It is no secret that, way back when I was a teenager, I was a pretty serious fanatic about the band Queen. It is easy to understand why, because let’s get real: Queen’s music is the shit. But to put it in perspective, you need to know that when I was in high school, Queen was absolutely like a way of life to me, or a religion. To really get what I am saying, you would have had to be me. I was obsessed with their music, in love with Freddie Mercury, and completely and totally gay for Queen! I was even a member of Queen’s official London-based fan club and had fellow Queen fans from all over the world as pen pals. How geeky is that? The walls of my teenage bedroom were plastered corner to corner with posters and pictures of the band ripped from the pages of 70s-era rock magazines like Cream and Circus. I painted the nails on my left hand with black polish and went to school wearing glitter baseball jackets and skintight black satin trousers. My parents were horrified.
In addition to collecting photos, books, magazines and tour programs on the band – who I was fortunate to see in concert five times over four tours – I collected little odds and ends that I kept in a scrap book. Queen Queen Queen Queen Queen. If it wasn’t Queen, I had no use for it. As important as these things once were to me, you’d think I would have kept vigilant track of my beloved Queen memorabilia. But aside from my original vinyl albums, I have no idea where that collection is now (probably gathering dust in my parent’s attic). I actually hadn’t even given that stuff much thought until I got hold of this new book, Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock, which really is the ultimate, collector’s coffee table book on one of the most original bands ever. Oh my god, this book is amazing.
Amazon.com describes the book as a collection of “glorious concert and candid off-stage photography from throughout the band’s career, as well as concert posters, backstage passes, LPs and singles, and other memorabilia from throughout the world. This is the ultimate visual tribute to Queen. More than 500 photos and artifacts are accompanied by contributions from some of today’s top rock journalists from Europe and North America. In addition to a chronological history of the band, there are reviews of all studio albums, notable excerpts from period publications, complete year-by-year tour dates, and a discography, as well as reflections on the band and their music from many of rock’s top performers past and present.” But what I would say about Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History is that holding this awesome book in my lap and paging through it was akin to looking through my scrapbook and box of decades old Queen clippings and experiencing a flood of almost painfully joyous adolescent memories that hit me like I was seventeen again. Wow, when was the last time a book did that for you? If you ever loved Queen the way I did, you can’t live without this book. (Trust me, we were the same person.)
Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock, written by Phil Sutcliffe (published by Voyaguer Press) has a cover price of just $40, but it’s available at a significant discount from Amazon Dot Com.