Monday, 24 November 2014

NOT EVEN FREDDIE MERCURY SAYS NO TO SIR BOB

Number One in sixty-one countries.

There.

In the global battle against Ebola, Bob has done it again with Band Aid. His critics can say what they like, and do. Lily Allen and Adele are entitled to their opinion and their abstention, of course, and don't go on at me again. You are entitled to yours too. 

Some artists do these charity recordings and gigs to kick-start, boost or revive their careers, as Freddie Mercury and Queen were accused of doing at Wembley Stadium in 1985. As good as a live rock performance gets, it did give the band a new lease of life. 

'Queen were over,' said Paul Gambaccini. 'They'd had their day. Yet here they were, reinventing themselves and going again before our very eyes. It still takes my breath away when I think about it. Freddie Mercury delivered the greatest front-man performance anyone had ever seen.'

Uplifted by the Global Jukebox experience, Queen had soul-searching to do. Perhaps they had been bracing themselves for a natural conclusion to their mostly phenomenal career. They couldn't go on indefinitely, could they? Bands that do so run the risk of diminution. Legendary status is achieved by quitting ahead. Each member of Queen had sidetracked into solo projects, with mixed results, and only Freddie with a modicum of success. Now forced to accept that they were better off sticking together than stalking separate paths, particularly at their time of life, they resolved to defer oblivion and go again. Live Aid gifted them a second chance. No rock act worth its stash would pass that up.  Let's be honest about it.

It was, if only we'd known it at the time, a hollow victory for Queen. The irony of the title of their 'It's A Kind of Magic' tour the following year - their most ambitious ever - took a while to dawn. For Freddie, the writing was on the wall. Today, we pause to remember that he has been gone for twenty three years. His voice is louder than ever. 

I'm sure that most who took part in this year's Band Aid offering did so for altruistic reasons. Good for them. If it also helps their own careers a little, as it helped Queen's - hugely - is there harm in that? It is preferable to the bribery, corruption  and exploitation that dominates the music business today. 

Remember the Human League, who turned down Live Aid?

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