Watching Bohemian Rhapsody the movie set me back down the memory lane in the 80es and 90es in Jakarta, Indonesia where I was born and grew up. Some bittersweet and emotional but most of them are exciting. They brought a grin to my face. I want to share that musical time capsule with you here.
I received this booklet because I was one of the first 250 people watching the movie in the cinema chain I went to. It is full of facts and trivia about the band.
I was an 8 years old kid back then in 1980 when I first heard my aunts from my father’s side played The Game. Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Another One Bites The Dust sounded catchy in my ear. They were so inviting to dance. My sisters and girlfriends (Novi, Rani, Ria and Ratna) turned to love Queen also. From rented video tapes Top of the Pop, we got to hear more Queen songs of their earlier albums.
Since then every Saturday Night we would gather at Novi’s house and put the songs so hard and just danced like no tomorrow to Queen classics and Michael Jackson songs. If I recall this happy memory, I see myself, my sisters and the girls dancing from 7 to 10 pm. Ah, those memories.
I remember the band released the soundtrack from Flash (Gordon) the movie. After that Under Pressure, a collaboration with David Bowie came along. Duran Duran, five pretty boys from Birmingham with music heavily recorded with synthesizers converted me to a Duranie. I bought and plastered their posters in my room while I never did this to Queen. I have been a fan of Queen purely for their music but Duran Duran were about looks and modern music.
By 1984 I entered junior highschool where I met a girl, Winny. We grew to be best friends. Winny loved Queen, Michael Jackson, The Police and was a Duranie as well. We had our adventure to breakdance together. She was also fan of Kajagoogoo, Nick Kershaw and Wham which I found so so. After school we mostly got together listening to music. In 2008 Winny passed away due to complications after giving birth to her daughter. I miss her.
News about Live Aid 1985 came on the radio and the news on tv the next day. However the pics were available just a week after in the youth magazine Hai (which I believe ceased to exist just a couple of months ago). Mind you, there was no internet those days. We ought to wait. Several weeks later I could get the tape of Live Aid from both London and Philadelphia concert. My sisters and I watched it together. Nana, my late younger sister, played the tape almost every day. Winny and I were a bit disappointed in Duran-Duran performance, it sucked. On the other hand we were in awe of Queen in that charity concert. Note: based on this memory I was super excited to watch Live 8 in July 2005 as I lived in the same timezone as most venues were. I could watch it live on tv which I did. My daughter couldn’t understand my enthusiasm.
Fast forward in 1991 I was a student and lived in a dorm nearby my university. My music taste has expanded to jazz, latin, soul and fusion but my love for rock and pop has remained. One morning during breakfast I and other girls heard the news on the radio, Freddie passed away the day before. We were stunned. Especially when the cause of death was revealed, AIDS. 6 years before that AIDS had just become a thing in broad audience due to Rock Hudson death. And now Freddie.
My late father was not really a fan of Queen but he knew some of their songs. He found Queen too experimental and preferred The Beatles, Faces, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and even Guns ‘n Roses instead. I thought of my father, Nana and Winny while I was watching Bohemian Rhapsody in the cinema last week.
It is better if I stop here otherwise I’d bore you with my nostalgia. Allow me to share a couple of ballads I love from the band.
Jealousy from Jazz, 1978. The lyric is beautifully written.
Save me from The Game, 1980. I feel sad when I listen to this. Just as sad as The show must go on.
My Melancholy Blues from News of the World 1977. This is a bluesy jazz standard similar to songs from the 40es – 50es. Freddie’s voice sounds so delicate and soothing. In the early 90es I formed a quartet with 3 friends, accompanied by a pianist. I used to sing this a couple of times when I went solo.
So come and get me. Let me. Feeling that sinking feeling.
This is an extra. One of my favourites from their live shows – minus Freddie – with George Michael during The Tribute Concert in 1992. George Michael was impeccable. I have become his fan after he left Wham! and went solo until he also passed away.
I write this post not to brag about how I have known this band since a long time ago. I happened to grow up with it and with many other top bands/musicians in that era just like people of my age and older. I have made memories and underwent events in my youth with their music. Bohemian Rhapsody movie offers today’s generation to explore Queen. With YouTube and other music platform plus Google, it is not difficult to search and find it.
As for the movie itself. The casting is awesome. According to critics the storyline is not really loyal to what actually happened chronologically. A number of reviews says some characters are not portrayed properly. To me Bohemian Rhapsody is a beautiful homage to Freddie. It brought me back my memories.