Sunday, December 19, 2004

Queen with Paul Rodgers?

I read a few days ago that Queen is planning their first tour in 18 years. I also read that they have replaced the late Freddie Mercury with Paul Rodgers, the former front man of both Free and Bad Company. While I am happy to see Queen on tour again, I am not so sure about Paul Rodgers replacing Freddie Mercury.

As a fan of Queen since the mid-Seventies, I have three problems with the inclusion of Paul Rodgers. The first is that I don't think Rodgers has nearly the vocal range that Mercury did. It is inconcievable to me that he could sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" or any of Mercury's other songs with any sort of finesse. It is hard for me to see how Rodgers is going to manage to fill Mercury's shoes. I just can't see it.

The other problem I can see is that Rodgers and Queen would seem to me to be at different ends of the musical spectrum. Most of the groups to which Rodgers belonged, Free and Bad Company in particular, have been AOR bands. On the other hand, Queen was a group that defied classification. Their songs ranged from the hard rock of "Tie Your Mother Down" to the folk sound of "39" to the over the top "Bohemian Rhapsody." Rodgers becoming part of Queen then seems to me something akin to Robin Zander of Cheap Trick becomeing part of Pantera.

Finally, for me Queen is and always will be John Deacon, Brian May, Freddie Mercury, and Roger Taylor. They are one of those bands like The Beatles or Led Zeppelin in which the membership simply cannot vary. In my humble opinion, replace one of the members of Queen and, well, they cease to be Queen. I would be a lot more comfortable with the situation if they were touring under the name Deacon, May, Rodgers, and Taylor or something of the sort.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Paul Rodgers. For his particular genre of music he is a fine singer. And I am a fan of Free, Bad Company, and The Firm (the band Rodgers formed with Jimmy Page). But I just cannot see him as a part of Queen and especially not as a replacement for Freddie Mercury. When it comes right down to it, it just doesn't seem right.

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