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This program was recently broadcast on French television, and I was absolutely amazed at its quality. Of course, interviews abound, both with Brian May and Roger Taylor (John Deacon has retired completely from the entertainment industry). Thank goodness the show is not a Freddie Mercury hagiography, nor an "oh wasn't it better back then" hour. It sets the record straight on several levels--the musicians, their songwriting, producing an LP, and choosing the singles--and this all from the mouths of Brian & Roger, their former producers, managers, and so on. Some of the interviews are devoted to outside "experts" (critics, journalists, etc.), but the majority of those people interviewed were either involved directly or indirectly in the production, sales or promotion of Queen's music.
Yeah, yeah, so what makes this so special? For me, the high point in this fascinating documentary was the concentration on the complex and very intricate creative and musical processes that went along with the genesis of each song. The unimaginable amount of work to which all of the band members dedicated themselves in bringing "A Night at the Opera" to life may astound you (personally, I wonder if the same amount of time and hard work would be possible today). Once you watch this program, you will know, as I did not, just how the band was able to create the highly and intricately layered background operatic vocals for which Queen would be known worldwide in the future. Another high point for me is the scene covering the the pitch to the record label to get it to accept the release of "Bohemian Rhapsody" (all 5'55" of it!) as a single. And you don't hear about it from some 20-something former VJ, but straight from the horse's mouth, in this case the record label exec. upon whom the song's future hung.
Seminal? The album, unquestionably. The television, most certainly.
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