Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Was Freddie religious during his last years?

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Posted: 04 Oct 10, 23:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't know why but I always had the impression that Fred as he growed up became more relgious than before.

It reflects a lot in the change of his lifestyle and in his work. The clothing, the interviews, and much of his music. I don't have here the songs but through 1986 -1991 he sung a lot more about  "God" an all.

This is something that I really don't notice in the early Queen lyrics. Even I can see him talking more about  "don't believe all you read in the bible". Maybe it's coicidence but during his last years Freddi seems like a more of a concious, god-believer guy than before. 

Am I right? What do u think?


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Posted: 05 Oct 10, 00:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think Freddie simply used religious imagery the way he used cultural references, mythology and love themes, as tools for writing what he considered disposable pop songs. If it worked and sounded good, he employed it. He was a pragmatist that way and I think far too interested in his work to let it get bogged down by anything as lofty as deep philosophical or religious dogma. He was more interested in entertaining than preaching his beliefs or even allowing them to reflect his personal life or be too autobiographical. Just my opinion, based on interviews I've seen and quotes I've read.

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Posted: 05 Oct 10, 01:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't have here the songs but through
1986 -1991 he sung a lot more about "God" an all.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes because songs like jesus, mustapha and liar contain nothing to do with "god".

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Posted: 05 Oct 10, 02:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

MmP wrote: I don't know why but I always had the impression that Fred as he growed up became more relgious than before.

It reflects a lot in the change of his lifestyle and in his work. The clothing, the interviews, and much of his music. I don't have here the songs but through 1986 -1991 he sung a lot more about  "God" an all.

This is something that I really don't notice in the early Queen lyrics. Even I can see him talking more about  "don't believe all you read in the bible". Maybe it's coicidence but during his last years Freddi seems like a more of a concious, god-believer guy than before. 

Am I right? What do u think?

-----
I guess you missed a song entitled "Jesus" off of the first Queen lp.

His lifestyle changed because he had AIDS.

His clothing changed to hide his weight loss.

He didn't find religion at the end.  He distanced himself from his
religion his entire adult life.


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Posted: 05 Oct 10, 10:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyeking
think Freddie simply used religious imagery the way he used cultural references, mythology and love themes, as tools for writing what he considered disposable pop songs. If it worked and sounded good, he employed it. He was a pragmatist that way and I think far too interested in his work to let it get bogged down by anything as lofty as deep philosophical or religious dogma. He was more interested in entertaining than preaching his beliefs or even allowing them to reflect his personal life or be too autobiographical. Just my opinion, based on interviews I've seen and quotes I've read.

i think you're right in the way that he rather entertained with music than looking to give opinions or beliefs. but that's exactly what I was asking. During his last years did his mind change enough to try us to see life in a better way? more calmly, guiding us through a more spiritual paths? I think his music in his last years really changed the style. he sounds more reflexive about life, and trying to find different ways of living happy. and i think in some way (maybe not inteded) it's preaching a belief.

emrabt
Yes because songs like jesus, mustapha and liar contain nothing to do with "god".

I didn't miss them, I clearly remember them but those are more of stories being told than actual feelings being expressed in a song.  I'd rather say that reading the Jesus/Mustapha lyrics you kinda see a story being told from a critic point of view.
What I see during Freddie's last years is that those songs then became more of spiritual-oriented songs, even before the AIDS his writting slowly turns into a more reflexive, spiritual work.

jpf
I guess you missed a song entitled "Jesus" off of the first Queen lp.
His lifestyle changed because he had AIDS.
His clothing changed to hide his weight loss.
He didn't find religion at the end.  He distanced himself from his
religion his entire adult life.

Once i again i didn't miss them, you can't see my point of view. and i was speaking also during his healthy life. Even in 1984.

Even reading "All Gods People". You see a clear spiritual kind of lyric.

So all you people give freely
Make welcome inside your homes
Thank God you people give freely
Don't turn your back on the lesson of the Lord

All prime ministers (yeah) and majesty around the world
Open your eyes look touch and feel
Rule with your heart (rule with your heart )
Live with your conscience (live with your conscience)
And love love
Love love and be
Love love and be free
We're all God's people (we're all God's people)

Can you see my point?

------------

In DTSH we see it again, a spiritual song. I don't know who wrote this one lyrically but I think it was Freddie. Especially in his situation he's preaching a nice way of life. Find your happiness despite all.

Dont try so Hard

If you're searching out for something
Don't try so hard
If you're feeling kinda nothing
Don't try so hard
When your problems seem like mountains
You feel the need to find some answers
You can leave it for another day
Don't try so hard

But if you fall and take a tumble it won't be far
If you fail you mustn't grumble
Thank your lucky stars
Just savour every mouthful
And treasure every moment
When the storms are raging round you
Stay right where you are

Oh don't try so hard
Oh don't take it all to heart
It's only fools they make these rules
Don't try so hard

The Miracle

Every drop of rain that falls in Sahara Desert says it all
It's a miracle
All God's creations great and small
The Golden Gate and the Taj Mahal
That's a miracle
Test tube babies being born
Mothers, fathers dead and gone
It's a miracle

What I trying to explain is that I see a slow tendency through the years tha include more god-oriented/ find reasons in life lyrics.From a spiritual stand point god/religion takes another place in his work and I guess his life.

Another examples: Made in heven, God is heavy, Is this the wolr thad we created?


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Posted: 05 Oct 10, 13:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Maybe he knew he wouldn't live for ages and sought the meaning of life in religion more then he just to?

His songs are indeed more serious that you mentioned above.

Anyway he is a great guy and I will love his music for life.

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Posted: 05 Oct 10, 14:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I understood what you were asking, MmP, and I guess my original answer was not as direct as it could have been: No, I don't think Freddie became any more religious in his last years. There was religious imagery in his work his entire career, the same way he made pop culture references (Kruschev, Kennedy, Star Wars, Jaws, President of the United States of America, Fred Astaire, test-tube babies, 'The Scottish Play,' etc.), love and romance (Funny How Love Is, Love Of My Life, My Love Is Dangerous, Love Me Like There's No Tomorrow, I Was Born To Love You, Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy, etc.). I don't believe he did it for spiritual reasons, I think he did it because he was a pragmatic and clever songwriter who used any tool available to him. Religion, Mythology, Popular Culture, Love, Hate, Friendship, Loss were all there for him to use in his music, not in a way to be too personal, but there to entertain.

I don't think he'd want people reading too much into his work and applying very weighty notions to his songs. In interviews, he never seemed to concerned with deeper meanings.

That doesn't mean you and anyone else can't apply songs to your life and find deeper truth reflected in your life, just don't expect the author to have had the same intent in mind when he/she wrote it.

I'll say this, though, the band was not afraid to look at all sides (good and bad) of religion and dogma in both Queen and their solo works, possibly more than a lot of rock bands. I admire the fact that it wasn't off-limits and they weren't afraid of alienating listeners with lyrics like: "God works in mysterious ways[...] One God [...]one true religion.." and "If there's a God or any kind of justice under the sky..." and "With your bishops, priests and rulers, and all your mumbo-jumbo clans; When you're not accepting women, how can you love your fellow man?"

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Posted: 05 Oct 10, 20:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

MmP wrote: rhyeking
think Freddie simply used religious imagery the way he used cultural references, mythology and love themes, as tools for writing what he considered disposable pop songs. If it worked and sounded good, he employed it. He was a pragmatist that way and I think far too interested in his work to let it get bogged down by anything as lofty as deep philosophical or religious dogma. He was more interested in entertaining than preaching his beliefs or even allowing them to reflect his personal life or be too autobiographical. Just my opinion, based on interviews I've seen and quotes I've read.

i think you're right in the way that he rather entertained with music than looking to give opinions or beliefs. but that's exactly what I was asking. During his last years did his mind change enough to try us to see life in a better way? more calmly, guiding us through a more spiritual paths? I think his music in his last years really changed the style. he sounds more reflexive about life, and trying to find different ways of living happy. and i think in some way (maybe not inteded) it's preaching a belief.

emrabt
Yes because songs like jesus, mustapha and liar contain nothing to do with "god".

I didn't miss them, I clearly remember them but those are more of stories being told than actual feelings being expressed in a song.  I'd rather say that reading the Jesus/Mustapha lyrics you kinda see a story being told from a critic point of view.
What I see during Freddie's last years is that those songs then became more of spiritual-oriented songs, even before the AIDS his writting slowly turns into a more reflexive, spiritual work.

jpf
I guess you missed a song entitled "Jesus" off of the first Queen lp.
His lifestyle changed because he had AIDS.
His clothing changed to hide his weight loss.
He didn't find religion at the end.  He distanced himself from his
religion his entire adult life.

Once i again i didn't miss them, you can't see my point of view. and i was speaking also during his healthy life. Even in 1984.

Even reading "All Gods People". You see a clear spiritual kind of lyric.

So all you people give freely
Make welcome inside your homes
Thank God you people give freely
Don't turn your back on the lesson of the Lord

All prime ministers (yeah) and majesty around the world
Open your eyes look touch and feel
Rule with your heart (rule with your heart )
Live with your conscience (live with your conscience)
And love love
Love love and be
Love love and be free
We're all God's people (we're all God's people)

Can you see my point?

------------

In DTSH we see it again, a spiritual song. I don't know who wrote this one lyrically but I think it was Freddie. Especially in his situation he's preaching a nice way of life. Find your happiness despite all.

Dont try so Hard

If you're searching out for something
Don't try so hard
If you're feeling kinda nothing
Don't try so hard
When your problems seem like mountains
You feel the need to find some answers
You can leave it for another day
Don't try so hard

But if you fall and take a tumble it won't be far
If you fail you mustn't grumble
Thank your lucky stars
Just savour every mouthful
And treasure every moment
When the storms are raging round you
Stay right where you are

Oh don't try so hard
Oh don't take it all to heart
It's only fools they make these rules
Don't try so hard

The Miracle

Every drop of rain that falls in Sahara Desert says it all
It's a miracle
All God's creations great and small
The Golden Gate and the Taj Mahal
That's a miracle
Test tube babies being born
Mothers, fathers dead and gone
It's a miracle

What I trying to explain is that I see a slow tendency through the years tha include more god-oriented/ find reasons in life lyrics.From a spiritual stand point god/religion takes another place in his work and I guess his life.

Another examples: Made in heven, God is heavy, Is this the wolr thad we created?

-----
"All God's People" was originally written for the "Barcelona" lp.

The songs you have listed have a reflective nature to them.
Freddie is thinking about his death and putting some of that
thought into his lyrics.

It wasn't as if Freddie was chomping at the bit to join Stryper.

Freddie didn't practice his religion.  Freddie didn't change
his religion.  Peter Freestone and Jim Hutton never spoke
about Freddie's religious beliefs in their books because
Freddie never brought up this topic.


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Posted: 05 Oct 10, 22:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's right there in his lyrics.  You don't have to rely on another person to tell you whether or not Freddie was spiritual in his thinking or that he saw beauty in life and miracles around him.  Maybe instead of sitting around talking about this stuff, he put it into his music.  In any case, a beautiful result with the songs mentioned above.

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Posted: 06 Oct 10, 03:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Donna13 wrote: It's right there in his lyrics.  You don't have to rely on another person to tell you whether or not Freddie was spiritual in his thinking or that he saw beauty in life and miracles around him.  Maybe instead of sitting around talking about this stuff, he put it into his music.  In any case, a beautiful result with the songs mentioned above.

-----

There's a difference between being religious and being spiritual.

The person who started this thread is talking about religion.

Freddie shot a man.  He even told his mama about it.

It's right there in his lyrics.


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Posted: 06 Oct 10, 05:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyeking wrote: I understood what you were asking, MmP, and I guess my original answer was not as direct as it could have been: No, I don't think Freddie became any more religious in his last years. There was religious imagery in his work his entire career, the same way he made pop culture references (Kruschev, Kennedy, Star Wars, Jaws, President of the United States of America, Fred Astaire, test-tube babies, 'The Scottish Play,' etc.), love and romance (Funny How Love Is, Love Of My Life, My Love Is Dangerous, Love Me Like There's No Tomorrow, I Was Born To Love You, Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy, etc.). I don't believe he did it for spiritual reasons, I think he did it because he was a pragmatic and clever songwriter who used any tool available to him. Religion, Mythology, Popular Culture, Love, Hate, Friendship, Loss were all there for him to use in his music, not in a way to be too personal, but there to entertain.

I don't think he'd want people reading too much into his work and applying very weighty notions to his songs. In interviews, he never seemed to concerned with deeper meanings.

That doesn't mean you and anyone else can't apply songs to your life and find deeper truth reflected in your life, just don't expect the author to have had the same intent in mind when he/she wrote it.

I'll say this, though, the band was not afraid to look at all sides (good and bad) of religion and dogma in both Queen and their solo works, possibly more than a lot of rock bands. I admire the fact that it wasn't off-limits and they weren't afraid of alienating listeners with lyrics like: "God works in mysterious ways[...] One God [...]one true religion.." and "If there's a God or any kind of justice under the sky..." and "With your bishops, priests and rulers, and all your mumbo-jumbo clans; When you're not accepting women, how can you love your fellow man?"

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Quite intelligent post! 
Nice to read something like this on Queenzone for a change.

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Posted: 06 Oct 10, 08:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

yeah, rhyeking  great post, the kind of quality answer i was looking for.

jpf i was actially talking more about a spiritual freddie rather than realigious but since he has written a lot about god i came up with "religious" but that's okay.


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Posted: 06 Oct 10, 23:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

jpf wrote: Freddie shot a man.  He even told his mama about it.

It's right there in his lyrics.

-------

Well, if this is true, I do think it should be included in the movie.   If we are going to have sex, we might as well have violence. 

I think he used imaginary situations and the reality of his life and his own feelings and thoughts in his lyrics.  I'm sure some lyrics were less personal than others, some were random just for rhyming or fitting in with the music, and some were pure fantasy.  But if he did have some very personal thoughts, why should he not put them into a lyric?  And if they were very personal, why would he want to explain them carefully to anyone in an interview, or even to his best friends?  I think he wanted everyone to have their own meaning and interpretation of the lyrics, but that didn't rule out, necessarily, the existence of personal meaning to Freddie - especially in some of the songs mentioned in this thread.

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Posted: 07 Oct 10, 00:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Donna13:  think he used imaginary situations and the reality of his life and his own feelings and thoughts in his lyrics.  I'm sure some lyrics were less personal than others, some were random just for rhyming or fitting in with the music, and some were pure fantasy.  But if he did have some very personal thoughts, why should he not put them into a lyric?  And if they were very personal, why would he want to explain them carefully to anyone in an interview, or even to his best friends?  I think he wanted everyone to have their own meaning and interpretation of the lyrics, but that didn't rule out, necessarily, the existence of personal meaning to Freddie - especially in some of the songs mentioned in this thread.

++++++++++++++++++

If he didn't talk about his own personal feelings for the songs he wrote, religious or otherwise, we can't know what those feelings were. By the rationale that some songs are personal and some aren't, without knowing which is which, an equally valid case can be made that the non-religious songs meant more than the religious ones.

The lyrics quoted are only those which validate the theory, ignoring the other lyrics which do not fit the theory, which is not applying correct empirical deduction. What MmP is seeing as "Freddie was dying" and "there were spiritual/religious views in songs written for the last albums he worked on" represent only a skewed correlation: a possible pattern among many. Yet, one must always remember that correlation does NOT equal causation.

Freddie was dying, yes, but there were also religious touches on songs prior to him getting sick. Also, there were songs questioning the validity of religion written AFTER he got sick ("Innuendo," "The Fallen Priest"). Arguably, there were songs questioning religion early in his career as well ("Great King Rat").

What we're left with, as I theorized earlier, is that Freddie was consistent with his use of positive and negative religious imagery and themes (among MANY other things) for 30 years, using them as needed for the purpose of the song, with the end result to entertain.

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Posted: 07 Oct 10, 09:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You are over analyzing, I think, and you are presuming that we can never know what Freddie's meaning was because he did not confirm anything for us.  But it is pretty clear what some of the songs are about, such as "Don't Try So Hard".  Didn't Freddie even say that the lyrics speak for themselves?  Therefore, I say, we are free to interpret what they mean just based on common sense, and we shouldn't be so unsure of our own interpretation that we resort to assuming that all the lyrics were written for commercial purposes and "entertainment" and we can never know which lyrics were personal to Freddie.  I think there are also clues in the music because the music has its own meaning to the composer and then to add lyrics to some of the more beautiful and sad melodies - it would complete the thought process and expression.

Also, it would be normal for a person who is dying to think of the meaning of life, how it is precious, and noting what they will be saying goodbye to (a beloved cat, a beautiful place, friends), and also realizing that they just cannot control everything.  So, of course, if those sorts of things are on a person's mind, why not put them into a lyric?

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Posted: 07 Oct 10, 09:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't think I'm over-analyzing. I simply don't see the change in Freddie's lyrical sentiment which others do. I even said in my post that everyone is free to apply meaning to songs, just don't expect the author to have had the same intent in mind when it was written. The objective of the artist will always meet the subjective position of the audience. That's how art functions. The application of your opinion is what helps validate or invalidate art.

Yet, the question posed is about the artist's intent ("Was Freddie religious during his last years?"), not about our subjective interpretation. You say the evidence is in his lyrics, then apply your subjective position to the lyrics in order to justify the artist's intent. The result cannot properly answer the question posed, because it does not first  try to learn what Freddie was actually saying BEFORE applying his intent to his lyrics and figuring out whether he was successful.

The quote Sir Arthor Conan Doyle: "Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

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Posted: 07 Oct 10, 11:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I didn't say anything about religion or evidence.  I said that "it's right there in the lyrics" - meaning that the lyrics are there and we can note the subjects that were going through Freddie's mind.  Also, I think the original question seems to be only about religion as any person would define it, but I picked up on the real question in the first post through my perception.  It's fine to answer the question as asked, but I decided to go beyond that to a broader scope.

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Posted: 07 Oct 10, 12:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yes....it is all in the interpretation.

Take 'Princes Of The Universe' for example.  Are the lyrics just relating to the movie, or referencing others?   Maybe Freddie himself?  Queen?  Jesus?  Other prophets in any religion?   Probably not.  Yet, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to come to any of the previously mentioned beliefs.

The importance of punctation:  grab the 'Innuendo CD, put on track 7, and listen to it as ..........All Gods' People........
not as .....All God's People......

The message: "C'mon people.  C'mon, politicians.  We are all Gods' people, not just one God, our end beliefs and moralistic viewpoints are more similar than different,....so open your eyes......"

This struck me in January '91.  I've wondered if this song may have been presented or thought of in that way, but overruled or intentionally done so as to not cause any slight litlle firestorm.  The simple placement of an apostrophe changes it from personal and spiritual to a more humanistic and political one.

If Freddie and Mike Moran were dyslexic, this song could have had an entirely different meaning.  But Freddie was a cat person

'Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds':  a child's crayon drawing inspiration, or LSD song?  Both?  Neither?  Ir's whatever the listener wants it to be.


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Posted: 14 Oct 10, 21:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Uh..."Jesus" from the first studio l.p. would be about oral sex...right?    That would NOT be religous...just to point that out.   You know the whole "All going down to see the Lord Jesus...all going down."  lyric  I do not believe has as much to do with any activity from the Bible as it may apear.    Often I wonder if Fred and the gang were cursed by some of the lyrics from the first studio l.p. using that title with that meaning and with the lyrics from "Great King Rat"...with what has been mentioned where Fred says "Don't believe all that read in the Bible."    Of course none of it was to be taken literally so maybe I am talking in circles as much as Queen were trying to provocative and sell some records...nothing wrong with that...right?