Queen Band Facts: Do You Really Know The Band?

We’ve all heard the track We Are The Champions as that’s one of the most famous Queen songs, which is often used in sporting events around the world. How much do you know about this group? Below, we’re going to test your knowledge with these Queen band facts… do you really know the band? 

Freddie Mercury Was Born in East Africa and His Name Was Farrokh 

Did you know frontman Freddie Mercury isn’t his real name? His real name is Farrokh Bulsara, and he was born in East Africa on an island called Zanzibar. 

Freddie Mercury Moved To the UK And Changed His Name

November 16, 1977 – Freddie Mercury at a WPLR Show in New Haven, Connecticut. Image source: Carl Lender, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1964, Mercury moved to the UK, and when he did, he changed his name legally to Freddie Mercury. 

Queen’s Fan Club Has Gone On The Longest 

Queen has had their fan club go on longer than any other band’s fan club in music history, and it’s a record that’s now in the Guinness Book of Records

Freddie Mercury Came Up With The Name “Queen” 

The band name “Queen” was thought of by Mercury, and he wanted the band to be named that because he thought the name sounded powerful and strong. He knew at the time that it would sound “gay” because they are all guys with a band name of Queen, but he wanted to do it anyway.

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Freddie Mercury Loved Cats 

October 23, 2020 – Cat and IP-Phone Grandstream GXP1620. Image source: Антон Пищулин, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mercury was a huge cat lover, and throughout the years, he had owned multiple cats. It’s widely known how when he was gone on tour, he would call his house and check on the welfare of his kitties. He would even have someone put the phone to the cat’s ear and talk to them. 

Queen Easily Got Into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 

It was never a question whether Queen would make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2001, the band finally was inducted into the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, just 10 years after Mercury died. Other musicians inducted that year included Michael Jackson and Aerosmith. 

Freddie Mercury Turned Down Broadway 

November 20, 1976 – Linda Ronstadt. Image source: Rob Bogaerts / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Interestingly, Mercury had a chance to perform at a Broadway show called La Boheme, which also starred Linda Ronstadt. However, he noted that he didn’t think he could sing for a week on one stage because he would be bored. 

Queen Has a Walk Of Fame Star 

October 31, 2006 – Queen Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Image source: Willem van Bergen, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Queen has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and it was given to the band in 2002, long after Mercury passed away. 

One Of Their Famous Songs Was Written In The Bathtub 

Queen - Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Official Video)

Crazy Little Thing Called Love was written by Mercury while he was in the bathtub.

Britain Put Freddie Mercury On A Stamp 

It was unusual for its time to have someone other than the Queen on the stamps in Britain, but the government decided to put Mercury on a stamp because he was so iconic and loved. 

Voted Greatest Band In Music 

July 14, 1980 – Queen performing at the Oakland Arena. Image source: Mark James Miller is the original photographer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There was a poll from 1999 that rated Queen the greatest band in music history by the public, which really says something about how much people love them to this day. 

They Were Booed in Melbourne 

When Queen went to Melbourne, Australia, in 1974, the crowd booed them. It was during the Sunbury Rock Festival and at the time, they weren’t that well known to the crowd. Mercury famously said that when the band came back next time, they would be the greatest band in the world. 

Over 300,000 People Were At Their Argentina Show 

Queen had more than 300,000 people at their show in Argentina, which set a record for having the biggest crowd in the country out of any band. This just goes to show that they weren’t only popular in Europe or America, but all over the world too. Even more funny was that they couldn’t sing in Spanish either. 

Another One Bites The Dust Originally Wasn’t Meant To Be A Single 

Queen - Another One Bites the Dust (Official Video)

One of the biggest singles Queen would have was Another One Bites The Dust, but this song wasn’t originally meant to be released as a single. It was Michael Jackson who insisted they release this as a single after he’d heard the performance of the track while backstage at a concert. 

Brian May Built His Red Special Guitar 

November 16, 1977 – Brian May at New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, Connecticut. Image source: Carl Lender, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A lot of people don’t know how smart Brian May is and don’t know that he built his own electric guitar. We are talking about Old Lady or Red Special as it’s known. He designed it and built it along with help from his father. When he would tour, he would have a bodyguard for the guitar too.

John Deacon Is An Electronics Engineer

November 22, 1979 – John Deacon at RDS, Dublin. Image source: Eddie, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You might know John Deacon as the bass player for Queen, but he’s actually an electronics engineer. He even built a lot of the equipment that the band uses and invented the Deacy Amp. 

Brian May Is An Astrophysicist 

While Brian May can certainly play guitar and is one of the top guitarists of all time, he actually went to the Imperial College Of London where he obtained his PhD and is an astrophysicist

Two Famous Queen Videos Were Filmed In The Garden Of Roger Taylor 

Queen - Spread Your Wings (Official Video)

Roger Taylor had a garden, and it was in this garden that two iconic videos, We Will Rock You and Spread Your Wings were filmed. It was freezing cold at the time of filming, so the red guitar you see Brian May play was a replica as he was too concerned that the cold would damage his actual red guitar. 

Queen Stayed On The UK Charts For 26 Years

It’s not a surprise that Queen was a hit in their home country of the UK, but the band managed to do the unthinkable and stay on the UK charts for more than 26 years! There has never been a band or solo musician to pull off such a feat before or after them. When you think of them, their fan base spans generations and new fans are being born every day, and their music is clearly still as loved as the day it was released. 

Queen Was Broke While Creating A Night At The Opera 

Love Of My Life (Remastered 2011)

Even though Sheer Heart Attack was a successful album, the band was broke when they were recording A Night At The Opera. In fact, it was so bad that they couldn’t even afford a new drumstick had Roger Taylor broke one. He was told to not bang the drums too hard because of their financial situation. 

Queen Named Two Albums After Silent Films 

Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy (Remastered 2011)

If you’re not a silent movie buff, you might not have noticed that both A Day At The Races and A Night At The Opera are two silent films that were released by the Marx brothers. These movies were released in 1935 and 1937, so their love of film goes way back.

Bohemian Rhapsody Is One Of The Biggest Singles in Britain In Music History 

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (Official Video Remastered)

The Brits love Queen as evidenced by the fact that Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the best-selling singles of all time. It is in third place after Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid and Candle In The Wind by Elton John.

Freddie Mercury’s Stand-Free Mic Was an Accident 

Unknown – Queen. Image source: Carl Lender from Sunrise, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

During one performance in the earlier days of Queen, the microphone stand that Mercury was using broke, and he just used the end of the stand with the microphone to continue the concert. When the show was over, he had an idea to just use that part of the stand, so he could run around the stage, and the stand-free mic was born.  

Freddie Mercury Considered Himself To Be Bisexual 

While most people think of Mercury as gay, he actually self-identified as a bisexual man. He dated both women and men in his life, although had longer and more relationships with men than women. When he died, he considered himself to be gay at that point in his life. 

Freddie Mercury Worried About His Legacy 

Before Mercury died on November 24, 1991, he had worried about his legacy and famously told their manager while on his deathbed to do whatever with the music but don’t make him boring. He wanted to make sure that he left a great legacy for his fans and future generations.

Roger Taylor Could Have Joined Genesis

2005 – Roger Taylor. Image source: Flominator, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Before Roger Taylor was the drummer for Queen, Genesis wanted him to join their band. Thankfully, he did not accept that offer and would end up the drummer as Queen a short time later.  

Freddie Mercury Made Queen’s Emblem

Queen - Greatest Hits (2) [1 hour 20 minutes long]

Mercury had a degree in graphic design and art from Ealing Art College, so it made sense that when it came time to design a logo for the band he would be the one to do it. He designed the Queen emblem himself, and we must say, we doubt anyone could have done it any better! 

Freddie Mercury Actually Enjoyed Star Wars 

In a Queen song titled Bicycle Race, Mercury famously said he didn’t like Star Wars, which is actually not true according to Brian May. He said that the singer did enjoy Star Wars, and instead, wasn’t a fan of bicycling like he claimed in the song. 

A Queen Video Was Banned From MTV

Queen - I Want To Break Free (Official Video)

One Queen video was too risque for even MTV, which was I Want To Break Free, and it famously had the members of the band wearing drag. The whole video was parodying Coronation Street, a soap opera that aired in Britain, and MTV decided it was all too controversial for its channel. 

Over $190 Million Raised Through Queen’s Live Aid Concert 

Thanks to Queen putting together the Live Aid concert in 1985, more than $190 million was raised for famine relief. They were one of many bands to perform at that concert, but they stole the show when they performed all of their big hits. It didn’t take long for Live Aid 1985 to be considered the best rock concert ever, and to this day, holds that title. 

Roger Taylor Released A Solo Album First

Roger Taylor would be the member of Queen to release a solo album before any of the others, which is surprising to some. 

Two Queen Songs Are Global Sports Anthems

Queen - We Will Rock You (Official Video)

You may guess where this is going, when it comes to global sports anthems, Queen’s We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions have reigned as the top sports anthems in the world. 

Four Hit Queen Songs Were Written By Roger Taylor 

Queen - Radio Ga Ga (Official Video)

There were four Queen songs that were written by Roger Taylor that were pretty big hits for the band including Radio Ga Ga, The Invisible Man, These Are The Days Of Our Lives, and A Kind of Magic. 

Bohemian Rhapsody Is Their Best-Selling Song

It’s not really a shock that Bohemian Rhapsody is their best-selling song of all time, but in second place is We Are The Champions, and then Under Pressure. 

Thank God It’s Christmas Wasn’t On An Album

Queen - Thank God It's Christmas (Official Lyric Video)

When Queen first released the song Thank God It’s Christmas in 1984, it was not part of an album and was just a standalone single.

Every Band Member Went To College 

What’s really cool is that every member of Queen went to college and at least earned an undergraduate degree, which is one of the rarities in the music business. 

Brian May Contracted Hepatitis

Early in the days of the band, Brian May contracted hepatitis. It was 1974 when he was diagnosed, and it happened soon after he fell while on tour in America. 

They Hated The Interviews Each Other Did 

Watch Freddie Mercury's Rare 1982 ET Interview (Exclusive)

Queen members were not fans of one another doing interviews, and each time one of them would do an interview, the others would say they didn’t like it. Mercury would publicly say he didn’t care for the interviews that the others did, and he knew that they didn’t like his interviews either. 

Freddie Mercury Worked At The Airport 

November 14, 2014 – Heathrow Airport. Image source: Heathrow airport by Gareth James, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

We’ve all had odd jobs and monotonous jobs in our lives, and that includes Mercury, who worked at Heathrow Airport in London before Queen as a baggage handler. 

Roger Taylor Recorded Sounds Of His Alfa Romeo For a Song 

Queen - I'm In Love With My Car (Official Video)

If you’ve listened to the song I’m In Love With My Car, you can hear at the end of the track some revving of a car. Funny enough, he recorded his own Alfa Romeo for this part of the song, which makes sense given he is the one that penned the track. 

Freddie Mercury Had Started Bohemian Rhapsody Years Before Finishing It 

It was way back in 1968 when Mercury began writing Bohemian Rhapsody, and at the time, he was in school studying art. There wasn’t much he had written at the time and only had the very first line written, and it would be years later before the song would be finished and released as what we know it today.

Brian May’s Wife Inspired a Song 

Queen - I Want It All (Official Video Remastered)

Queen wrote a track called I Want It All, and the inspiration for this song was none other than Brian May’s wife, who was quoted as saying “I want it now.” 

November 27, 2015 – Anita Dobson snapshot from BBC Films London Road. Kit Nicho, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Queen’s Last Album With Freddie Mercury Was Made In Heaven 

Queen - Made In Heaven (Official Lyric Video)

Made In Heaven was the last album to feature Mercury, and this album would not be released until 1995, which is four years after his death. 

Freddie Mercury Helped Dress Princess Diana In Drag

Princess Diana and Mercury were together one evening and wanted to go to Vauxhall Tavern, which is a gay bar. So as to not be recognized, she dressed up in sunglasses, a leather cap with her hair in it, and wore an army jacket. No one knew it was her, and she had beer and wine before going back to the palace. 

Queen Won Multiple Ivor Novello Awards 

Queen - These Are The Days Of Our Lives (Official Video)

The band won multiple Ivor Novello awards, which are incredibly prestigious awards, and won their first one in 1976 for Bohemian Rhapsody for having the Best-Selling British Record. They won again in 1987 as a band for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, while winning for Best-Selling A-Side for These Are The Days Of Our Lives in 1992. The last Ivor Novello award Queen won was in 2005 for Outstanding Song Collection. 

Freddie Mercury Only Revealed His AIDS Diagnosis Right Before Death 

Mercury kept a lot of his private life private and did not let the public know he was diagnosed with AIDS until the day before he died. He would deny anything was wrong with him before then, even though a lot of people knew something was wrong. His manager, Jim Breach, and Mercury put together a statement on November 22, 1991, and released the next day, which revealed he had AIDS. Just a couple of days later, Mercury died of complications from pneumonia as a result of AIDS. 

He Kept His AIDS Diagnosis Quiet To Protect Others 

In the statement Mercury released before his death, he said that he did not come forward about his diagnosis sooner in an effort to protect those around him and their privacy. Some people believed if he had gone public sooner, he could have been a spokesman but that isn’t what he was interested in doing.

Elton John Was Not a Fan Of Bohemian Rhapsody 

1975 – Elton John on the Cher Show. Image source: CBS TelevisionUploaded by We hope at en.wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Elton John famously said that Bohemian Rhapsody was not a good tune, and he did not like it because he said it was just weird and way too bizarre for radio play. He shared this tidbit of information in, Me, which is his autobiography. 

Paul Rodgers Fronted Queen For a Bit 

2005 – Queen + Paul Rodgers tour. Image source: Miquelsi, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Years after Mercury died, Paul Rodgers became the frontman of Queen for a little while, although it was primarily for a tour in 2005. During this tour, the band was known as Queen + Paul Rodgers. 

Freddie Mercury Had Above Average Vocal Cords 

Interestingly, in 2016, a group of scientists studied Mercury’s vocal cords and found that his vibrato was 7.04 Hz, which is above the average of between 5.4 Hz and 6.9 Hz. This meant that his vocal cords were moving quicker than the average person, which is why he could sing as high and loud as he did. 

Queen Is In The Songwriters Hall Of Fame 

In 2003, Queen was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, and they were put in as a whole group instead of one individual person, and this was the first time that had happened. 

Queen Was Inducted Into VH1 Rock Honors 

1984 – Queen in Frankfurt, Germany. Image source: Thomas Steffan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The first band to ever be inducted into the VH1 Rock Honors was Queen, which occurred in 2006. 

Bohemian Rhapsody Is In The Grammy Hall Of Fame 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bohemian Rhapsody won multiple awards and is their signature song, which is why in 2004, it was put into the Grammy Hall Of Fame

Queen Is In The UK Music Hall Of Fame 

Queen is also in the UK Music Hall Of Fame and was inducted in 2004. This makes sense given how popular they were in their home country of Britain.

Freddie Mercury Was In A School Band

When Mercury lived in India where he went to boarding school, he joined a band in school that was named The Hectics. 

Sheer Heart Attack Struck Gold 

Queen - Sheer Heart Attack (Official Lyric Video)

Sheer Heart Attack, which was the third album that Queen had released, would quickly go to Gold in the US

Queen Won Several Brit Awards 

Queen won several Brit Awards through the years while Mercury was alive, and the first time they won was in 1977 for Bohemian Rhapsody in the category British Single Of The Year. They would win again in 1990 for Outstanding Contribution To Music, and These Are The Days Of Our Lives won in 1992 for British Single Of The Year. Also in 1992, Mercury won a Brit Award specifically for his Outstanding Contribution To Music. 

Adam Lambert Now Fronts Queen 

December 12, 2017 – Queen And Adam Lambert at The O2. Image source: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Adam Lambert is the new lead singer for Queen, and he is famously known as a huge fan of the group and is also a flamboyant man similar to Mercury. While Mercury can never be replaced, Lambert has been amazing in his role as the frontman of the band.

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