I don't know about you, but when I'm in the car, and a song by Queen comes on, I have to listen to the whole thing, no matter how many times I've heard it. "Momma...just killed a man...put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he's dead," with the same emotion as when I first heard it in Wayne's World (I'm not old enough to have been there the first time around.) I will even sit in a parked car and be a few minutes late to work just to hear the song. Freddie Mercury has the most gorgeous voice in rock and roll that I know of, and I even found out recently that a famous opera singer requested to perform a concert with him.
Two of the best-known Queen songs, "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" are regularly played at sporting events, particularly hockey. And I find it poignant lately that many of the people who attend these games probably are not big Queen fans, or maybe even don't know that the songs were made by Queen, or could just be too young to know. Most of these people are men, and may exist in a culture where masculinity is placed at a premium, and where homosexuality is considered a weakness, or at least something to stay away from. The word "gay" is tossed around as an affectionate insult, as in "dude, that shirt looks gay on you," or "that's gay," or "I don't hug men, that's gay."
And yet these songs were written by a man who was very gay and who still rocked enough to get stadiums full of tens of thousands of people stomping their feet and clapping their hands in unison 30 years later. Who wore tights and a skinny bare chest during concerts and yet whose song "We Are the Champions" is automatically played at the winning of the Stanley Cup, World Series and other finals.
And that is the beauty of real art--it transcends these boundaries. In New York City, when I would stop to see a really good drummer with his plastic buckets I would look around me to see who else was listening. People of all backgrounds would stop--the audience was merely composed of people who loved drumming. Stoners, stockbrokers, housewives and seniors all together. But somehow I find it more powerful to think of a gay lead singer, who was aware of the homosexual connotations when naming his band "Queen," bringing the sports world to its knees, giant men with chipped and missing teeth hugging and loving each other when they win the championship.