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Queen as progressive band?

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Flimbau View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 07 2011 at 12:07
 I was thinking about Queen since yesterday was Freddie Mercury's Bday and was wondering what was the general consensus among prog enthusiasts regarding Queen? I for one have always been a pretty big fan of Queen especially their early material from their self titled debut album right on up to The Game and even some of the later pop hits on Its a Kind of Magic, Innuendo, The Miracle etc. My argument would be their lyricism obviously especially on Queen and Queen II dealing with many of the same themes as some of their contemporary Prog acts ie: fantasy, romanticism etc...Their groundbreaking use of intensely over-dubbed choruses and whatnot also was progressive in its use of studio technology much in the same way other groups were stretching the recording process and pushing the bounds of the technology of the day. And of course the stunning musicianship of Brian May, thunderous drumming of Roger Taylor, the quiet dependable and precise playing of John Deacon (one of the great underappreciated bassists IMO), and the sheer magnetic stage presence of Freddie Mercury arguably one of the greatest singers and performers of all time. I understand their commercial success and radio hit leanings might be a turnoff for many of you so I was curious as to everyones thoughts. I absolutely adore them to be honest. How about you?

Interesting postscript: I am a graduate of an Audio Engineering program with a focus in studio/music production and actually got my hands on a few pro tools files of a few Queen master tracks and its really amazing to see how many vocal over dubs recorded in different ways go into creating the well known Queen sound. Most of Brian Mays guitar sounds alone are composed of like 2-3 amplifiers recorded simultaneously with an additional 3-4 room mics and stereo delays. Given the nature of analog recording and the limitations of mixing consoles this was pretty revolutionary for its day.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 12:57
Much like you I'm a big Queen fan up to Jazz. The Game had some good songs but marked the biggest change in their career and I don't care much for anything else after that.
 
Queen II is my favourite but I also love the debut, Sheer Heart Attack, At The Opera and At The Races (and Live Killers is a stunning live double, too bad they didn't release any proper live album earlier, which BTW it's something I have always been surprised about, since live albums were very popular at the time and Queen were more than famous enough to afford releasing one).
 
They do not belong to the standard definition of prog but they certainly fit in my open-minded definition!
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thehallway Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 13:27

It's the overdubbing..... they did sh*t loads of it, probably more than any other band in the world. Queen II is just drenched in thick vocal harmonies that sound like 100+ vocalists, they're splattered everywhere, in all corners of that album. And this continues into songs like Somebody to Love, Bicycle Race, and of course, Bohemian Rhapsody.

It's not to everyone's taste, but it was certainly progressive (particularly if you listen in quadrophonic.... it's like having four choirs screaming at you from different directions, in a good way!)



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Manuel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 13:35
I liked and found Queen to be a very progressive band, up until "A Day At The Races". After that, some magic was lost, at least for me, and I lost interest in their music. I think they are all fantastic musicians and composers, but they took a more commercial approach after a great, promising beginning.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Flimbau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 13:37
 I wasnt aware that Queen II was released in the quadrophonic format. That is interesting to me.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Evolver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 13:37
Originally posted by Manuel

I liked and found Queen to be a very progressive band, up until "A Day At The Races". After that, some magic was lost, at least for me, and I lost interest in their music. I think they are all fantastic musicians and composers, but they took a more commercial approach after a great, promising beginning.
Same here. "A Day At the Races" was big big disappointment.  After that, there were moments of glory, but no really good albums.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thehallway Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 13:42

Originally posted by Flimbau

 I wasnt aware that Queen II was released in the quadrophonic format. That is interesting to me.

It may not have been officially..... but my brother's car stereo system separates audio into right and left and front and back, and while some albums still sounded just stereo, Queen II definitely had vocals and guitar parts coming out of all four areas independently.

It was the latest CD remaster (2011), with bonus tracks. Perhaps that is a quadrophonic mix, or surround mix.



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Post Options Post Options   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 13:42
I think that any album which includes their hits is a great album. Unfortunately, for me, I found that every single album they did also contained some atrocious rubbish.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote pool2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 13:54
i would put queen in the 70's as a rock band, the first 2 albums maybe prog but the game onwards more of a pop/rock band.......and i love em
queen, genesis, pink floyd, spock's beard, transatlantic, pendragon, peter gabriel, supertramp, unitopia, the watch, the lens, IQ, camel, nektar, big big train, dream theater, galahad.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheLastBaron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 14:32
Definetly proto prog with debut through a day at the races. Queen 2 is my personal favorite, a lot of tempo and stylistic changes in march of the black queen. And though its a bit of a tangent, I love bohemian rhapsody but find Prophets Song to be A night at the opera's best track, pure epic grandoisity!!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote octopus-4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 14:37
Originally posted by lazland

I think that any album which includes their hits is a great album. Unfortunately, for me, I found that every single album they did also contained some atrocious rubbish.
I was about to write something similar. I don't think there's any Queen album without at least one rubbish track or skippable fillers.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 14:41
Originally posted by TheLastBaron

Definetly proto prog with debut through a day at the races. Queen 2 is my personal favorite, a lot of tempo and stylistic changes in march of the black queen. And though its a bit of a tangent, I love bohemian rhapsody but find Prophets Song to be A night at the opera's best track, pure epic grandoisity!!


Proto-prog in the mid-70s?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Flimbau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 14:50
 I think its pretty hard to find any band that put an album out without at least one "rubbish" song or "fillers". I dont see why Queen should be singled out as being less than a stellar band given their massive output throughout the duration of their career and the amount of great songs they wrote as a whole. Just because they wrote a few songs that werent up to snuff hardly demeans them.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote topographicbroadways Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 14:52
Just because a band is original and talented doesn't immediately make the Prog Rock. They were progressive yes. I guess they can be prog related (they already are aren't they?). But cmon. They were a great rock band. That's it
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Post Options Post Options   Quote octopus-4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 14:52
Wish You Were Here, maybe ? Jokes apart it's not question of weaker tracks in a good album. Queen's fillers are very bad, not just weaker. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote unforgivable74 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 14:58
'Innuendo' and 'Was It All Worth It?' were two 'later' proggy tracks. Also, the 20 minute 'drone' that closes the 'Made In Heaven' album is wonderful but very sad. Remnants of a life but nothing remains.

In general, I think Queen had 'progressive' in their musical arsenal but chose in later years not to pursue it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Flimbau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 14:59
Ill give you that on Wish you Were Here. What in your opinion represents a "very bad" song from that era of Queens output?
"Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic."

from The Sayings of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan
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Post Options Post Options   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 15:11
The only studio album I have is Flash Gordon. Reading the reviews I should perhaps consider QueenII but lack of keyboards puts me off. This a small taster of what Queen could have been
btw I love the film
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 16:08
Originally posted by topographicbroadways

Just because a band is original and talented doesn't immediately make the Prog Rock. They were progressive yes. I guess they can be prog related (they already are aren't they?). But cmon. They were a great rock band. That's it


My thoughts exactly. We're sometime guilty of acting like an over zealous border patrol here on PA (and insist that everyone entering is subjected to a full cavity body search for Prog credentials)


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Post Options Post Options   Quote friso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 07 2011 at 17:46
Well.. it's sure get's sophisticated and Bohemian Rhapsody is perhaps the most famous progressive epic, albeit a very short and dense one.
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