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Classic Rock News And Views
February 14, 2012
It’s hard to escape the sound of classic rock these days. Not that I want to. It’s not just us classic rock fans that still have respect for the sound of classic rock, however. We’ve heard various classic rock hits used through the years as soundtracks for television shows (think Sopranos) and for commercial advertising. Although one might expect these classic hits to fade into obscurity in favor of more contemporary sounds, the opposite appears to be true.
A new commercial for State Farm Insurance features Journey’s hit song “Any Way You Want It,” in order to promote the availability of the company when customers need to get in touch with them. Judging from the number of commercials I see on television, the insurance industry appears to be one of the most competitive industries out there. Therefore, one could presume that the big insurance companies are laying out the cash to hire the best ad agencies that money can buy.
Although I don’t see nearly as many commercials on television for casinos as I do for insurance companies, I think it’s safe to assume that most casinos can afford as much advertising as they care to buy. After, as well all know, the house always wins.
The classic rock group Queen is enjoying a little extra exposure these days thanks to a commercial for the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Much like the commercial for State Farm, the actors in the commercial begin by using song lyrics as part of their dialog. As the ad progresses the dialog morphs into a full-blown performance of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” albeit just enough to whet one’s appetite sufficiently and send Queen fans digging for that CD or MP3 file and cranking it up.
Although it’s hard for many classic rock fans like myself to believe, not everyone in the world has, at sometime in their life, heard “Bohemian Rhapsody.” There are bound to be more than a few young people, and perhaps some not-so-young people who never have. Those with an affinity for interesting music might become newly-minted Queen fans if their interest is piqued sufficiently.
Perhaps these are just the ruminations of an aging classic rock fan who is happy to see some of his old favorites getting some exposure to TV audiences, even if it is through commercials – televised interruptions which usually make me want to change the channel. As much as I dislike commercials, I am not beyond the ability to appreciate a clever ad which flies in the face of most TV advertising that appears to be produced by people that are under the impression that most of the television viewing audience is comprised of idiots.
In this particular case, the advertisement for the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is the clear winner for me, and I’m not even taking the bathing beauty at the bar into consideration before issuing that ruling. Using the lyrics of a song like “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the actor’s dialog is an immediate attention-grabber whether the viewer is a Queen fan or not. How could anyone not wonder what something like that was leading up to? This is one of those rare television commercials that I’d actually stick around to watch so I could find out what it was all about. If all commercials were that clever and featured music from classic rock bands I suppose I might actually stop complaining about them.
June 15, 2010
Queen guitar legend Brian May as become involved in an issue that’s making headlines in the United Kingdom. May’s name has been popping up on the radar over the past month or so as a result of his animal rights activity. Now I’m not sure what he’s been up to can be classified as “animal rights,” or not, so don’t quote me on that.
What I am more certain of is May’s stance in opposition to what he considers cruelty to animals.
From my perch here in the colonies, it appears that it might have all started back around the end of May when a dead fox cub was found with a rope tied around one of its legs. May offered up a £1,000 (about $1,500) reward for information that would lead to those responsible for the act.
May is known for formation of a group called “Save Me,” an organization that promotes the “decent treatment of animals” according to the BBC. The dead fox was found by a member of another organization called “Wales Against Animal Cruelty,” who decided to offer up a reward that May decided to contribute to.
Since then, the fox debate seems to have gradually escalated. Fox hunts, as far as I know, were a British tradition for many years, but it appears the methods employed by traditional fox hunters was outlawed in 2004 by the passage of a law called “The Hunting Act.”
There is now some alarm among groups like “Save Me,” due to their anticipation of an effort to repeal the law. Things really heated up when a couple of children were attacked by a fox, and Brian May reportedly posted a message on his website declaring that the report of an attack was untrue.
“Fox attacks babies? Sure! And monkeys will fly… out of my butt. Ha ha. And I suppose there is proof?!!!,” May wrote, according to The Sun.
May is now under fire after evidence suggests that the report of a fox attacking 9-month-old twins, Lola and Isabella Koupparis, in true. One of the girls is hospitalized, while the other was treated for serious injuries to her arm. May has since said that he has “huge sympathy for the family.” Both twins are expected to recover.
The authorities in the area of the Koupparis’ home have trapped at least three foxes since the attack, and plan to leave the traps in place until the end of the month.
There was no word on whether or not rabies played a role in the attack, but that is usually the cause of fox attacks that we hear about in the northeast U.S. They are indeed rare, but we do hear of them from time to time. It is not considered normal behavior for a fox to attack a person.
Although May appears to have realized his mistake in publicly doubting the attack, the British press is not showing any signs that they are finished with the issue just yet. A recent story in The Independent is titled “Who the hell does Brian May think he is?”
The story quotes May as threatening to leave the U.K. over the current state of affairs there. The author of the article suggests that an appropriate response to May might go something like this: “Bri, animals are lovely and all, and most of this country loves them disproportionately, as you do. But if you feel this is worth leaving the country over, don’t let anyone stop you now.”
November 9, 2009
Coming just prior to the release of his new album, Adam Lambert is still being considered by remaining Queen veterans Roger Taylor and Brian May as someone they would like to work with.
After Lambert performed with Queen on the finale of American Idol along with season 8 winner Kris Allen. At the time there was a lot of talk about Lambert joining Queen as their new frontman. With Lambert’s new album, For Your Entertainment, set for release in about two weeks, there has not been as much buzz about the possibility of him joining Queen, but a recent BBC interview with Roger Taylor confirms that working with Lambert is not something that he and Brian May have forgotten about.
Referring to him as “the most phenomenal singer,” and mistakenly calling him “Adam Bolton,” Taylor said that he and May might do something with Lambert in the future. Taylor, obviously quite impressed with Lambert’s abilities, further praised him by saying, “He’s got one of the greatest voices I have ever heard.”
As for referring to Adam Lambert as “Adam Bolton,” I suppose that was probably a simple slip of the tongue. Perhaps Lambert reminds Taylor of someone he knows whose name is Bolton. I know that in my own experience, and for reasons I cannot explain, there are certain people I meet, and for some reason, just cannot help believing that their name is something that isn’t actually their name at all.
At any rate, Lambert seems like a gracious enough guy to not let it bother him too much.
Check out the BBC interview with Roger Taylor below. Unless of course, the BBC decides to file a copyright claim and the YouTube yanks it offline.
July 6, 2009
My earlier report regarding the whereabouts of the recordings made by Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury during the 1980’s may have been a bit premature. It has become apparent that whomever it was that was in possession of them has somehow allowed them to be leaked to the internet. Something that does not sit well with Queen guitarist Brian May.
What’s a little strange is that it appears as if the two songs May makes reference two have been on YouTube for quite some time. I was quickly able to locate both “State of Shock” as well as “There Must Be More To Life Than This” on YouTube, and they have apparently been posted there for three years.
Whether or not May realized that the material was posted that long ago on YouTube or was just venting his frustration during this time when there is so much attention focused on Jackson’s death is not clear. The Queen guitarist was quoted as saying, “The music thieves at work as usual.”
Brian May is also in the news for reasons other than his comments about the Mercury-Jackson material. May was injured during a performance in the U.K. on July 2nd.
May and drummer Roger Taylor were on stage at the Birmingham Hippodrome when the accident occurred. A platform that was used to support Taylor reportedly malfunctioned as it was moving forward and failed to stop before hitting May, resulting in a nasty bruise.
Although May laughed off the incident, it was reported by someone who had seen May’s injury that it was worse than May had admitted. Roger Taylor reports that the accident was no fault of his, but just demonstrates that the show was live and that May is all right.
May and Taylor were on stage as part of a production known as “We Will Rock You,” – a musical that is based on Queen’s greatest hits.
For more on the mishap, visit the Sunday Mercury.
July 2, 2009
As millions of fans around the world mourn his untimely passing, it has come to light that Michael Jackson had become friends with Queen’s late singer Freddie Mercury during the 1980’s. As described by Brian May, the two met up when Jackson would go to see Queen in concert and the two eventually ended up recording some material together at Jackson’s home.
The recordings have never been released, but there is bound to be a lot of curiosity among fans of Jackson as well as Queen fans about how those tracks came out. There is no word on whether they will ever be heard by the public or who is actually in possession of the recordings at this time.
May also says that the legendary Queen hit “Another One Bites The Dust” may have never achieved its number one status if it were not for Michael Jackson. Having heard the song at one of the group’s shows during “The Game” tour Jackson suggested that it be released as a single. The rest, as the well-worn saying goes, is history.
Jackson’s extraordinary talent was not lost on Brian May. On his personal blog he writes: “I think he qualifies as a great artist; he devoted his whole body and soul to his art. It’s as if, with all the changes he introduced to his body, his art actually became his body and his persona.”
You can read all of Brian May’s comments on his blog at BrianMay.com.