Queen – classic photos

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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

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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.

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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.

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‘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.

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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’.

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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’.

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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’.

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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’.

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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.

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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

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