THANK YOU, QUEEN, FOR LETTING US TOUCH THE HEM OF YOUR GARMENT!!!

article published in The Brian May Fan Club magazine Fall/Winter 1996

Pardon me if I sound less than fan-like, but I wasn't exactly chomping at the bit to see MADE IN HEAVEN released. I have been a "Queenie" all of my adult life. The untimely passing of FREDDIE Mercury was something of a "tragedy", more than the "loss of one of Rock's brightest stars". Freddie's death permanently altered the "fun side" of my life. It was an aberrant type of grief and difficult to process. We didn't enjoy the luxury of closure. We didn't have the opportunity to say "good-bye" in the traditional sense. Life without QUEEN was an awkward readjustment. I wasn't anxious for this final, paramount release to resurrect old heartaches. However, I was aware that Freddie meant for these songs to be heard by US, the fans, so I had resigned myself to listen to the tracks. I just wasn't exactly eager to do so.

It wasn't half bad. It was bittersweet...Rather than reawakening exhausted grief, it heartened fond memories. I embraced it. I wanted to jump for joy that Brian, Roger and John were still alive and with us. It reassured me that this wasn't a chapter of my life to be closed, but to be reopened occasionally, like a high school yearbook...thumb thru the pages...remember old times and old friends......A treasure to be guarded for a life time. I has several opportunities to discuss MADE IN HEAVEN with several other fans and have read a few fan-generated reviews. I was disturbed by what many of the nonchalant assessments of the album, as though we had 20 more to look forward to. "Well, I didn't care for such and such track...", They could have kept the remixes..." "I would rather have had an EP.." "Why do they have backing vocalists. It should only be QUEEN!", "God, took them long enough..." "Uh, I didn't like the artwork..." Excuse me? EXCUSE ME?!?! As QUEEN, this was their final statement. One doesn't "review" a eulogy. One doesn't critique an eulogy.

Ok, ok, I wasn't there personally. I can only envision what took place behind those boards. Now, if I take my own anxiety over the release of MADE IN HEAVEN, and multiply it by 2 million and 2, I can pretty much guess the weight that the recording of this album placed on the surviving members of QUEEN. They KNEW Freddie. They worked with him, traveled with him, created with him, fought with him, They WON with him! What sort of impact do you suppose his final recordings, his final lyrics had on them? Brian and Roger had embarked on solo careers. They so easily could have could have kicked these tapes under a table and went on their prosperous lives. Instead, they screeched their endeavors to a halt to lovingly elaborate on the recordings. They generated this grueling effort because this was the way Freddie wanted it. LET ME LIVE for example is a wonderful track! I get the immediate impression that Freddie left a small bit on a piece of tape and the rest of the band PAINSTAKINGLY built and entire song around it. And the backing vocals? Freddie wasn't available to contribute, Darlings... Yes, it took them a long time, I am assuming that the last recordings of Freddie were to be veiled in a musically impeccable shroud, not thrown together in a hodgepodge of commercial effects. I am cognitively aware of the endless hours, days, week and months that went into the recording of these final tracks. I can sense and hear the feeling, the heart, the blood sweat and tears.  I and SO grateful that Freddie lived long enough and had the health and strength to give us one more album. I am SO grateful that he thought enough of his fans to share some of this precious stamina with us. I am SO grateful to Brian, Roger and John for delivering Freddie's final intentions to us in this elegant package. I am SO grateful that they toiled the weeks and months, the nights and days to decorously record these magnificent tracks. I am SO grateful there was a QUEEN!!!

Regarding MADE IN HEAVEN I believe there should be only two words on the tongue of every QUEEN fan......... THANK YOU!



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