Queen – classic photos


Now entering their fifth decade in rock, Queen are celebrating with the release of Queen: The Complete Illustrated Lyrics, a weighty tome featuring all of their lyrics, of course, alongside hundreds of images – some of them never seen before.

Queen: The Complete Illustrated Lyrics. www.backbeatbooks.com. Published June 2012


Queen formed in 1971, marrying Freddie Mercury’s natural flamboyance to a Led Zeppelin-inspired hard rock, but didn’t break through until ‘Seven Seas Of Rhye’ went Top 10 in 1974.


John Deacon was the last to join after Roger Taylor and Brian May had met at University College London and Mercury had arrived via a mutual friend. It was Mercury who coined the band’s name.



‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was the grand folly that cemented Queen’s reputation as opera-rocking pompadours with a fine line in close-knit harmonies and dragon-slaying guitar solos, spending nine weeks at No.1 in 1975.


As the 1970s wore on, Queen broadened their sonic reach to create stomping, all-aboard anthems like ‘We Are The Champions’ and ‘We Will Rock You’.


But the rock was never far behind. After the relative artistic disaster of 1982 album ‘Hot Space’, Queen went tempered their synthier moments with harder-edged chestbeaters on 1984’s ‘The Works’.


Live Aid in 1985 saw Queen’s stock rise even further after they stole the show. The next few years saw Queen re-established as one of the biggest rock bands in the world and they scored hefty global success with ‘The Miracle’ and ‘Innuendo’.



Queen’s golden age came to an end in 1991 with the death of Mercury from AIDS-related pneumonia. Much of ‘Innuendo’ was written with his illness in mind and he signed off in style with the No.1 AA-side ‘These Are The Days Of Our Lives’/’Bohemian Rhapsody’.


After one Mercury-led posthumous album – 1995’s ‘Made In Heaven’ – Taylor and May soldiered on with lead vocals from Paul Rodgers of Free/Bad Company for five years and now Adam Lambert.


In an instance of life imitating art imitating life, Brian May was invited to play the National Anthem on the roof of Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Queen: The Complete Illustrated Lyrics. www.backbeatbooks.com. Published June 2012