Added on 23-Oct-2008
So your frontman has moved on (or died) but your fans still want to hear you. As Queen tour their first album with Paul Rodgers as lead singer, Chris Mugan warns of the hazards of replacing a legend
Friday, 24 October 2008
Just as Freddie Mercury himself once prophetically sang, the show must go on. So for years after his death, the remaining members of Queen soldiered on in with a variety of guests, from an imperious George Michael at Wembley to boy band Five's reading of "We Will Rock You". Yet there remained a demand for them to regurgitate the hits, so Roger Taylor and Brian May found a more permanent replacement.
On paper, their choice looked odd: Queen were college geeks, while Paul Rodgers was in his teens when he found fame with Free, thanks to a growling, bluesy delivery miles from Mercury's cod-opera confections. Yet when guitarist May cameoed on Free's signature tune "All Right Now", he found a whole new chemistry with Rodgers and he joined full time. Ever respectful to Mercury's memory, the new line up is billed as Queen + Paul Rodgers.
Quite right, as new album The Cosmos Rocks fails to match even the group's late-eighties nadir. Still, their current arena tour is doing the business. Could bringing in a famous name be the way forward for Led Zeppelin, if they choose to tour without Robert Plant? Or Velvet Revolver as they seek to replace Scott Weiland? As we see below, whether you go for an established name or a greenhorn, pitfalls await established bands hunting for a new singer.