeching solos and Freddy Mercury’s booming delivery fusing anger, despair and excitement .
The “heavy bit” actually lasts 39 seconds – check it out – before piano takes over from guitar and rock segues into pop once again.
But if ever 39 steps transported music fans on the stairway to heavenly rock music, then this was it.
Bohemian Rhapsody is the most famous track on the best-selling album ever released in the UK.
It was announced this week that Queen’s Greatest Hits, Volume One, with over 25 millions sales, was top of the pops.
And rightly so. There’s not a filler on the album with the possible exception of Flash, from the soundtrack of the same name.
It includes classics such as We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Another One Bites The Dust, Now I’m Here, Kind of Magic, Somebody To Love……each and every one identifiable to music fans across the generations.
Heavy metal, pure pop, funky disco – Queen hopped, skipped and jumped through the genres ensuring a fanbase as wide and varied as even The Beatles.
Hence the enduring appeal of Greatest Hits Vol 1.
Bohemian Rhapsody was released in late-1974 a few weeks before the album which featured it “Night At The Opera” hit the shelves.
It was one of the first albums I ever owned and to this day, it remains my favourite Queen album.
Actually, it’s far and away my favourite Queen album for one straightforward reason.
Queen, for all their many qualities, weren’t a great albums’ band.
Day At The Races, Sheer Heart Attack, The Miracle, News Of The World, The Works, all good, none of them outstanding. Classic interspersed by fillers.
Buy Queen Greatest Hits, Volumes One, Two and Three and essentially, you have their best tracks with only one or two omissions.
And most of them can be found on A Night At The Opera – the hauntingly beautiful Love Of My Life, the folksy ’39, prog epic The Prophets Song and raunchy opener Death On Two Legs.
But its piece de resistance and the track which catapulted Queen into the nation’s consciousness and provided yours truly with a lifelong musical template is Bohemian Rhapsody.