Sued51's Blog











{July 30, 2012}   A Fan’s History of 80’s Boston Bands: Q is for…

Ok, I haven’t cheated since “K” and the next cheat won’t be until “U”. The letter “Q” is a tough one; I have to say Queen.

The second concert I ever attended was the first concert I attended with Eric, before we started going to clubs; it was Queen at Boston Garden. In comparison to my virgin concert experience (the Eagles/Fleetwood Mac/Boz Skaggs that I blogged about for the letter “E”), Queen was colorful, flamboyant, and loud! The costumes were great and Freddie Mercury was dynamite; it was a true scream-along experience.

I remember the summer (1976?) when Bohemian Rhapsody was on jukeboxes everywhere, and I remember the first time I heard it. I spent a week at a campground in Indiana at a huge family reunion. I remember sitting in a car with my favorite cousin, Keith one evening when it came on the radio. He turned it up loud and sang along. When it was over I said, “Who was that?” He was incredulous, “That’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen. Don’t you know that song?!”

My cousin Keith with the Red Sox visor I bought for him.

After that I seemed to hear it everywhere, and I always thought of him. It came on an oldies station recently while I was driving and I sang along. When I got home I wrote this poem.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Tears fall

inconveniently

with age;

they startle me

like a late-night knock—

The radio blares

Bohemian Rhapsody,

flips open the photo album

of my past—

the snapshot’s clear:

a shy awkward teen,

my favorite cousin’s face close

in a dark car,

lit with excitement

about the band.

My crush, so gentle,

he struggled then died

of kidney disease.

Tears continue

as I move on to the next snapshot—

a concert date: watching

the band’s lead singer, slick Mercury,

prancing in tight-pants

in a loud, hot Boston Garden.

He’s long gone;

flamboyant Freddie

succumbed to Aids,

quietly ashamed it seemed.

But this is my memory book,

not his; my regrets

and joys a stranger’s

brought along

by a song that is suddenly over—

and here I sit and stare

at a red light,

stunned by tears

in my unexpected

present life.

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My very first album (vinyl and glorious) was Queen. It had Another one bites the dust on it. We got a lot of mileage out of that one. Good times.

Your poem is very touching. Missing loved ones squeezes the heart and you captured that with your words and tears. Beautiful.

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sued51 says:

Thank you Angelia for your visit and comment. He was a gentle soul.

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peters154 says:

Queen seemed to be so popular in the Boston area when I was growing up. I wonder if the band liked playing this area more than other places.

When I was about ten, I was starting to listen to music but so much of it was so foreign to me, I had no idea who the bands were. So I described a song I heard on the radio to the ‘cool kid’ in school to try to find out who it was. He told me that it sounded like I was describing a song by Queen, but he didn’t know which one. I was sharing a cassette player with my grandfather at the time. He would listen to French translation tapes on it, I would listen to the two or three cassettes I had. I managed to convince him to take me to Jordan Marsh to buy a Queen tape. So one Saturday morning, he and I go on the MBTA orange line to the Jordan Marsh store in downtown Boston. I thought that whoever was working at the music department would be a cool teenager or college kid and would know what song I heard if I could describe it to them.

When we get there, the clerk is older than my grandfather and I was too embarrassed to try to explain what I was trying to find. So I bought a random Queen cassette anyway, thinking that maybe it might be on what I bought, and if it wasn’t maybe there would be something else that would be just as good. When we get home, I play the cassette and realize that none of the songs were the one I heard, and Queen was not even the right band, but I did like the album anyway. My grandfather was very polite, a classical music fan and violin player, I’m sure he was horrified by the music, but I remember he told me thought he Freddie Mercury had a good voice.

I think I’ll always associate Queen with my grandfather. I later figured out that the song I was trying to find was ‘Roundabout’ by Yes, which I still like, but which really doesn’t have as much of a strong memory for me as any song by Queen does.

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sued51 says:

I love your story! Thanks for sharing it! Funny how we associate certain songs with certain people and moments in our lives…we really do each have our own soundtrack…

________________________________

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fgassette says:

Thank you for visiting my blog.

BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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sued51 says:

It was a pleasure, Francine!

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Jo Bryant says:

That poem has me in tears Sue…it is so poignant.

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sued51 says:

As always, thanks for your visit and comment, Jo. 🙂

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