|Bike It 80
|What do you think would have happened if Queen's popularity hadn't waned in the USA and Canada in the 80's? Do you think they would have toured North America for The Works and AKOM? Do you think they'd still have ditched Capitol in favor of Hollywood Records? What do you think would be different... or not?
|The Ghost of Lester Burnham
|I know that Ratty (Peter Hince, Freddie's and John's roadie) said that they had North American dates in reserve for The Works (from queenarchives.com):
Was there ever any discussions to bring The Works tour to North America in 1984?
Yes, I believe some dates were planned in reserve. I think it was a huge mistake by Queen not to take that tour to America - it effectively killed the band there. The decision was because the singles from The Works had not done very well in the US, but were big hits everywhere else. Queen had just signed to Capitol Records and expected more I guess. The breaking point was the video for I want To Break Free - the ‘drag’ and comedy didn’t go down well in America and Queen would not make an alternative video for the US market.
|The King Of Rhye
|Just when you look at the timeline of things, it looks like there was time set aside for a North American tour in '84....The Works was released in February and they didn't start touring until August....
|Bike It 80
The Ghost of Lester Burnham wrote: (...) The decision was because the singles from The Works had not done very well in the US, but were big hits everywhere else. (...)When you look at it, the singles from Hot Space didn't chart very well in the US either but they still toured North America in 1982. And the Hot Space album itself went to #22 and the Works only went one number bellow at #23. If they had toured the US and Canada in 1984, maybe it could have boosted sales a bit? Or maybe they saw what happened in 1982, where touring didn't really boost sales and said "let's concentrate on countries where we're more successful", because they felt they were on a downward slope in North America? People must have known that Queen were putting on one of the best shows at the time, Queen could have made a small tour of US and Canada and tickets sales could still have been high... I guess that the whole "Capitol's not behind us" and what happened with the IWTBF videoclip was just the last nail in the coffin for them.
|Hi, maybe you have a read into this thread :)
|Bike It 80
musicland munich wrote: Hi, maybe you have a read into this thread :) linkThanks for the link, interesting stuff there! And sorry if my thread turned out to be a rehash of "Why Queen became less popular in the 80's in the US", my original intent was to imagine what it would have been like IF their popularity hadn't waned in North America ;)
|In that case there are several points where to start a discussion....we have to erase "Hot Space" out of our minds....what about Freddie's disease ? That would be interesting in case of a possible "AKOM North America tour"...and then there is Paul Prenter who really messed up their contacts in the States.
So the starting point for your scenario would be their reputation around "The Game" period I guess.
|Perhaps, Freddie did not want to tour North America, because 'gay cancer' hit the States hard around this period and he knew there was no way he could do 2 months of touring without constant shagging.
|Does anybody think that if Queen had done a full-on tour of America in 1984/85 that they would have sold enough tickets to make it worthwhile and gain some trust back from the fans? I know Break Free damaged their reputation, but it seems to me that it could have been regarded as a blip than a catastrophe had they played things a little differently (strategically played, not musically played).
I think that Under Pressure without the rest of Hot Space could have worked - or if Freddie had been able to finish that project with Michael Jackson at the time he was making it, things may have worked differently. The State of Shock demo has potential, don't you agree?
There seem to be too many factors affecting the band at the time - Freddie's unreliable lifestyle at the time, the excess that grew from success, the in-fighting in the band, the change in direction with the music. The gay issue might not have been that much of an issue at all in the USA were it not for the fact that Queen's audience there, unlike in the UK, seemed to be the hard rock audience - and even then, the gay issue might not have been an issue if they'd churned out some more hard rock singles - which is what I think Brian wanted to do anyway.
I think the bottom line is that to be a success in a certain area, you have to work to make it a success. When it seemed like their popularity in the USA was sliding, they didn't seem to want to work to claw back the success, and of course by the time of the Magic Tour, it would appear that it was already too late for Freddie to commit to another year of touring - a USA Magic Tour would probably have had to start in say, October 1986 and last until June or July 1987 and that just couldn't have happened. In fact as I type this, I'm wondering if the reason that the Magic Tour was set out as a relatively small tour in terms of the number of concerts played, is because Freddie had a fair idea of what was happening to him and wouldn't commit to more.
Given that Brian went over to America and trawled round some of the radio stations, and Brian and Roger both did interviews, and they had the launch party for Innuendo on the Queen Mary, I'm pretty certain that had Freddie been well enough to tour America in 1990-1992 (imagine that he didn't die), they'd have picked up their popularity there again.
Wayne's World was released after Freddie's death, but given that the film was released in February 1992, it was probably in the post production stages for a few months before then, meaning that the Bohemian Rhapsody sequence was filmed before Freddie's death, and possibly before the production team for that film really knew about his illness (yes, it was an open secret, but let's be honest, nobody REALLY wanted to believe it although everyone knew it).
So, my personal view is that we'd have to take Freddie's death out of the equation, bring him back into full health for a Magic Tour, and a new tour for Innuendo, and Queen would have probably regained their crown in the states.
I don't know if they'd have ditched Capitol, I don't know how important it was to the band to change record companies. I still don't know why they changed labels at a stage when Freddie was so close to the end, but the did. Of course when they signed the deal, they weren't to know just how bad things were, or were denying it, but Freddie's death and Wayne's World combined probably worked in the record companies favour. Sad though it is to say.
|^also gotta note that the initial Hollywood Records release of their selected greatest hits album had a comparable color sticker "featuring WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS from THE MIGHTY DUCKS (film)"
If I remember my history correctly the then new hockey team also scored big in its premiere year.
Another reason for the splitting up of the original UK greatest hits 1 & 2 and the American Hollywood Records editions of GH and CLASSIC QUEEN.
Classic Queen had an "as featured in Wayne's World"... ... seeing how the label had commercially split Bohemian Rhapsody from the original GH album (absurd right? But it'd make kids with enough dough have to buy both in case they received the cd as a gift or something)
I figure the band was hedging on new popularity although they might not have anticipated it.
It's all gotta be summed up better by a Queen Theologian on this site instead of me. I think they knew they were going down as a LEGACY act and bartered some song usage for clout... who knows what preempted what without consulting dates and contracts.
If they had a talk with then head Michael Eisner then they obviously must have brought up Freddie's situation in order to have a standing PLAUSIBLE contract... had they not, they could have easily been sued
Back to the OP however... teaming up with Disney could have been a powerful event, suppose they made an original soundtrack to an animated film?
It all belongs to THE WATCHER from the pages of Marvel Comic's WHAT IF.. series however.
The world may never know
|Good points Matt.
Thing is, none of us knows what was in that contract with Hollywood Records: It could have been simply to promote the back catalogue and the Innuendo album, with all future releases going through Hollywood. It most likely wasn't a 5 album deal, although with the official line being in 1991 that Queen were already recording the follow-up to Innuendo (someone mentioned that fan club magazine articles pushed this idea at the time), then Hollywood Records would have probably thought the same.
However, Hollywood must have known the speculation regarding Freddie's health and I'm almost certain that Jim Beach would have known the implications of not disclosing this information to a new record company - if indeed it needed to be disclosed at all, because after all, any one of us can die at any time. I'm not sure how a record deal works in terms of it being similar to a life insurance policy or not.
Queen probably would have made the soundtrack to an animated film - what with Elton John taking on the Lion King around that time, we could easily see Queen being attracted to that kind of project.
Perhaps the real truth is that Queen knew their USA popularity had diminished by 1982 and never really returned, and the probably wanted to make sure that Freddie was in the public eye and thought of fondly BEFORE he died, and therefore had this large publicity push in 1991.
Hollywood would have seen Freddie at the Brits in 1990, they'd have seen the Slightly Mad and Days of Our Lives clips, and anyone with any sense of insight would have known that something major was wrong before the deal was signed. They'd have also known that a dead legend sells more records than a live one. It's happened time and time again, and as callous and calculating as that sounds, record companies are more about the collection of money than the dissemination of art, let's face it!
|The Ghost of Lester Burnham
|I seem to recall reading somewhere (perhaps Is This The Real Life? or Days Of Our Lives, can't remember) that Jim Beach made Hollywood aware of Freddie's situation, without totally going into it, and they were enthusiastic regardless to sign Queen, as they hadn't yet gotten a huge rock band on their label.
Similar to what miraclesteinway said, I'm sure getting Queen and then Freddie dying wasn't the worst thing for Hollywood Records; they had a pretty good year in 1992!
|Of course, Hollywood must have known. Jim Beach told a nice story on Days of Our Lives about his inner dealings with the company, sadly none of it was probably true. He would have had his ass smacked properly had he tried to manipulate HR.
|Jim Beach said "I flew out to Los Angeles to meet with Michael Eisner, the head of Disney (at the time), to tell him that Freddie was seriously ill [...]".
|Lets be honest.. if you were head of HR and you suspected Freddie might soon be gone they would be worth the investment due to the impending record sales and reissues. Morbid but true?
|Bike It 80
|^^^ Yes and yes. As the saying goes : death sells. I wonder how many albums Queen sold in North America between 1991 and, let's say, 1996. How many kids, like me, went out and bought the entire Queen discography (not at once, though!) after being introduced to Queen via Bo Rhap in Wayne's World? A lot, probably. Plus all the people that already owned the LPs and bought the reissues. And even with just the sales of GH and Classic Queen, we still talk about A LOT of albums sold during that period. So yeah, pretty good investment.
RafaelS wrote: Jim Beach said "I flew out to Los Angeles to meet with Michael Eisner, the head of Disney (at the time), to tell him that Freddie was seriously ill [...]".Oh, my apologies then. For some reason, I had it in my mind he told a story about how he fooled HR. Will definitely rewatch this bit.
|Now that you mention it, I do remember that, and a quick google search led me to a passage in Lesley Ann Jones' book where she said that Michael Eisner flew to Montreux to meet Freddie, and they had lunch together, and to cut a long story short it was obvious to Eisner that Freddie was dying. Sad.
|The King Of Rhye
Bike It 80 wrote: ^^^ Yes and yes. As the saying goes : death sells. I wonder how many albums Queen sold in North America between 1991 and, let's say, 1996. How many kids, like me, went out and bought the entire Queen discography (not at once, though!) after being introduced to Queen via Bo Rhap in Wayne's World? A lot, probably.That would completely describe me!