MUSIC OF THE MILLENIUM

Around 600,000 people in the UK voted in the Music of the Millennium Poll held by channel 4 in conjunction with HMV to mark the beginning of the new millennium.Queen came out very well in the Poll, and featured highly in six categories:

BEST SONG - Number One with Bohemian Rhapsody

BEST BAND - Queen were voted Second, following the Beatles at Number One

BEST MALE VOCALIST - Freddie was voted in Sixth place behind 1)Elvis Presley, 2)Robbie Williams??, 3)Michael Jackson, 4)Frank Sinatra and 5)George Michael.

MOST INFLUENTIAL MUSICIAN - Freddie was voted Number 14.

BEST SONGWRITER - Freddie was 15th in this category.

BEST ALBUM - Queen's 'A Night At The Opera' was at Number 55.


 

Music Of The Millennium Magazine - Queen write-ups

Best Song(1)

"Easy come, easy go. Will you let me go?" No quite honestly you won't. Too loud, too complicated and too long for a single, that's why it took over the charts, and has been with us ever since…….

It seems astonishing now, but Queen's record company were reluctant to release what proved to be one of the most imaginative, adventurous and groundbreaking hits of the century. When Freddie Mercury and producer Roy Thomas Baker devised this brilliantly arranged extravaganza, EMI were concerned about its rule-breaking length. The seven-minute single owed more to grand opera than rock'n'roll. Its cascading harmony vocal lines, cries of: "Mama Mia!" and struttingly camp flamboyance shocked ears attuned to the crude cadences of rock and the predictable banalities of pop.

Yet Queen were expressing their vision of how a pop song could be elevated into something both artistic and challenging. If it seemed in danger of verging on the preposterous, the firs pop rhapsody since George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue disarmed listeners and critics alike with its sheer gusto, bravado, humour and charm. The lavish production matched Mercury's muscular vocal attack. As the song progressed he almost seemed to be standing on tiptoes to hit the notes. With committed support from Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor, Mercury was venturing into dangerous territory for a pop singer. There could be no bluffing or faking when singing such complicated parts in close harmony and in (hopefully) perfect pitch. This was what advertising copywriters liked to call 'real music.' Only this time it was more than just a neat slogan, it was a solid achievement that left even the most cynical surprised, amused and delighted.

Just when it seemed as if this bold project would be stalled, help came from staunch fan and loyal supporter Capital Records DJ, the late Kenny Everett. When Everett was sent an advance copy by the band he plugged it so heavily on his London-based station, that demand built up for a record that wasn't even in the shops. Eventually and edited six-minute version was released and the band's faith was repaid when Bohemian Rhapsody topped the UK charts for nine weeks in December 1975. Quite apart from the musical shock, the band also gave a jolt to the whole concept of promotion when they called upon Bruce Gowers to make a film to accompany the single. This ensured the song was a hit in many other countries that the band could not reach, and in the process started a new trend for pop promo videos. Although it now seems rather minimalist and unexceptional, the video footage of the band's singing heads was as innovative in its way as the song itself and has since become one of the most frequently shown promo videos. Just in case there was any danger of the world ever forgetting this highlight from A Night At The Opera, it was revived to great effect in the movie Wayne's World and survived the comic opera treatment by Mike Myers and Dana Garvey. Since Freddie Mercury's tragic death from AIDS in 1991 Bohemian Rhapsody has become his musical testament.

 

Best bit: High drama as Queen burst into the immortal cry of "Scaramouch Scaramouch, will you do the fandango!"

What you said: It has everything - no meaning but all the meanings you can think of.

Farhad Robinson


 

Best Male Vocalist(6)

A rare case of style and substance, Freddie Mercury was both an outrageous, captivating performer and a technically brilliant singer. Throughout their career, Queen effortlessly turned their collective hand to heavy rock, funk, disco, pop and even opera, with Mercury tackling each style as if he'd invented it. The bombastic Bohemian Rhapsody is testament to his versatility and fabulous arranging skills, but it was the band's ballads that really allowed him to shine. The defiant The show Must Go On and contemplative Let Me Live, written after he was diagnosed as having AIDS show off his immense vocal power and control.

 

Outstanding performance: We Are The Champions ; an unsurpassed anthem.

What You Said: He put so much into all his songs.

Paul Cutler


 

Best Band(2)

Amid the competitive world of rock bands in the '70's, Queen were outsiders, who did not fit easily into the accepted cavalcade of rabid rockers. Their sharp glamour, professionalism and - shock horror - educated intelligence initially caused confusion, particularly among critics suspicious of their aims and objectives. At first, it seemed they just might be a 'manufactured group': It was a specious argument even then, as all bands are the product of a plan, however rudimentary. Queen fought against the prejudice by proving they were as revolutionary and artful as any band. They stood up for their musical beliefs and took endless risks, although it took a succession of uneven albums before they defined their style.

By the late '70's, they were on a roll, with greater self-confidence, a growing sense of self-parody and the unstinting support of a dedicated fanbase. Freddie Mercury's powerful personality and macho vocal style seemed at odds with his high camp posturing, but added to Brian May's wonderfully distinctive guitar playing, the combination was deadly. We Are The Champions, Bohemian Rhapsody, Don't Stop Me Now and We Will Rock You are outstanding singalongs which demand a bond between band and audience. It was this ability to communicate that was the secret of their success.

 

Finest hour: Live Aid. You know why.

What You Said: Their spectrum of music is sensational

Ross McClelland


Most Influential Musician(14)

Had he simply been a consummate frontman, Mercury would have secured his place in musical history. He was, however, much more than a prancing figurehead for one of the world's biggest ever rock bands. Mercury's instantly recognisable voice, his ability to sing everything from neo-metal to music hall to light opera, and the fact that he enjoyed considerable success with his solo work, marked him out as an enormously important musician in his own right.

An intensely private person off-stage, he's always remained something of a mystery, even to his biggest fans, but his music and charismatic presence connected with millions during a truly spectacular career.

 

Those indebted: Dave Lee Roth, Mike Myers, Smashing Pumpkins, Def Leppard, Kurt Cobain.

What you said: He was simply the greatest showman who ever lived.

Glenne Grahame


 

Best Songwriter(15)

Behind the flamboyant image, Freddie Mercury was a diverse and richly talented songrwriter. His range was immense: hard rock (Seven Seas Of Rhye), vaudevillian camp (Seaside Rendevous) and heartfelt love songs (Love Of My Life) all flowed from his pen. But his unique vision is epitomised by 1975 epic Bohemian Rhapsody. A six-minute opus encompassing existential balladry, cod-opera and snarling riffs, it topped the UK chars for a then-unheard-of nine weeks.

 

Outstanding achievement: Bohemian Rhapsody: what else could it be?

What you said: He was a messiah both to the music industry and mankind.

Stephen Watt