Alternative Weekend: When Queen were prog

in Music2 months ago (edited)

@slobberchops kicked off the #Alternative Weekend theme to feature music from outside the mainstream. You take that to mean whatever you like.


Queen were one of the first bands I got into when I heard their Greatest Hits album. This was in the 70's when they were having lots of hits. Some might consider them a pop/rock act, but especially in their early days they had definite prog leanings.

I would say Bohemian Rhapsody is a prog song with its classical themes and multiple parts. Is anyone really use what the middle bit is all about?

A lot of prog bands played around with fairy tales, fantasy and myths. Queen did a fair bit of this on their second album.

Nothing like an Ogre Battle. It starts with a scream from Roger (I presume). I have no idea where the idea came from, but it is a real story lyric even if it is not as long as you might expect for the genre. It is a heavy song, but I do not think I would class it as metal. It could be closer to opera really. This painting was done in hospital.

From the same album this Fairy Feller's Master Stroke which was inspired by a Richard Dadd painting of the same name. Dadd was a Victorian painter who was put in a psychiatric hospital after killing his father and attempting to kill someone else. The song describes characters in the painting and this video shows them at appropriate times.

Bohemian Rhapsody was on the A Night At the Opera album (named after a Marx Brothers movie, as was A Day At The Races. This album contains a wide range of music from Roger singing about his love for his car to this epic which has some similarities to 'Bo Rhap' with an a capella section in the middle. The Bohemian Rhapsody movie about Freddie and the band is worth a watch as it covers some of the recording of the album where they were really pushing what the technology of the time could do.

The album also contains my favourite song about relativity written by astrophysicist Brian May. I have sung this at the pub a few times and very few people recognise it. I think many only know the band from the hits, but they had a lot of interesting album tracks. The video mixes in various live performances, but I think the audio is the album version. Have to love those harmonised guitar parts. Such a recognisable sound.

I did not see Queen live until 1984 and again in 1986. I do no think they did any of these songs. They did play this one which tended to be Brian's big guitar solo piece with lots of use of a tape echo machine.

If only I had had access to this archive of performances as a kid. YouTube has so much. I encourage you to dig deeper into Queen's discography. You may be surprised.

Rock on!


The first time I heard a song of the Queen was Radio Ga Ga, around the 1986. At that time I used to watch an italian Tv show called Dj Television with a lot of music videos from international artist. I was 15 years old and I was really well impressed by that song, so, during the time, I heard a lot of their song and watched their music videos.

They did some fun videos. They had such a unique sound though. I still think Freddie is one of the greatest performers ever.

The Prophets Song sounds interesting. I'm not a great fan of Queen outside the singles.

have sung this at the pub a few times and very few people recognise it

You could claim fake ownership!

I did not see Queen live until 1964 and again in 1986.

Were you in nappies during the first gig?

Ah, you spotted my deliberate mistake! Fixed it now. That was The Works and A Kind of Magic tours.

I do a few obscure songs at the pub. I could just say I wrote them, but I'm too honest.

Well, a pre-packed introduction to fantasy Queen - just what I needed.

You got me thinking about it, so thanks for that. Maybe I should try writing some fantasy lyrics. Genesis were into that too, as were many prog bands.

@tipu curate

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I really need to dig into some more Queen. Like you I mostly only know about the big hits, but I know my friend is really into them and he really likes them. He is more of a rock guy, so I am not sure he is into their progressive stuff. I might try to put some their albums in my rotation this week.

I had all their albums on tape at some point years ago, so I knew all the songs. We watched a programme about how Adam Lambert joined them and my other half says she would not mind seeing them live. I'm not so convinced as Freddie was the real deal :)