Like most music fans, a lot of my earliest influences came from my parents. That was definitely the case with today’s entry in my list of 52 songs that changed my life.
I don’t ever actually remember either of my parents being the biggest fans of Queen, which makes it harder to understand why they not only had a copy of Queen’s Greatest Hits in the house, but also Innuendo, the band’s final studio album before Freddie Mercury sadly passed away.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can actually understand their ownership of Greatest Hits. Even today, over 35 years after it was released, it remains the best selling album in the UK, with over 6.2 million copies sold and -apparently- every other household in existence owning a copy at some point or another.
How my family came to own Innuendo however I have no idea, but I’ll talk more about that next week.
What I want to talk about today is this, the original Greatest Hits album which started with undoubtedly the band’s most recognisable hit, Bohemian Rhapsody.
Having spent my earliest years listening pretty much exclusively to Michael Jackson, Bohemian Rhapsody was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. Indeed, I believe I was unlike anything most people had ever heard before.
It was bold, flamboyant, dramatic and exciting. It was a whole different type of music the likes of which I never even realised existed before. It was daring, different, and I was hooked almost instantly.
Not just hooked, but obsessed. I listened to Queen’s Greatest Hits so often and for so long that even today whenever I hear a song from that album, I immediately anticipate that the next song I hear will be the one that followed it on the album track list.
I hear Bohemian Rhapsody, I instantly expect to hear Another One Bites the Dust straight after it. Songs like Fat Bottomed Girls and Bicycle Race are so entwined in my memory that I can listen to one without thinking of the other, likewise with We Are the Champions and We Will Rock You.
Without Bohemian Rhapsody however, I don’t know that I would have stuck around long enough to fall in love with the rest of the album. It was that song which for me proved to change everything. More than that, it was a specific part in that song that served as the one piece of music which, probably more than any other, influenced the kind of music I would go onto listen to throughout my childhood and early adulthood.
You know just the bit I’m talking about too, don’t you? The Wayne’s World bit, moment when Brian May’s epic guitar sends the whole song in a completely different direction.
I’ve always referred to that moment as being the one moment that I was first introduced to rock ‘n’ roll, and it was this, along with another Queen song, that did more to influence my taste in music than any other.
I’ll talk more about that other song next week, but for now, thanks for reading.