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Queen Unseen: My Life with the Greatest Rock Band of the 20th Century. [Paperback]

Peter Hince
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Jun 2013
Imagine being alongside one of the greatest bands in the history of rock, touring the globe and being there as they perform at some of the best and biggest music venues in the world. Peter Hince didn't have to imagine: for more than a decade, he lived a life that other people can only dream of as he worked with Queen as head of their road crew. In 1973, Queen was the support act for Mott the Hoople, for who Peter was a roadie. Back then, Queen had to content themselves with being second on the bill and the world had not yet woken up to the flamboyant talent of Freddie Mercury. Peter started working full time for Queen just as they were making A Night at the Opera, the album which cataputed them to international stardom. In this intimate and affectionate book, Peter recalls the highlights of his year with the band. He was with Freddie when he composed 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love'; he was responsible for making sure that Freddie's stage performances went without a hitch - and was often there to witness his famed tantrums! He was also party to the sex, drugs and rock 'n' rill which are invariably part of life on the road with a rock band.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd (30 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857827953
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857827958
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,404,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A deeply personal page-turner, being one man's intimate diary of a lost time in the music industry, spent working for one of the greatest and most renowned bands in Rock history." --Worleygig.com

From the Author

Queen Unseen is a unique account of the many exciting years as a young man I spent on tour, in the recording studio, on video shoots and day to day life at home with one of the world's biggest and best ever rock bands. It is an insightful, enlightening and mostly humorous account for anybody who has ever wondered what working for Queen, or indeed most rock bands of that era really entailed..... the highs and the lows. It is not a chronological history or definitive biography of the band, but a personal story of what it was like to spend your youth travelling the world and living the rock and roll lifestyle - to the full!

There is plenty of sex and drugs and rock and roll - as everybody knows that's what happened....

I make observations and comments about all the fantastic places we visited and played, and what it was like living, at times, a crazy and surreal existence.

The book covers all the areas that were relevant in Queen's working life, during my time as Queen's longest serving roadie and head of their crew. There is lots of new material and surprises for Queen fans and it is a book to interest anybody who likes stories of rock and roll life in the 1970s & 1980s.

Mine is a truly unique book on Queen - no journalist or author could have written it - they were not there. I was, and I remember it all like it was yesterday.....
Wonderful memories.

There will be photo sections in the book that contain colour and black & white images from my successful Queen The Unseen Archive show that was exhibited in London and Australia recently. There will be additional rare and unseen photos and other images items of interest.

I hope you will join me on an Access All Areas journey through a magical era when we were young; feeling we could take on the world and win. Invariably we did. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So refreshing...! 6 Oct 2011
I know a book is going to be a great read when you can open it on any page and before you know it you have turned over 3!

What makes this book so refreshing is that of course it is part of the Queen story but is taken from a completely different view point. Books in the past have mostly been written by people who did not know the band so were bad impersonations of each others work.

Peter is telling his story of being a roadie in the 70's and 80's with great humour (believe me.....insert Spinal Tap instead of Queen!! His self depreciating sense of humour and talking about his country origins makes you believe that anyone could travel the world and be part of the biggest band that ever was.

The book also gives character to the band as individuals...something that we seem to forget when we class people as icons is that they were flesh and blood.

What comes out most about the book is Peter's genuine love of his job, his affection for his 'bosses' and their respect of him.

One of the great added bonuses of this book are the pages of rare and mostly unseen images of the band all taken by Peter himself.....

Enjoy......I certainly did!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Roadie's Tale 5 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I received this book as a present yesterday evening - and finished it on the train this morning. That's how gripping and easy-flowing Peter Hince's account of his whirlwind decade with Queen is. Starting in the 1970s as a typical provincial teenager, a `mad-for-it' general gofer and plugger-inner, living on `Thousand on a Raft' (beans on toast) and copious amounts of sniff, blow, gargle, snort, suck and other rock enliveners, the roadie known as `Ratty' ended his stint with the world's most flamboyant band as the man they relied on to get their multi-million-dollar show round the world and on the boards, on time and in place, while still being at his overlords' command at the drop of a tiara, with trusty screw-driver and book of contacts at the ready. You don't do that by frying your brains, and Hince had the sense to get out and get on with his artistic calling as a photographer while everything synaptic was still more or less intact.

At show-time in stadiums across the world the author would crouch in the shadow of Freddie Mercury's grand piano, ready to pass his master a glass of water, a phallic microphone or a reassuring grin. But unquestioning sycophancy was never going be the right way to deal with a man like Fred, who could be as cold and monstrous as the next superstar when things didn't go just as he wanted. Mercury desperately needed proper friends - ones who could tell him when he was being too much of a princess. By his own account Hince did that when he needed to. What comes across in bold in this humorous and rollicking story is the hard-bitten roadie's love for the complicated and ultimately lonely man who acted towards him like a kind of rascally uncle. Rarely does a roadie write a book - far more rarely one that gets this close and personal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Read! 25 Feb 2012
I must admit, Peter Hince's book was not what I was expecting. It was much much better!

If I had properly read the description of 'Queen Unseen' on the inner jacket, I would have seen that it is very much the story of Hince's journey as Queen's head roadie.
I had assumed ("never assume" will be my motto from now on) that this would probably be another rehashing, repackaging of the usual Queen stories in another guise.

But thankfully, it's not. It is new, fresh and funny stories about what went on behind all the Queen glam and glitz that we all saw in the newspapers and on stage and on TV.
And this is because Peter Hince, an ordinary bloke just like us, found himself in the most extraordinary position... head of the road crew of this amazing band, just as they were about to conquer the world!

No other writer could be so well positioned to observe, record and describe everything from the pre show preparations, the band's nerves, the near calamities, the triumphs, fears, drugs and sex. No journalist could have written this book because no amount of research they did could rival Hince's 10 year total immersion in the world of Fred, Brian, John and Roger. He was there as they went from zero to stratospheric. He was there when they began taking on the world. And he was also taking photographs!
These photos alone allow us fantastic sneak peeks backstage, into the studio, the green room...
Peter was a trusted 5th member of the band in many ways and the intimacy of his stories and photos reflect this.

You can tell that Hince has great gratitude for his time with the band and great affection for Fred, despite Fred being 'a difficult sod' sometimes.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Queen Unseen - Peter Hince: a fantastic read. 4 Oct 2011
By Jane
Wow. This was worth the wait!
This book is one of the best damn books about rock & roll and touring, ever.
In fact it is THE best book about the band Queen, written from inside the QProds organization and covering 12 years of triumphs and glory. The lows and mistakes are covered too and are recounted honestly yet not dwelt upon long - too much fun to be had really.
It is packed full of stories: fresh, new and untold tales of band and crew, life on the road and in the studio. The humour, derived from the serious business of touring, (long hours, hard work, set backs and occasional frustrations), comes across immediately: the (very) funny irreverent banter between crew and band, served the purpose of keeping everyone going and upbeat, sometimes in the face of adversity. In the territory of rock and roll, it's an honest account of crew and band lifestyle, without being tabloid in any way. No sleazy revelations here.
Peter Hince's new book is a well-constructed, interesting and highly engaging read - a definite must have. His style is effortless, and it's a joy to read. I actually couldn't put it down and read it one long go, bursting out laughing at regular intervals. The opening chapter - inspired, which I won't spoil for you - sets the book up for intrepid band and crew forays into different worldwide territories, cultures and experiences. The chapter on Japan was particularly entertaining! The book is a journey and one that you feel included in.

It's accurate: this is what it was really like to work with the greatest rock band of the 20th century.

It's also brilliant. Go and buy it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter conveys his affection for the band with a definite and categoric...
No more words required. Read it and experience a side of to the juggernaut that was Queen. A great read
Published 2 days ago by Andrew Hill. Mansfield UK.
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read
Very enjoyable read and a must for Queen fans - contained new information of all the behind the scenes shenanigans!
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book that lifts the lid on Freddie.
What a great book this is.
Only peter Hince could spill the beans on what it was like to work along side
the king of Queen, Freddie could be a right bitch at times and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ged
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
I'm 51 yrs old I've never really read a book from start to finish jaws but I skipped a few pages now queen unseen I could not put it down I can't believe it myself two days to read... Read more
Published 2 months ago by John Gardiner
5.0 out of 5 stars Dry Humour
The best insight of Freddie so far. Very dry humour, Freddie must have appreciated Ratty more than he ever thought. Brilliant
Published 3 months ago by Mrs.Valerie Patel
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
If u are a queen fan you will enjoy this book I did. Well done Peter and thanks for sharing your memories.
Published 5 months ago by SHARON DAVIES
5.0 out of 5 stars A humorous, insightful read.
A great book, full off shenanigans from the 70s and 80s with Queen. Some great photos too - a very good read.
Published 6 months ago by Peter Munday
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
An absolute must for any Queen fan. An amazing insight into life with the band on tour, in the recording studio, and during downtime. Read more
Published 8 months ago by DR
5.0 out of 5 stars Queen Unseen
A backstage look at Freddie Mercury and Queen on tour from one of their roadies Peter "Ratty" Hince. Recommended reading for all Queen fans.
Published 9 months ago by rt456gt
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay
Could have been a good book but it seems badly written and I ended up skipping chunks of it, a shame really because he was so close to Queen for a long time.
Published 10 months ago by g.arthur
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