on 9 January 2005
I am 16 years of age an along with all my friends a massive Queen fan. I got this as a gift for Christmas and have already just about played it to dust. It is an incredible album that captures everything unique and brilliant about Queen. The showmanship, the great songs, the eccentricity, the brilliant musicianship, it's all here. Queen were just perfect, with Freddie leading the band with so much flamboyance, personality and charisma, Brian's classic guitar riffs and solos, John Deacon's perfect basslines that laid the foundations for Queen's distinctive sound and last but not least Roger Taylor's drumming, holding the songs together with great rock 'n' roll drum beats yet not overshadowing the rest of the band like some other rock drummers.
Greatest Hits 1 mainly focuses on Queen from the beginning until the early 80s, and contains the legendary Bohemian Rhapsody, the classic single from the Jazz album, Don't Stop Me Now, the barmy Bicycle Race, the equally mental Freddie-penned number Seven Seas of Rhye from Queen II, the unmitigated grandiosity of Somebody to Love, Brian May's timeless anthem We Will Rock You, which is still the archetypal rock anthem. Also featured is Queen's biggest North American hit Another One Bites the Dust, written by John Deacon and featuring a brilliant bassline as well. There is also Freddie's superb rockabilly effort Crazy Little Thing Called Love, which Elvis would be proud of. Not to mention the band's breakthrough hit Killer Queen from Sheer Heart Attack, which launched them on a national level, reaching number 2 in the charts. We Are the Champions rounds off an excellent CD, worthy of the band's brilliance, another anthem still being played the world over to this day.
Volume 2 focuses on 80s Queen through to their brilliant swansong Innuendo. This is my favourite of the 3 albums and has many of Queen's best songs. It includes Roger's two pop gems A Kind of Magic and Radio Ga-Ga, huge hits all over the world and both brilliant songs. Under Pressure is Queen's collaboration with Bowie, with his voice lending gravitas to Freddie's soaring vocals. It also features arguably the finest bassline ever from John. Innuendo is a soaring masterpiece worthy of comparison to Bohemian Rhapsody, encompassing many different varieties of music with great yearning vocals from the inimitable Freddie. I'm Going Slightly Mad is fittingly weird and wonderful, and shows that Freddie never lost his sense of humour right through to the end. The Show Must Go On is a soaring anthem, with Freddie showing admirable strength and defiance even though he knew the end was near. All in all simply incredible.
GH3 is mainly collaborations and solo work from Brian and Freddie, although it does include the beautiful and poignant ballads No-One But You, the Brian May-penned tribute to Rock's greatest showman and These Are the Days of Our Lives, Freddie's haunting and poignant goodbye to his fans, in which he also thanks them for their great support through his tough ordeal.
So go out and buy this and rejoice in the brilliance of the one and only Queen!!! Rock On!!!!!
on 11 July 2003
Just a few days ago, a close friend who asks me about certain music and who he'd like if he wanted something a little camp, a bit boisterous, often sensitive and touching, with soaring vocals and powerful guitar riffs and solos the size of the Empire State building. A hard task to name just one band you'd think, but only one elegant word sprung to my mind. Queen.
My small-minded friend also with one word, stupidly came back to me and said, to my utter disbelief, 'Who?'...The guy is 19, and he claims to have never heard a song by Queen. So still in disbelief I noted to him, that children from 3 years old have heard a Queen song, and it's true they have, and they stick with the people who hear them. So he came back with 3 words: 'What to buy?' And I uttered just 3 words back: 'The Platinum Collection'.
There is no finer greatest hits selections on the market, and from one of the greatest, if not the greatest rock band of all time. There's an astounding 51 tracks on here, and the vast majority are complete gems.
Greatest Hits 1, a personal favourite of mine, is full from one side of the CD to the other with pure majesty, power, joy and ultimately the finest rock music of the 1970's and early 1980's. Of course, it has to kick off the with the grandiose, 'Bohemian Rhapsody', with its sublime mixture of operatics and straight out heavy metal, you can see why it's been voted so many times as the greatest song ever written. We have playful rock, with joyous and smile inducing piano (‘Don’t Stop Me Now', the fantastic 'Somebody To Love', the utter camp of, 'Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy' etc.), we have straight out rock with Queen's own twisted mind (‘Killer Queen', 'Fat Bottomed Girls', 'Bicycle Race', 'You're My Best Friend' etc.), we have some of the greatest anthems ever written, (‘We Will Rock You', 'We Are The Champions' etc.) and even a little bit of thoughtful, emotion (the under-rated, 'Save Me'). Queen throughout the 70's were one of the most creative, powerful and downright creative, and quite literally outrageous bands out there, and to some extent, this one disc proves it. Further research can be found in the like of, 'A Day At The Races' and of course, 'A Night At The Opera'.
The second greatest hits compilation, is a lot more pop orientated, a lot simpler, switching from prog rock glam, to popular hard rock with synths. We have catchy pop tunes, in Queen's own 80's style ('A Kind Of Magic', 'I Want To Break Free', 'The Miracle', 'I'm Going Slightly Mad', 'The Invisible Man' etc.), we have pure rock (The riveting, 'I Want It All', the chugging, 'Breakthru', 'Headlong', the ground shaking, 'Hammer To Fall' etc.) we have a little bit of the prog rock that made Queen famous slightly updated (The quite sublime, 'Innuendo') and a sombre pause for thought amongst the overwhelming powerhouse of sound (the beautiful, 'Who Want To Live Forever'). Queen were voted the best band of the eighties by many British polls, and with a second disc such as this you can see just why. Don't leave home without it.
Ah...now.... Greatest Hits 3...is not. Greatest Hits 3, was seen by many as a final attempt to get money out of the Queen faithful and yet another chance for new fans to buy their entire collection, and going on the offerings available you can see why. As good as some of the songs are on here, they were just not hits nor should they be on any hits collection. For example, Elton John's live take on the fantastic, 'The Show Must Go On' is abysmal. As much as Elton has written some fine songs in his time, his voice just can't take anything that Freddie Mercury ever put his sweet tones to, and Elton turns into the roughest cat howling in the street. The remix of 'Under Pressure' is ok, but it's yet another thought of 'Why is it here?', as does the atrocious Wyclef Jean remixed AND RAPPED version of 'Another One Bites The Dust'. Not only does this say, 'How can you call this a greatest hits collection?' it also makes you say, 'Why couldn't they have released a rarities CD or something?'. But this is an album that's half good, and half bad. The half good is very good. We have some solo work by Freddie ('Barcelona', the fitting, 'The Great Pretender', and the clubby, 'Living On My Own'), one from Brian May (the Ford soundtrack of the early 90's, 'Driven By You'), and we have a few Queen classics that obviously just wouldn't go on GH2 (the rocking, 'Prince Of The Universe' and the touching, thought provoking and ultimately fitting, 'These Are The Days Of Our Lives'), and there are some real gems that they've pulled from the 'Made In Heaven' album too (‘Too Much Love Will Kill You', 'You Don't Fool Me', the majestic, 'Let Me Live', the most powerful Queen song in years, 'Heaven For Everyone' etc.), which unfortunately lacks the albums title track, which was one of the best songs on the album. This also includes Brian, and Roger Taylor's tribute to all those who have died young, such as Princess Diana, and of course, Freddie himself, 'No-one But You'. A curious end also, in the Christmas song, 'Thank God It's Christmas', which could have been placed much better, which would the have left the final two tracks ('These Are The Days...' and 'No-one...') as the final chapter in the Queen book. So it's half good and half bad, and the majority of the half good is from the stunning, 'Made In Heaven', so you figure out what you should do if you want just those songs...
But this is a complete package of a band who've seen it all and done it all, and maybe gone that little bit further, along the way. Through the nervous beginnings, to the confidence of the mid 70's pure pomp, to the 80's pure pop, to the final chapter of the sombre 90's, and with there being so much angst in rock music around right now, why not treat yourself to an antidote to such things? Queen's the key. My small-minded friend is finding that out. I asked him what he thought of 'Platinum...' and he answered me with just 4 words: 'I think it's brilliant', to which I replied likewise with my own 4 words:
'I knew you would'