Queen's Four-Fold Strategy for Global Conquest

Source: Ron Ross - Circus Raves

Submitted by: Richard Orchard

Thanks to JuliePie for the article...

From a sinister moan, like a furious fiend lurking in a deep cave, Brian May's fed-back power chords slid up to a piercing demonic howl. With three giant strides, Freddie Mercury emerged out of the darkness and with a sweeping display of white pleated satin, he raised proudly an arm gleaming with silver jewelry beneath the intense spotlight. Roger Taylor's drums rolled like storm clouds over John Deacon's pulsating bass, signalling the commencement of Queen's "Ogre Battle." Then, stopping Roger's thundering tom-toms dead in their onslaught, Freddie smiled at the hysterical front rows of the packed English audience, and asked rhetorically, "How do you like the show so far?"

The self-assured and sensual vocalist already knew the answer to his own sly question. Within mere weeks of its release, Queen's third album, Sheer Heart Attack (on Elektra), rose to regal dominance on the British charts. "Killer Queen," a delightful ditty straight from Albion's gaslit dance halls, became Queen's first Number One single. Although no fewer than twenty bands brought modern times rock 'n roll to England's farthest reaches last winter, only Queen's tour had inspired total sellouts of every concert hall they played. The theatrical band with musical muscle had retained their intellectual following at the universities, while their legion of fans among Britain's younger ravers was snowballing like an unstoppable pop juggernaut.

But America remained to be conquered. Certainly Brian May's untimely bout with hepatitis during their fateful first tour had prompted sympathetic support and positive publicity for Queen in this country. Queen II had sold surprisingly well, even without the added promotional punch the tour would have provided. Now Queen, again intact and more full of impact than ever, were determined to pick up where they had reluctantly left off a year before. A new album, a new, show, new costumes, lights, and sound, were all designed to allow an invasion of the States to follow smoothly their most successful European tour to date.

Queen to Led Zep One: On the eve of their second American expedition, Freddie Mercury's hopes ran higher than ever before. "A lot of things in Queen just seem to fall into place," he predicted optimistically. So confident was Fred that he could remark without hesitation, "The whole situation is an exact replica of Led Zeppelin back in 1969." And the United States was the only missing link. Their tour of the European continent late in 1974 had all but incited riots, while in Japan, the world's second largest music market, Queen had miraculously become the most popular hard rock group. Even Jethro Tull, Yes, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer had given way to Queen's majesty. Queen's American manager, Jack Nelson, was himself amazed: "They're getting even bigger than Deep Purple there, and they used to own Japan."

Although Deep Purple in particular have become notorious for recurring personnel changes provoked by Ritchie Blackmore's resolute moodiness, Queen are a group in the truest sense. Not that Queen's rock comes together as sweetly and smoothly as whipped cream, but constructive controversy does bring out the best in four superb musicians, each indispensable to the Queen sound and style. "'We have the most outrageous rows, " which Mercury readily admitted to an English writer. "There are so many things we don't see eye to eye about in the group, even as to the titles of our albums. We row about everything, even about the air we breathe. But I think that's good, because we get the cream of the crop. It's good, that's healthy."

Mercury does indeed speak for the rest of Queen when he insists, "I don't like compromises--everything has to be done to perfection. I have always put everything into things that interest me, so I put everything into my music." The key to the solidly four-square Queen cartel is an intensity, professionalism,