Song: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen
Reached #1: February 23, 1980 (their first, 4 weeks)
The music industry should miss Freddie Mercury. As they try to invent “eccentric” performers like Lady Gaga, one of the truly eccentric performers has been gone for 20 years.
Mercury claimed to have written this song in “5 or 10 minutes” as a tribute to Elvis – and yes, you can certainly picture the King doing a song like this – and was allegedly recorded in 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, we lost Mercury far too soon when he became one of the highest-profile casualties of AIDS in 1991. Queen managed to go on, though… Brian May and Roger Taylor kept the group alive through the ‘90s by doing concerts together as “Queen + (special guest lead singer)”. In 2004, they committed to one lead singer – and picked merely one of the best ever in Paul Rodgers. They worked together for 5 years before Rodgers, who never seems to stay in one group for too long, exited.
There have been off and on reports that Queen will restart in 2012 with American Idol Adam Lambert (who seems himself as a reinvention of Freddie Mercury, but is more like a dollar-store knockoff) – something that both sides have both denied and sort-of confirmed at various times.
Of course, Lambert is more of the manufactured-eccentric that the music industry loves. But he’ll never be Freddie Mercury, no matter how hard he tries.
I’m sure you’re surprised I noted this as Queen’s first Billboard #1 – but it’s true that “Bohemian Rhapsody” never hit #1, either on its original 1976 release (#9) or its 1992 Wayne’s World-fueled re-release (#2).
Tomorrow, a Canadian female singer who isn’t Céline Dion…
Other songs that reached #1 on February 23:
1991 – “All The Man That I Need” by Whitney Houston (her ninth, 2 weeks)
2002 – “Always On Time” by Ja Rule feat. Ashanti (his first, 2 weeks)