by Sabrina Michelena
Have you ever heard the song “We Will Rock You?" You probably have if you’ve ever gone to an American football game. In that case, you may have heard “We Are the Champions,” as well, and you may recognize parts of the lengthy, yet timeless song, “Bohemian Rhapsody," though the title might be unfamiliar. These three songs that are so often heard in normal occurrences such as going to sporting events or turning on the radio, all emerge from the same ageless rock band, Queen.
March 5, 2021, marked 50 years since Queen formed. Before Queen, there was a band called Smile, which included Tim Staffell, their lead singer and bassist, Roger Taylor, their percussionist, who later became the drummer of Queen, and Brian May, the guitarist who later took on the same role for Queen. Freddie Mercury, before becoming the sensational show-stopping lead singer of Queen, was an avid fan of Smile. He was also very well aware of his incredible singing ability, and he allegedly consistently pestered the band to become a member. They all refused until Tim Staffell grew tired of singing hard rock after being inspired by blues and jazz, and quit. Freddie Mercury was then immediately recruited as lead singer in 1970. Deciding he disliked the name Smile, he changed the band’s name to Queen. In 1971, John Deacon joined the band as bassist, and they were finally complete. Just four years later, in 1975, Queen had become a novelty and a whopping international success with their fourth studio album, A Night at the Opera, featuring the legendary “Bohemian Rhapsody,"which stayed at number one in the UK charts for nine weeks.
Twenty years after Queen had formed, Freddie Mercury died of AIDS at the age of 45. It was only six years after their iconic performance at Live Aid, a world-wide rock concert organized to relieve famine in Africa, which was opened by Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.
Fans mourned Freddie Mercury’s death and the band’s disbandment, but were soon distracted by the rise of grunge and bands like Nirvana that became immensely popular with their 1991 album, Nevermind, and soon rocked the mainstream like Queen once did.
For decades, Queen had been somewhat forgotten until 2018 when the Golden Globe winning biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was released, and the surge of Queen music amongst adults and even teenagers was present once again. Rami Malek, who starred as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, even won an Oscar for this biopic. With the fairly recent award-winning movie earning a lot of attention, and iconic Queen songs being played in stadiums daily, and on the radio, Queen still holds a significant relevance today.