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Even though the competition was stiff at the Killer Queen Pageant, Freddie Mercury was not.

The Secret History Of QUEEN by Rick Johnson
TIME CAPSULE OR HAZARDOUS WASTES?


1968-Freddie Mercury meets Brian May and Roger Taylor (then members of the group Smile) in Art School. Brian first heard to say “Freddie! Not in front of the company!”

1970- Smile splits up after releasing one single (“Earth”). Brian asks Freddie if he wants to start a new band. “Do octopi have suckers?” Fred replies.

1971-“Lucky” seventh bass player, John Deacon, joins up. Excitement level reaches #4. Bullet Maintenance.

1972-Queen meets Roy Thomas Baker, who, along with John Anthony, produces demos for the band that help them land a contract with EMI. Anthony later pleads “diminished responsibility.”

1973-Debut album proves to be as popular as minimizing civilian casualties. “Around the rime and out,” sez CREEM.

1974-Queen II released. You remember, the one with the black side and the white side that’re both on the wrong side? “Soft core pomp,” sez CREEM.

-Queen supports Mott the Hoople at New York’s Uris Theatre as the first rock bands to play Broadway.

-Brian May’s annual attack of hepatitis forces early cancellation. Although his guitar style is considered rather treacly at this point, you know what they say—good kelp is so hard to find.

-QII voted album of the year in Japan. The prize: front row seats at the creation of Pink Lady. “Can I lick the spoon?” asks Freddie.

-Sheer Heart Attack recorded for 25,00 pounds sterling (about $1.79 in U.S. funds).

-“Killer Queen” is an international smasheroo. Joe Fernbacher thinks “orgone bleats” for the first time.

1975-Night At the Opera released. “Poignancy at its cutest,” sez CREEM.

-“Bohemian Rhapsody” squats at the top of the U.K. charts for seven weeks. Migration officials begin working overtime.

-New Musical Express readers pick Queen as “Best Stage Band” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” as “Best Single.” But he group itself remains the #2 band after Led Zep. This is about as big a deal as being the second most beloved woman in Argentina.

-More awards from NME; First Annual Jobriath Memorial Award for being “last band to make it off the glam-rock bandwagon.” “First Annual Freddie Mercury I’ve Got-A Tiger-In-My-Trousers” Award goes to Jim Dandy!

-Sept. CREEM DREEM appearance temporarily appeases the sun-suit set.

1976-“This year, I can at least sit up!” boasts Freddie.

-Group cans previous management and signs on the Elton John’s manager, John Reid.

“So what?” say many.

-At promo bash for the group, Bette Midler punches out then-Mr. Big of radio programming, Paul Drew, for reputedly saying her record is “as quaint an idea as researching an article.”

-News Of The Wordl unleashes “We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You” on unsuspecting public. Snuffbrats everywhere rejoice, but CREEM insists that “Queen is the Sha Na Na of rock’s modern age.”

-Joe Zdeb bats .297.

-Study shows that one out of every two American families has at least one member who suffers from motion sickness.

1978-Jazz LP becomes most ignored effort by major act since Tanya Tucker’s attempted suicide. “A parody of their own uselessness,” sez CREEM.

-Joe Zdeb’s batting average slips to .252.

-“Today the pond, tomorrow the world!” promo for the movie Frogs becomes Queen fans’ battle cry.

1979-Live Killers released, including controversial pre-taped version of Boho Rhapsody.” “A typically uncompromising move,” sez the liner notes. “Oh, what a first!” as they say in the new biodegradable tampon ads.

-“Makes you feel like someone is peeing on your grave,” sez CREEM.

-Public response to purchasing a live album that features tapes from previous LPs? Well, if words could deep-fry, Queen would now be a pile of onion rings.

1980-The Game is the group’s best-selling album yet. Looks like Merc and the boys have their heels on the pulse of the nation. “Gutless and artificial,” sez CREEM.

-“Another One Bites the Dust” reaches ridiculous heights of popularity for a song that sounds like Trigger counting to six.

-Detroit Lions adopt “Dust” as theme song and promptly lose five games in a row.

1981-Flash Gordon soundtrack released: becomes biggest selling soundtrack album with a yellow cover in first fiscal quarter of ’81. “If Freddie Mercury is ever in a movie,” CREEM meant to say, “the female lead will be Jamie Lee Curtis.”


Photo: Robert Matheu