Wednesday, 31 December 2003

Queen - A Kind of Magic - Album Review

It was little more than a soundtrack album to one of the best films of the 1980's. Add a song from another film, and some videos that were considered to be revolutionary at the time, and you had Queen's "A Kind Of Magic" album.

Coming off a successful few years following 1984's The Works and their show-stealing performance at Live Aid in 1985, A Kind Of Magic was released around the same time as the film Highlander, directed by Russell Mulcahy, who had made a name for himself in the pop music world by directing several Elton John videos two years before.

The film told the story of a race of immortals battling through the ages to attain "The Prize". Starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown, the film was action packed from start to finish, and such a film demanded a soundtrack that would compliment it perfectly. A Kind Of Magic was such an album, with a few additions.

Songs like One Vision, which wasn't used in the Highlander film, but was used in the Louis Gossett film Iron Eagle, were perfect examples of a band in their prime. Eleven years after their finest moment, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon showed that they were still one of the finest rock bands in the world.

Songs like A Kind Of Magic, Gimme The Prize and what would later be used as the theme for the spin-off TV series, Princes Of The Universe, had you sitting on the edge of your seat. The video for Princes Of The Universe, which was only released in America as a single, saw a sword-wielding Christopher Lambert take on Freddie, who fought off Lambert's attack with his trusty microphone stand.

While these three songs showed that Queen were still rocking, One Year Of Love, and in particular, Who Wants To Live Forever, showed a gentler side, and that the band could turn it down a notch and still grab your attention.

This album provided Queen with some of their biggest hits, and they embarked on a massive tour which saw them play two sold-out dates at Wembley Stadium in the summer. One Vision proved to be a perfect way to open the show.

The sad fact is that while this is considered to be one of Queen's finest albums, just five years after it was released, Freddie Mercury died having contracted the AIDS virus. One of the greats of music was taken from us at the age of 45.