My Top 1000 Songs #315: Killer Queen
It's spring 1976. I'm 9 years old, a nerdy kid approaching the end of 4th grade, totally obsessed with the AM Top 40 station I'd discovered around Christmas 1975. I spend most afternoons in my room, with a red, white & blue handheld transistor radio held to my ear, following the pop singles as they race up and down the charts (aided by the weekly music surveys issued by the station). Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the current #1 song, and the first single I run out and buy, because, let's face it, if you're a 9-year-old kid who just recently discovered rock music, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the coolest thing ever. (Plus, at nearly 6 minutes, it's a great bargain for a kid on a meager allowance.)
And given the song's massive popularity, the local station starts spinning up some of their older songs as well. At some point I hear "Killer Queen" (from 1974's Sheer Heart Attack), and I like that one even better. It's more concise, a little less silly and extravagant, with a gleeful sing-along chorus (and I'm already a sucker for harmonies). I can't quite make out most of the lyrics, but I make up my own, and those that penetrate strike me as totally cool. "She's a killer queen. Something something! Dynamite with a laser beam, guaranteed to blow your mind. Anytime!" Dunno what it all means, but it's AWESOME.
Eventually, as I hit the ripe old age of 11 or 12, I move over to the FM station, and start listening to albums instead of singles, delving deep into classic rock. I can't say I ever became a huge Queen fan, especially the harder rocking stuff, but the early pop singles still take me back to childhood. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is just a little too deeply embedded in pop culture, way too overplayed and oversaturated, to ever be the sort of thing I'm in the mood to cue up; but "Killer Queen" is still AWESOME.Live 1977:Yet another wonderful selection from Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs' collection of 70s covers (and, finally, I can make out the lyrics!):