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"Queen" was an English rock band originally consisting of 4 members: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor.
The band formed in London in the early 1970s after May and Taylor's former band "Smile" split after having released an album and single. Freddie replaced Tim Staffell as vocalist, and John Deacon joined in February of 1971, playing bass for the band that Freddie renamed "Queen".
Queen's first self titled album was released in 1973 and received little attention from the general public. They quickly followed it with a second album, "Queen II" which also failed to generate much interest from music fans in Britain. Despite this, the band began developing a huge following in Japan and witnessed their popularity for themselves when they visited the country, mainly in 1975, to promote their fourth and most famous album "A Night At The Opera", featuring the epic "Bohemian Rhapsody".
Queen's popularity grew steadily through the latter half of the 70s as they released hit album after hit album, reaching its peak in the mid-80s after their "Live Aid" appearence, and continuing into the early 90's before Mercury's untimely death on 24th November 1991. The official cause of death was bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.
Over the course of their 30 year career, the band did sound tracks for two films ("Flash Gordon" and "Highlander"), released a string of live and studio albums, and had many many fans across the world.
In 1995, 4 years after Mercury's death, the band released the album "Made in Heaven". This album saw the surviving band members in the studio completing or reworking unused vocals, unreleased variations of Freddie solo material (a "Queen" version of "I Was Born to Love You" for example), and tracks where Brian and Roger added lyrics to flesh out a song ("Mother Love").
Several "Queen + ..." projects have been developed in the following years, a few of them mere remixes with no artistic involvement from the band. In 1999, a "Greatest Hits III" album was released. This featured, among others, "Queen + Wyclef Jean" on a rap version of "Another One Bites The Dust", a live version of "Somebody To Love" performed by George Michael, and a live version of "The Show Must Go On" performed live in 1997 with Elton John.
Brian May and Roger Taylor have performed together as Queen on several occasions (award ceremonies, charity concerts, and the like), sharing vocals with various guest singers. They have also recorded several covers of Queen's hits with guest vocalists, including "We Will Rock You" (first with Five and later Britney Spears, Beyonce, John Farnham and P!nk) and "We Are The Champions" (with Robbie Williams).
At the end of 2004, May and Taylor announced that they would return to touring in 2005, with Paul Rodgers (founder and former lead singer of "Free" and "Bad Company"). Brian May's website also stated that Rodgers would be 'featured with' Queen as "Queen + Paul Rodgers", and not replacing the late Freddie Mercury. The retired John Deacon would not be participating.
In late 2008, Queen + Paul Rodgers amicably split with Paul returning to Bad Company. They have no current plans of reuniting but have not ruled it out in the future.
Official website: www.queenonline.com
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Freddie Mercury Brian May Queen + Paul Rodgers Roger Taylor Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé