The “ultimate” book on Queen, arguably the most underrated (in the U.S.) rock and roll band ever, had to be as bombastic and colorful as the band itself. Everything Queen is here: Rare and not-so-rare black and white and color photos, biographical and chart info, detailed discography and tour info, and album-by-album reviews. The book has an obvious fan appeal, but is objective enough to deal with the most delicate issues in Queen’s history intelligently: Paul Rodgers (the former Bad Company frontman who “led” the infamous Queen + Paul Rodgers concoction) ain’t no Freddy Mercury, but the music he did with Brian May and Roger Taylor wasn't as bad as we think; that 1982’s Hot Space
, justly vilified when it came out, is now a semi-classic; and how Mercury, unfairly criticized for keeping his illness a secret during his last days, became a champion for AIDS-awareness in death. Most importantly, the book understands why Queen was a great band: Yes, they may have betrayed their own “no synthesizers” mantra when it was convenient to do so, but any band that can play and sing that well, and that can produce so many hits ranging from hard-rock to metal, to silly but instrumentally intricate music-hall and operatic gems, has the right to kill its own rules. A must for Queen fans and latecomers.
Coffee-table books on rock bands usually fall into one of two categories; either they're chock-full of great visuals with very little textual information, or the book looks like the U.S. tax code with a few snapshots thrown in. Thankfully, music journo Sutcliffe got it right both ways with this work, a must-have under the tree for any Queen fans on your list.
Though utilizing mostly previously published interviews, Sutcliffe offers a detailed and comprehensive history of the band from their early days (when three-fourths of the classic lineup was known as Smile) up to their appearance during last season's American Idol
finale. In addition, rock scribes and stars alike chime in on the band's albums, music, and impact….The real treat of Queen
, though lies in the 500+ photos of the band in action and memorabilia including vintage backstage passes, T-shirts, record sleeves from around the world, and posters. Ironically, many of the tour laminates - designed by Mercury himself - feature scantily clad or nude women, many of them (of course), fat bottomed girls. — Houston Press
“This 288-page tome is overwhelming, overblown, pompous, theatrical, orgiastic, and self-indulgent. In other words, it’s a brilliant tribute to one of the greatest bands of all time. Although it’s an illustrated history, with gorgeous photos from every part of the band’s career and the members’ lives, it contains a tone of great writing to accompany the photographic story. From their humble beginnings as Smile to the world-beating success they would later achieve, Phil Sutcliffe does a great job of chronicling the band’s development and placing them in a historical context as he does so, with tales of the band opening for Hendrix and Pink Floyd, seeing the first Led Zeppelin tour, recording ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ mourning the huge loss of Freddie Mercury, and beyond. The guitar info is spot-on, thanks to a killer contribution form Dave Hunter that goes so far as to detail Dr. Brian May’s pickup selections on several tunes. In addition to the insightful prose of Sutcliffe, a general sprinkling of quotes form May and his eloquent mates makes this book impossible to put down.”
U. The National College Magazine
“Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock makes the ideal gift for someone who loves rock and roll. Filled with hundreds of photos, stories, and memories from other rock icons, such as Slash and Tommy Lee, this compendium of rock’s majesty Queen will be a hit with any music lover.”