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


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.


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.


sued51 says:

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


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.


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…



fgassette says:

Thank you for visiting my blog.



sued51 says:

It was a pleasure, Francine!


Jo Bryant says:

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


sued51 says:

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


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