BMI Introduction For Icon Award
Below is the BMI introduction given to Queen just prior to the presentation of the Icon award that Brian and Roger accepted last Tuesday, October 4th.
Sterling song craft, virtuoso musicality, outrageous glamour and colossal spectacle: Queen captured hearts and conquered charts like no other band in history.
This year, with the 40th anniversary of their coronation as rock royalty, Queen’s electrifying artistry continues to shake stadiums, to galvanize arenas and to enthrall audiences worldwide.
The statistics are simply staggering: sales in the hundreds of millions of units, an unprecedented string of number one albums and top-charting singles, hit DVDs, seven Ivor Novello Awards; Induction into The UK Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Songwriters Hall of Fame; Songs enshrined in the Grammy Hall of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Queen has spent 1,422 weeks on the British charts ...over 27 years, total with their Greatest Hits the best-selling UK album of all time.
Tonight we add to those honors our ultimate accolade, as we name them BMI Icons. It is only fitting that we present this tribute in London, where Queen set off on their remarkable journey.
Four individual talents: Brian May, an incredible guitarist who has earned a PhD in Astrophysics; Roger Taylor, one of the most influential drummers of all time and a noted producer; John Deacon, a fast and facile bassist, multi-instrumentalist and a brilliant electronics engineer; and Freddie Mercury, certainly one of most riveting showman to ever command a stage.
It began in 1971, With Roger and Brian in a group called "Smile". When their singer quit, Freddie, formerly with the London-based band Wreckage, replaced him. When the trio enlisted John, Queen was complete. But it took three long years of practice and preparation before they debuted as Melody Maker's Band of the year.
With Sheer Heart Attack, Queen - topped the British charts, hit the top 10 in the U.S., and sparked a level of fan hysteria in Japan that matched the arrival of the Beatles. A Night At The Opera launched the band into the stratosphere, as the miraculous “Bohemian Rhapsody” melded rock and operatic overtones into a five minute and fifty-five second opus of 180 vocal overdubs, and many, many “Galileos.”
Imagine the unprecedented power of the double-sided single: one side “We Will Rock You,” and the other, “We Are the Champions,” .....two songs that have entered into the repertoire of millions of sports fans around the world.
Queen was now delivering more than songs– they were creating anthems of triumph and celebration for an unprecedented live audience who came to witness over 700 concerts across the globe. Queen, who embodied joyous excess with the album Jazz, and the singles “Fat Bottomed Girls" ...and “Bicycle Race,” Had become an extravaganza Of unparalleled Rock theater. With the following Number One release The Game,
Two incredible songs, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Another One Bites The Dust” – blazed to the top of the charts as the band sold out four straight nights at the massive Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The pinnacle of Queen’s performances came with the legendary Live Aid Benefit in 1985, when the band topped a superstar bill and contributed immeasurably to the international relief effort with an astonishing show.
Buoyed by this triumph, Queen’s mammoth trek through Europe culminated in the last-ever performance of the four founding members, to an audience of 120,000 fans at Knebworth.
The passing of Freddie Mercury was a profound tragedy. But it speaks to his incredible spirit that the album, Made In Heaven, assembled after his departure sold over seven million copies worldwide. In his memory, the band orchestrated the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness, and the Mercury Phoenix Trust was established. To date The trust has donated more than $15 million to The fight against AIDS around the world. And it speaks to the love of their UK fans, that in December of 1991, soon after the loss of Freddie, Queen had 10 albums in the UK top 100.
For generations of rock fans who weren’t yet born during Queen's campaign across the globe,the ageless music of Queen is a soundtrack of living history. The music is ever present, with the newest deluxe additions soon available. The songs resonate from the stage musical We Will Rock You, now in its 10th year in London and traveling the world. With us tonight, it's writer and director, Ben Elton...
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band, Roger Taylor’s massive talent search, Queen Extravaganza promises to propel this Brand to new heights. The legacy certainly lives on.
A great recent example Stefani Germanotta who very famously appropriated the Queen song, “Radio GaGa,” as her name.
We celebrate the legend, the legacy, the present and the future, As The Music of Queen flourishes. The power of this incredible band exemplifies all that is glamorous and grandiose, magnificently baroque and brilliantly bombastic, in the thundering flashes of epic music, and in the lyrics and melodies that will live forever.
To the members of Queen who join us now: your friends at BMI honor your spirit of artistry. And we are thrilled to celebrate your triumphant march through history.
Ladies and gentlemen, BMI's 2011 Icon, Queen. Brian May and Roger Taylor.
This is a small but meaningful token of the high esteem in which BMI holds you. The award reads: In recognition of your unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.