God save Queen.

It all began innocently enough. I had spent an idyllic hour unwinding after work at the perfect teacher getaway – the Yorba Linda Public Library. I bask in the silence and the smell of old books. Plus, they have a great happy hour. You’re permitted to check out ten CDs at a time. TEN CDS! For free! (This happy hour special runs all day every day. Bonus.) And yes, even though you do have to rummage past every album Hanson ever recorded and more George Strait music than you’ve ever seen in your life, there are so many gems tucked into those special drawers of compact discs. It is a refuge of tranquility after a long day.

On this particular day, while browsing disc by disc through the Rock section, I unsuspectingly came upon Queen’s two-disc Greatest Hits album. Immediately, I imagined the fun of singing “Thunder bolts and lightning, very very frightening, me! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo Figaro!… Beezlebub has a devil put aside for me, for meeeee, for MEEEEEEEE….”  in my car while passersby stared in confusion. The vision was enough to make me drop it into my basket. After all, a little classic rock was needed to spice up the usual mix of mellow folk and singer-songwriter nap time tunes I usually check out. Little did I know this would be the start of a new musical era in my life.

A few days later, I found myself in terrible traffic leaving Pasadena, and decided to let my GPS lead me on a wild goose chase of all side-streets back home. Pasadena to Yorba Linda on side streets. It’s crazy long. Google it. I was feeling a sense of whimsy and adventure, so I decided this was the perfect time to pop in some Queen. After howling my way through Bohemian Rhapsody, I decided to just let it play. At that moment, I had no idea that  what awaited me was some of the most innovative, contagious, astoundingly entertaining music I have heard in a very long while. It made me smile. It made me sing out loud. It made me want to ride my bicycle. I was falling in love at first listen with this band called Queen.

This is the point where I will apologize to all my rock-loving music friends for my ignorance toward this group. Yes, I can now admit that up until that day, my knowledge of Queen did not extend past We Will Rock You and Another One Bites the Dust. NOW, however, I have thoroughly read their entire Wikipedia page, including discography (which means I’m basically an expert), and far more importantly, I took the great pleasure of watching their 1986 concert at Wembley Stadium. You know, THE QUEEN CONCERT. Of all time. From which this meme was born:

The concert needs a paragraph, nay, a book, all its own. The energy! The excitement! The electricity in the air!!! And holy mother of God, Freddie Mercury’s TEETH! I never knew. I never knew of the epic teeth. I laughed aloud for several minutes. But besides that, what made the show at Wembley so very special is that, by 1986 Queen had been together and generating top-shelf rock tunes for over 13 years. They had more than a few mega-hits up their sleeves, and in this show, they played them ALL. Freddie Mercury left his heart on the stage that day. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to go back to that blessed day of July 12th, 1986, exactly 14 days after I was born (GASP!) and watch that legendary music be made. If you have two hours to give in exchange for revolutionizing music as you know it, click here.

THE TEETH.

I fell further in love when I learned that Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, spent much of his childhood in Bombay, India, playing the piano and idolizing Bollywood singers. Once again my life comes full circle when I find that one of my favorite genres of music – Indian/Bollywood – influenced a rock god in his younger years.

And yet, becoming such an adoring fan of Queen in the year 2012 is kind of like watching Titanic for the 50th time. You swoon when they kiss, and cheer when they decide to be together, but your heart aches all the while because you know how it ends. Such a sad and tragic end for such a flame of talent. (I’m referring to Mercury here, not Jack Dawson).

Nonetheless, they’re gaining new fans every day despite their demise in the 1990s. That’s because their music is freakin’ incredible and, I am truly convinced, will live on forever. I have spent most of 2012 driving to work listening to KUSC classical and the soothing voice of Dennis Bartel. However, for entire the month of May, I have put the song “Don’t Stop Me Now” on repeat and I sing it at the top of my lungs to get myself pumped up for the work day. It is probably a hilarious sight to behold from outside of my car, because I get very serious about the theatrics. I have been amazed at how energized and happy I arrive at work. Who needs caffeine?! Whoever wants to go out for karaoke, call me up. I’ve got my Queen repertoire locked and loaded!

When the inevitable day came that I realized my ten library CDs were several days overdue (so I’m a proud monetary supporter of the library system, so what?), I brought nine of them into the librarian. I just can’t bear to give back my Queen yet. Even today, it wasn’t until I had already passed the library that I remembered I was supposed to return it. I had been too busy singing, “She’s a killer queen, gunpowder, guillotine, dynamite with a laser beam! Guaranteed to blow your mind – Anytime, anytime, ANYTIME!!!”

What I love the most about this special group, is that it has wedged open the once-closed door of classic rock in my musical tastes. I had been so wrapped up in my Norah Jones, Karen Carpenter and John Mayer, that I never bothered with what I previously would have considered “noise”. I suppose I had the musical preferences of a crotchety old woman. Now, I spent the weekend listening to Aerosmith, the Eagles, Journey, Guns N Roses, and Kansas. It was all the songs I’ve heard a hundred times before, but simply never actually listened to. The musicality is fantastic. The creativity is raw and real. There is a reason so many people are enamored with the classic rock era. It is a genre centered around freedom and an exciting, albeit false, sense of immortality. So, who’s down for a road trip to Full Throttle Saloon? Tattoos, Harleys and Pabst Blue Ribbon obviously included.

I will never cease to be amazed at music’s ability to open dusty, neglected corners of my heart and awaken parts of my mind that I never knew existed. As in all things, music is another opportunity for us to stretch and challenge ourselves. Don’t allow yourself to settle into the same old rut, and bypass opportunities for new joys. God save Queen.

Ciao!

~ Mir

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lucy McConville
    May 15, 2012 @ 07:36:51

    I would pay to read what you write. I’m just sayin’. You need to get published beyond the lucky few of us following your blog, girl.
    Try the band Supertramp next!
    Smiles, Lucy

    Reply

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