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From my movie review of Bohemian Rhapsody in Taki’s Magazine:

Homo Superior
by Steve Sailer, November 07, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody is a crowd-pleasing biopic about the life and sadly early death of Queen’s singer Freddie Mercury (1946–1991) that subversively depicts the roots of the AIDS epidemic. Rather than portray Mercury in the now-traditional manner—as a martyr to Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s homophobia—the film instead reflects his straight bandmates’ view of him as a vast talent who was allowed to ruin his health by the debauchery of the Gay Liberation era that never denied him whatever self-indulgence he craved.

Of course, his contemporaries had good reason to treat Mercury as someone special. In the judgment of the Who’s Roger Daltrey, Freddie was the most virtuosic of all rock singers, an extraordinary vocal acrobat. (Personally, I didn’t particularly enjoy his tone, but his skill at vocal ornamentation was unworldly.)

As a live performer, I’d rank him in the top dozen rock-star frontmen I saw in the 1970s and 1980s, but perhaps not quite in the top rank (say, Strummer, Springsteen, Byrne, Bono, Petty, Prince, Jagger, Hynde, and Davies).

Read the whole thing there.

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  1. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Good review. My Twitter thread on it below touches on a point you made about the critics not liking Queen’s music at the time. I thought the movie’s inclusion of the critics’ pans of the song Bohemian Rhapsody (which got big laughs in the theater when I saw the movie) was sort of a prebuttal of the movie critics.

  2. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Dave Pinsen

    Looks like my thread on the movie didn’t display. Trying that one again.

  3. there used to be more homos in music. musicians of serious note anyway. they’ve mostly left.

    for a long time i’ve thought that over the last 20 years as homo hysteria has peaked, up and coming homos elected to go into other industries to become fabulous. now that their group had essentially won total and complete victory in the culture wars, being an open and fabulous homo was no barrier to entry to other fields. and music was less appealing with these new options available. like governor of colorado.

    or perhaps since their group had won a total and complete victory in the culture war, many of them became more lazy and complacent, since there was less motivation now to be openly fabulous. so they just went home and did homo stuff and gave up their ambition to be fabulous musicians, a place where they had always been accepted. they concentrated on more basic stuff, like making every school district adopt homo friendly education for 4th graders.

    now i realize that almost all the homos of note where like most of the other musicians of note – european men. and european men have mostly dropped out of music. so it makes sense that the homo musicians of note have also disappeared.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Dave Pinsen
    , @Harold
    , @Excal
  4. zeppelin always got negative reviews. their over 100 million units in sales beg to differ of course.

    christgau, by far the worst music critic ever, never missed a chance to give a popular rock band a negative review.

    fortunately with the internet, streaming audio, youtube, and so forth, music critics are 100% irrelevant. thank god and good riddance.

    unfortunately, it’s also the case that music is dead. so there’s nothing to enjoy in a beautiful world where rolling stone magazine douches no longer matter.

    would be nice to next get rid of all sports writers, analysts, talking heads, and internet critics, as they are equally annoying, or probably worse than music critics ever were. my goodness are these blathering talking sports heads annoying now.

  5. JimB says:

    Stylistically, Queen borrowed heavily from the Sparks, a contemporaneous band founded in LA by Ron and Russell Mael. In fact, Freddie Mercury usually sounded like he was doing a Russell Mael impersonation, and every Queen song comes across, at least to my ears, as a hamfisted Sparks tribute. It’s baffling to me that so few people know about the Sparks. They were the real deal, while Queen was a shoddy imitator.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  6. Anon[319] • Disclaimer says:

    Best part of the review: “When I was about to move to Chicago in October 1982, I first hauled my less favorite albums to a West L.A. used-record store. The supercilious clerk, like Jack Black in High Fidelity, tried to shame me into keeping my copy of James Brown’s Live at the Apollo. But he not only refused to pay me for any of my Queen records, he was offended when I offered to give them to his store.”

    I was an obnoxious record store clerk at an indie store back in the 90s before my employer gave me boot for mocking some patron’s lousy taste. Good times.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  7. Man, I like Queen a great deal. That was an interesting comment about Three Dog Night, another band I’m extremely fond of. I don’t see them as connected.

    I don’t know how the critics feel today, but this is a good list (ordered by my own idiosyncratic preference, not popularity):

    Somebody to Love
    Fat Bottomed Girls
    Bohemian Rhapsody
    Another One Bites the Dust
    Under Pressure
    My Best Friend
    Crazy Little Thing Called Love
    Killer Queen/We Are the Champions/We Will Rock You

    Don’t know how many heirs the band had, but if they have any they’ll be kept very nicely on the proceeds.

  8. as a martyr to Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s homophobia

  9. Apparently pretty “gay”:

    Quite entertaining:

  10. Anon[319] • Disclaimer says:
    @prime noticer

    Every since musicians stopped being paid good money for record sales, the field hasn’t attracted the really ambitious anymore. If the dollars showed up, the talent would, too. You can release your record yourself, but there’s so much competition for ear time that it’s still hard to make a living from concerts alone if you’re not very well known.

  11. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Another thought I had after watching the movie is whatever studios own Flash Gordon (1980) and Highlander (1986), both of which have soundtracks by Queen, ought to rerelease them in theaters next month to ride the Bohemian Rhapsody wave.

    Bohemian Rhapsody had two songs from the Highlander soundtrack: Who Wants To Live Forever (which plays right after Freddy gets his AIDS diagnosis) and Hammer To Fall, which was part of Queen’s Live Aid set (which, interestingly, despite being one of the best live rock performances ever, included a couple of songs that probably no one would consider to be in Queen’s top five).

    Also, I know nothing of the backstory, but I couldn’t help wondering if Brian May’s worry that they’d suck at Live Aid was a dig at Led Zeppelin, which was likely the most-hyped and least successful reunion of Live Aid.

    • Replies: @Hapalong Cassidy
  12. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @education realist

    The band’s still active, with Adam Lambert from American Idol as its frontman. With all those songs, it’s crazy when you think of it that they played Radio Ga Ga and Hammer to Fall at Live Aid.

    I always liked their Highlander stuff: Gimme The Prize, the first ~1:50 of Princes of the Universe..,

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
    , @Desiderius
  13. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @prime noticer

    European men like Calvin Harris, Alesso, and David Guetta dominate today’s pop.

  14. @Dave Pinsen

    i like your taste in stocks more than your taste in DJs lol

  15. Trevor H. says:
    @education realist

    “Don’t Stop Me Now” is prominently
    missing from your list.

  16. “… but perhaps not quite in the top rank (say, Strummer, Springsteen, Byrne, Bono, Petty, Prince, Jagger, Hynde, and Davies).”

    Hmmm … you forget the Michaels (George and Jacko). OK, OK, I know they were pop-stars, not rock stars.

    But what about …

    And, to add a little diversity to the mix, …

  17. Anon[260] • Disclaimer says:

    Queen at Live Aid 1985. Possibly one of the best live rock performances yet.

  18. Enochian says:

    Has there ever been an iSteve post on Zoroastrians? They seem to be another of Amy Chua’s market-dominant minorities, and much like the jews in terms of talent, geographically dispersed, and having ancient middle-eastern origins.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  19. Music critics are to music what NeverTrumpers are to politics.

  20. “The physically imposing Sacha Baron Cohen…”

    Haha, good one. Yo man’s so skinny, he looks like the punchline of a 1980s Ethiopian joke.

  21. Harold says:
    @prime noticer

    I don’t know much about pop music but I know Swedish men Martin Sandberg and Johan Schuster have written a lot of pop hits.

    together they have produced, written, and/or co-written songs for P!nk, Taylor Swift, Adam Lambert, Britney Spears, Usher, Avril Lavigne, Ariana Grande, Adele, and Maroon 5.

  22. Thud says: • Website

    I fell asleep at a Queen gig, the Ramones and the clash etc couldn’t have arrived fast enough for me.

  23. Cpluskx says:

    I think Freddie’s voice in ”The Show Must Go On” is the best sounding singing voice ever. Dio in ”Dream On” is good too.

    @Dave Pinsen

    I think almost all modern music genres invented by black people.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  24. Anonym says:

    If you are only familiar with the greatest hits, you must listen to Queen II, their sophomore effort. Hugely influential. One of my favorites is the following.

    The lyrics describe the eponymous painting.

    Not in the front rank of frontmen? You were there I suppose but… :/

    Good review though. I was wondering why the disparity between (((critics))) and others.

  25. Clyde says:

    Mercury was a super duper hard partier ….. drugs sex rock n roll. UK Daily Mail had recent article on this and that this movie greatly toned it down to make it more (lol) family friendly. Exact quote. UK Mail described the crazy degenerate parties he would throw. The streams of willing boyfriends etc.

  26. LondonBob says:

    I just about remember when the Freddie Mercury AIDs thing broke, the reaction in Britain was that if a straight guy like Freddie Mercury could get AIDs then anyone could. Or maybe that was just the wrong impression of naive young boy. It was a different, better, world then.

    The government did insist on scaring the general populace about this gay disease.

  27. @Dave Pinsen

    Queen was always much more popular in Europe than in the US. I remember being shocked how many kids were still wearing Queen patches on their jean jerseys in Germany in the 90s. I always thought it was because Europeans have more tolerance for the operatic and overblown elements of Queen that Americans found fey and off-putting. Steve is right about Queen’s heterogeneity being a strike against them. Back in the 1970s your choice of music defined who you were, and Queen didn’t fit. Too eclectic for the hard rock/metal stoners, too commercial for the intellectual art rockers and punks, too gay for the jocks. They were a band for casual FM radio listeners who liked songs more than bands. But at the same time they were also a band for real musicians – seemed like Brian May was featured in Guitar Player magazine every third issue back then.

    They went way off the rails in the MTV era. “Radio Ga Ga” alone made them incredibly uncool in the US for Gen Xers. I don’t think I ever heard anyone playing Queen in the dorm or at a party in college. By the early 90s Queen felt like a band we had put away with our pet rocks and perms, and it was kind of embarrassing to see them still out and about. Freddie dying of AIDs was honestly the best thing that could have happened to them in terms of preserving a legacy.

  28. jim jones says:

    My neighbour went to Ealing Art College with all the rock stars but all he learnt was how to paint puppies

  29. Jay Fink says:

    I remember hearing the song Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time in early 1976. I was 8 years old in the car with my dad. We were both blown away at how good the song was and got such a kick out of the operatic elements. We were parked and didn’t leave the car until it was over. Then we walked into a bar and grill to eat lunch and it started playing soon after we sat down.

    My dad bought the Night At The Opera 8 track and we listened to it a lot. He bought me the next 3 or 4 Queen albums too..up throught 1980s the Game LP. I was really into them and enjoyed not just their hits but also their album cuts. Just because Queen brings back fond memories of my childhood I will definitely see the movie…probably today.

  30. @education realist

    I am glad you put Killer Queen in that list, E.R, but I’d have personally put that 1st or 2nd. That one has a killer short guitar solo by Brian May. That guy was a PhD astronomer who had to pick whether to go directly to work in his scientific field or continue on with the band, in the mid-1970′s, right before they got really big. He made the right choice.

    Brian May’s solos sound very much like the guitar parts in ELO songs, BTW, either by Roy Wood or Jeff Lynn himself. Listen at 01:45 – that short guitar solo is devine:

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Dave Pinsen
  31. @Dave Pinsen

    I remember seeing Flash Gordon in the theatre when I was a little kid, and thinking it had the greatest opening credits ever, largely due to Queen’s memorable song. Like many kids of my generation, that was our first exposure to Queen. I heard a lot of “Flash! Ahhh-ahhhh!” on the playground for weeks after that movie came out.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  32. @Peter Akuleyev

    Queen was always much more popular in Europe than in the US. I remember being shocked how many kids were still wearing Queen patches on their jean jerseys in Germany in the 90s.

    That’s simply because, excepting the British Isles, Peter, the Europeans were simply 10 – 20 years behind the times! I kid you not. I was in France and Germany at the end of the 80′s and the kids were getting into The Eagles. Yes, they ARE a great band, but their heyday was the 2nd half of the 1970′s. The French were just discovering Hotel California, which was from 10 years back.

  33. Anonymous[974] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s pretty obvious that the single ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ owed very very heavily to the 1970s British hand 10cc, namely the 10cc tracks, ‘One Night in Paris’, ‘Fresh Air for Mama’ and ‘Don’t Hang Up’.

    10cc bring the gentlemen that they are never sued.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  34. Anonymous[974] • Disclaimer says:

    Recently, there was an excellent BBC drama concerning the late, great British comedian and DJ (let’s bomb Russia!) Kenny Everett and Freddie Mercury.

    Everett ‘made’ Bohemian Rhapsody by incessantly playing what was an album track in his Capital Radio program, causing popular demand for a single release. Both Mercury and Everett were flamboyant coke snorting homosexuals, who it not having a gay relationship, shared an HIV positive lover in common – a Spanish waiter, as the British tabloid press never ceased to remind us.

  35. Pericles says:

    Nancy Reagan Turned Down Rock Hudson’s Plea For Help … Rock Hudson was desperately trying to get treatment for AIDS in France in 1985. …

    I guess the reader first of all shouldn’t think too closely about there being no help for AIDS back then.

  36. As a live performer, I’d rank him in the top dozen rock-star frontmen I saw in the 1970s and 1980s, but perhaps not quite in the top rank (say,…Byrne,…Hynde,…).

    Way way way way wait, hold it, hold it.

    David Byrne? A better singer than Freddie Mercury? No way.

    Chrissy Hynde? Come on. Joan Jett had way better pipes, and range.

    Irony. How many of today’s generation can actually name much less listen to Talking Heads and Hynde’s work? Compared with Queen/Mercury? In other words, which band is more instantly recalled and listened to? Just on commercial success, which band sold more albums, it’s not even close.

    The defense rests, your honor.

    Surprised you didn’t get to see Led Zeppelin during their ’70′s heyday, otherwise it wouldn’t have been close. Mercury vs Plant. Who was the better singer? Hate to be in on the debate, because both men were amazingly talented and clearly stood heads and shoulders above other rock lead singers.

    Have to suppose that music really does bring out the passions and emotions. This should be a lively debate posting with many rock fans weighing in.

  37. @Dave Pinsen

    As far as rock based pop goes, they wouldn’t have been able to compete back in the ’70′s or ’80′s. Music is too trippy dippy, made strictly for chicks. Do any straight men really listen to David Guetta?

    • Replies: @Fredrik
  38. OK, I’ve read the review now. As usual, it was fun reading, even though I don’t care about the movie business, per se.

    Your quick story about trying to get rid of your James Brown record and the record-store guy cracked me up, Steve, and brought back a memory (and I really liked High Fidelity too.). I was moving and could not stuff anything more in the rental car, so 4 records that would not fit into the one milk crate had to go. I regret like hell that one of these 4 outcasts was an old KISS Destroyer cutout. Anyway, I was simply offended by being offered a quarter a piece by this guy at the used record store. (I think he is STILL THERE and gives you 50 or 75 cents now, yipeee!)

    I would have rather just given the 4 albums away, which is what I did by leaving them on the grass median in a busy shopping street near the record store. Did I mention KISS Destroyer? Sometimes you’ve just got to let go of stuff – you won’t miss anything of your stuff after you don’t have access to it for 5 years, is what I learned.

    I never had a single Queen album, come to think of it. Like you said, they were a singles band. I did not understand the name until the 1990′s, though.

  39. @Peter Akuleyev

    Yes. Everyone I knew in the 80s viewed Queen as a European band. And of course, Queen never did the campus tour thing. The Dead were a much bigger deal than Queen. For that matter, Van Halen were a much bigger deal in American than Queen. The hipster/posers were into punk and new wave, not Queen.

    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  40. kihowi says:

    (Personally, I didn’t particularly enjoy his tone, but his skill at vocal ornamentation was unworldly.)

    That’s what you get with gay writers like Wilde and Fry. There’s not much to it, but the verbal frippery is woooooow…. As with other gay behavior it’s part of homosexuality as a conscious inversion of the kind of behavior men had agreed upon as necessary for civilization to work:

    “Think of other people. If you have something to say, say what you mean and say it clearly. Don’t live your life as a religion to your own bodily functions. You are not the center of the universe.

    But still, Mercury seems like he lived a hundred years ago. He was one of the old generation of British homosexuals like Kenneth Williams, Noel Coward and Frankie Howerd , who felt they had an obligation to be cheerful and likeable. After decades of psychotic hostility against society outside of themselves, that seems as quaint and old-fashioned as a woman introducing herself as “Mrs. [husband's full name] “.

  41. Oh, about your comment on The Kinks’ Lola. I never thought that song really was about homosexuality or at least by the narrator, Ray Davies. It was about a drunken mistake – the guy didn’t find out that anything was amiss, or actually a-extra, until he was in bed with this Lola. I think they drank a lot more of the champaign than the cherry cola, but, it’s just a song.

    Elton John, OTOH, with his 1000 pairs of glasses and colorful outfits was gay-looking for a while before he admitted it to his fans and others. He did not admit his gayness in his lyrics, though, before he “came out”. As an example, I present an anti-immigration song from Elton John in his heyday. I don’t think it affected his music at all, and he did not make it into his be-all-to-end-all, as the lesbian pair The Indigo Girls did, but maybe it was just the Indigo Girls’ fans that were the problem.

    Grow Some Funk of your Own from Rock of the Westies from before Elton John was officially gay, or right around that time:

    Come to think of it, the lyrics were by Bernie Taupen. I don’t know if he was gay.

    • Replies: @Half Canadian
  42. Bill B. says:

    When I was a teenager in the UK Queen seemed to be the radio all the time – and I loathed them. Perhaps they got a lot of airplay because there wasn’t much competition.

    I didn’t know anyone who had any time for them; except perhaps the one or two parents who appreciated the acapella stuff.

    They excelled at Live Aid by a superb one-off handling of mostly mediocre material. To me it is like watching – I dunno – professional dancing. I’m basically not interested but I can admire the technique.

    It was strange era; who nowadays would guess that The Sweet were all heterosexual?

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  43. Lumpy says:

    C’mon, Steve, keep your theoreticals in order.

    Freddy Mercury was neither a Parsi nor a Persian nor an Indian. He was born in Zanzibar, which according to Magic Dirt Theory makes him an African.

    As well as an African-American, because slavery.

    • Replies: @onetwothree
  44. Rob Halford of Judas Priest is gay. Sort of the exception to the rule.

  45. Sunbeam says:

    “As a live performer, I’d rank him in the top dozen rock-star frontmen I saw in the 1970s and 1980s, but perhaps not quite in the top rank (say, Strummer, Springsteen, Byrne, Bono, Petty, Prince, Jagger, Hynde, and Davies).”

    You may not have seen him but Bon Scott blew the doors out as far as being a front man. Jim Morrison is the only one I can think of who was better at this indefinable thing.

    Of course the crowd for AC/DC was always people who thought wearing a denim jacket was a valid fashion choice. So not sure that would have appealed to your tastes, and frankly Scott died sometime around when you went to Rice.

    But just for the heck of it:

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  46. Another thing that brought back Queen’s popularity was Wayne’s World and the subsequent Bohemian Rhapsody video with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  47. MEH 0910 says:

    When he was seventeen Homer Simpson listened to Queen.

  48. TheOldOne says:

    I’m old enough to remember when white adults wouldn’t be caught dead listening to rock music; that kind of music was regarded as “only for those ignorant colored people”; that was a better time, Mr. Sailer.

    Looking for a great singer…Frank, Ella or Maria Callas.

  49. Nathan says:

    One of the really great things about the isteve blog is that Steve’s actually been noticing things long enough to cut through the historical revisionism that has become the accepted wisdom and narrative. I wasn’t alive to see Queen, so it comes as a surprise that Freddie Mercury would have been below people like Joe Strummer as a live frontman. It’s also interesting that people seem to be MORE accepting of homosexuality back in the bad old days. Sure, gays are on every TV show now, but do they have the cultural impact of the people everyone assumed were gay 40 years ago?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  50. Anonymous[246] • Disclaimer says:

    Would he have grown into a voracious queer if he had not gone to an English boarding school in India? Personally, I doubt it.

    Also your piece mentions someone from the rock world far more interesting than sad, sensitive Freddie Mercury: Bob Geldof. I would like to see a film about him from an opposing standpoint like Oliver Stone’s Nixon. He is a very dark figure; and how did he make his hundreds of millions? The Boomtown Rats weren’t exactly the Beatles.

  51. @education realist

    “Love of my Life” is my favorite Queen. Check out the performance of the song at the Live Aid concert.

    My understanding is that the song was written by Freddie Mercury to a woman who was his ex-girlfriend. I think he left the woman a portion of his estate when he died.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  52. @JohnnyWalker123

    as a martyr to Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s homophobia

    I’ve never heard that before. This sounds ridiculous.

    As for Nancy Reagan refusing to help Rock Hudson get AIDS treatment… I’ve never heard of Rock Hudson, I’m sorry he passed away at 59, but this seems sensationalized. Was it Nancy Reagan’s job to solve this man’s medical issues? People die every minute. I don’t help any of them.

    • Replies: @Tim
    , @Achmed E. Newman
    , @J.Ross
  53. songbird says:

    The basic stats on HIV infection rates for gays are pretty shocking, when you consider how the lifestyle is promoted. Some of the metropolitan areas in the South have rates which seem somewhat comparable to the worst afflicted places in Africa.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  54. I spent my first August of high school listening to a tuba player honking out the bass line? of Another One Bites the Dust. He did this compulsively during breaks from what he was actually supposed to be playing. Maybe this is why I don’t really get Queen or why there are plenty of European cult followers to this very day. For instance two fairly recent movies, including Shaun of the Dead, feature Queen songs in their soundtracks. I have always liked Crazy Little Thing Called Love which could almost have been Beach Boys or Steve Miller.

  55. @JohnnyWalker123

    Cuz Nancy was hiding the cure for AIDS in a secret chamber under the White House. Lol.

    Seriously, the gravamen of Chris Geidner’s* extended whinge is that the highest level of America’s government didn’t intervene into France’s government to give preferential treatment to a fellow fudge packer. Indeed, Nancy not wanting to create an impression of favoritism toward an old friend was ethical, democratic and egalitarian–principles supposedly prized by journalists. Nevertheless, Hudson’s case still got referred to the Embassy in Paris for action by the White House, and Rock received a personal phone call from the President, which is far more than the other couple of hundred million US citizens could have expected in similar circumstances.

    Geidner’s fanatical drive to heighten Homosexual Privilege illustrates why it is futile to court the Left’s favor. No deed or sacrifice is ever enough. Your guilt and blame only increase with your cooperation.

    *Is there an equivalent of triple parentheses for homosexuals posing as impartial arbiters? Say something like a triple bent character: ¬¬¬ or ~~~ or maybe λλλ ?

    • Agree: bomag
    • Replies: @donut
  56. BenKenobi says:

    Fun fact: Nintendo has a very good RTS series called Ogre Battle. Both the SNES and N64 games have subtitles inspired by Queen songs — March of the Black Queen and Person of Lordly Caliber, respectively.

  57. Dtbb says:

    My english best friend and his brother tried to drag me to two Queen concerts in my early teens. I would have none if it! “Who wants to see those fags” I said as a confirmed southern rocker at the time. Oh well, chances lost.

  58. Epic Rap Battles of History: Frank Sinatra vs. Freddie Mercury.

    “You changed your name to Mercury—you should have been Freddie Uranus.”

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  59. Lot says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    First time I heard Queen outside of BoRap and their sports anthems was with a bunch of Brits/Germans/Australians in their late teens and 20s on a cut rate party/drinking tour of Italy.

    One Queen album after another was played by popular consensus. Also Led Zeppelin. Also, once everyone was really drunk…. The Twist, Let’s Twist Again, The Peppermint Twist.

  60. Abe says: • Website

    How many people really knew Freddy was gay before the AIDS diagnosis (i.e. during the 70’s/early 80’s)? OK, if you had a pulse it was pretty obvious Liberace was gay. But in the relative information desert of the 70’s and 80’s (if you missed seeing LIVE AID on network TV at the time it was broadcast- well, it’s 20 years before YouTube, and 10 years before there’s a Borders bookstore near you which might have an outside chance of carrying the VHS cassette of it- be kind, rewind!), how likely were you to know this bit of inside trade as a kid not growing up in a coastal megalopolis whose access to MTV was strictly rationed by the whims of his best friend with the bitchin’ cable hookup? How many people knew Elton John was gay who’d never seen one of his live performances (let alone one of him in a duck suit), but simply heard his tunes over the radio? Billie Joel played a piano too, and wrote pretty maudlin songs, yet he ended up marrying Christie Brinkley (and didn’t even John go through the formality of a sham marriage at one point?) I think there is a tendency to back project way too much gay-cluedness to us heartland masses. There is a reason, after all, the 90s is now remembered as the big coming out decade.

  61. Everyone in Queen wrote songs, and they were the first admitted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame as a band.

    Mercury, though, sang all the hits. Maybe all the songs, too.. I didn’t get the albums.

    To me, they were like Barry Manilow and the Carpenters, or later Dire Straits– people either loved or hated them. But I was in the lonely middle ground. “No, this song is wretched, but that one is a barrel of fun.”

    • Replies: @Lot
  62. Excal says:
    @prime noticer

    The sisters are still around, as they have always been. Pop music mostly isn’t music, it’s theatre, and theatre never lacks sisters. You don’t always see them on stage — and when they are on stage, you don’t always know who is what, even in these liberated times.

  63. Anonymous[409] • Disclaimer says:

    (Personally, I didn’t particularly enjoy his tone, but his skill at vocal ornamentation was unworldly.)

    What is “vocal ornamentation”?

  64. anon[409] • Disclaimer says:

    Why did they name themselves “Queen”?

  65. Abe says: • Website

    (Personally, I didn’t particularly enjoy his tone, but his skill at vocal ornamentation was unworldly.)

    This is exactly right! While clearly among the most gifted rock voices of all time, Mercury’s more operatic/spoken word tonality simply fails to do it for me. Among the other two singers widely considered the best voices in rock, I think Steve Perry has one of the most pleasing tones, while Robert Plant’s Valhallic keens are some seriously bone-chilling sh!t (with all the interest in IMMIGRANT SONG due to the GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO and THOR comic book movies, I’ve been revisiting some of my boots from the 1970 Led Zeppelin tour, and, yes, he could really bring it then).

    Steve made an apt comment how there is only a certain kind of boy who’s interested in how many awards Beyoncé or Taylor Swift piles up. Yet did you know there is such a thing as vocal range videos made by what look like pretty hetero guys all over YouTube (I think there are even online databases dedicated to documenting the highest notes a particular singer ever scored, and whether that was in the studio or live)? Gay (Mercury, Halford) or straight (Bruce Dickenson, Ronnie Dio), there are gangs of straight male rock fans ready to duke it out on behalf of the honor of their favorite heavy metal diva. If it can be put in terms of biggest, fastest, hardest, and arranged in a ‘who’d win in a fight between…’ us straight white dudes are there!

  66. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    There’s a guy on YouTube who teaches people to sing like Dio.

  67. Anon[263] • Disclaimer says:

    not quite in the top rank (say, Strummer, Springsteen, Byrne, Bono, Petty, Prince, Jagger, Hynde, and Davies)

    Bono, Byrne, and Hynde?

  68. Marty says:

    I think I always “knew” Elton John was gay, but in 1979 I worked with a waiter who told me he did EJ at some club in L.A.

    • Replies: @Ghost of Bull Moose
  69. Anon[263] • Disclaimer says:

    One interesting pattern is that major gay rock stars, such as Mercury, Elton John, and Little Richard, are more likely to be pianists than electric guitarists. The weapon-shaped and aggressive-sounding electric guitar was the most masculine musical instrument ever.


    Piano keyboard is perfectly suited for limp-wristed finger twiddling.

  70. Dtbb says:

    Everybody missed seeing LIVE AID on network tv. It was broadcast on MTV.

  71. @Abe

    How many people knew Elton John was gay who’d never seen one of his live performances (let alone one of him in a duck suit), but simply heard his tunes over the radio?

    In the mid-70s, my Democratic high-school teammate, an EJ fan, denied the man was queer, while my Republican roommate in college not only admitted it, matter-of-factly, but used the term “gay”, not yet in common use. Even then small towns and suburbs showed their differences.

    Bulsara was blessed with a very tough Third World exterior, and add to that he was bi for quite a while, and you can see how easy it was for him to pass, not that he tried to. Interestingly, he left much of his estate to his former girlfriend, to whom, unlike the many male partners, one (or more) of which infected him, he was a true friend to till the end.

  72. @Abe

    How many people really knew Freddy was gay before the AIDS diagnosis (i.e. during the 70’s/early 80’s)?

    I think – paradoxically – that people cared less about who actually had a penchant for gay sex in his or her private life at that time than they do now. Mercury was flamboyant in his demeanor, and perhaps at least implicitly gay or somewhat gay presenting, so I think there was at least widespread ambiguity about his sexuality. But because Mercury didn’t engage in the public “coming out” ritual in which he would have announced that gay sex was an integral part of his identity, his broader audience didn’t have to confront that aspect of his life head-on. It was fine that it was simply ambiguous and something Mercury kept to himself. There were similar “rumors” about the private lives of Mick Jagger and David Bowie (and the two of them together) but generally speaking demands weren’t made upon an audience of consumers to “support” this in overt terms. It could all be dismissed as Mercury or Bowie being a little bit weird and a lot provocative and influenced by drugs. It wasn’t the Support/Hate binary sold to us by the left and their politics of identity in the time since then. You might say that people were more temperamentally tolerant when they were given a real choice as to whether or not to engage with something alien to themselves.

    • Agree: Abe
  73. Anon[263] • Disclaimer says:

    ‘Stairway to Heaven”s three-part structure from slow ballad to moderate to heavy set the standard for others in the 70s.

    Wings with ‘Band on the Run’. Blue Oyster Cult with ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’. Styx with ‘Come Sail Away’. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was just another. Ingenious as camp rock-opera but really silly.

    My only fondness is for ‘We will rock you/We are the Champions’ because, according to legend, it was played all night long after the Boys Club swimming team won the championship the year before I joined. That was in 77.

    Queen struck me as a slightly more interesting KISS, a band that had bubblegum trading cards.

  74. @Peter Akuleyev

    “Queen was always much more popular in Europe than in the US.”

    I lived in and traveled around Europe in the early and mid 1990s. I was dismayed at how popular Queen was wherever I went in the Old World. So with Queen’s theatricality very much in vogue there, I was not surprised that Meatloaf also had a following (though no where near as large as Queen’s.) I felt it was my duty to introduce to the family and friends of my Danish wife the music of Tom Petty, Social Distortion, Van freakin’ Halen, Alice in Chains (still going strong), Rush, Soundgarden (R.I.P. Chris Cornell), and, yes, Journey. Most of them were appreciative.

  75. Anon[263] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    Even before I knew what ‘gay’ was, I thought there was something ‘queer’ about Queen. Musically, Queen didn’t belong to any one camp(as critics preferred). They were camp.

  76. @Abe

    Agree with your descriptions on the agreeable qualities of both Steve Perry and Robert Plant.

  77. BB753 says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    People tend to forget that Queen was bigger than Led Zeppelin in Europe (including the UK) during the mid-seventies. So was ABBA.

    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  78. a reader says:

    Queen came back more in fashion with a fine set at the 1985 Live Aid benefit for starving Ethiopians

    Do you remember ? We were constantly reminded how the 35 Million Ethiopians at the time would go extinct in the next few weeks, if not the next days.

    How come some Fake News websites today are allowed to publish such nonsense !

    • Replies: @Flip
  79. Abe says: • Website

    I’d rank him in the top dozen rock-star frontmen I saw in the 1970s and 1980s, but perhaps not quite in the top rank (say, Strummer, Springsteen, Byrne, Bono, Petty, Prince, Jagger, Hynde, and Davies).

    Besides sheer vocal talent and music/lyric writing ability, the third leg (heh) of being a rock star is sexual charisma- in plain terms, how much do your opposite-sex fans want to be with you, and how much do your same-sex fans want to be you.

    Petty?- a little too funny looking. Prince?- sorry, I’m not into sex acts that involve a minimum of 3 girls, 2 guys, and 2 aisles worth of Home Depot hardware installed in my headboard. Bono? Do you consider a 2 hour diatribe on the challenges of post-apartheid South Africa foreplay? As for Byrne, while I really liked the concert video STOP MAKING SENSE, I’d rather never have sex if it meant having to have sex as David Byrne.

  80. That kind of music sucks really bad. It is the antithesis of rock and roll. You imbeciles are like it are part of the problem. Ain’t it funny how it was all the right-wing jocks who latched onto glitter and cross-dressing in the 70s. Hmm.

  81. Anon[204] • Disclaimer says:

    White women display lower tribalism

    Still get morally shamed by a member of the cultural elite.

    The name of the game is anti-white racism.

    And the solution is Self-Determination

  82. I didn’t see this film, and have serious doubts I will ever. But here are my two cents about Freddie and Queen.

    I am Brazilian, and Queen was (probably still is) immensely popular here. I myself was very fond of that group ages ago, when I was young. The first Queen song I heard was We Are the Champions, which absolutely knocked me out when I first heard it. Looking back on it, it had radically Nietzschean lyrics (“no time for losers”!), an uncommon thing for a pop song.

    One of the things that I found attractive in Queen was their democratic inclusiveness of work by all band members, which was heterogeneous yet not mutually incompatible. “We Are the Champions” was the only incursion I am aware of by Freddie into rightwing territory, but there was another Queen member whose output, although extremely meager, had a definite fascist slant to it. I am talking about Roger Taylor, of course. I mean, the guy wrote something named “I’m in Love with My Car”. If that is not enough for you, then “One Vision” ought to do it. That is certainly the most fascistic song ever written. So much so that the Slovenian band Laibach, who specialized in extremely creepy parody of fascism, recorded that song, in an extremely creepy parodic style.

    But, back to Freddie, his true legacy was his melodic compositional talent. Melody is dead now, as anyone who follows contemporary pop music production knows. But even for a rich musical period as were Queen’s peak years, Freddie was exceptionally gifted. I guess that’s what made the band so popular. I hated his stage persona, though, and more so in his later years. Thought it was beyond ridiculous.

    If I had to single out one Queen song that has a very special place in my heart it would be “Who Needs You”, by John Deacon. It has a lovely bossa nova rhythmic flavor to it.

    • Replies: @Brás Cubas
    , @Dave Pinsen
  83. Anon[407] • Disclaimer says:

    Nobody knew because in the 1970s, all the performers were flamboyant. It was the glam rock era. The zeitgeist had it that all the male rockers were sleeping with willing chicks right and left, and everyone believed it. No one thought that any man with so much access to women could be gay.

  84. @Brás Cubas

    Errata: In the last sentence, replace “bossa nova” with “Latino”. What was I thinking?

    • Replies: @Kylie
  85. @Abe

    Elton John isn’t representative of anything other than himself. The man is just plain weird. But then, many geniuses fit that description.

    Steve, unfortunately, has this “male piano players are gay” thing going, based on a few people, and I don’t buy it. I know, and have known, scads of male pianists, and they’re all straight. Were Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart gay? Was Mendelssohn? Or Chopin? No, they were just all brilliant and odd.

  86. Andy says:

    Queen was a very good group indeed. “Somebody to love”, “Under pressure” or “We are the champions” are great songs. It wasn’t that big on the US (though it still sold millions of records) since it was probably perceived as too gay for the typical rock audience (even though three of the four bandmates were straight).

  87. syonredux says:

    while Robert Plant’s Valhallic keens are some seriously bone-chilling sh!t (with all the interest in IMMIGRANT SONG due to the GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO and THOR comic book movies, I’ve been revisiting some of my boots from the 1970 Led Zeppelin tour, and, yes, he could really bring it then).

  88. Daniel H says:

    I have only seen Rami Malek in Mr. Robot. For me he brings to mind Lou Reed. He not only looks a bit like him, but he has an eery mood to him, and is short and slight, as was Reed. One wouldn’t guess that Reed was about 5’7-5’9 from the way he commanded and strutted through his rock and roll life.

    A biopic of Reed would be quite interesting. Reed was an interesting character, never lacked for confidence, was very New York. Had talent, but talent that could only go so far musically. Many loved him but I think more hated him. Director Paul Morrissey who “discovered” the Velvets and introduced them to Andy Warhol names Reed as “a horrible human being, the worst…….a despicable man.” Yeah, a Reed biopic would be interesting.

  89. Andy says:

    In retrospect, looking at his mannerisms on Queen’s videos, Mercury was almost stereotypically gay, right from the beginning of the band. But is true that he only come out as gay one day before his death. And many people were surprised then, as I recall.

  90. Bernie says:

    Gotta agree. I am 49 and recall the era well. Queen were never really big and I didn’t know any Queen fans. I have exactly one Queen cassette. It was their greatest hits and I got it as I liked one of their last songs “These Are The Days of Our Lives.” Freddy Mercury did the video days before his death and it looks it.

    I also have to say that, as opposed to post-punk, classic rock hasn’t aged well. Young kids today still know about/listen to The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Smiths, New Order (aka, Joy Division). How many listen to Queen, The Who, Rolling Stones, etc.?

  91. J.Ross says: • Website

    Sessions resigning. Kobach?
    I was pleased that critics hated this movie and crowds loved it, because of course that’s just like the career of Queen.

  92. Whiskey says: • Website

    Robert Palmer, David Lee Roth, Robert Plant, Sting, and John Doe from X have to be in the top five post Stones/Bowie frontmen.

    Anyone who has seen X live knows what Im talking about.

  93. whorefinder says: • Website

    First, Mercury was not gay. He was bi.

    May let this slip in an NPR interview when he got his PhD. The NPR hack was all about celebrating Mercury being a gay icon, and May stated that Mercury liked girls as well because May was Mercury’s roommate when he was banging away at groupies (such as the “Fat Bottomed girls” he croons about).

    Basically, in the anything-goes 1970s, the hedonism was so much that Mercury ended up doing what a lot of debauched folks do who don’t have limits: he pushed them. While it was first so cool to have a different hot blond girl sleep with you every night because you sang well, then it got boring, so you got two girls, then you tried a black girl, then a fat girl, then a girl with one arm, etc. until you ended up trying sodomy and liking it, and some went further, into bestiality, pedophilia, etc.

    This is exactly the pattern noticed that the Catholic Church noticed and warned about for centuries, as seen with Roman Emperors and French Aristocrats: immense power, immense wealth, and no social consequences caused people to become sexually degenerate. Mercury was simply a prisoner of his success.

    Related: in the 1970s and early 1980s a lot of rock stars tried to give off gay impressions—the better to drum up attention from the disco crowd. David Bowie, IIRC, kicked off this idea, and he and Mick Jagger had a mutual arrangement where they would have interviews and publicity stories and photos of them together where the innuendo and imagery suggested more. The only counters to this were the bands that sang florid, longer bitterwsweet ballads (e.g. The Eagles, Dan Folgelberg, Elton John) , which also made them seem less masculine. If you wanted men in music who seemed straight and masculine, you had to go Zepplin or Floyd, but their complex music made them seem distant artists to many—you had to sit through an hour-and-a-half song about Frodo or the Dark Side of the Moon and try to figure out what it meant, instead of something simple about meeting girls and trying to get with them.

    My impression was that the The Ramones ended this problem. Totally straight, hard edged, militaristic, and committed to two-minutes-of-hard-noise and get-to-the-bedroom, the Ramones set the stage for 80′s hair bands to start burning their disco albums and acting like they just wanted poontang. Jagger and Bowie dropped their semi-homo act around this time.

  94. J.Ross says: • Website

    Is Jose Huizar a guy Southern Californians half-expected to be raided by the FBI or someone not really on the radar?

  95. Tiny Duck says:

    Man, Republicans got DESTROYED last night.

    Consider that Republicans engaged in voter suppression and gerrymandering and STILL democrats made HUGE gains in the state governments.

    Its over. The fat lady is singing.

    Demographics is destiny.


    • Replies: @Dr Van Nostrand
  96. @JohnnyWalker123

    oh good grief.

    There is absolutely nothing that First Lady Reagan could have done to help Mr Hudson aside from interpersonal exchange.

    When the CDC attempted to get the bath houses closed or at least put up warning signs — something to inform people about such behavior that distributed HIV, the homosexual community made charges of bigotry and had repeated conniption fits.


    I finally gave in and watched this film over the weekend. It was interesting, informative. Queen and Farrokh Bulsara “Mr.Freddie Mercury” were innovative and had according to the film a very unique relationship with their listeners. But as usual Hollywood manipulated some important facts that would have made the film better in my view, had they been left alone.

  97. @Dave Pinsen

    I love that sound track — I think it’s entirely queen.

  98. Evidently officials in Vancouver don’t appreciate their own Queen:

    16 Vancouver women facing human rights complaints for refusing to wax transgender woman’s male genitalia

    Gem of a comment:

    “I publicly identify as a McDonnel Douglas CF-18 fighter jet. I will sue the Department of National Defense to allow me my rightful access to all Royal Canadian Air Force bases.”

  99. Flip says:
    @a reader

    I remember when the population of Africa was supposed to dramatically drop due to AIDS and famine. I guess they worked through that.

  100. @BB753

    Yeah, even today Led Zeppelin is far more popular in the US than in Europe. I remember a lot of my friends, maybe even me, being surprised to discover they were English. They certainly weren’t the Beatles or the Kinks.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  101. @Marty

    Elton John has a really good voice, but he always sounds like he’s saying something dirty, like Norm Macdonald’s dessert waiter.

  102. Is Jose Huizar a guy Southern Californians half-expected to be raided by the FBI or someone not really on the radar?

    Wheezer of Little Rascals left descendants? The things you learn here…

  103. @Peter Akuleyev

    The Kinks were banned from America for five years.

    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  104. @SunBakedSuburb

    “Queen was always much more popular in Europe than in the US.”

    I lived in and traveled around Europe in the early and mid 1990s. I was dismayed at how popular Queen was wherever I went in the Old World. So with Queen’s theatricality very much in vogue there . . .

    What do you think accounts for this difference in popularity of theatrical acts? I would suppose that Europeans probably have had more exposure to high culture including orchestras and operas and the theater, so they’d have a more willing appetite for the prancing and the staging of the act that Queen typified.

    Perhaps Americans experienced an “authenticity” movement in music favoring singer/songwriters, stripped down, simplified instrumental arrangements, and fewer classically trained musicians who transitioned to pop and rock genres?

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  105. “…Mercury’s more operatic/spoken word tonality simply fails to do it for me.”

    There is a little bit of this, as well as their songs tended to be either conventional pop or just a bit odd*.
    I grew up in that era (though I wasn’t much of a pop culture guy), and remember liking ‘Another One Bites the Dust,” and, with my then girlfriend, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love”-very conventional pop tunes that were catchy and well done (I also like Bohemian Rhapsody for its Epic quality).

    When I heard Fat Bottomed Girls, and Bicycle Race in particular, (and to a lesser degree Radio Ga Ga, and so on), I didn’t really get how they were hits-how they were even pop songs.

    But at the time, Queen seemed a very typical-and not special-group of its era (Duran Duran?). Mercury’s voice was striking, but the band and its music were just one of many.


    *Beatles were this way, too. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite, Strawberry Fields Forever and Magical Mystery Tour, and worst example Revolution Number 9-just a combination of remarkable stuff with odd stuff. Somehow, though, the Beatles music (with the exception of Rev 9) seemed appealing to me, where Fat Bottomed Girls just seemed odd and slightly grotesque.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  106. @Abe

    I think there is a tendency to back project way too much gay-cluedness to us heartland masses

    I don’t know if we knew that Freddie Mercury had sex with men, but I do know that by the mid- 1980s, probably based on his movie soundtrack power ballads and Radio Ga Ga, we considered him “a fag”, which was worse than actually having sex with men. Everyone seemed to think Rod Stewart was swallowing men’s semen, but he wasn’t “a fag”. (I still have no idea whether Rod was actually gay).

    • Replies: @whorefinder
  107. J.Ross says: • Website

    CNN’s Jim Acosta wears Hai Karate, the fragrance for dangerous men.

  108. whorefinder says: • Website

    What really revived Queen’s reputation was, of all things, Wayne’s World, where Mike Myers had the rock-loving Wayne have a memorable opening scene in his movie with a car headbanging session to “Bohemian Rhapsody”:

    It reminded everyone just how good the song was, and, by having Wayne like it, gave classic rockers an excuse to like it again.

    I find it interesting that rock-critics of the day insulted Queen by calling it “fascist rock.” Because Queen played to large stadiums and had pumping steady beats on their most famous songs. As Orwell noted, the word “fascist” means nothing anymore, other than an insult.

    • Replies: @Fred Boynton
  109. whorefinder says: • Website
    @Peter Akuleyev

    ”. (I still have no idea whether Rod was actually gay).

    Given all of the hot women Stewart has banged (and divorced), the chances of Stewart being gay are nil.

  110. @Tiny Duck

    Dude, flipping less than 3 dozen house seats of the party of the president and retaining the Senate doesnt constitute being “destroyed”. If the bar Democrats set is so low and that too after constantly shifting the goal posts “blue wave?”(more like blue squirt), they are in a for a terrible humiliation in the future. Complacency and arrogance bring down even the inevitable candidate. Ask President Hillary Clinton.

    • Replies: @Tiny Duck
  111. @Reg Cæsar

    My point was that The Kinks, The Beatles (and The Who) all wore their Britishness on their sleeves. Zeppelin almost seemed to be from the same long haired, denim wearing, white trash universe that Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top or the Allman Brothers came from. Now the British folk elements in Zep’s music, especially on Zep 3&4, are obvious to me, but they weren’t when I was 13.

  112. J.Ross says: • Website

    There are two major Queen documentaries, Days of Our Lives (which is very long but very good) and Killer Queen (which is much shorter but not worth watching).

  113. It is interesting that the Indian community doesnt bother acknolwedging Faroukh Balsara as one of its own. Well he was born in Zanzibar to Parsis, who as their name suggests hail from Persia(Zorastrian refugees 1300 years after the Arab conquests) but 6 degrees of separation doesnt intimidate the intrepid and patriotic compilers of NRI(Non Resident Indian) successes.

    Seems that the gay/bi thing was a deal breaker for too many Indians and consider him a sort of banished son. Meanwhile the cosmopolitan and Westernized Parsis dont mind him at all and put him there with their other musical wunderking- Zubin Mehta

  114. @Bernie

    I also have to say that, as opposed to post-punk, classic rock hasn’t aged well. Young kids today still know about/listen to The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Smiths, New Order (aka, Joy Division). How many listen to Queen, The Who, Rolling Stones, etc.?

    I can’t say that I know what the kids listen to these days, but Classic Rock certainly had a real long run. In my media market there were 2 or 3 Classic Rock format FM Stations well into the 2000s – 94.1 WYSP and 102.9 WMGK were full time, and 93.3 WMMR mixed Classic Rock with some contemporary hard rock or contemporary rock played by acts that dated from the 1960s and 1970s (e.g. Aerosmith). I doubt post-punk has ever been a fraction as popular as Classic Rock in any measurable way.

    Kids these days seem to like clean, computer generated music. Classic Rock is analog and messy in its style. I also have to wonder whether the Browning of America has reduced the prominence of this particular style of white people’s music.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Dave Pinsen
  115. @Lumpy

    I know you’re trying (and failing) to be funny, but that’s not what the “magic dirt” term means.

  116. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    When I saw Mercury, he wasn’t at his best in terms of singing because of his recurrent problem with nodes on his vocal chords. He was like a baseball pitcher whose full career was less impressive than his potential because of a recurrent sore arm.

    But, being a live frontman is different from being a live singer and David Byrne was extraordinary, especially with being in the 1970s an early figure in the Nerd Liberation cultural movement that didn’t have a name yet and barely has a name today. Byrne was one of those guys who was so creative he was almost a performance artist, except he was such a showman he simply expanded the boundaries of being a rock star.

    See the hit concert movie “Stop Making Sense” for Byrne as a rock star.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  117. @Anonymous

    10cc were really good, but largely forgotten today.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  118. J.Ross says: • Website

    Listen. The Anglosphere’s intelligentsia got unmoored from their own language.
    How’s this for a fnord:

  119. @Achmed E. Newman

    Jeff Lynn’s ELO was a big money, eclectic band that never got much critical acclaim, like Queen. But the oldtimers Dylan, Harrison, and Orbison loved Lynn and relied upon him, and to a lesser extent Petty, to do most of the heavy lifting in their Traveling Willburies group. My vague impression is that if Lynn had been born a decade earlier or so, he could have filled in McCartney’s role in the Beatles with little loss.

    • Replies: @cthulhu
  120. @whorefinder

    If you wanted men in music who seemed straight and masculine, you had to go Zepplin or Floyd …

    Robert Plant wasn’t masculine enough to suit Duane Allman.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  121. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    How many of today’s generation can actually name much less listen to Talking Heads and Hynde’s work?

    The Pretenders are definitely forgotten, but I took my kids to a screening of “Stop Making Sense” at a local movie theater last spring and they were blown away. I don’t think there is any band today capable of putting on a theatrical rock concert that actually engages you viscerally the way the Talking Heads did. They are going to endure as a cult band for those “in the know” for many decades.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Anonymous
  122. @TheOldOne

    Quino covered this fifty years ago in a Mafalda comic strip.

    “Papa, is it so that in the past, when the adults were speaking the children had to stay silent?”
    “Yes, it is so.”
    “My God! And you suffered through that dreadful era?”
    “Ah, well, it wasn’t so extreme.”
    “‘Gigl, Gigli!” What the heck does Gigli have that Bing Crosby doesn’t? Huh?”

    “Papá, ¿Es cierto que antes, cuando hablaban los grandes los chicos tenían que callarse?”
    “Es cierto, sí.”
    “¡Dios mío!… ¿Y vos sufrisrte esa época espantosa?”
    “Y, sí.”
    “¡Pobre, haber tenido que tragrte todas tus respuestas y callarte todas tus opiniones!”
    “¡Eh, bueno, no era para tanto!”
    “¡’Gigli, Gigli’! ¿Qué cuernos tiene Gigli que no tenga Bing Crosby? ¿Ehé?”

  123. Fredrik says:

    Of course they do. This is modern white music.

    What do you suggest white men listen to? Sure, some of them listen to rock but lots listen to Guetta et al.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  124. Lot says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    That’s my view too of Queen and most of the top 60s and 70s rockers: love their big hits, the back catalog sucks. The music video for Bohemian Rhapsody is also great, perhaps the single finest pre-MTV music video.

    Good for me I grew up in the MP3 age. I had an early adopter relative with a $400 external CD burner. I’d hate to have to switch records/CDs all the time to avoid album filler songs. I probably would have spent hours making mix tapes if I were 5-10 years older.

  125. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Mike Zwick

    Mike Myers is in the movie, playing a producer skeptical about Bohemian Rhapsody.

  126. @Captain Willard

    The Dead were a much bigger deal than Queen.

    True. While being almost unknown in Europe as far as I can tell. For better or worse, the Dead are a very “American” band and seemingly inaccessible to foreigners. One of the reasons I’ve grown to like their music more as the years go on.

  127. Dumbo says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    He was not Indian, well, at least not what one would consider an average Indian, he was Parsi (and born in Zanzibar at that).

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  128. @the one they call Desanex

    Consider Tom Petty, a pretty typical American rock star, who did well with the ladies (e.g., Stevie Nicks) in between an early and late marriage, each, I think, with kids. I can’t think of any of his songs that have any sexual orientation ambiguity about them. He was a redneck from Gainesville, Florida.

    But … he also was an artsy redneck. Growing up, he liked music and drawing and performing rather than sports. His dad was worried he was gay.

    So, being a rock star is a mode that makes a lot of sense for heterosexual guys who aren’t the highly masculine middle linebacker type. It’s a way to catch the attention of girls directly via things they like — music and dancing and scarves and long hair — rather than through success in masculine roles valued by male society, such as middle linebacker.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  129. @Peter Akuleyev

    “Europeans have more tolerance for the operatic and overblown elements of Queen that Americans found fey and off-putting. “

    Wasn’t Meatloaf big in the States? Can’t get much more operatic and overblown than that. I guess “fey” isn’t a word that applies though.

  130. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    There was a pretty good 2007 biopic about the short life of Ian Curtis, frontman of Joy Division, “Control.” I imagine the Queen biopic will earn a couple of orders of magnitude more money at the box office.

  131. @Dumbo

    In the movie, Freddie’s dad explains to the rest of the band that they are Persians who had to move to India a thousand years before.

    Reading about the black power revolution in Zanzibar in 1964 that was the great disaster in the family’s life, I’m guessing that when push came to shove and black rioter were in the streets, the Parsis identified with the Indians who identified with the formerly ruling Arabs against the black Africans.

    On the other hand, among the non-blacks, the Parsis were super Anglophiles. Freddie’s family all had British citizenship and passports. Freddie’s royalism (e.g., look at the Queen crest he designed as the band logo) is just a big gay extension of Parsi love of the British Empire under which they flourished immensely.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    , @Desiderius
  132. @Bernie

    As for late teens and early-twenties, 90s rock seems to be back in: Jimmy Eat World, Weezer, that kind of stuff.

    I still see plenty of nerds around campus with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd shirts.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  133. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Brian May is one of the most distinctive sounding rock guitarists, like Tom Scholz of Boston.

  134. @JimB

    Back in 1977 or 1978 I tried to buy a Sparks record at several Los Angeles record shops but none of them carried Sparks, even though the Mael brothers lived in LA. They told a funny story about how when they’d come home from European tours they couldn’t convince their friends they were big on the Continent, so they’d take their friends to Farmer’s Market when the tour buses of German tourists would arrive, who would ask for their autographs.

    • Replies: @JimB
    , @Fred Boynton
  135. @Peter Akuleyev

    My point was that The Kinks, The Beatles (and The Who) all wore their Britishness on their sleeves.

    The Kinks, not at first. The one tune you hear (in the US, at least) today is the crappy, fake-American “You Really Got Me”. The very Londony “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” surprised even Ray Davies himself.

    The visa refusal– pushed by our musicians’ union– just encouraged the process along.

  136. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Brás Cubas

    Rio de Janeiro is in the movie.

  137. @Peter Akuleyev

    I saw Talking Heads for $2 in early 1978 and Byrne suffered such stage fright he spent the whole show staring at the ceiling as he sang. Still, it was endearing (at least for $2). When they came back to Houston for $5 a few months later, he was vastly more confident.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    , @cthulhu
  138. @Dave Pinsen

    Tom Scholz was an MS graduate Mechanical Engineer from MIT. That wouldn’t mean he didn’t have a whole lot of EE knowledge also to help hone Brad Delp’s* distinct guitar sound, i.e. it wasn’t just in the playing, but in the electronics.

    * Brad Delp killed himself 11 years back in his home in Massachusetts.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  139. @stillCARealist

    I vaguely recall this topic arose awhile ago, so forgive me if I already made the point, but it’s pretty widely agreed and undisputed Derek Sherinian* is a Lothario of Hefnerian standards; Rick Wakeman has had more wives and children than some Ottoman beys, Mozart sired six children, and so on. I think the goofy and unfounded idea that keyboardists are especially likely to be homosexual stems from the especial popularity of two who happen to be: Liberace & Elton John; I don’t think it’s a case like that of, say, hairdressing or interior decorating, where men doing the work are homosexuals to a statistically significant extent. It’s weird reasoning, too: imagine if everyone assumed personal trainers and fitness nuts among men were mostly homosexual because Richard Simmons (probably the most famous except maybe Jack Lelane) is pretty clearly fruity: the truth is most such men are in fact into ladies an dgetting plenty of them because they are hunkier than your average Joe….

    *An ethnic Armenian, Sherinian gets iStevey points for representing that culture of womanising macho men in goldy-looking chains properly.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  140. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Also, re Robert Plant: his big vocal range basically died with Led Zeppelin. He was up there with Mercury in his prime, but I don’t think he’s been able to hit the high notes since 1980. Compare the Zeppelin version of Thank You to the Page-Plant version in the ‘90s.

    • Replies: @BB753
    , @Kylie
    , @Abe
  141. @Abe

    I saw some reference to some technical wizards studying Queen recordings and coming up with a range of 3 octaves for Mercury, one less than the rumored 4 octave range, but still really good in the real world.

  142. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    There are always kids who like to be different. There’s an indie coffee shop not too far from me where the 20-something employees spin classic rock albums on vinyl.

  143. @Steve Sailer

    Speaking of the Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense was playing in a movie theatre when I was in Europe. That’s when I first saw it, nothing but just a big concert without any story, but it rocked. That was at least a half decade behind, and we saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show in Germany, just to see what went on in there. Nobody got the whole throwing rice, squirting water guns, singing along, and yelling back at the characters thing. Or maybe they did get it, but they just happened to be Germans so … – no offense, Dieter!

  144. @Bill B.

    Ha, Bill B, I was just gonna put a Sweet song on here to illustrate this exact concept. It was the mid 1970′s, and looking gay was just what you did if you were a rock musician. It didn’t mean you actually wanted to ___ any guy in the butt. The two had nothing to do with each other.

    OK, this one is from not Sweet, but from the old The Sweet, and I was playing it off youtube for my boy, and really had to think twice about it!

  145. “Freddie and his family had had to flee Zanzibar’s bloody 1964 black-power revolution, so perhaps he had personal reasons for not giving a damn about the racial obsessions of the age.”

    Here is the seven minute video clip from Africa Addio, the only known footage of the Zanzibar Revolution/Massacre.

    Haiti 1791,
    Zanzibar 1964,
    Rwanda 1994,
    South Africa today in slo-mo,
    these black-power revolutions have a certain … pattern …

    • Replies: @vinteuil
    , @songbird
    , @Anon
  146. Tiny Duck says:
    @Dr Van Nostrand

    You are delusional

    D’s won the house
    D’s flipped 7 govs
    D’s flipped 7 state legislative Chambers
    D’s flipped at least 2 AGs
    D’s flipped at least 333 state seats
    D’s flipped at least 2 state supreme Court seats

  147. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Seth Largo

    I’m not sure that rock has changed a whole lot since the ‘90s, so it makes sense. The new alt-rock station in New York plays that stuff along with newer bands.

  148. @Abe

    Mercury growing his Big Gay Clone mustache around c. 1980 was a pretty big clue.

    Seriously, I’d listened to debates on the subject in, say, c. 1976 between guys in the dorm, with the effeminate friend saying, Oh, Freddie’s obviously gay, and the headbangers being skeptical.

    So, for me, Freddie’s super gay mustache at the end of the 1970s retroactively decided the question in favor of the point of view of my gay friend.

    Before then, Mercury projected an image that he was a long haired rock star, to whom the ordinary categories, like straight or gay, didn’t apply. But once he started grooming himself like on Castro Street, he had announced that he was submitting to the fashion rules of a narrow niche.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  149. @Dave Pinsen

    It’s because, like other musicians with especially distinct tones, May is a an accomplished physicist who customises his gear to get that sound. Similarly Tony Banks studied physics before pioneering the distinct things one can do with electronic keyboards, Eddie Van Halen (though not formally schooled) famously was a kind of shade-tree electrician and luthier, Chris Squire’s unmistakable signature came of his splitting the signal from his instrument – the low frequencies went to an amplifier designed for basses and the higher frequencies went to an amplifier designed for guitars. Hell, Tom Scholz has a graduate degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Eddie Kramer tells a funny story about how he was asked to help improve production on one of Boston’s records and agreed but then admitted there was absolutely nothing he could do to improve it. I think one reason most popular music is shittier than ever is related to the dearth of interest and emphasis on hard sciences and even tinkering – via vocational education or in garages. A true understanding of sound in the real world has been replaced with a bank of a pre-set sounds in ProTools or what have you: so nothing unique will ever come it.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  150. @Autochthon

    I think the goofy and unfounded idea that keyboardists are especially likely to be homosexual

    Alternatively, the appeal of the electric guitar is particularly non-gay.

  151. @JohnnyWalker123

    The was the homos turned AIDS into gay liberation was the greatest act of political judo in my lifetime–perhaps the greatest of all time.

    The homosexuals essentially live-and-let-live liberated went out and through absolute–out of this world–irresponsible promiscuity created a venereal disease crisis for themselves–and unfortunately others. Then suffering for the wholly predictable effects of this, they managed to climb aboard the minoritarian victim bangwagon and flip this “crisis”–which actually demonstrated their irresponsible degeneracy–into a campaign for homosexual normalization, celebration!–including rewriting the core instititution of civilization.

    It’s akin to letting a teenager borrow the family car, having him wreck it … and as a result demand you buy him a car of his own, be given it, plus riding it in a rose strewn parade through town.Grotesque demonstration of irresponsibility … rewarded with accolades!

    I wouldn’t believe it, if I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes.

    • Agree: BB753, Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @Desiderius
  152. @Anon

    and I betcha that Jack Black and that other skinny guy in High Fidelity were your heroes, #319?


    • Replies: @Anon
  153. Which is weird because it’s a lot more phallic…unless the idea is it represents an extension of the players virility in that sense, rather than the idea he likes to handle giant phallic things. Ah, the twists and turns of fora on the Internet. I’m going to go read an old-fashioned book.

  154. Tim says:
    @Massimo Heitor

    “As for Nancy Reagan refusing to help Rock Hudson get AIDS treatment… I’ve never heard of Rock Hudson, I’m sorry he passed away at 59, but this seems sensationalized. Was it Nancy Reagan’s job to solve this man’s medical issues? People die every minute. I don’t help any of them.”

    You’d have to understand the times. The main stream media had absolute complete control of the narrative, and they had decided that homos were saints (and the Reagans were evil), and if you doubted this or even brought up the fact that maybe if they weren’t banging each other in the ass so much, they wouldn’t die, your life would be ruined.

    I remember reading “And the Band Played On” and wondering how the author could come up with the conclusions he does. Then I realized it was propaganda.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    , @duncsbaby
  155. @Cpluskx

    I think almost all modern music genres invented by black people.

    Nah, bluegrass comes from old Irish (Scotish too?) folk music, and modern (what they call) country comes from real pre-1980′s country which comes from Hank Williams. He was not black. Here’s a song from his kid:

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  156. BB753 says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    No wonder. If you’re over 35 years old and a smoker, you’re not gonna be able to hit the high notes anymore.

    • Replies: @Excal
  157. @Achmed E. Newman

    The New York Dolls weren’t gay, either. This is their cover of an Archie Bell and the Drells song, “(There’s Gonna Be a) Showdown”:

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  158. Peterike says:

    “The supercilious clerk, like Jack Black in High Fidelity, tried to shame me into keeping my copy of James Brown’s Live at the Apollo.”

    Live at the Apollo is the most overrated pop record ever made. It stinks.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  159. @Dave Pinsen

    Well the critics at least got that one right.

    Queen–even their catchy bits–was ??? and faggy and tedious and unpleasant to listen to for more than about a minute.

    ??? — Does any music guy here know what the English word is that describes Queen’s musical quality. I originally wrote “screechy” because that corresponded to how I reacted to it. But is there some word for their swoopy-doopy-do tonal quality that made their music instantly recognizable but also annoying?

    BTW, did people–straight males–actually listen to a Queen albums–all the way through? Though I didn’t do it routinely I could certainly put on say an album say Cream, or CSNY, Traffic–that John Barleycorn one–the Who, Springsteen, even the Moody Blues or some Jazz or even some old catchy Motown like the Temptations or some classical, say Beethoven’s 3rd. But listening to 40 minutes of Queen–continuous Queen all in a row–might well have sent me over the edge.

  160. @Steve Sailer

    True enough. Billy Joel once said that he wished he could strap on his keyboard and swing it around like a guitar. He was also pretty unequivocal about using his musical chops to impress girls. And, while differently than Elton John, he seems rather mentally ill. Alcoholism, attempted suicide, depression, serial divorcee…

    Maybe you could make a better case that male pianists are plain crazy. That would align with the real world I observe better than homosexuality. Of course, then we step into the dangerous idea that homos are a subset of crazies.

  161. @Sunbeam

    Thanks for putting that AC/DC up, Sunbeam. That hard-core straight-up rock always make me smile, especially as played by this band. I want to contrast Long Way to the Top with another song that is about the tough road to being a rock-and-roller. That would be Bob Seger’s Turn the Page I don’t want to even post it, cause it’s just depressing. Here’s AC/DC rockin’ on about “it’s a long way to the top” and then Bob Seger’s bitchin’ about people making fun of his long hair, and taking long road trips.

    “What do you want, man?” That’s what we all said upon hearing Seger’s depressing song. If you don’t like it, get one of us to take the rest of your tour. Jeeze. Jackson Brown’s Running on Empty album had this theme but in a medium light, some good, some bad. This is a good one from that album:

  162. @Massimo Heitor

    All 3 of them were in the movie business, Mr. Heitor. That was the connection, I suppose. Even so, I’ve never heard of this incident, and I wouldn’t care one way or another about it, as you write.

  163. @Intelligent Dasein


    Man, I can’t get enough of planet jokes. Some astronomer with a good sense of humor should come up with a whole show of planet jokes. As an audience member, I may yell up there, “Hey, don’t give up your night job!”

  164. JimB says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I don’t think the Sparks released an album in ‘77 or ‘78. They were transitioning from their glam rock phase to their Euro synth pop phasse.

    As to which of the two bands deserves immortality I present lyrics from a typical Sparks vs a typical Queen song:

    We Are the Champions —

    Ding a dang dong we’re the champions
    We are the champions, my friends
    And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
    We are the champions, we are the champions
    No time for losers
    ‘Cause we are the champions of the world
    Ding a dang dong we’re the champions
    Ding a dang dong let’s rock that sound (ding, ding)
    Everybody hear what’s going down (pum, pum)
    Ding a dang dong we’ve reached the top (ding, ding)
    Time and again from the penalty spot (pum, pum, pum)

    Talent Is An Asset—

    Albert is smart, he’s a genius
    Watch Albert putter, an obvious genius
    Someday he will reassess the world
    And he’ll still have time for lots of girls
    when he grows up he’ll remember us
    When he grows up we are sure that he’ll remember us
    We made sure that Albert wore his mac,
    We kept all the strangers off his back
    Everythings relative
    (Go away Albert mother said to me)
    We’re Albert’s relatives, and he don’t need any non-relatives
    Talent is an asset, you’ve got to understand that
    Talent is an asset and little Albert has it
    Talent is an asset and Albert surely has it.
    One day he’ll sever his apron strings
    All of the while he’ll be scribbling his genius things
    Look at Albert isn’t he a sight
    Growing, growing at the speed of light.
    Everythings relative
    (Go away Albert mother said to me)
    We’re Albert’s relatives, and he don’t need any non-relatives
    Talent is an asset and little albert has it
    Talent is relative (go away)
    That’s hypothetical (go away)
    We are his relatives (go away)
    That’s parenthetical (go away)
    Spare your superlatives (go away)
    There’s the receptacle (go away)
    There’s the receptacle (go away)
    leave Alberts study room (go away)
    Leave alberts happy home (go away)
    Leave alberts neighrbourhood (go away)
    Leave alberts city too (go away)
    Leave alberts comfy seat (go away)
    Leave alberts country (go away)
    Leave alberts continent (go away)
    Leave alberts hemisphere (go away)
    Leave alberts planet too (go away)
    Leave alberts universe (go away)
    No one must see him now (go away)
    Only the medical (go away)
    No one must come near him (go away)
    Don’t be too cynical (go away)
    Don’t be too critical (go away)
    Cancel the magazines (go away)
    They’re much too political (go away)
    Don’t buy him any jeans (go away)
    They’re much too casual (go away)
    Talent is relative (go away)
    That’s hypothetical…

  165. @stillCARealist

    Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart didn’t have access to electric guitars and tube amps. It could have turned out much differently.

  166. @Achmed E. Newman

    Bernie Taupin has been married four times (to women), so if he’s gay, he’s pretty committed.

  167. Kylie says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    I was a big fan of Robert Planet’s* singing in the early years. The guy had great natural vocal control. But his was an untrained voice. No way it was going to last. But it was great when he was young.

    *And an even bigger fan of Flo and Eddie.

  168. @Peterike

    You should have come along to tell the record store clerk that. I merely suggested that he no doubt could find James Brown’s “Live at the Apollo” a more loving home than I could provide.

  169. @the one they call Desanex

    Not even the guy who went on to have a few different solo careers? I saw him open for Petty in 1978, but I forget his name.

  170. vinteuil says: • Website
    @Almost Missouri

    Africa Addio is an amazing, appalling flick.

    When Italians get red-pilled, they do it with style.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Almost Missouri
  171. @joeyjoejoe

    … where Fat Bottomed Girls just seemed odd and slightly grotesque.

    It’s the melody and the great sound (harmony and great guitars), not the lyrics. The lyrics come dead last in what makes a good song, Joey. I think Fat Bottomed Girls just rocks, and if some idiot DJ, if there are any now, plays Bicycle Race without Fat Bottomed Girls, well, let me just say there should be no statute of limitations on that shit!

  172. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    I owned their A Kind Of Magic album, which was the soundtrack to Highlander. “Princes of The Universe” is a very Queen song: the first almost two minutes just cranks, then it gets silly. You want to get pumped up for a set of squats, or to make some cold calls, I can see blasting “Gimme The Prize”. “John Barleycorn Must Die” isn’t going to do it for you.

  173. @Peter Akuleyev

    You’re quick with the anti-white comments here. Calling the Allman Brothers (especially), white trash? Screw you, elitest Russky!

    • Agree: Kylie
    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  174. songbird says:
    @Almost Missouri

    In Haiti, they tore the white part out of the French flag.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  175. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    I wonder if the preference for short hair was related to the gay bath house scene, with short hair drying quicker. It is interesting that gays went for a more masculine hairstyle right before straight guys went in the opposite direction with their hair bands.

  176. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    David Johansen (“Buster Poindexter”).

  177. @AnotherDad

    But listening to 40 minutes of Queen–continuous Queen all in a row–might well have sent me over the edge.

    Interesting theory. They say Tiny Duck was a big Queen ….

    … fan.

  178. @Achmed E. Newman

    Oh, hey, Dave, I’ve gotta correct myself, as I just thought about this again. Brad Delp was the singer with his own unique sound, but that guitar sound was from either Barry Goudreau or Tom Scholz himself. I remembered Brad Delp being on a self-title album by Barry Goudreau, but he was doing the vocals, not playing guitar.

  179. J.Ross says: • Website

    The big allegation was that it was fake, which seems to be totally untrue and safely unlikely. Faces of Death was almost totally fake, even its “real” segments were distorted and mischaracterized. Addio is largely just pure footage with minimal narration, and a lot of the shots are so damn big (like the horses, or the destruction of “white” products in the square) that a “real” film crew would have struggled. What I think what they wanted to prevent people from seeing was the trial sequence. The African revolutionaries are shown to be utterly depraved beyond any exaggeration, like the WorldStar of the Sixties. The colonial government is shown to be self-defeatingly concialatory instead of brutal, sentencing murderers and rapists and mutilators to prison (which they easily escape from), instead of executing them.

  180. Anon[313] • Disclaimer says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    The bald guy is nice.

  181. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Massimo Heitor

    People in the GRID era were cold to dying homosexuals because they then still remembered how those homosexuals had behaved a few years earlier. Heterosexuals had behaved the same way but were slowed down by having girls on the team.

  182. Anon87 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    What about drums? Less phallic perhaps, but plenty of wildman drummers out there. A close second place? And unless you are Lemmy, bass guitar is pretty invisible

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  183. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    The greatest triumph of the scrawny art nerd-become-rock-star, pulling to outpace every football hero, will always be Skeletal Rik Okasik of the Cars bagging Paulina Porizkova. Supposedly he did this by casting her in a video as “his” girl and then rapidly acting through the highs and lows of a relationship.

  184. Anon[313] • Disclaimer says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    My point was that The Kinks, The Beatles (and The Who) all wore their Britishness on their sleeves.

    Beatles and the Who let their hair grow long.

  185. Abe says: • Website
    @Dave Pinsen

    Also, re Robert Plant: his big vocal range basically died with Led Zeppelin. He was up there with Mercury in his prime, but I don’t think he’s been able to hit the high notes since 1980.

    Dave, he couldn’t hit the night notes since 1972! As a Zep and Plant lover whose mind was somewhat blown by the claim in HAMMER OF THE GODS that Zep’s live performances were even BETTER than the studio material and who has subsequently had hours of quality listening enjoyment trying to verify that claim (which is, yes generally true- while most of their concerts, especially the later ones, were not on par with their studio work, there does exist a body of live moments indeed BETTER than anything on the studio albums, of quantity greater than the combined studio recordings), I can speak with some authority.

    At the start of Led Zeppelin Plant is indeed one of the greatest rock voices ever- hard to even claim Mercury is his peer then. Soaring range, seemingly endless power at every point in that range. Their earliest bootleg is a 1968 Christmas Eve concert in a cold gymnasium at Gonzaga University. Plant’s voice soars, mimicking Page’s guitar note for note. He even gets into Mariah Carey/dolphin note territory at one point. In 6 months that Plant is gone forever. By mid-1969 his voice is cracking at unexpected moments with regularity and much to his obvious surprise and embarrassment. He dials it down starting then, saving it for special moments. 1970, he is still able to nail IMMIGRANT SONG (indeed a bit better than on the studio album on occassion). Lots of great moments throughout 1971, but less common now. The last time Robert Plant can still sound like Rober Plant is 1972, at the famous HOW THE WEST WAS WON LA concert. Again nails IMMIGRANT SONG (uncanny, sounds more like a bird of prey than a human on the wail after the first chorus) and reaches the high notes in OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY.

    But after that he is pretty much done as a great lead singer, with very few and isolated moments of former glory. So how did one of the greatest rock bands leg it out with their lead singer washed up halfway into their career? Well, that’s the bands dirty little secret- it was Jimmy Page’s wizardry as a producer, using earlier recorded sessions on later releases when Plant was in better form, playing with tapes speeds (very evident on HOUSES OF THE HOLY), and simply letting Plant work in his more limited range on their later albums.

    A guy who wrote a series of great rock history essays for AVClub very sharply pointed out that a not-at-all dirty secret of Zeppelin’s success was Jimmy Page’s genius as a producer (compare contemporaneous Zeppelin and Stones albums- the former sound like they were recorded with newer, simply higher-tech equipment) and so with some self-consci irony this studio perfectionist loved to sprinkle the final album masters with lots of homely ‘blemishes’ (Plant coughing off-mike before the start of WHOLE LOTTA LOVE, Bonham doing the countdown before the start of THE OCEAN). So anyway, on the parting wail of the outro to BLACK DOG (Plant’s supposedly highest ever studio recorded note) you can make out Plant yelling out a self-congratulatory ‘yeah!’ after nailing it, a poignant end to a glorious and prematurely shortened career.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  186. Anon[313] • Disclaimer says:

    Bob Spitz wrote a super-fun bio of Dylan. Pretty good one of Beatles. Now, he wrote on Reagan.

  187. Anon[313] • Disclaimer says:
    @Almost Missouri

    These neo-national uprisings against empire often go crazy. Consider how Ost-Germans were treated after WWII. Wholesale massacres everywhere.

    The difference is that, once the dust settles, non-blacks go about creating and maintaining order.

    But blacks go on with violence and mayhem even AFTER the revolution.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    , @J.Ross
  188. @TheOldOne

    This is one of those times that I just can’t tell if it’s satire. For those too young to see it, Frank and Ella were jazz singers. I’m sure you know were jazz came from.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  189. Jonas says:

    Wow! Sheer Heart Atack, the second album from Queen, is the only album from any band, that I like all the music, without exception.

  190. @Steve Sailer

    Measuring vocal range is an interesting thing.

    For men, two octaves is already considered to be pretty good, if you’re only counting the three classic vocal registers, i.e. full or ‘chest’ voice, ‘middle’ voice, and ‘head voice’. If you add in out-and-out falsetto, then a man’s vocal range can be very large indeed. I get the impression for those who care about male rock stars’ range, falsetto doesn’t count. In any case, Mercury’s three-octave range was great.

    There’s also a huge youtube cult of assessing female pop divas’ vocal range. Women also have ‘breaks’ between their chest, middle, and head voices, and it seems (according to my daughter, who at one point got interested in these ‘vocal analysis’ videos) that what really impresses the aficionados is a diva being able to push out high notes below her second break, i.e. not using her light head voice. This is called ‘belting’, and the most impressive divas can crank out notes up to a Bflat6 or even C6 in ‘full voice’.

    Hard-core vocal analysis seems to have some commonalities with sabremetric analysis of baseball. Yes, it’s helpful and possibly important to know and assess quantitatively what a performer is capable of, but sometimes maybe the song gets lost in the notes, if you know what I mean.

  191. @vinteuil

    Agreed. Being the heirs of classical Rome and the Renaissance, visual culture is part of their patrimony.

    Another thing about that movie and the Zanzibar scenes in particular is that they took a lot of risks to get the footage. They flew to Zanzibar in the midst of revolution in one of a pair of small private planes. The other plane, carrying three German journalists, was swarmed on the airstrip and torched. You can see this in the video. The passengers were arrested. The Addio crew landed and took off under fire. Despite the narrow escape, the next day they flew back again, this time in an even flimsier Bell 47 helicopter! They came under fire again, but they got those those very haunting images. That took some brass ones.

  192. @Anon

    Eastern Europe 1989? Except for Romania, the outer-Hajnal Europeans were remarkably civil. Even in Romania, most of the violence was from the collapsing regime not from the revolutionaries.

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Anon
  193. @Xenophon Hendrix

    Weeellllllllll … the first recorded “Jas” (Jazz) song was 1916′s “That Funny Jas Band from Dixieland” performed by white guys Collins & Harlan and written by white guys Gus Kahn and Henry Marshall.

    Feel free to add triple parentheses to Gus.

  194. @Steve Sailer

    so they’d take their friends to Farmer’s Market when the tour buses of German tourists would arrive

    I’m actually curious as to why tour buses of German tourists would go to a Farmer’s Market in LA. Is Farmer’s Market a euphemism for something else or is it just one hell of a Farmer’s Market that German tourists feel a need to go to?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @J.Ross
  195. Anon[313] • Disclaimer says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Eastern Europe 1989? Except for Romania, the outer-Hajnal Europeans were remarkably civil. Even in Romania, most of the violence was from the collapsing regime not from the revolutionaries.

    Yugoslavia blew up.

    And most African ‘revolutionaries’ were only in name.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  196. @Tim

    And the Band Played On was pretty frank about gay depravity.

  197. “a martyr to Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s homophobia”

    Federal funding for AIDS mushroomed from $14.5 million in 1983 to nearly a billion dollars in 1988. Nobody in history has ever gotten so much money so fast. Ronald Reagan was President, Bush was VP, and a Republican, Sen. Lowell Weicker Jr. of Connecticut, was chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that handled money bills for the Department of Health and Human Services. And it didn’t happen because of a few demonstrations, but because the US military was concerned about the safety of its blood supplies.

  198. @education realist

    Looking forward to the surely soon to be forthcoming Three Dog Night biopic.

  199. @whorefinder

    How did Christine Blasey Ford work her way into that scene driving the car?

  200. @songbird

    The Jaffe Memo isn’t for the faint-hearted.

  201. @Anon87

    Yeah, that Steve Harris, nobody knows him. Granted, that McCartney chap is pretty obscure, but still.

    • Replies: @Anon87
  202. @Bernie

    Maiden is huge globally, but they’re a little later. Sabbath is still pretty seminal.

  203. @Abe

    Man, you know your Zeppelin, Abe. You also sound like any of the 3 record store owner/employees in High Fidelity.

    • LOL: Abe
  204. J.Ross says: • Website

    Someone pointed out that with this black teacher who beat up a foul-mouthed Hispanic student, he didn’t follow continuum of force or give a swat to the head, he just laid into the kid for a good two minutes.

  205. @Steve Sailer

    On the other hand, among the non-blacks, the Parsis were super Anglophiles. Freddie’s family all had British citizenship and passports. Freddie’s royalism (e.g., look at the Queen crest he designed as the band logo) is just a big gay extension of Parsi love of the British Empire under which they flourished immensely.

    I remember reading in a travelogue (it might have been by Paul Theroux) that, even decades after the British left India, the homes of elderly Parsis in Bombay typically had a portrait of the British Queen hanging on a living room wall.

  206. cthulhu says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Jeff Lynne (not Lynn) has always been primarily influenced by the Beatles and McCartney in particular. But his production doesn’t sound at all like the Beatles though to my ears; although his big breakthrough as a producer was a George Harrison solo album, which led to producing Roy Orbison, Petty, then the Wilbury’s stuff.

    As far as ELO goes: their three big albums – Face the Music, A New World Record, and especially Out of the Blue – got excellent reviews for the most part. And they were terrific live; I saw them in 1978 and 1981.

    But the band that is now called “Jeff Lynne’s ELO” – I won’t go see them; it ain’t ELO without drummer Bev Bevan, one of the great English drummers that were so essential to rock and roll.

  207. cthulhu says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I saw the Heads in 1982, which was about a year before the shows for Stop Making Sense were filmed. They were the tightest band I have ever seen. Fantastic show.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  208. @Fred Boynton

    is it just one hell of a Farmer’s Market that German tourists feel a need to go to?

    That was my impression. Los Angeles’s Farmers Market was kind of a food court before food courts back in the 1970s. At dawn all the restaurants in L.A. bought their fresh food there, and then there were cheap food stands serving hot meals for the rest of the day. European tourists went nuts over it, although I’m not sure why. It’s still a fun place to get a cheap meal in an expensive neighborhood to this day, but I don’t really understand the intercontinental tourism appeal of it.

    But that’s where the Sparks brothers would take their L.A. friends to prove they were huge in Europe even though they couldn’t get arrested in their hometown.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    , @Anonymous
  209. @cthulhu

    Indeed. I saw Talking Heads on their fall 1980 show for “Remain in Light” with 9 musicians, and the English Beat as their opening act. I’d rank that the best concert I ever went to, although that’s including the opening act.

    I think I saw Talking Heads twice in 1978 (first time amazing but rudimentary, second time much more polished), once in 1979 (not as good as the 1978 shows — Byrne and Harrison got into an argument on stage over some musical miscue — although the opening act B-52s was fine), and the last time in October 1980: perfection. I got the impression from what Byrne said on stage at the end and how happy he was that the show had been unusually strong, so they might not have been at that night’s level routinely yet.

  210. @Steve Sailer

    Right, all those games of pitching five innings plus one batter into the sixth definitely does wear out the arm.

    Sound like my brother who is a big Talking Heads fan. I’m not seeing it. Commercial success, Talking Heads isn’t anywhere near Queen, or Led Zeppelin for that matter. Anyway, Rock is supposed to be the antithesis of dork, nerd, etc. AC/DC’s lead singers were just as talented as Byrne, and yet they weren’t considered nerdy in the least.

  211. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Fred Boynton

    >German tourists
    >farmer’s market
    Does the power of bizarre news stories mandate a disaster here or do they cancel each other out?

  212. @Steve Sailer

    Unlike Byrne, Mercury’s voice sounds more authentic, and he had a way of actually singing coherent lyrics. Many of Talking Heads songs are too esoteric and borders on pure bullshit, hence the nebbish nerdish factor. Most of Queens songs are fairly straightforward with no nerdish qualities.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Anonymous
  213. @Fredrik

    Na-no, i said STRAIGHT men. Gotta catch it. Like asking if WHAM’s 80′s fans were mostly STRAIGHT men (they weren’t).

    I think you mean that modern pop and what most chicks listen to is along the lines of this: But honestly now, do STRAIGHT men really listen to this kind of music? Seriously?

  214. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Astrophysicist/guitarist Brian May’s song “39″ is a pretty good sci-fi song about Einsteinian relativity affecting an interstellar voyage:

    A lot of Mercury’s early lyrics were about a fantasy land he made up called Rhye:

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  215. Anonymous[246] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Had a big following in Russia.

    The Russians had a real penchant for melodic 1970s English popular music.
    As the whole world knows ‘Smokey’, (Living Next Door to Alice), are Vladimir Putin’s all time favorite.

  216. Anonymous[467] • Disclaimer says:

    Tom Scholz was an engineer for Polaroid and he came up with the notion of looking at hit records on an audio spectrum analyzer and making the tracks on the first Boston album look like those proven radio hits. It worked. When he had a problem with the record company, he took off from touring and started a company to make the Rockman, a small portable processor/amplifier that made anyone sound like, well Boston. It was popular for a while.

    Brian May built his own electric guitar from old wood and used Burns pickups, and often used an amplifier built from a GEC application note by John Deacon. Also used the Vox AC-30, which was not new or unique to him, but he used it to get a different sound than the Beatles or Hank Marvin, and it had largely been relegated to secondhand shops in the UK by that time. He had a unique sound and maximized it in laying down backing tracks with the multitrack recorders then coming into popularity in studios here and there.

    (Ironically, more people heard the sound of May’s homebrew guitar with Burns pickups than actual Burns guitars, which were popular with Merseybeat era groups, but which Pete Townshend described in a letter to this writer :”Burns guitars are rubbish”. Pro tip: the Burns “Split Sound” and “Tru-Sonic” pickups work really well in the neck position in Telecasters along with the stock bridge pickup. Does require routing though.)

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Autochthon
  217. duncsbaby says:

    Dee Dee Ramone used to turn tricks to support his heroin habit. Listen to 53rd and 3rd. Heroin will turn you into a sissy faster than a New York minute.

  218. Anonymous[467] • Disclaimer says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    The Pretenders are definitely forgotten


    The original line up of the Pretenders-three blokes from Hereford, be sure to pronounce the second long “e” as in “Telecaster”, and a loudmouthed American female they’d come across-were like nothing quite before or since. Their first album stands as the quintessential Britpunk album of its time.

    When two out of the four, especially the superb guitarist James Honeyman Scott, died of drug use Chrissie managed to carry on. They were, however, the Pretenders in name only- decent lineups with decent songs and a few of them great, but nothing like the original lineup.

    Hynde-Big Little Miss Muffett as we call her here-is at turns fascinating and repellent, on occasion insufferably nasty to her fans, still a magnificent singer, occasionally great songwriter, and vestigal guitarist. She is a militant vegetarian and animal rights type, giving off a faint odor reminiscent of Savitri Devi in her advocacy of certain Hindu ideas.

    She and Grace Slick, both in their early days and Hynde to a degree even now, are the only women who really ever fronted a rock and roll band in the same sense as Mick Jagger or Robert Plant. Front women, in mixed or all female lineups, are otherwise a different thing than front men.

    The most successful female fronted rock groups otherwise were probably Fleetwood Mac (internationally and particularly in the US) and Blondie (pretty much everywhere outside the US: here only in New York and among gays). FM had two females and one of the males alternating vocal duties and Blondie is of course Deborah Harry and the drummer, with hired guns and old Chris in the back somewhere. D is not a particularly consistent performer, occasionally brilliant and often lackluster on stage, not capable of facing a hostile or indifferent audience, and Fleetwood Mac was more like a variety show with what you were going to hear song to song live.

    Joan Jett, Patti Smith, later on Gwen Stefani with No Doubt all had their day too. I never saw Gwen live, I’ve heard she was pretty decent in the No Doubt days, and there have been others, but none that really stick out the way a David Lee Roth, a Rob Halford, and yes, Freddy did.

    In fact, women in old line showbiz like Marlene Dietrich (Jagger talks a lot about how his stage presence evolved from seeing her well into her old age), Peggy Lee, and Liza Minnelli (chronologically younger, but firmly rooted in the Rat Pack era as a virtual imitator of her mother Judy Garland) probably were more like rock and roll frontmen than most of the women that really did front rock bands. Having said that, a lot of all male rock bands didn’t rally have a “front man” either in the sense we are discussing, and some were still great. Beatles, Byrds, Beach Boys-great vocals, but not one personality out front strutting his stuff.

  219. duncsbaby says:

    I remember reading “And the Band Played On,” about 25 years ago & I thought the author was straight – he seemed to take a pretty hard line on the danger of gay promiscuity. One of his go-to sources was the guy who wrote the play, “Faggots.” I forget his name but the playwright was pretty critical of the crazy 70′s-early 80′s gay subculture. The author of ATBPO was Randy Shilts who I think did die eventually of AIDS himself.

  220. over 200 comments and not one mention that michael jackson was probably a homo too.

  221. @Steve Sailer

    When I was in Highschool in the ‘80s playing keyboards in a band was “gay” in the 80s sense of being dorky and beta. This stereotype seems to have persisted – see the IT Crowd ep from a few years ago where Jen becomes enamored of the keyboard player.

  222. @Dave Pinsen

    Inspiration for the theme of a 1999 anime series, The Big O :

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  223. @Achmed E. Newman

    Your a moron if you think “white trash” is an insult in relation to a 1970s rock band. Give me a better description then. “Grunge” would be anachronistic. “Druggie”?

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  224. Excal says:

    For pleasing tone in rock’n’roll tenors, I’ll take the late Brad Delp (of Boston) and countertenor Jon Anderson (of Yes).

    I haven’t heard standout vocal acrobats in pop recently. Many of the great frontmen of the 70s were inspired by Elvis, but that age has long gone.

    We’ve had an operatic crossover or two, and even period-piece crooners, but this is not a time of great rock tenors.

  225. Excal says:

    A tenor’s peak is typically between the ages of 30 and 50, but with proper care and training, a tenor can maintain his range even well beyond that.

    Smoking does not necessarily cause loss of range. Constant overstrain, poor vocal habits, and excessive drinking are more often to blame.

    • Replies: @BB753
  226. @Anonymous

    My impression is that women singers in rock tended to wind up as solo acts: e.g., Linda Ronstadt started out in the Stone Poneys but soon was just Linda Ronstadt. Pat Benatar came pretty close to making my list of rock stars outranking Freddie as a live performer, but she was a solo act most of the time while climbing the ladder.

    Exceptions might tend to be sister acts like Heart, B-52s, Breeders, etc.

    My impression is that guy rock bands, especially British ones, tend to have a fair amount of masculine team/gang/platoon camaraderie. Mateship is a big deal for Brits. Australians might be even more that way. Americans less so.

    An interesting story is that before the Clash or the Pretenders, Mick Jones and Chrissie Hynde, as likely the two most talented people in what became the London punk scene, had an agreement to form a band. But it never happened, in part because Jones had a vision of wanting to be in a group with a bunch of guys who would be his ideal set of buddies. And Chrissie Hynde definitely did not fit into that picture.

    English guys tend to be fairly loyal to their bands. For example, it took Freddie Mercury over a decade of his recording career before he signed a solo contract. Mick Jagger took a couple of decades before doing a solo album.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @stillCARealist
  227. Anonymous[122] • Disclaimer says:

    Brian May built his own electric guitar from old wood and used Burns pickups, and often used an amplifier built from a GEC application note by John Deacon

    The “Deacy Amp” was a clock-boy rehousing of a board out of a radio or tape player mounted in a scrap stereo speaker cabinet. It works pretty much like the ubiquitous Pignose.

    Burns guitars-I own two myself-are beautifully constructed but mechanical and wiring nightmares only thinkable from a nation that produced the Webley-Fosbery revolver, the Fairey Gannet and Rotodyne aircraft and the BRM H-16 racing engine. Few were sold in the US and fewer remain, as they are worth more overseas.

    Even in their native UK they were only popular as long as they were endorsed by Britain’s answer to the Ventures, the Shadows (who were Cliff Richard’s backing band but had a parallel life as an instrumental combo.)

    The primary key to Brian May’s sound was his use of recording technique, not his gear or his famous penchant for using a sixpence (or if in the US, a dime) as a pick. He produced some very impressive sonic landscapes on record, but his live sound never equalled the records until much later.

    If no one has mentioned it yet, he completed his Ph.D in astrophysics about ten years ago and has done further work in the field.

  228. Anonymous[122] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    One hears this of English military men as well: it’s all about the unit. They generally serve with one unit throughout their careers whereas in any long military career Americans will rotate through many units.

    Chrissie Hynde is a difficult person from any perspective. She is not quite like anyone else, male or female, black or white, old or young, and any relationship with her where she is not 100% in charge is going to be fleeting: musical, business, friendship or romantic. Mick was smart to not get too involved with her.

    She’s an enormous talent, but she has left a wake of disaster behind her: two dead bandmates, a nightmarish relationship with Ray Davies, a daughter with him who openly admits she’s been diagnosed with half the DSM and has declared herself a “female witch” as a career, a failed marriage with Jim Kerr and another child (who seems less impacted and given her twin grandchildren), and she lives as a recluse today, from all accounts only intermittently happy.

    I sense that underneath her bravado lies a deep sense of karmic debt.

    Many English (and Scottish) musicians have left their original bands for solo careers or other groups of course, but it does seem American musicians have less expectation of their musical group being a tightly knit social unit than those in other countries, at least in the Anglosphere.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  229. @Anonymous

    Every white band in NYC in 1980 recorded a rap song.

  230. @Anonymous

    “She and Grace Slick, both in their early days and Hynde to a degree even now, are the only women who really ever fronted a rock and roll band in the same sense as Mick Jagger or Robert Plant. Front women, in mixed or all female lineups, are otherwise a different thing than front men.”

    Hold up, hold up. You forgot Anne and Nancy Wilson frontwomen of Heart. Unlike Hynde, the Wilsons could really sing.

    Remember, Front men = for the most part (e.g. ca. 99%) are the band leaders.

    John Lennon = front man and leader of the Beatles

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  231. @Steve Sailer

    Oh for goodness sakes. This is more akin to Pink Floyd.

    Seriously, Mercury’s standards that are well recalled today, the songs that made his fame and fortune are a bit more coherent and straightforward.

    While we’re on the subject of amazing singers of 3-4 octaves, what about Dennis DeYoung of Styx? Dennis was a good singer.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
  232. @Anon

    “Yugoslavia blew up.”

    Well, three of seven provinces a couple of years after Communist collapse. Granted it got a lot of news coverage.

    On the one hand, an entire region stretching from the Baltic to the Mediterranean gained self-determination with only a violent flare out in Romania and a later flare up in the Muslim-colonized 3/7 of Yugoslavia,


    Haiti, blanket genocide
    Zanzibar, blanket genocide
    Rwanda, blanket genocide

    “And most African ‘revolutionaries’ were only in name.”

    Not sure what that means. Haiti and Rwanda are governed to this day by the descendants of their revolutionaries. Rwanda is governed by the counter-revolutionaries who defeated the revolutionaries.

  233. @Nathan

    One question is whether gays are as gay as they used to be. Mercury had some occasional heterosexual impulses, but he was still extremely campy in affect. Is that as common anymore?

  234. @Mis(ter)Anthrope

    Mercury left half of his estate and his London mansion to Mary Austin, his girlfriend of 1970-76, much more than he left to his boyfriend who also stuck with him through his final illness, who seems like a decent enough guy.

    • Replies: @Nathan
  235. @songbird

    Is that the stripe that represents égalité?

  236. Hodag says:

    Sweet Pete Shelly reference. That song used to be onNever Fallen in Love does hold up into middle age.

  237. @Steve Sailer

    Here’s a picture of David Johansen not enjoying a hug from Freddy Mercury:

    Johansen was married briefly to seventies It Girl Cyrinda Foxe (she later married Steven Tyler). Born Kathleen Victoria Hetzekian, she was one of those California Armenians you’re so interested in.×612

    • Replies: @Bill B.
  238. @Peter Akuleyev

    You’re not an American if you use white trash to describe a 1970′s rock band. You come across as ignorant on just too big chunk of your posts, very much like that Russian who calls himself AnonInTN. That guy thinks that no Americans could have ever been hard-working intelligent graduate students in science and engineering before he came here in 1992 and then 100′s of 1000′s of thousands of Chinese and dot-Indians came.

    If you don’t know much of the subject, don’t write in. I enjoyed all the comments by the commenters here that do know their western rock/pop music, including the author. It’s a hole in your knowledge, but not a very important one. “White trash” is an insult, got it? You don’t seem to know what “grunge” refers to, and “druggie” music would be what exactly? Just about every single one of ‘em did drugs in teh 1970′s.

    Lynryd Skynryd were the epitome of “Southern Rock”*, maybe even defining it, with their 3 electric guitars jamming, and often country-style lyrics. ZZ Top could be seen as Southern Rock too, and the Allmans were not just a Southern Rock band but a “jam” band too. The went off on 10-20 minute instrumental jams very much like the The Grateful Dead. I don’t know as much about the Texan ZZ Top, but the other 2 (Allman Brothers from Macon, Georgia and Skynyrd from Jax, Florida) were more hippy-like than their fans were, kinda of late for the original hippy movement.

    More, not-as-famous Southern Rock Bands: The Marshall Tucker Band (upstate SC), The Charlie Daniels Band (Tenn), The Atlanta Rhythm Section (duh), The Outlaws (Florida), Molly Hatchett (Florida). I’ll put a good one on here in reply later on.

    * Scroll down.

    • Replies: @Dtbb
  239. @Anonymous

    “She and Grace Slick, both in their early days and Hynde to a degree even now, are the only women who really ever fronted a rock and roll band in the same sense as Mick Jagger or Robert Plant.”

    I beg your pardon. Big Brother and the Holding Company. I don’t know if the musicians were all off their faces, but this opens with 52 seconds of dire guitar work – and then Janis steps to the mike and like Violet Elizabeth Bott, threatens to thcream and thcream until she’s sthick.

    I often wonder if Robert Plant got some of his vocal mannerisms from her.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  240. @Steve Sailer

    Guy bands are a better move anyway, as young women want to watch and sing and dream. As a young woman, I could never understand why my friends wanted to watch female singers or bands. Sort of like watching women play sports: Are you kidding me? I want to watch boys!

  241. Yngvar says:

    The weapon-shaped and aggressive-sounding electric guitar was the most masculine musical instrument ever.

    There is nothing masculine about a wish to perform anything in front of an audience.

    Masculine? Wreck-diving alone. Snowboarding without a Go-Pro on your head. BASE-jumping in the middle of the night.

  242. @Steve Sailer

    European tourists went nuts over it, although I’m not sure why.

    It confirms their biases, probably formed young when they enter grade school, of an America of bounty and variety. Heck, we’ve been pushing that theme to rest of the world ourselves for well over a century. We even sing its praises in one of our national songs, “O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain…”. Maybe that meme contributes to a small, little discussed “issue” with immigration…

  243. Bill B. says:
    @the one they call Desanex

    Quite a funny wikipedia entry for Cyrinda Foxe – her ‘career’ is a list of all the guys she banged. Her ‘personal life’ consists of her trying to sell nude photos of Steve Tyler.

  244. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    While we’re on the subject of amazing singers of 3-4 octaves, what about Dennis DeYoung of Styx? Dennis was a good singer.

    And piano player. Much of your comments on this thread are semi-caustic, but I can most definitely agree with your point about Dennis DeYoung. In this live version of Lady toward the end, he even displays onstage performance movements that echo Freddie Mercury…

    • Replies: @Dtbb
  245. The first Queen song I heard on the radio was Keep Yourself Alive, maybe in 1974 or thereabouts, so I thought of them as a somewhat glam British hard rock band. When they went operatic with BoRhap it seemed like a major shift. I also found it curious that they were naming albums after Marx Brothers movies.

    Right around the same time (1976-77) a friend’s mother asked him if the name Queen meant they were gay. We didn’t think anything of it.

    Shortly thereafter I lost interest in popular music and didn’t hear many of their later hits until much much later. I’ve never even heard of “Fat Bottomed Girls” but am familiar with the others mentioned.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  246. Anonymous[399] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    You probably know the story, but the farmer’s market at 3rd and Fairfax was part of the old Gilmore dairy farm. In 1902, old man Gilmore decided to dig a well to water his cattle. Instead of finding water, he struck oil, the Salt Lake Oil Field, which fed the tar pits at La Brea. Eventually 50 million barrels of oil were extracted, making the Gilmores fabulously rich, as they established the Gilmore Oil Company, which became Socony-Vacuum, which eventually became Mobil.
    Indirectly, Gilmore helped Lockheed get going, because the company bought the second airplane Lockheed built for publicity purposes — it was flown by pioneer aviator Roscoe Turner, who was always accompanied by his pet lion Gilmore. The company also sponsored air races, helping along the whole southern California aviation industry. Earl Gilmore, Jack Ryan (founder of Ryan aircraft), Roscoe Turner, Charles Lindbergh and other early flyers, including the naval aviators who got North Island set up, were all friends.
    The farmer’s market was established during the depression of the 1930s, when the San Fernando Valley and other local areas were still mostly farms and ranches.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  247. Anonym says:

    I am certainly straight and enjoy listening to most Queen albums all the way through, although with most I’ve already done so enough (hundreds of times) that it becomes a background noise that my brain tunes out (like any such album, Queen is no different). Besides Hot Space, they were remarkably consistent.

    Skippable tracks are the exception, not the rule. I haven’t gone through the exercise, but I suppose I could.

    Queen – (Nothing, although it wasn’t quite as good as later offerings)
    Queen II – Loser in the End
    Sheer Heart Attack – (nothing)
    A Night at the Opera – (nothing)

    I could go on, but finding only one skippable track on the first 4 albums, that’s practically Beatles level consistency.

    Why do I like them so much? Maybe it has something to do with learning piano at a relatively young age, and having aptitude for it. Complex, interesting, tuneful all the while, anything but monotonous. Intellectually interesting too. Brian May contributed enough for the physics nerd.

  248. Dtbb says:
    @Captain Tripps

    STYX onstage performance. I saw the “Paradise Theatre” tour; it was a stage play with songs thrown in. I left the hall just shaking my head. Especially disappointing since the tour before that was probably the best concert I have ever seen. Sure Mr. Roboto had a little theatrics but the music and virtuosity was tremendous.

  249. Dtbb says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Lynyrd Skynyrd would have been my first concert if only my brother would have given in to my begging and pleading to take me. I can’t blame him for not wanting to have been burdened with a 12 year old. Three days later it all but ended for Skynyrd.

  250. @Steve Sailer

    A lot of Maiden’s global appeal is nostalgia for the British Empire.

  251. @Ripple Earthdevil

    ” I’ve never even heard of “Fat Bottomed Girls” but am familiar with the others mentioned.”

    The lyrics are amusing but extremely un-PC. Not since AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” has there been such an anthem to the, er, “fuller figure”.

    “I was just a skinny lad
    Never knew no good from bad
    But I knew life before I left my nursery
    Left alone with big fat Fanny
    She was such a naughty nanny
    Heap big woman, you made a bad boy out of me”

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  252. BB753 says:

    Freddie Mercury was a heavy smoker and no teetotaller: to wit (notice the elegant public school English accent) :

  253. @YetAnotherAnon

    Heh, don’t think there can be much doubt. The question is where Janis got her’s. James Brown?

  254. @Anonymous

    I hadn’t known that about Scholz reverse engineering the formula for Generic Pop / Rock Hit, but it explains why, as my professor of civil procedure quipped whilst explaining the context of Ahern v. Scholz, “If you aren’t old enough to remember, Boston were a pretty good band who basically released the same song over and over.”

  255. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Oh I dunno if theatricality is a problem form Americans: did it hurt Kiss or Alic Cooper? I think the fey aspect of Queen may have made them less popular in America in their early days.

    Regarding female front women: Siouxsie Sioux?

    And of course Led Zeppelin seem more American than British in many ways: they are essentially electrified American blues, only much later in their career with things like “Kashmir” and “Achilles’ Last Stand” did they expand a bit, but even then the core of their work was rooted in the blues. Many of their hits were covers of songs by old black dudes their fans had never heard of. I’m surprised, come to that, Led Zeppelin dont get shit on more nowadays for so-called appropriation the way Elvis does. Maybe because Robert Plant is such a big proponent of so-called world music it has bought them a retroactive indulgence….

    I must say I really like the discussions about music Steve hosts; it’s cool how many people know a lot about music and how everyone shares their particular expertise or opinion without it becoming a silly argument whether A or B is the better guitarist or whatever as so often happens. The breadth of knowledge and interests is great. I’m curious: I bet a substantially higher proportion of commenters are musicians or at least educated aficionado than the general population has.

  256. @YetAnotherAnon

    Don’t forget Big Bottom, by Spinal Tap

  257. Anonymous[297] • Disclaimer says:

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  258. Anonymous[297] • Disclaimer says:

    Hold up, hold up. You forgot Anne and Nancy Wilson frontwomen of Heart. Unlike Hynde, the Wilsons could really sing.

    Ann is the singer, Nancy the guitar player. I agree Ann can sing but I would not say she was a better singer than Hynde, and she is quite heavy: Hynde physically is a rock chick to the max, 5’8″, skinny-ugly in a Steven Tyler way. Actually she was semi-attractive in her earlier days, but not like Debbie Harry, who was unconventional but to most people very attractive facewise: she had a boyish figure too, but at 5’3″ there was some feminine curvature there. Both were small-breasted, but Hynde more so. Hynde shows every day of her age now: Harry has had a lot of work and admits it, but looks very good for her age. She took a big risk: no matter how good the surgeon you could wind up like Kim Novak.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  259. @Dave Pinsen

    Radio Ga Ga was big on MTV that year, and Hammer is a great stadium rock song, even if it sounds a little too much like We Built This City.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  260. @Anonymous

    “I agree Ann can sing but I would not say she was a better singer than Hynde, and she is quite heavy:”

    WAY better a singer than ever Hynde ever was. WAY better. Unlike Hynde, Ann had a better range as well as a sensual quality when she sang. I don’t think Chrissy could pull of “Magic Man” or “Crazy on You”. And Ann wasn’t heavy 40 yrs ago. That’s called age and perhaps a change of diet along the way. Unlike the Pretenders, its good to keep in mind that Heart started out as a Led Zeppelin cover band. In other words they were pretty good at rocking guitars, unlike Hynde with her pretentious semi-bullshit lyrics. Limbaugh did her a favor by using her one song as the intro for his show, at least it exposed her music to a different demographic. Something that Heart doesn’t have to worry about, because, Heart is always going to be in style. Classic Rock tends to have that vantage point going for it.

    Again, which band sold the most albums? The Pretenders or Heart? Answer: Heart, and its not even close. The point: Rock isn’t really supposed to be difficult. The best albums and/or the best selling albums, songs tend to have lyrics that are basically straightforward, and appeal to the widest possible audience.Great point about Debby Harry, and she was very attractive back in the day. That’s another singer I would definitely put above Hynde in terms of vocal talent, as well as overall femininity. And Debby Harry had a great stage presence in Blondie.

    In her day, Kim Novak was very beautiful. I don’t suppose that Katharine has any smutty pictures of Kim Novak to post? Here a beautiful woman was finally glimpsed; there the smoldering, sizzling, sensuality was finally understood.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  261. @AnotherDad

    As much as you worry about the world’s most dangerous graph, that’s how much the tastemakers worry about your progeny.

    You’re living in the world they’ve created.

  262. @Achmed E. Newman

    A lot of modern music went through blacks, but the vast majority of the material they were working with was AngloCelt with a healthy helping of the Holy Ghost.

  263. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    They’re both good songs. Radio Ga Ga is growing on me. Just saw the video for it this week. I like the Metropolis stuff. I guess Freddie got that idea from Giorgio Moroder, who included him in Metropolis release score.

  264. Anon87 says:

    I love Maiden, and he’s a good showman for bass, but he’s not exactly a household name. Bruce is the force of nature in that band.

    If we are talking about the Beatles, they are all a bunch of pussies so are disqualified from this discussion.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  265. @Anon87

    You might be surprised how well known he is. He’s the heart (and then some) of Maiden.

  266. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Ann, a fine singer, does have more range than Chrissie Hynde. And she was attractive enough in the band’s early days. But you just named why Heart was enjoyable enough but the Mark 1 Pretenders far more important: Heart started out as a Zep cover band. Chrissie and her boys were completely original, and wrote songs not like anyone else’s, some were great, others so-so, a couple of stinkers on the second album maybe.

    Chrissie doesn’t have the widest range, but she was able to get through the US National Anthem nicely, and her range of expression and tone are unique and often incredibly moving.

    And as far as stage presence, when she’s on that stage, it’s her stage, and you just know if you invaded her space she’d smack you with that Tele just like Keith did when that dumbshit charged Mick at a Stones show. She doesn’t back down and she doesn’t get dispirited when she has a tough room to play.
    “It’s not fuck me, it’s fuck you”, is her motto. She means it.

    D did have more vocal range and can do more kinds of things than Chrissie, but although her appearance has held up well-and she even looks more womanly now, her boobs have gotten a lot bigger-her voice has changed much more. Chrissie could go back with the 16 or 24 track masters on the first two Pretenders albums tomorrow and punch down new vocals and you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. D can’t even do that with No Exit at this point which was done in 1997: just in the last ten years her voice has dropped quite a bit. Live, they’ve had to change keys on a lot of the old songs to accomodate her lower range. And with Blondie shows it’s a crapshoot whether it’s going to be a good night. Pretenders are very, very consistent, they will kick ass, the sound will be great, Chrissie will insult everyone….. and you won’t care.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  267. Nathan says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Maybe not campy, but gay characters are usually portrayed as very stereotypically gay, with the exception of lesbians, who seem to be shoe-horned into roles that don’t fit. I’m thinking specifically of shows like Netflix’s Mindhunter and Haunting of Hill House that both have lesbian subplots/characters that make no sense in the overall story.

  268. @Anonymous

    The 1990s track “Special” by Garbage is a really nice knock-off of the more pop half of the Pretenders’ style:

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  269. It is interesting you say that because while watching the movie, I though of the Sparks, that Queen was similar.

    Another similarity is that both started making rock music, but in the late 70s/early 80s were making dance music.

    I like the dance music of the Sparks and Queen by the way (Sparks’ “When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way’” and Queen’s “Living On My Own”).

  270. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “Special” samples Pretenders’ “Talk of the Town”. Chrissie Hynde’s lawyers denied the band permission to use the sample, but Shirley got Chrissie on the phone and got Chrissie to write a letter giving the band permission to sample “my music, my lyrics; indeed, my very ass”.

    Better explanations exist but tend to come up in Google Books, which is difficult to copy and paste text from. Nevertheless, Shirley and Chrissie are on a friendly basis.

  271. Anonymous[492] • Disclaimer says:

    That whole pre-war aviation scene with its races and celebrities has been entirely forgotten.

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