Forums > Queen - General Discussion > What the Hell was up with the USA when Freddie was alive?

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Winter Land Man user not visiting Queenzone.com
Jake
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Posted: 21 May 10, 00:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I've noticed a lot of Queen's albums released in the US didn't reach as high a position as in a lot of other countries, yet the albums would stay on the US charts for longer periods of time. What exactly was the reason for this? Was it that no one would rush out and buy the albums? Or was it slow / only periodic promotion?


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Soundfreak user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 21 May 10, 01:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Promotion is not the key to everything. Many albums are promoted extensively and yet people don't buy them. 
Also chart positions are overated. You can reach the top ten for a week and yet sell nothing compared to an album that stays in the lower regions for months...

The 70s and the 80s were a time with a lot of great bands around. There was a lot of competition. So when people in America stopped buying Queen albums in large quantities it may simply have to do with the fact, that other artists became more attractive to them. Success has a lot to do with Zeitgeist.

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Posted: 21 May 10, 19:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

What I remember most about that time was that you went out and bought what you heard, and liked, on the radio. Queen wasn't getting much airplay. I hardly recall hearing any Queen music on the radio during that time.

There was a big rumour in the states around that time that Queen was a gay band, and I recall some of my male friends getting a great deal of ribbing for having Queen albums. I also remember hearing the disc jockeys, at the time, making jokes about Fred's gayocity. Then the I Want To Break Free video came out. I'm not certain that all of this is the sole reason, but it certainly seemed to be a big factor back  in those days. A combination of homophobia and lack of radio play. Or, it could be that one happened because of the other.
In any case, rather sad for this Queen fan. I can recall watching MTV and waiting to see Queen videos...and they just wouldn't get aired.

When Live Aid happened, lots of folks watched, and were surprised at how good Queen was, because they just hadn't been listening for a very long time. Queen hadn't really gone anywhere, had still been making music...but folks in the US hadn't been listening.


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Soundfreak user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 22 May 10, 03:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't believe in this story, that Queen were suddenly no longer accepted due to "gay" rumours. When they were on top in America they weren't less "gay" than in 1982. Watch the 70s shows with all the glitter and make up...
 Also what about all those extremely "gay" american acts like "Liberace" or "Village People" ?

I guess that for most Americans and also the DJs the change from the typical Queen sound to the new disco flavoured style was the reason, why they lost their interest over there. The classic Queen sound of the 70s was unique, America did not have bands who could do something like that.
But when it came to disco and funk they had lots and lots of bands, that were lightyears ahead of "Queen".
And so it's logical that the radio DJs did not play "Body Language" or "Back Chat" or "Staying Power". And the poor videos to those songs didn't help either...

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Posted: 22 May 10, 14:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Back in the 70s, some of Queen's records were extensively cut and edited (eg Liar) due to their longer length and radio stations wouldn't play songs that long. Obviously this was before Bohemian Rhapsody so their influence wasn't as great (bit was after bo rhap). I think maybe Queen, especially Freddie did not like this, however they still did tour in the late 70s. 
    Also around the early 80s their was a lot of corruption within the record labels and music industry in general (apparently). Queen's managers were probably not keen with the idea in getting involved with that kind of enviroment and have Queen's reputation scarred. 
    Obviously the gay factor must have come into it- even i still cringe when i see the I Want To Break Free video. It is a shame many judged Freddie on his sexuality. People who discovered Queen through the video will have had a bad first impression of Queen, considering the wonderful music they made in the 70s

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Posted: 22 May 10, 17:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Basically they went to a more pop sound and I think that hurt them considerably here.  They had a very good following here, but that's when they were mostly a heavier rock band.  I think all the reasons listed above all contributed to their decline in the U.S.  I would have to say too that I think their creativity or lack there of in the 80's contributed as well.  As Queen is my favorite band I own all their albums but I must say albums like "A Kind of Magic" and "The Miracle" we're pretty weak to say the least.....


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Posted: 22 May 10, 19:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Well, it isn't so much a story as it is what I recall from that time. I don't know how it all started...I just remember what I heard. I lived in a conservative part of the country at that time, and I can tell you that I am not making up stories about the gay phobia in the early eighties and onward regarding Queen in the states. And I do thing it effected them getting airplay, and consequently record sales. Perhaps not the ONLY factor, but I think it was a large enough one.

Again, not presenting a theory, just recalling what I remember, having lived through that time as a Queen fan in the states. I don't believe it to be the sole reason for the fading popularity, just part of the reason. Queen weren't appearing on American television shows as many of the bands of the day were, and, again, not seeing them on MTV was likely a factor. It just seemed, in some respect, as if they'd disappeared.

And the Village people and Liberace were NOT popular with young folks in the states in the early to mid eighties either. Liberace catered to an entirely different demographic, and The Village People had their last hit in 1979 or 1980, I think. In any case, I don't recall either of those acts getting any airplay, either, nor do I recall seeing them on MTV.

Soundfreak wrote: I don't believe in this story, that Queen were suddenly no longer accepted due to "gay" rumours. When they were on top in America they weren't less "gay" than in 1982. Watch the 70s shows with all the glitter and make up...
 Also what about all those extremely "gay" american acts like "Liberace" or "Village People" ?

I guess that for most Americans and also the DJs the change from the typical Queen sound to the new disco flavoured style was the reason, why they lost their interest over there. The classic Queen sound of the 70s was unique, America did not have bands who could do something like that.
But when it came to disco and funk they had lots and lots of bands, that were lightyears ahead of "Queen".
And so it's logical that the radio DJs did not play "Body Language" or "Back Chat" or "Staying Power". And the poor videos to those songs didn't help either...


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Gr8 King Rat user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 22 May 10, 20:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Queen's demise in the 80's had nothing to do with Freddie being gay or anything like that. Except for a few songs here and there most of their music sucked after 1982 thats why.

There, I said it.

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Posted: 22 May 10, 22:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

They never got it

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Posted: 23 May 10, 00:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Queen were pretty much on a roll in the US from 1976 to 1981.  In 81 its safe to say they were the number 1 band in the world, bigger than the Beatles.  Queen were everywhere, I was in 8th grade and they were the hottest band of the day.  Unfortunately, they followed up one of their best selling albums with an album of bunk.   I have to say it is quality that destroyed Queen in the US.  How does a band go from songs like Dragon Attack, Spread Your Wings, Save Me, and Its Late to Body Language, Back Chat, and Radio Gaga ( However, public perception of Radio Gaga and Under Preasure has changed over time)?  In my opinion, The Miracle was Queens first "Queen worthy" CD since The Game, and Innuendo was an even better follow up.  I have no doubt had Freddy lived Queen would have re-emerged bigger than ever.

Also, Queen made bad decision in the 80's that helped lead to their demise.  In fact, from 1985 until they signed with Hollywood records in 1990(?) you could not get any of the first 9 albums except as imports.  They did not tour the US, and they did not seem to release singles.

The good news is that today Queen are recognized in the US as one of the greatest bands ever, and their music will be played on the radio, bought by the public, and live on forever.


"What is left of your dream, just the words on a stone. A man who learned how to teach, but forgot how to learn.."
Michael user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 23 May 10, 10:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Speaking as a Queen fan from the USA, I can tell you that the "Hot Space" album really alienated many Queen fans and Rock radio DJs at that time.  Another factor was rumors that Queen was a "gay" band and accompanying peer pressure to not listen to them.  (Of course, the "I Want to Break Free" video didn't help any either.)  And then, of course, they didn't tour the US after "Hot Space" in 1982.  Plus, let's face it, their 80's albums didn't measure up to their 70's output.  That's not to say they didn't have excellent songs in the 80's (e.g., "One Vision", "I Want It All") - but the records simply weren't as good.

I've always said that, if "The Works", and not "Hot Space", was the follow-up to "The Game", Queen may have faired much better in the States.  I personally think that a song like "It's a Hard Life", although it is basically a rewrite of "Play the Game" could have been a hit in the States.  And, who knows, maybe even "Radio Ga Ga" would have it.

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Posted: 23 May 10, 12:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Michael wrote: Speaking as a Queen fan from the USA, I can tell you that the "Hot Space" album really alienated many Queen fans and Rock radio DJs at that time.  Another factor was rumors that Queen was a "gay" band and accompanying peer pressure to not listen to them.  (Of course, the "I Want to Break Free" video didn't help any either.)  And then, of course, they didn't tour the US after "Hot Space" in 1982.  Plus, let's face it, their 80's albums didn't measure up to their 70's output.  That's not to say they didn't have excellent songs in the 80's (e.g., "One Vision", "I Want It All") - but the records simply weren't as good.

I've always said that, if "The Works", and not "Hot Space", was the follow-up to "The Game", Queen may have faired much better in the States.  I personally think that a song like "It's a Hard Life", although it is basically a rewrite of "Play the Game" could have been a hit in the States.  And, who knows, maybe even "Radio Ga Ga" would have it.

Radio Ga Ga was a hit! #16 on the charts!


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Posted: 23 May 10, 13:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I didn't realize Ga Ga was a #16 hit. I don't recall ever hearing it on the radio in the US.