I was 10 years old in 1974 when Queen became my first favorite band. Many posters/records in my bedroom, bamboo stick with microphone tied to it, me pretending to be Freddie Mercury. Queen never left me throughout my life.
When I was 13 I started practicing bass guitar and played all kinds of popular music. Then, at the age of 16, I became more interested in funk, disco and soul, what together with Queen music gradually turned me to jazz. At the age of 17 I also picked up the double bass, studied popular music and jazz at the Conservatory in Arnhem Holland and played mainly professional jazz ever since.
Later on I got even more interested in Queen music and wanted to learn more about the bass parts of the great bass player John Deacon. His work is epic and I really love him, tasting his passion to follow Freddie, Brain and Roger, powerfull grooving, lyrical, and flipping intimate band sounds by playing in the higher registers of the bass. Incredible.
What most people do not realise is that Queen music is a lot of jazz. Beside some guitar keys tunes like ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ and ‘Tie your Mother Down’ the keys they performed in for example were execellent for Bb and Eb musical instrument players like trumpet and tenor or alto saxophone. And for instance: when John enters Bohemian Rhapsody there is a very ‘jazzy’ 1 6 2 5 chord progression happening witch is very common and loved in jazz. Right, also the Muppet Show tune! There are many more examples of typical jazz chord progressions in Queen music. I bet John loves jazz, and Brain and Roger too. I think Freddie studied a lot of musical songs in his teenage years. Those tunes are in the Real Book now. Written by jazz composers in jazz keys. So it became common to Freddie. The Real Book is a collection of many written out jazz tunes and used by jazz artists and jazz students all over the world. Queen also frequently used the African based rhythms as 6/8 and 12/8. And again had classical, gospel, blues, rock, disco, funk and rock ’n roll influences. In their musical harmony they often used (hidden) major/minor flips and vice versa for emotional musical reasons. For instance: “No time for losers ‘cause WE are the champions”. F major to Ab major to add even more passion in their music.
By now I know some Queen songs to the exact last bassnote by heart:
Bicycle Race, I Want it All, Play the Game, Save Me, Who Wants to Live Forever, Tie Your Mother Down, Under Pressure, Another One Bites the Dust, I Want to Break Free, Youre My Best Friend, Dont Stop Me Now, A Kind of Magic, Somebody to Love, Killer Queen, Radio Ga Ga, Dragon Attack, Fat Bottemed Girls, We Will Rock You, We Will Rock You Fast, Stone Gold Crazy, In the Lap of the Gods, One Vision, Crazy Little Thing Called Love,We Are The Champions, The Show Must Go On and Bohemian Rhapsody.
I am available to do workshops or give (online) lessons about the music of Queen and especially about the beautiful basslines performed by bass genius John Deacon.