How does Jeff Scott Soto end up doing Queen songs at Queen conventions? Well, he had always loved Queen and Freddie Mercury was a big influence on his life, but that is common with a lot of people. For Jeff, it all started back in 1999 when one fateful day he met Jacky Smith who was the head of the Queen Fan Club. That chance meeting led to Jeff getting to meet Brian May and a chance to jam with him and the SAS Band at the annual Freddie Mercury Birthday Party.
That keep him in touch with the Queen family and in 2002, Jacky asked him to come to one of the Queen conventions. He made an appearance and actually jammed on a few songs during the convention. The feedback was so great, Jeff was brought back to do the North America convention as the first was in the UK. This led Jeff to be brought up on stage at an after party with Brian and Roger Taylor when they received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If that wasn’t enough, Jeff was asked to come back in 2003 and instead of a handful of songs, they wanted Jeff to perform an entire set of Queen songs. But not as a tribute act, as a real act and doing everything his way with his own band.
Jeff brought his solo band with him which was Gary Schutt, Howie Simon and Alex Papa. Now, Jeff was a massive Queen fan and knew all the songs, even the deep cuts. However, his band only knew the hits. This was the Queen Convention and “the Hits” aren’t enough. You need deep cuts. So, the band took a crash course in Queen and after several rehearsals, the band was ready to go. What we get here on a 2 CD set is the entire set they performed and it is massive. They played around 45 cuts (some in song melodies) and it was incredible. They released it on video and CD. I have the CD, but I need to get the video. Let’s get to it.
The band set out on tour after ‘Queen II’ and that is when disaster struck. Brian May was diagnosed with Hepatitis and the band had to cancel the rest of the tour. With no more tour, they started to rehearse and prep for the next album. Luckily May got better and joined his lads when they went in to Trident Studio in July of 1974 to start recording the album. However, May got sick again. This time with a stomach ulcer and he missed some of the recording process. Thankfully for us all, he recovered and came back and finished his part of the album. The album was finally finished in October of that year and released a short time later on November 8, 1974. I guess back then you could get an album out a month after you finished it. Nowadays, you need a minimum of 3 months or more before the album will come out.
The band finally saw some major success both in the UK and around the World. In the UK, the album went platinum and sold over 300,000 copies going to #2 on the charts. In the US, the album went Gold and sold over 500,000 copies going all the way to #12. They released two singles off the album (although they could’ve released more in my book) and saw one go to #2 in the UK and the other to #11. Queen was starting to find its groove. With this album, I think that is true. They stepped away from the more progressive rock sounds and the fantasy themes from the first two album and honestly, I am glad they did. This saw them branch out more and turn out a more complete rock album. Of course, they still experimented with their sound and tried new things, they just weren’t as far out in left field as before. As you can see below, no line-up changes as it is still Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon as it should be.
I am sorry to say I get a little verbose with the first three songs. I did a My Sunday Song on each of those and I liked what I wrote so I used a lot of those post. I promise to not ramble on for the songs after that otherwise we will be here for hours reading and me writing. Enough ranting, let us get to the songs…
For My Sunday Song #227, we are focusing our attention to the song “Killer Queen” by Queen. The song is off their 1974 album ‘Sheer Heart Attack’. The song was released as a single and went to #2 in their home country of the UK and #12 in the U.S. of A. It is song that is quintessential Queen and this was actually the band’s first hit in the US.
The song was written by Freddie Mercury and in an interview from 1974 in the queenarchives.com, Freddie had this to say about the song…
It’s about a high class call girl. I’m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That’s what the song is about, though I’d prefer people to put their interpretation upon it – to read into it what they like.
I would have to agree with what Freddie says because the lyrics are pretty clear. This high class beauty has been passed around from country to country by all sorts of men…very high-level and powerful men. I love the lyrics as they are all so playful and well-crafted to flow well together and piece together a funny, yet clever little tale.
Musically, the song starts off with some snazzy finger snaps from Mr. Mercury. Then a piano joins in and Freddie’s miracle pipes chime in. The chorus is full of four part harmonies and there are so many different effects on the vocals as well. The music is as playful as the lyrics and Freddie’s performance is as flamboyant and theatrical as it comes which is a trademark Queen style. Brian May’s guitar work is also top-notched and layered with so many different tracks. It is an all around fun, good time song and one of the reasons Queen is so amazing. They pretty much can do anything and make it sound great.