20 years of biggest of Queen’s biggest hits – in music (and pictures & live performances)
Four CD & vinyl/compact & luxury formats. 2 digital formats
Queen. Someone ought to erect a monument to them. Think about it: they’ve ruled their game longer than many of our most famous leaders, their words can be repeated by many more than can recite our most celebrated writers, and despite more than three generations passing since they first blasted their way into our consciences, they’re just as omnipresent today as they ever were. Just for starters (and more to follow):
- Queen are Britain’s favourite band: the BPI (Britain’s official recording body) records that the band’s Greatest Hits 1 album is the biggest selling album since the charts were started over 50 years ago;
- Queen are the most successful act of all time on the British charts: research by the team behind the most popular music annual in the world, The Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, reveals that Queen have overtaken The Beatles as Official UK Album Chart champions, having spent more weeks on chart than the fab four. Globally, that adds up to more than 300 million records sold.
And let’s not forget Queen’s unmatched global dominance as live artists. There’s not a continent in the world Queen’s legendary tours haven’t touched down in, in many cases arriving ahead of anyone else: think South America, Mexico, the Eastern Bloc. And who but the wisest would know that even somewhere down there in the desert of Antarctica sits a permanent plaque bearing Queen’s name?
- Always ready to try something new, Queen broke rock convention and created a stage musical, We Will Rock You, and some eight years on it still sells out nightly in London and just recently their all-time worldwide audience crossed over the 10 million mark.
Beyond that, Queen continue to sell out concerts, are ready to lend their celebrity power unreservedly when they see just causes – such as Nelson Mandela’s 46664 campaign; have quietly collected and distributed over $15 million dollars through their own charity the Mercury Phoenix Trust – fighting AIDS worldwide, and most telling of all, continue to be held in the highest esteem by the lead runners in today’s Rock Pack who cite the band’s influence over them in their founding years.
Let’s face it: few other acts have so embedded themselves into our lives that we can’t imagine a time when Queen weren’t around, or can imagine such a time in the future.
So what is it about Queen that makes it all so?
You have to look no further than the forthcoming Absolute Greatest hits package, released November 9 (November 10, USA) in four different CD and LP, compact and luxury sets, illustrated with some fine photos and videos, to see where it all comes from.
Charting over 21 years of making people rock, feel, sense and celebrate, Absolute Greatest reminds us just what fine, and smart, rock and pop writers and musicians Messrs Deacon, May, Mercury and Taylor were (are). Also that they had a sense of humour, which is perhaps another thing that made them so accessible.
The earliest hit presented here, Seven Seas of Rhye (1974) reminds us of those days when we wondered about why they had chosen the name Queen, whether they really were just an arrogant bunch pushing their luck in Zandra Rhodes frocks and black nail varnish, or whether they really were the future of Progressive Rock ? To make us further wonder, they didn’t stop there – they went on to defiantly title their next single Killer Queen.
Then they flashed the wit and made us all smile and feel good at the same time with those jaunty ditties like Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Radio Ga Ga, and I Want To Break Free. And hell, who would have thought that Roger Taylor would look so fetching in that pre-Britney schoolgirl outfit ?
And if you wanted a mass celebration, who better than Queen, who could bond tens of thousands of total strangers and get them chanting or arm-waving in unison to May’s terse We Will Rock You or Mercury’s more emotionally charged We Are The Champions.
They could at the drop of a hat be romantic, as Deacon proved with You’re My Best Friend, or friends to heartbreak, as we saw in Mercury’s Somebody to Love or May’s Who Wants to Live Forever.
Queen provided a mood and backdrop for every time and every occasion, and were often at their best when they went for almost breath-taking high drama: aided by David Bowie they gave us the brooding heart pounding rhythms of Under Pressure, the operatically ballistic Bohemian Rhapsody, and perhaps the ultimate curtain-call rock song, The Show Must Go On.
A joyous celebration of Queen’s – and many of our own – greatest moments, Absolute Greatest also comes in very personalized versions in which band members Brian May and Roger Taylor share their own memories about the tracks chosen for this collection.
In a limited-edition book version, the Queen photo archives are opened up with 52 pages of unseen and rare photos, and handwritten song lyrics by each member of the band (including corrections and rewrites).
Certain versions provide exclusive access to online streaming of 20 of Queen’s greatest live performances.
OK – so it should not be expected we will see the likenesses of Queen carved into Mount Rushmore, or find their way to a Trafalgar Square plinth (now there’s an idea), so for the moment let’s accept that Absolute Greatest will serve as a terrific tribute to a monumental music history. Ah, these are (indeed) the days of our lives.
Absolute Greatest – Queen
UK and worldwide release (ex USA) release November 9 (EMI)
USA release November 10 (Hollywood Records)
Comes in 4 versions:
1) Standard CD version
20 tracks the ultimate best of
2) Double CD Special Edition
Comes with an extra CD featuring an audio commentary by Brian May & Roger Taylor reminiscing about the songs on the album.
3) Limited Edition Book version.
Hardback 52 page A4 book
• The 20 track CD
• The audio commentary CD
• Previously unseen photos by Johnny Dewe Matthews, memorabilia, hand written lyrics
• Exclusive access to online streaming of 20 live performances
4) LP Box Set ICPN:
• 3LP 180g Heavyweight vinyl set
• 12″ soft back photo book (16 pages)
• Housed in a2 piece box (i.e. lift off lid)
• Access to the exclusive online streaming of 20 live performances
5) Digital Download equivalent of version 1 above
Digital Download equivalent of above: icpn 5099968664756
6) Digital Download version of version 2 above
Digital download equivalent of above: icpn 5099930919259
01. We Will Rock You (Brian May)
02. We Are The Champions (Freddie Mercury)
03. Radio Ga Ga (Roger Taylor)
04. Another One Bites The Dust (John Deacon)
05. I Want It All (Queen)
06. Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Freddie Mercury)
07. A Kind Of Magic (Roger Taylor)
08. Under Pressure (Queen-David Bowie)
09. One Vision (Queen)
10. You’re My Best Friend (John Deacon)
11. Don’t Stop Me Now (Freddie Mercury)
12. Killer Queen (Freddie Mercury)
13. These Are The Days Of Our Lives (Queen)
14. Who Wants To Live Forever (Brian May)
15. Seven Seas Of Rhye (Freddie Mercury)
16. Heaven For Everyone (Roger Taylor)
17. Somebody To Love (Freddie Mercury)
18. I Want To Break Free (John Deacon)
19. The Show Must Go On (Queen)
20. Bohemian Rhapsody (Freddie Mercury)
Some of Queen’s Absolute Greatest moments:
USA: Queen Inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
March 19, 2001
USA: Queen Inducted into Hollywood Walk of Fame
October 18, 2002
UK: Guinness World Records – Bohemian Rhapsody Best Single Since Charts Began In the British Hits Singles Readers top 100.
25 May 2005
USA: Queen Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame
June 12, 2003
UK: Queen Reign Supreme In Anthem Poll
February 6, 2004
Queen top poll to find the greatest rock anthem of all time: We Will Rock You
voted in first place. Bohemian Rhapsody in second place.
USA: Queen Day Proclaimed – City of Las Vegas
September 8, 2004
Presented by Honorable Oscar B. Goodman, Mayor, City of Las Vegas.
UK: Queen Inducted into UK Music Hall of Fame – Artist of the 70s
UK: Ivor Novello Awards. Queen Receive Outstanding Song Collection Award
May 26, 2005.
UK: Ivor Novello Awards. Queen Receive Song of the Decade (70s)
Bohemian Rhapsody. May 26, 2005
UK: Queen Named Most Successful Act of All Time on UK Albums Chart
July 4, 2005
Presented by Guinness World Records Book of British Hit Singles & Albums
New research by the team behind the most popular music annual in the world, The Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, revealed that Queen have overtaken the Beatles as Official UK Album Chart champions, having spent more weeks on chart than the fab four.
Queen’s ‘Geatest Hits’ album is the Best Selling album of all time
VH1 reveals Top 100 list of never before seen sales figures
16 November 2006
In the most anticipated chart of all time, VH1 teamed up with The Official UK Charts Company to release a definitive list of the Top 100 Best Selling Albums ever. The chart was made up of actual sales figures from the last fifty years. The chart revealed that legendary rockers Queen have outsold all other artists to claim the coveted title of the UK’s favourite album with their Greatest Hits compilation selling a staggering 5,407,587. The Beatles occupied second place with ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.’
UK: BBC Radio 2 Listeners Vote Queen Greatest British Band of All Time
2 January, 2007, Radio 2 New Year Day Show hosted by Mark Goodier.
Queen beat The Beatles to be crowned greatest British band of all time by BBC Radio 2 listeners.
UK: UK Music Fans Vote Bohemian Rhapsody Best Video
8 October, 2007
Queen’s groundbreaking promo for their 1975 hit Bohemian Rhapsody named the UK’s best music video in a survey of music fans. Michael Jackson’s Thriller came second. The poll was commissioned by 02 to mark their sponsorship of the best video category at the 2007 Q Music Awards.