Why Queen? 20 Reasons to Appreciate the Greatest Rock Band on Earth (and Why You Should Know More Than “Bohemian Rhapsody”)
Reason #5: Punk As Fuck
Queen - Sheer Heart Attack, from Live Killers, 1979
As the punk movement took hold of the UK in the late 70s, Queen was nailed by the press for being out of touch. Queen’s live shows— by now the stuff of legend— became more lavish, with massive lighting rigs and explosive pyrotechnics (the crown-shaped lighting rig they commissioned for Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee set them back about £50,000), and music critics who backed the punk movement scoffed at Queen’s efforts.
It was around this time that Queen stopped talking to the press, having taken enough flack for being “not punk enough.” But they brushed shoulders with punk itself sometime in the late 70s when, after recording “God Save the Queen” in Wessex Studios (in a studio just next door to Queen’s), Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols reportedly tore through Queen’s studio, getting on his hands and knees to crawl through Freddie Mercury’s legs.
Take a second and try to picture that.
Anyway, strange collisions of the music world aside, I think this song proves that Queen could tear it up with the best of punk bands. This track was recorded live on tour during the making of the magnificent Live Killers double album. Drummer Roger Taylor wrote this song (allegedly a jab at people who thought Queen were no longer relevant, hence the lyric “I feel so inarticulate”), and you can hear him vocalizing with Freddie as he tears into his drum kit.
Playing from the balls in perfect harmony. Punk or not, it’s fucking talent.
Up next: This. Fucking. Song. An orchestral symphony of one, courtesy of Brian May.