Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > March Of The Black Queen - Queen's Real Masterpiece?

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Thistleboy1980 user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 04 Mar 10, 19:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It seems that, when talking about Queen, the first thing that comes to most minds is Bohemian Rhapsody.  It is a song which has received many accolades, such as song of the millennium, and has topped various fan-polls, radio comps etc.  As we know, it is widely regarded as Queen's finest - their masterpiece, if you will.  Now, don't get me wrong, it is a real gem, a work of art, a really great composition - but, for me, March Of The Black Queen is their true masterpiece. 

General opinion here on QZ seems to be that Queen's best album is Queen II - way above ANATO.  As far as I'm concerned, March Of The Black Queen is, by far, the best track from that album and is fast becoming my personal favourite.  It is epic to say the least - thunderous yet melodic, sweet yet sinister, teasing but venomous.  It is a real rollercoaster ride, very passionate and with a big bite. 

Obviously, it is Bo-Rhap's predecessor - and, according to our esteemed Dr. May on the making of ANATO DVD, there was a sense that Bo-Rhap was coming when you listen back to March Of The Black Queen.  The latter is very similarly structured, with the feel that it is many stories rolled into one, but I feel that the former has more of an edge to it, with awesome guitar work from May and Deacon, top drumming from Taylor and, of course, that voice.  And the Piano work - wow!  Apart from that, it came from side black, so it's tantalisingly devilish (enough of the superlatives?)  - I think it cannot be topped.

Any thoughts?


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Posted: 04 Mar 10, 20:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

When talking about tastes, everybody's got different ones and there's no account for it. TBH, my personal favourite song from Freddie is neither Black Queen nor Bo Rhap but Lily of the Valley. It's way simpler than either, but IMO it's more beautiful than both. And likewise, though I adore The March..., my favourite song in the 'II' album is White Queen.

Now, reasons why Bo Rhap, and not Black Queen, is regarded as Freddie's (and Queen's) magnum opus:

- It's the band's most complex track, musically. Yes, it IS more complex than Black Queen, in the sense that it uses more advanced compositional techniques (except for the polyrhythm). Same with other songs it's usually compared with (e.g. Brian's Prophet's Song).

- Even though it's got loads of advanced details, it's still easy to listen, and radio-friendly. That's very uncommon in music: usually they're either simple and catchy and/or memorable (e.g. Stand By Me, Stairway to Heaven or even November Rain despite its 'epic' vibe and length) or very arranged and not too accessible like the aforementioned March of the Black Queen.

- It was the band's first #1 hit, and their biggest selling single (it topped Another One Bites the Dust after Freddie died).

- It got them out of a potential premature ending of their musical career.

- The video, though not the first ever (one of those completely false myths), was very important for them and brought the 'Queen II' cover to life.

By the way, though Black Queen is A predecessor for Bo Rhap, it's not THE (direct) predecessor, In the Lap of the Gods is. Freddie himself admitted it, and he surely knew more about those songs than Brian, as he wrote them.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 01:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

love march of the black queen, but you can't change history. Bo Rhap will always be regarded as their masterpiece.  Queen2 is my favorite queen album, and maybe my favorite album ever, but it's not  way above A night at the opera.   I think opera really is queen's best album overall.

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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 01:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Nah, Millionaire Waltz was better than both of 'em.


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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 03:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You lot, obviously have'nt heard 'Body Language'
 Master Marathon Runner



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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 04:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Millionare waltz=brilliace.

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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 05:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

For my ears "The March of the Black Queen" sounds like the moment, when the band defined their unique style, sound and identity.
The song contains so many elements and sounds that could have been enough for a whole album, as nearly each segment had enough quality to become a song of it's own.
And in a way many of their later songs seem to have their origin in this song. For example the "A voice from behind me reminds me..." - segment could have easily been a part of "Love of my Life".

It's a very important song in their career and it shows, how confident they must have been putting so many ideas into just one song.


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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 10:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think it's my fairy king that was the beginning of the Bo Rhap ideas, then continued with the brilliant MOTBQ.   Continued with lap of the gods,  and so on.  All these songs truly were awsome.  millionare waltz was the last of the bunch.

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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 11:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

MOTBQ and BoRap do have some similarities that aren't there when comparing BoRap and Lap of the Gods, for example the tempo changes and the 'call and response' technique.


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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 12:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Just like my late grandfathers and I have things in common that neither has with my father, etc.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 12:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



 



Sebastian wrote:



Just like my late grandfathers and I have things in common that neither has with my father, etc.


If you want to be literal, Love Of My Life is the direct predecessor to BoRap, since it's the song that came immediately before it on the album. Of course, it might not have been recorded directly before BoRap, which could be another measure of predecessor-ness-ability.

Meanwhile, back on planet earth, I don't see too many similarities between BoRap and Lap of the Gods, but there are a number similarities between MOTBQ and BoRap, as I've noted. Of course there are elements of BoRap in a number of other Queen songs that came before BoRap, but if forced to choose just one song, as the topic starters suggests, I'd go with MOTBQ. So Fred can go piss in his heavenly hat: Brian's right this time.








"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)
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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 13:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Things Bo Rhap and ItLotG have in common:

* Acyclic structure, more so than Black Queen.
* The descending bass lick which is almost the same in both songs.
* They're the only two songs in the Queen catalogue that combine rock with opera.
* Roger's dramatic sopranist vocals. Black Queen also has high notes, but not in the same way.
* Neither has the polyrhythm featured in Black Queen.
* I>idim chord progression.
* Both songs favour flat-side keys (c, Eb, F) more than sharp (G and A respectively). Black Queen's the other way around.
* I > II modulations (Black Queen has modulations but not that type AFAIR).
* Drumming patterns are more similar. On TMotBQ, Roger applies a wider variety and is more military at times.

Things Bo Rhap and TMotBQ have in common:

* Cascades, though done differently.
* Triumphal perfect cadence ending (false ending in TMotBQ), absent in Lap of the Gods.
* The arrangement dynamics and abrupt changes (e.g. solo vs opera, climax vs 'voice from behind') are closer than with LotG.
* The closing guitar solo is way more similar between those two than compared with Lap.
* The Eb>a modulation in TMotBQ could be considered a predecessor of the Eb>A (more difficult to pull off) in Bo Rhap.

However, LotG still has more things in common with BoRhap. Freddie was right about his own song. Brian was right about TMotBQ being A predecessor, but it was not THE predecessor. Lap of the Gods was. The sequence goes like this:

My Fairy King --> March of the Black Queen --> In the Lap of the Gods --> Bo Rhap --> Millionaire Waltz

Curiously, each was, by far, the most musically complex song of its respective album.

BTW, LoML and Bo Rhap do have things in common. One must have influenced the other.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 13:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hmmm...

Similarities and differences carry weight. I happen to think that the tempo change and 'call and response' of MOTBQ/BoRap carries more weight in making this judgment than the fact that Lap is more acyclic than MOTBQ -- to use just one example from your list. 

ps It's a Hard Life is the third 'opera' song in the Queen catalogue.


"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)
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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 13:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

IAHL copies a bit of a melody of an opera, which doesn't mean it's an opera song. Likewise, All By Myself is not a piano concerto and You Don't Fool Me is not zamba.

And of course there are loads of things TMOTBQ and BRhap have in common, but the point remains:

Black Queen isn't Bo Rhap's direct predecessor. In the Lap of the Gods (the link between both) is. Even the person who composed all three pieces admitted so.

Likewise, Somebody to Love isn't Bo Rhap's successor musically (it may be in terms of leading single and central piece in the album), Millionaire Waltz is.

PS: Lap of the Gods also has antiphony, though I agree that BRhap and Black Queen are closer to each other in that respect. Granpa point again.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 13:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

IAHL is not an opera song but it does "combine rock with opera", albeit only for a short time during the intro.


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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 13:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It doesn't. It takes some melody lines from an opera, but it translates it to a 'regular' piano ballad. It doesn't use opera per se and as such it doesn't combine it with rock either.

The intro in Lap of the Gods does, as well as Bo Rhap's middle section.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 14:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:

It doesn't. It takes some melody lines from an opera, but it translates it to a 'regular' piano ballad. It doesn't use opera per se and as such it doesn't combine it with rock either.


Err. yes it does. There's no translation: it copies an opera melody, and the rock/pop song follows. There's no translation: it is two separate pieces, thus a combination.








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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 14:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It copies a melody used in an opera, which is not the same as 'an opera melody'. A melody isn't opera, rock, disco or anything else. A melody can be used in opera, rock, disco, etc. What Freddie did was taking a melody that was used in an opera, and use it in a piano ballad. He didn't combine opera with rock in that occasion.

He did, though, in both Lap of the Gods and Bohemian Rhapsody.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 16:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:

It copies a melody used in an opera, which is not the same as 'an opera melody'. A melody isn't opera, rock, disco or anything else. A melody can be used in opera, rock, disco, etc. What Freddie did was taking a melody that was used in an opera, and use it in a piano ballad. He didn't combine opera with rock in that occasion.

He did, though, in both Lap of the Gods and Bohemian Rhapsody.


I refer you to the answer I gave earlier.







"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)
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Posted: 05 Mar 10, 18:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Someone called "November Rain" a masterpiece.

At first I started laughing uncontrollably.  Then I realized in one sense of the word, he's right.

So I'm voting Queen's Radio Gaga as their masterpiece.

I'm guessing that by "Masterpiece" we mean the song that signalled the end of the band, even if they don't know it.

Other famous masterpieces:

Overkill - Men At Work
Everybody Have Fun Tonight - Wang Chung
Raised On Radio (Album) - Journey
Lick It Up - Kiss
This Love - Maroon 5
Saving All My Love For You - Whitney Houston
Victory - The Jacksons
Invisible Touch - Genesis