September 5, 2011

Thanks, Freddie...

When I was in fifth grade, my favorite singer/songwriter was Elton John.  I would listen to "Crocodile Rock" on a round for days and would glue tiny rhinestones to my glasses just in time for my Tuesday evening piano lessons.

One day my brother said, "I don't know why you listen to him.  He's so gay."

"No he ain't!" I screamed, furiously defending my idol.  I honestly had no idea what "gay" meant at the time, I was just told it was bad.  The king of my musical world couldn't be that.  I ran to my mom, crying and enraged, and told her about my brother's insistent lies regarding Sir Elton.  She was painting her nails in her bathroom and didn't even look up from her Ruby Quick Dry to say, "Yeah, it was on the news.  He's a queer."

I was distraught.  I sat on my floor, Elton's "Greatest Hits" album on the carpet in front of me.  I stared at the album cover intently, criticizing him for everything, from his bow tie and pin to how he leaned his cane on the keyboard, all while singing along to "Candle In The Wind" for the last time.  I took the CD out of my boombox, returned it, forcefully, to it's cracked plastic case, and held it over the trash can for a number of minutes.  I finally let go, and with a "thud" the album hit the bottom of the wastebasket, right beside a half-eaten piece of jerky and my mom's last speeding ticket.  There was now a large void in my existence.

So I started listening to Queen.

I KNOW.  Well, at the time I didn't.  My mom did, though, but decided to just keep painting her nails and not say anything.  She could see where this was going.  I got the second greatest hits album for Christmas that year.

I figured the world would approve since they were singing about fat-bottomed girls on bicycles.  That's not gay at all.  So, I would prance around the house, dancing feverishly to "Don't Stop Me Now" and singing at the top of my lungs to "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Somebody To Love."  This was the first time since my breakup with Elton that I felt really good about my musical relationship with a big artist.  Queen and I were going steady and seeing each other pretty often, and I guess you could say we're still going strong today.

Last night, in celebration of Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday, I went to a Queen tribute party here in New York.  There was drag, burlesque, cabaret, live bands, and a dance party 'til 4am.  It was amazing, and it just reminded me of how much this band meant to me when I was younger.  So, to sum it all up... THANKS FREDDIE! AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I will leave you with Queen's 1986 Wembley Stadium concert, which is now streaming on YouTube in it's entirety.

And, after you watch ALL of that, look into Sparks.  I had never heard of them until last night when one of the bands covered their song "Rhythm Theif," and I'm kind of in love with them.  They began in 1970 and were contemporaries of Queen.  They are still making music today, and the following song is from their nineteenth album called "Lil' Beethoven," released in 2002.


  1. Love this post. Happy Birthday, Freddy Mercury!

    That Queen tribute party sounds fantastic.

    Also, I discovered Sparks a few months ago when one of my friends who lived through that era let me borrow "Kimono My House." Totally love them.

  2. Thank you!

    And I've been streaming Sparks on Spotify for the past two days. This may be turning into an unhealthy obsession.


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