Category Archives: Queen

Three Christmas Favourites For 2016

Hi folks. This post is my pre-Christmas post in this blog, about 3 of my favourite Christmas songs. The one thing they have in common is that they are not traditional Christmas carols and are original songs written by the artists. Something else they have in common is that they are not necessarily well known by the mainstream and only to the audience of the band and or radio format they are played on.
The first song on my list is Thank God It’s Christmas by Queen, which is written by guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. This song was released in December 1984 at the end of The Works’s album cycle and it has appeared on a couple of Queen albums since. The most recent appearance is on the 2011 Deluxe version of The Works. I had performed it in 1992, with my best friend Bob Reid at our school and it went over well.
Fairytale of New York by The Pogues is my second choice as one of my favourites. I had actually heard it for the first time, during Christmas 1995 and it didn’t really catch on with me, until some time in the last 7 years or so when I had heard it on more radio stations and recently read about the song on Wikipedia. It’s the second least known of my choices but I like it because of the dialog in the song and the fact that the woman refers to the man as “you scumbag you Magette, you cheap lousy faggot” probably referring to the man’s drunkenness.
My third choice and the least known for sure, of all three songs is x-M@$ by Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour. It was release in 2010 as a Christmas single, with any money from sails going to charity. In the song, The protagonist is a man who hates Christmas and all that goes with it and would rather be drunk or stoned on this Yuletide holiday. There are even a few four letter words in the song and a clean version was also produced for radio and for people who would be offended.
To those who would expect a more traditional song from Corey, I say that it isn’t surprising that he wrote a song for those who hate Christmas and also, Corey plays music that is subversive and is not for the Grandma’s and Grandpa’s of the world. It’s for the younger croud of 50 and under who would get that the song is not a serious hatred of Christmas tune, from the singer. I’ve heard that Corey actually likes Christmas and I believe him. I’ve met him and despite him throwing people out of Slipknot shows and throwing water on people, who are texting during the concert, I have nothing bad to say about him. He was great to me and we had Tim Hortons coffee together and he had it black and I had a double-double.
I have other songs which I could have chosen but I will leave them for future Christmas posts. If you want to hear any of the three I have listed here, you can find all three on Youtube and I will leave that to you to look for them. Have a great Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017.


Review Of Queen On Air

Hi folks. This is another album review of a band and album, which is of great significants to me. In this case it is the new album by Queen called Queen On Air. This album is composed of the bands BBC appearances on the radio, from 1973 to 1977. 8 of these songs have appeared on a previous album and others have been on the 2011 deluxe versions of the first 6 albums. I am going to give you some insight as to some of the recordings first appearances and I will even give you the complete track listing, for one of the previous albums along with this one.
In 1989 Queen released a compilation album called Queen At The BBC or At The Beeb. Initially this album was released outside of North America, in late 1989 but it was finally released in North America in early 1995. I first bought my own coppy as an import in late 1991, while trying to collect all of the bands back catalogue as it was released on Hollywood Records. It had 8 songs and all of them appear on this new album, from BBC sessions in 1973. They are spread out through the first disk of On Air, as it is a double album.
When Queen At The BBC came out in 1995 in North America I expected something like what we have today and was disappointed, that we only got the original 8 songs from the 1989 compilation. However, years of waiting have payed off and we have even more goodies, than what we got on the original album or 2011 deluxe versions of the Queen albums.
Some of these songs we may have heard on the radio and I have tried to find them but couldn’t up to now. The fast version of We Will Rock You is a prime example of this. I had heard it a few times over the years on radio specialty shows focussing on Classic Rock and a live concert segment. When Queen was on tap some of the songs which appeared on A Night At The Odeon and the fast studio version of We Will Rock you were played. Since the deluxe versions came out we had been teased about more material coming out in coming years, with BBC and live recordings as bonus tracks and now, they are here.
As for the material, it spans the first 5 years of Queen as a recording act, with a record label behind them. It is also part of an ongoing project of releasing archived material and there is probably more to come I’m sure. But for now, we have this as the latest offering and here is the track listing of the original album (Queen At The BBC) and the new album (Queen On Air), for comparison.
Queen At The BBC
Track 1. My Fairy King, four minutes and six seconds

Track 2. Keep Yourself Alive, three minutes forty-eight seconds
Track 3. Doin’ Alright, four minutes ten seconds
Track 4. Liar, six minutes a twenty-eight seconds
Track 5. Ogre Battle, three minutes fifty-seven seconds
Track 6. Great King Rat, five minutes fifty-six seconds
Track 7. Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll, two minutes
Track 8. Son and Daughter, seven minutes eight seconds.
Now for a comparison, here is the track listing for the new album Queen On Air.
Tracks 1 through 4 are exactly the same as Queen at The BBC. Track 5 is See What A Fool I’ve Been, which appeared as a bonus track on the 2011 Deluxe version of Queen II. Tracks 6 and 7 are Keep Yourself Alive and Liar, with a slightly different vocal track for both. Liar doesn’t even have hand claps at the beginning of the song. Track 8 is a version of Son And Daughter which was recorded at the same session as See What A Fool I’ve Been. Track 9 is Ogre Battle, with a guitar intro similar to how the song was performed live. Track 10 is Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll, 11 is Great King Rat and Track 12 on Disk 1 is Son And Daughter as all 3 tracks appeared on Queen At The BBC.
Disk two starts out with a version of Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll which is more or less like it was performed live, with the ending they added on.
Never more first appeared as a bonus track on the 2011 Deluxe Version of Queen II and next is White Queen (As It Began). All 3 of these songs were recorded on April 3rd 1974.
Tracks 4 though 7 are: Now I’m Here, Sstone Cold Crazy, Flick Of The Rist and Tenement Funster, which are taken from a BBC session October 16th 1974. The latter two appeared as bonus tracks on the 2011 Deluxe version of Sheer Heart Attack.
Now we get into one of the main attractions to this for me and Queen aficionados and completists. Next is a shortened version of We Will Rock You, with an explosion at the end and something about some mythical figure who imagined he had created the universe, or something like that. Next is the fast version of We Will Rock You, as a studio track. For years it has appeared on live albums such as: Live Killers, On Fire and Queen Rock Montreal but the studio version was a rare treasure, until today. I mentioned yearlier that I had heard it years ago on the radio and obviously, I tried looking for it and now I and millions of Queen fans around the world can own it for the first time.
Next is Spread Your Wings and this version first appeared on the 2011 Deluxe version of News Of The World, as a bonus track.
It’s Late is the next track but not the whole song is played. After the second chorus it goes into a psychedelic, hypnotic and tripie section such as like the one in Get Down Make Love. However the songs ends as it does on the album.
My Melancholy Blues is the last track and it also appeared first on the 2011 Deluxe version of News Of The World.
Over all, this is a great album for those of us who have been looking for rare and Long sought after material. The fast studio version of We Will Rock You was at the top of my list, after last years A Night At The Odeon came out and I have a feeling there is more to come. There are remixes which are waiting to come out and a whole bunch of live material in the can, that the band are hoping to release in the coming years.
This isn’t the only album which is related to Queen coming out this month! Sound garden are rereleasing their 1991 album Badmotorfinger in a deluxe and super deluxe version on the 18th. The song to look for is a version of a track called New Damage, which features a guitar solo from Brian May. This has also been a long almost forgotten track, except for Youtube and I am very glad I will finally get to keep it, rather than just listen to it.
As for the new Queen album, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and I give those who put it together, nothing but props for finally being able to release this rare material.

Happy Belated Birthday

Hi friends. It’s better late than never to wish a happy belated b-day to Trent Reznor, who basically is Nine Inch Nails. He has been one of my favourite artists since 1994. He showed me that electronic music doesn’t have to be all bouncy drip, drip, drip. You can make it harder by distorting vocals and other sounds can be added, like the electric guitar.
I first heard Nine Inch Nails during a radio spot for a show with them on a bill with Soundgarden and Marilyn Manson. The first snippets of songs I heard was from March Of The Pigs and Head Like A Hole, highlighting the heavier parts of both songs. I went out and bought The Downward Spiral in December of that year and apart from the music, the packaging made me stand up and take notice. It was packaged in a Jewel case fit for a CD single, with the booklet in a cardboard package. Everything else I had bought, with the exception of Pretty Hate Machine, Further Down The Spiral and Things Falling Apart were packaged in anything but a Jewel case.
Now, the music is something else to talk about altogether. I mentioned earlier that he has added distorted vocals to the mix but he has used distortion in general as a creative tool, to enhance the mood of The music. He has even used instruments that wouldn’t be normally heard on a Nine Inch Nails album like: slide guitar and strings. The Great Below, which appears on the 1999 album The Fragile is interesting in that the singing is still Trent’s usual style but it is more melodic and the instrumentation reflects it.
When he writes instrumentals he likes to use out of tune melodies and notes, probably to enhance the mood of the music or for his own, or the listeners amusement. The all instrumental album Ghosts I-IV has loads of examples of this. It drives me crazy to hear that but I can let it go with Trent because if you think about it, it does add a rather strange element to the song, not to mention a peculiar dissonance to it. 
As a singer, Trent can sing a decent pop song if he wants but he doesn’t have to and he doesn’t. The closest he has come so far to singing normally is the song Find My Way from his 2013 album Hesitation Marks. He even goes into an almost bluesy vocal at times, which doesn’t bother me at all. I grew up on classic rock and Trent has covered such bands as Garry Newman and  Queen and sampled Queen a couple of times.
Speaking of sampling, I don’t hear that many obvious samples in Nine Inch Nails music, with the exception of the funky drum sample used in Perfect Drug, in the form of the Amen Break and his remix of I’m Afraid Of Americans by David Bowie. The only other obvious samples I can hear are from David Bowie in two remixes for Mr. Self Distruct and at the end of a remix of Head Like A Whole, where he samples Body Language by Queen. Oh, he even covers Get Down Make Love by Queen too, in a style more in step with where Nine Inch Nails was going musically. He even sampled both the song itself and the ending guitar of We Will Rock You at the end of the song, which I thought was kinda cool.
As for the remixes and remix albums he has released, I don’t have any problem with them. I’m actually more interested in remixes he has done for other artists. I have 2 from David Bowie: I’m Afraid Of Americans (NIN V.1 Mix) and The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Trent Reznor Alternative Mix). I like the remix of I’m Afraid Of Americans better than the original and the remix of The Hearts Filthy Lesson brings out more of the vocals in spots. If you know the song, you know what I’m talking about. You can find the original and the remix on David Bowie’s 1. Outside (Expanded Adition). You can find the original and remix of I’m Afraid Of Americans on the expanded Adition of David Bowie’s Earthling album and also on the iTunes version of the album, as a bonus track. However it isn’t listed as such on the normal Adition of the album.
As for his production credits, I haven’t actually bought that many of the albums he has produced over the years. The one that stands out for me, despite not being a big cellar and remembered by many people is the album by Two called Voyeurs with former Judas Priest and Fight vocalist at the time Rob Halford was pretty cool too. It’s a shame that it didn’t do as well as it should have but unfortunately, it didn’t have any Classic Halford operatic high-pitched vocals on it and the vocal style and dialect was unlike what Rob Halford would use normally. He actually stayed for the most part in a baritone range.  That may have been both the band and albums Achilles’ heel but I thought it was coo, bringing both the Trent Reznor production, together with the classic voice of Rob Halford. I think it should be rereleased on iTunes worldwide, just because. 
My favourite albums by Nine Inch Nails are a bit hard to pin down because they all have their moments of glory for me. However, if I had to pick 3 I would have to pick: Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral and The Fragile, with honourable mention going to Year 0. I would have loved to have listed Broken as an album but it is only an EP but is still great in its own right.
As for books on Nine Inch Nails, my favourite and only comprehensive look at the band and Trent Reznor outside of Wikipedia  is done by Canadian radio host  Alan Cross. Just look up either Alan Cross or Nine Inch Nails on iTunes and you may find the audiobook. I learned more about Trent than I ever did with Wikipedia or hearing about Nine Inch Nails on the radio.
Well, that’s all I can say about Trent Reznor at the moment. For my Simpsons fans, check out my new Simpsons blog Simpsons Sunday at and I did mention Trent last year during one of my Simpsons Sunday posts in this blog too. In fact, I published it when Trent turned 50.
Anyway, I hope that Trent had a great birthday on Tuesday and the wife and kids are doing great too.

Teenage Mutant Milk Causing Hurdles

Hi folks and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. Well I hate to begin this weeks post on a downer but I just can’t not talk about the passing of David Bowie. He was born David Robert Jones on January 8th 1947 and he died on Sunday night at the age of 69. He was a rock icon and he continually reinvented himself over his long career, both musically and visually. For example: he was both the thin white duke and Ziggy Stardust musically and visually, among other guises. He also branched out into electronic music and this includes a track with Trent Resnor from Nine Inch Nails called I’m Afraid Of Americans. He even worked with Bing Crosby on their cover of Little Drummer Boy and Peace On Earth, from one of dear Bingo’s last tellivision specials. He even recorded a novelty song called The Laughing Gnome, which was of great detriment to his career at the time of its release and became an embarrassment later on, when it charted after he became popular in the 70s. If you would like to hear it, it’s available on iTunes on his first album and on The Deram Anthology. I also recommend The Alan Cross Guide To Alternative Rock and you can also find it on iTunes or the David Bowie chapter as a standalone audiobook. You can also read up on him using Wikipedia too as well and there are probably other books about him out there too.

As for The Simpsons, his music has been used and he had been referenced a number of times. On the episode Homer The Whopper, Homer trained to the song Hero’s. In the episode The Musk who Fell To Earth the track Starman plays at the end of the episode. There are more but I’ll leave that to you to look up elsewhere on the internet.

I can’t think of anyone who has influenced more people besides The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Queen and Metallica. David Bowie has been a major influence on many genres of contemporary music from glam rock to alternative sub-genres like punk, goth, industrial, post-punk and every alternative sub-genre from the 1970s onward. You can drop the name of any band who has been labeled alternative rock and you can be sure that David Bowie has had some sort of influence on them. In fact, we wouldn’t have if there were no David Bowie there would be no Madonna or Lady GaGa. You could say the same for all alternative rock bands you can think of and let us not forget his work as an actor. Remember The Man Who Fell To Earth? Elephant Man and other movies he has had a roll in. He even played with Queen on the 1981 single Under Pressure and has played it during some of his own tours. This guy has done a lot and hopefully his buddy Iggy Pop will be around for a few more years. Yes, David played on the signature Iggy song Lust For Life and in his backing band. He even produced some of his albums including Blah Blah Blah, with the single Real Wild Child. I’m sure that where ever he is, he is entertaining everyone and having a great time, wheather he is waring a dress or whatever.

Another unfortunate death in the entertainment Industry this week is Alan Rickman, who is best known for his role in the Harry Potter movies. I wasn’t much into Harry Potter myself but the death is nonetheless significant. RIP To both David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

This weeks post is all about the most recent episode Teenage Mutant Milk Caused-Herdles and its plot. First of all, Miss Carol Bererra is Bart’s classes new teacher who is voiced by Sofía Vergara. I had actually never heard of her, until this episode was announced last summer! She is a retired Air Force Sargent and Bart thinks she is cute. He tries to be himself but he acts different toward her than he does to any other staff member of the school. She insists on helping him with learning, by tootering him on Tuesday afternoons after class and he agrees.

Meanwhile, Homer gets some milk at the Kwik-E-Mart, which Apu cells him after showing him a video. The milk turns out to have hormones in it which makes Bart and Lisa experience early puberty, with Bart growing a mustash and Lisa having “problem skin”, which Marge decides to help her cover up with makeup.

At School, Bart finds out that Principal Skinner also has a crush on Miss Bererra and Bart wants to ruin it by putting a firecracker up his but. However, she meets Seymour’s Mother and she dumps him. Oh, and Homer gets a refund on the milk after him and Marge discover that it was the reason for the changes in Bart and Lisa.

I hope that Miss Bererra doesn’t become another one time character in the long list of them. I think that Bart should have at least one person in athority whom Bart can look up to and have some sort of non combative relationship with. The fact that she is more forgiving than Mrs. Krabappel was and is a good thing. If she stays she can drive the point home that Bart isn’t just about being a mischievous prankster and can have a soft spot for someone in athority. We will see if she continues to play a significant roll in Bart’s life from here on in.

One more thing about the episode I liked was that Bart was actually nice to Seymour at the end, after he was dumped. It once again shows that Bart does have some degree of respect for him, despite terrorizing him and other staff any chance he gets. However I don’t think they will become friends as such again, like they were in the Season 5 episode Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song, unless he is permanently fired and I don’t see that happening again any time soon. If it did the rivalry between the two would be over and it would change the whole reason for Bart behaving like he does at the school.

Well that’s about it for this weeks post. Check out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
Also, check out Yeardley Smith’s blog at
Don’t forget about Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
Additionally, for more news on The Simpsons, you can go to
You can also comment here or you can email me at and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you can comment directly to me that way too.
You can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again next Sunday

A Tale Of Two Area Codes

Hi folks and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. Did you watch this weeks episode? I thought The Girl Code was interesting in that Lisa helps to create an app that predicts the consequences of posts on social media. I wonder how the writers came up with Conrad as the name for the app. Hmm, interesting and it would be cool if such an app exists in real life. It would save a lot of us from posting stupid or damaging stuff on either Twitter and or Facebook or other outlets.

I can’t wait for tonights episode Teenage Mutant Milk Caused-Hurdles and it will be the debut of Bart’s new Teacher Mrs. Bererra, voiced by Sofía Vergara and I hope she turns out to be a permanent replacement for Edna Krabappel. If she is as forgiving towards Bart as she is said to be, cool and it would be funny if both Bart and Skinner were after her affections. It would also keep the rivalry going between the two but it could also bring them close together as well. Anything is possible now and we will have to just wait and see what happens.

This weeks post is somewhat based on the plot of the Season 12 episode A Tale Of Two Springfields. The main plot revolves around another area code being added because the phone company ran out of numbers.

This got me to thinking about my own experience here in Toronto, when back in 2000 another area code was added. Our old area code was 416 and the newer one is 647 and we all had to dial 3 extra numbers (the area code), along with the usual 7 digits. I didn’t have much of a problem with it unlike Homer, when he tried to call Animal Control after a badger ended up in Santas Little Helper’s doghouse. Then things went crazy from there, with Homer affectively breaking up Springfield in two, with the rich people under the “classic 636” area code and the rest is under the new one (939). This creates a divide which makes the Simpson family a target for much belittling by the old Springfield, while Homer becomes Mayor of what is now New Springfield. Then The Who is supposed to play in Old Springfield and Homer convinces them to play in New Springfield, with an audience consisting of The Simpsons.

Well, nothing like that happened here, thankfully and I have had numbers under both area codes in my adult life, when I moved back to Toronto years ago. I don’t really mind having to dial those 3 extra numbers and it’s pretty-much second nature to me now. As for The Who, I think they may have played in Toronto during the early 2000’s before basest John Entwistle passed away in 2002. I found it interesting that Paul Townsend, Pete Townsend’s brother voiced him in the episode. It would’ve been cool to hear Pete Townsend himself voicing an animated version of himself in the episode but that was cool. I’m just glad that both surviving members are actually close friends now and not just band mates. I should also say that singer Roger Daltrey has never sounded better and for my Queen fans, I Want It All was the perfect song for him to sing with Queen on April 20th 1992. I wish I could write songs like Pete Townsend! Oh well!

On a final note about this episode, I wonder what would have become of New Springfield if it had been another permanent change. In this case it wouldn’t be a character change, but a geographical one. Also, if it was to happen, who could be the Mayor? Not Homer! He would continue to screw things up. I’m glad the change was only made for the episode.

On the birthday front, happy birthday to Al Jean, who is the current Exec Producer and Show Runner for The Simpsons. He has one of the coolest and also stressful jobs, as a writer and the guy saying “PLACES PLEASE” and well, you get the idea. I think of him as my biggest fan from The Simpsons staff, among those who I follow and follow me on Twitter. He has helped me with this blog and I am very grateful to him for everything he has done for both me and you, who are reading this. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to catch any episodes of The Critic. I liked the episode A Star Is Burns from Season 6, whitch is a cross over episode with The Critic. It shows us other sides of certain characters such as Barney and his film, with his classic line “Don’t cry for me… I’m already dead.” I’ll look for some episodes of The Critic on iTunes and hopefully there are some.

Well that’s about it for this weeks post. Check out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
Also, check out Yeardley Smith’s blog at
Don’t forget about Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
Additionally, for more news on The Simpsons, you can go to
You can also comment here or you can email me at and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you can comment directly to me that way too.
You can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again next Sunday

Queen: A Night At The Odeon

Hi folks and here is another post in the blog. Today it is all about Queen and their new live album A Night At The Odeon. I am so happy it has finally come out and I will explain why I just said that in this post, as well as talk about my favourite parts of the album.

First of all, I said that I had been waiting a long time for this album to be released and that is because I had heard most of the tracks on the radio years ago. This was when rock radio stations would fill up time on Sundays or Saturdays with live music from bands the play in their rotation and Queen was one of them. I had heard: Ogre Battle, The medley of Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, March Of The Black Queen and the reprise of Bohemian Rhapsody back in the summer of 1991. This was back in the day when all the Queen albums were being issued on compact disk for the first time in North America. I had thought it had been taken from Live Killers but I found out later that wasn’t the case at all.

Four years later, I had heard it again on a show called from The Volts, which was hosted by a well-known radio personality and Canada named Larry Leblanc. He played the same medley and I actually thought that it was available as an import. However, surprise surprise, it wasn’t even out there for me to consume as a fan of Queen. In 2013 I went on Youtube and found the entire concert and I took a listen to it and here we get to my personal highlights from that show.

Obviously the songs Ogre Battle and the Bohemian Rhapsody are things I had been looking forward to ever since then. Another highlight for me is Brian May’s guitar solo on Brighten Rock. As a guitar player I have always admired Brian for playing along with himself like that and to actually figure out the math of how to play and when to play, must have taken a long time to do. Let’s not forget that he has done this at every Queen show and on his solo tours too. Even figuring out what Freddie was going to sing in the vocal cannon section of The Profit Song must’ve been a real trial and error session. I wish I was that patient but I would have just wnated to play, regardless of what the hell I was doing up there.

I also liked the version of White Queen from the concert and if you have the deluxe version of Queen ii it is one of the bonus tracks. Now I’m Here is also on the deluxe version of Sheer Heart Attack and now that I mention it, it makes me wonder how much archival audio and footage has yet to come out in the future. After all, there is that free concert in London’s Hyde Park in 1976 and other rare tracks and remixes which have yet to come out.

As for the album itself, I give it 10 out of 10 for finally coming out. I’m just so happy it is finally in our hands, legitimately and we can finally enjoy it either audio only or as a video. I can’t wait to find what the next Queen project will be. Will it be a new studio album with Adam Lambert? Another compilation or a rerelease of an old compilation? I’m sure there are many live albums yet to come out in the coming years and I will hopefully be ready to buy them, when they come out.