You can call it King or Duke or Princess or M'lady of Everloving Windsor. But you cannot call it Queen. It is not Queen. Will never be Queen again. Freddie Mercury was the heart and soul and voice and face and pianist and songwriter and co-founder of that '70s & '80s phenomenal English rock band.
Yet, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor have trotted some singer named Paul Rodgers on stage, on tour, on a new album, and are calling themselves Queen.
Technically, they're referring to themselves as Queen + Paul Rodgers. I'm sorry, but two washed-up has-been musicians and some former singer for Bad Company does not somehow magically make it OK to blaspheme Freddie like this. The band HE fronted was the one inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. MTV named Mercury the second greatest singer in the history of popular music.
I realize that many bands suffer this fate as members retire or die and others take their place, only to wind up on the state fair circuit or playing no-cover bars in Hogslick, Arkansas. But this is QUEEN! Or NOT Queen, as I'm trying to argue.
A recent interview in People magazine started out with the question: How did Paul join the band? So, he joined the band. And he is the singer. Sounds to me like he's replacing Mercury, who died of AIDS in 1991. As far as I'm concerned, the band should have died with him. But apparently the two remaining original members can't make any great music on their own merits. They have to hang tight to the coattails of a dead music legend. Why can't they release a Taylor and May album? Because the Queen name sells. Even if what they're doing now is bogus crap.
I must admit, I haven't heard any of the new stuff (although from what I read online, they've been touring together for three years and I'm just now reading about it, so it can't be platinum). Maybe it's terrific. And maybe it wouldn't be too bad if Paul whatshisname sings brand new songs. He should keep his vocal chords the hell off We Will Rock You or We Are The Champions or Bohemian Rhapsody.
Part of that People interview gushed about how, oh gosh isn't it sweet that their latest album is dedicated to Freddie. "We still feel his spirit," says May. "We think, 'Now what would Fred think about this.'"
I wonder if Fred would think, "What a bunch of unoriginal, greedy little bastards."