Queen's popularity with young people

Friendly, general discussion about Queen
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Good Apothecary Man
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Queen's popularity with young people

Post by Good Apothecary Man »

Apologies if I have posted this before (I thought I had but can’t find it by doing a board search). Anyway, the board is quiet at the moment so this might be something for people to chew over.

It is easy to get caught up in the hyperbole, headlines and press releases: the long-running musical; the mega-grossing film; the millions of hits on YouTube and streams on Spotify etc.

The facts don’t lie: the ‘Queen’ brand is obviously immensely popular with all ages and all around the world. But here are a couple of anecdotes relating specifically to young people and what they know — and don’t know — about Queen.

The first concerns a semi-drunken pub argument with a friend a few years ago. I was trotting out the ‘Queen are now part of our collective consciousness’ thing, and I blurted out that everyone — including young people and even kids — would easily be able to name the four band members. Like I say, I had had a few pints at this point. When my friend ridiculed the suggestion, I said: ‘well, definitely three of them, if not all four’.

We put it to the test, asking random young people who came to the bar where we were standing. We asked about ten people, aged 18-22ish. Most could only name Freddie. Some managed to dredge up Brian’s name. None could name more than two. Some couldn’t name any. The barmaid (aged 18) couldn’t name any of the Beatles either. Another young member of staff said: ‘I think the singer might be called Eddie Mercury’.

The second concerns an episode of a Radio 4 quiz called The Third Degree. It’s basically University Challenge-lite, consisting of a team of lecturers against a team of students, hosted by Steve Punt, who keeps it all light-hearted. Questions are a mix of high-brow and low-brow, general knowledge and degree subject-specific.

One round involves the teams naming as many examples of something as they can in thirty seconds. In this particular episode the students had to name Queen singles that reached the top ten. Bohemian Rhapsody was not allowed. Punt referred in his introduction to the “recent” film, so the programme was probably recorded sometime late in 2018 or perhaps a bit later. None of the students had seen the film, by the way.

Their responses were:

TV Killed the Radio Star
Don’t Stop Me Now
We Are the Champions
I Want to Ride My Bicycle
We Will Rock You

I have no doubt that many young people recognise (and can sing along to) the nailed-on Queen ‘classics’ — Don’t Stop Me Now, Another One Bites the Dust, Crazy Little Thing Called Love … maybe a few others. Bohemian Rhapsody is regularly chosen as a karaoke song in my local. We see little kids on television doing the We Will Rock You claps. And so on.

But I think that’s as far as it goes. It’s all very superficial. I suspect many of them don’t even know who the songs are by. That’s not a criticism, by the way; I haven’t a clue about modern music.

I do find myself wondering how much of it comes down to how listening to music has changed over the years. When I was a teenager in the late seventies, I clocked up literally hundreds of hours sat next to the record player, headphones plugged in, taking in every note, every lyric, every inch of the sleeve. I lived and breathed that music.

Nowadays, music is consumed in very different ways — more often than not, on the go. You can be listening to a song on your phone and be doing twenty other things at the same time. You can click on a song and if you don’t like it after thirty seconds, click to another. As for album artwork, forget it (yes, I appreciate that vinyl is trendy again). There is no physical product to hold and get to know. It’s all instant, disposable, throwaway — as Eddie Mercury would have said.

This is all an over-simplification, of course. No doubt there are plenty of young people who are into their music as much as — if not more than — I was. But, if nothing else, the two stories above perhaps put all the hype about a new generation of fans into a bit of perspective.

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FunnyHowLoveIs
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Re: Queen's popularity with young people

Post by FunnyHowLoveIs »

I feel ancient

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Nicki
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Re: Queen's popularity with young people

Post by Nicki »

I don’t think it has that much to do with age.

Some Queen songs like We are the Champions, Who wants to live forever or Show must go on had been my favorite songs since childhood. But I was never interested enough to check out the band. I knew Freddie Mercury was their singer, because .... he had been in the media, I guess? I knew him and the music. And his story. I remember, watching the news about his death on TV. I had been 11 and knew, who he had been.

When I had been 35 years old in 2015, I attended my first QAL show. I knew about 80% of the songs and had been able to sing along. I also knew the singer was called Adam Lambert, but only because his name was written on the ticket. I didn’t know the other people on stage. That’s the honest truth. I only knew, they were „the rest of Queen“.

I had checked out Queen’s music more closely about 15 years or so before that, when I bought The PlatinumCollection, but the names of Brian or Roger didn’t stick. And what I had found on YT didn’t make me stick around. So it lasted another 14 years, until I stumbled across the concert announcement for QAL in my city.

I‘m still wondering, why I didn’t even check QAL out then. I usually do that, but somehow it didn’t cross my mind. I literally went to the concert without knowing much of what to expect.

It ended up to be a fantastic show. Although I remember, that I had my doubts, if that concert had been a good idea, when my ears hurt from all the bad and loud sound during their second song (Stone Cold Crazy). 😜 But it got better and better.

The names are not important to enjoy the music. That’s how it is and always has been. If you’re more interested, you will of course look „behind the curtain“ and learn about every band member and every record. I only did that after the QAL show.
Only huge names stick. But they gave to be kept in people’s minds. And that’s what Brian and Roger are doing with all the Queen related stuff.

Just take Michael Jackson as an example. When he died in 2009 one of my 6th graders came to school, happily announcing that the „pedo“ is dead. I remember the discussion we had that morning, that one shouldn’t be happy about a person‘s death.
However, that was 11 years ago. When I ask my 6th graders today, only a handful of them know, who Michael Jackson was.

So in the end, people know about Queen and their music. I’m just happy that they are known and well received. And all that in many countries. That’s not easy to achieve. Not everyone is a music enthusiast, who’s interested in the musicians. It’s really the product, the music, that counts.


PS:I might not have known the members of Queen, but I could have named the Beatles. Because they had been my Dad’s favorite band and my music teacher in elementary school always made us sing and play their songs. I wasn’t into them, but I couldn’t avoid them. 😜

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FunnyHowLoveIs
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Re: Queen's popularity with young people

Post by FunnyHowLoveIs »

Nicki, your truths resonate.

Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Freddie Mercury are publicly more well known to me over every other artist/band to come out of the UK and the rest of the entire planet outside of the USA, over the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2 and certainly more popular than the tainted Mikey Jackson ever will be amongst those with a fiber of moralistic beliefs. Other than KISS, Journey, Bruce Springsteen and Van Halen, heck, even those bands, all American are not as known to me as Queen plain and simple. I've been a fan since I first heard "Killer Queen" as a seven year young kid and a fan since I was completely overwhelmed by Queen II and ever more a die hard fan since the advent of the internet. The day Eric Carr of KISS died of cancer, that same day within almost the same breath, the news shattered my musical life when Freddie's passing was announced via a Boston based television station as I sat almost 100 miles away in the heart of Cape Cod. I sought out Queen day in day out whenever there was a chance to go to a record store, even to see if the cd's had been rearranged from someone casually seeking new and used material. It became a study of all things art and music to just stand in a store and memorize the setlist to an unofficial hits release or concert recording. My personal and musical life is light years removed from Queen but they stand the test of a sense of family like relation near and dear to my musical life so much so, that its almost inseparable although this board is the closest I'll ever get to one on one chatting with any of them if they in fact go here at all.

BitterTears
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Re: Queen's popularity with young people

Post by BitterTears »

I've loved Queen since before I was a teenager so I always feel like I can never really judge where Queen actually sit within the public consciousness. I take for granted everyone knows Fred and I assume a lot of people know Brian but I'm not so sure about Roger and John. But maybe not as many people know Brian as I think. As I say, I find it difficult to gauge.

I wonder how many members of Queen the average person could have named in the 70s and 80s? If I stop and think about it myself, I'm not sure how many bands I could name the full line up outside of the Beatles.

I think you're right about the way music is consumed, and all media really. And also no music magazines, no magazine type music shows on television, at least in the mainstream. Social media would be the equivalent these days, I suppose, but again that's interacting with your fanbase (or potential fanbase) in a very different way.

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MusicalProstitute
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Re: Queen's popularity with young people

Post by MusicalProstitute »

The film definitely balanced things out a bit, I think - regarding the demographic of Queen's fanbase. They have always appealed to the young and the old, but there have been so many more younger fans expressing their love and respect for the band since Bohemian Rhapsody was released. One need only look at all the reaction videos to Queen on Youtube, for example, or stop by Queen Twitter to see how many of da youth are discovering this band.

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Ray
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Re: Queen's popularity with young people

Post by Ray »

Can't parents just finally teach their kids that age isn't necessarely a bad thing? Especially in music...it's not like music goes bad like food after some time, you can like it still decades or even centuries after it was written. Actually, standing the test of time and being still relevant after longer time is a sign of quality. Everyhing that's new and "hip" at the moment in music is usually rather fashion - it comes and goes. But it depends on what you're interested in - accepting everything that's presented to you as new and successful just because it's new and successful, or listening to what you want and like.

I'm glad that with Queen many younger people got that and hopefully they also realise that Queen is not the only good music from a few decades ago that they can still listen to. Actually, it shouldn't matter at all how old music is - either you like it or not, end of story.

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Kes
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Re: Queen's popularity with young people

Post by Kes »

There'll be "some" stuff from this era, that will still flick switches in years to come. Just not much of it.

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Young Music Fan
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Re: Queen's popularity with young people

Post by Young Music Fan »

I knew We Are The Champions from a really young age like six or seven so I always used to go on YouTube and watch the video. YouTube has similar/recommended videos so that way I discovered other Queen songs. So I knew Breakthru fairly early on as the thumbnail grabbed my attention!

I had very little influence from my parents who both tend to favour more 90s music.

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