It’s really cool how we are all into Queen now. I bet everyone you know has seen or plans to see Bohemian Rhapsody! It’s a celebration of Queen’s music and the soaring sounds and magnetism of lead singer Freddie Mercury.
But really….I had no idea how popular Queen is in 2018!
Especially with people under 35, who were too young to have appreciated them before Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991. How did this massive fandom come to be?
How did I become a Queen fan?
My first taste of Queen was the Flash Gordon (1980) soundtrack and “We Will Rock You/We are the Champions” blaring on TV as professional wrestling anthems. Another movie soundtrack (Highlander) followed, but they would fade from view in the late 1980s. While they still recorded and toured, Queen was surpassed by harder rock and heavy metal in mainstream culture.
Then on the Sunday before Thanksgiving in 1991, sad news came out: Freddie Mercury had died of AIDS-related illness at the age of 45.
Later that night a local radio station aired a Queen tribute which then blew my mind!
Luckily I taped that radio broadcast. A tape I obsessively played it in my car driving around. that winter. Over the next six months I bought all of the Queen CDs and made several mixtapes of my favorite songs.
As it was the pre-internet era, I turned to magazines to find their discography and tried to discover each album in order of release. There were 14 Queen studio albums released between 1973 and 1991. While today it would be so much easier with Spotify, I was forced to wait until I had enough money to buy a few albums at a time. That time spent digesting each one Queen album was actually a giant blessing.
So what happened next with Queen appreciation? In early 1992, just three months after Freddie’s death, Wayne’s World was released and the whole world began banged its head to “Bohemian Rhapsody”!
The song re-entered the charts and rose to No. 2 on Billboard. This led to an an all-star Tribute to Queen concert telecast in April of 1992, and with it, a big wave of Queen nostalgia and discovery by new fans
But that renaissance was over a quarter of a century ago. How have Queen remained just as popular? Remained so revered? And when did a new generation first hear them? Do we have Glee to thank?