My introduction to Queen was back when I was in college. It was then I first heard “Bohemian Rhapsody” coming through my car's stereo speakers. I found myself intrigued by the harmonies, lush orchestration and catchy melodic line. I ran out to buy Night at the Opera, and it’s still among my favorite albums from the ‘70s, with hits that have long since become iconic like “We are the Champions,” “Killer Queen,” and “We Will Rock You.”
Last year the BBC ran a two-part documentary on the innovative mega rock band, whose global popularity has spanned more than four decades. Recently Eagle Vision entertainment released the film along with numerous extras onto Blu-ray. If you are a Queen fan or have an interest in late 20th century British rock (or pop culture), you will find Days of Our Lives an interesting journey back in time. It is an honest, even introspective, retrospective of an iconic English band told by its members and those in its orbit.
Structured chronologically around the band’s album releases, the documentary traces Queen’s history, primarily told by drummer/songwriter Roger Taylor and guitarist/songwriter Brian May, and by performance. Using studio and candid video clips Days of Our Lives covers each of Queen’s major releases—the successes and the failures. Many of the clips are from rare footage, never before seen.
The story begins with Brian May, who was pursuing a PhD at the Imperial College of Physics and Astronomy in London and the formation of a band called “Smile.” The group ultimately became the Queen we know after adding Freddie Mercury, a unique vocal talent who proved to be a charismatic frontman, known for brilliant stagecraft, but also for his innovative writing and unique vocal style.
From the release of Queen’s first big hit, “Killer Queen,” on 1974’s Sheer Heart Attack, it was clear that the band was different, presenting clever lyrics and sophisticated songwriting. Problems with the group’s management left the group pretty broke, despite the success, and by the time they prepared to record the very expensive Night at the Opera, they were poor and in debt. The story of putting together the elaborate, long, and legendary “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which appears on Night at the Opera, is fascinating.