Solitude and Sound: Queen lessons in Music, Art, and Life
Once upon a time, before Live Aid, there was “Queen Live Killers.”
I was peeing weirdly, and my mom’s instinct made her take me to the doctor. They did the studies and determined I had Hepatitis A. Not knowing what that meant, I got a bit scared, but the doctor said: “You just have to be 4 to 6 weeks in your room, and it’ll go away without any pain at all.” Wow… this meant I could miss school for a month, kick my brother Rene out of the room, they’d bring me food, and I would listen to music all day - everything was ok because I had “Queen Live Killers,” a record player, and two speakers. What else could I ask for?!
When it comes to live albums, “Live Killers” raises the bar for live performances, showcasing the band’s ability to engage with live audiences, the versatility and dynamism of the band, and the cohesion of four notably different characters. Music that has transcended years and a document that allows us to listen to an artist at their peak.
It’s incredible what the power of observation and curiosity can do. Listening and analyzing this album's music and graphic design almost daily for several weeks taught me a lot about performing arts, graphic design, photography, and English. It made me go back to their previous albums and observe how an artist's style, sensibility, and approach evolve and how they decide to present it to the audiences.
The album's closing is one of the most emblematic ones in rock history, and while fans knew how the show was going to end, the anticipation of these three songs back to back ensured a remarkable end. There's something to be said about not changing what is right.
We Will Rock You
We are the Champions
God Save the Queen
In retrospective, I see that this period was very formative for understanding the history and evolution of music. My neighbor Fer would send me a pile of records every week that my mom would disinfect before they went back to him. I think he enjoyed “curating” the batch, and I devoured them, reading who wrote the songs, who produced the albums, looking at the recording dates, and so on, making connections that cemented all this in my brain, allowing me to get deeper and deeper. This, in combination with the reading of "Conecte Musical," the Mexican Rolling Stone knock off made me a music wizz.
As I look back on that time, maybe the most helpful skill I learned was the lyrics of “We Will Rock You,” which amazed people at parties while they stamped their feet and clapped their hands to the song so I could sing its three verses.
I may have missed school, but the opportunity to dedicate five weeks to listening and learning the history of rock music has given me decades of enjoyment - and “Queen Live Killers” led the pack.