Two Divas: Freddie Mercury and Boy George. Two videos and the question: who is the fairest of them all?
For the final one on one of the year, I chose two videos that made an impact on me when I was a child. Both videos were topping the charts in 1984 (I was 7 years old) and they are among the first music videos I remember. I adore both groups and songs and especially both front men so I thought it would be nice to end the year deconstructing them.
“I WANT TO BREAK FREE” – QUEEN
The song is my favorite song by the group (although Under Pressure comes really close) but the lyrics “I want to break free from your lies you´re so self satisfied I don´t need you” are just extraordinary. Officially I want to tell all of you that I hope next year I get to go to a Halloween party because I am SOOOO dressing up like Freddie! Anyway, this blog has helped me discover two things about myself: 1. I really notice what people wear and 2. I need to stop watching “Fashion Police”. You would think since I am into music I would like to write about something related to it, but no people, all I want to talk about is fashion!
This is an image of the 4 members in the video
- John Deacon: Contrary to popular belief that the song was written by Freddy Mercury as a yearning to come out of the closet, the song was actually written by John Deacon (the bassist of the group). He was the youngest member of the band and also the last one to join. Often described as the “quiet” one, the song is clearly a cry for independence. In the video he is wearing dressed in a black cloak, gloves, grey wig and a hat.
- Bryan May: Great guitarist. He is wearing pink shirt, socks and bunny slippers. The extra touch is given by the hair rollers.
- Roger Taylor: The “schoolgirl”: blonde wig, white blouse, grey miniskirt, colored tie and a straw hat behind his back.
- Freddie Mercury: He wears a black wig, pink earrings, pink blouse with a sizable false breast under it, black leather miniskirt, knee-high and high heels. He was supposed to be Bet Lynch (therefore a blonde) but he decided on a dark haired wig. That is knowing your complexion! I think Freddy´s mustache (and earrings) need a close up:
For the second part of the video, Freddie shaved his iconic mustache to portray “Nijinsky” as a faun in “Afternoon of a Faun”. He looks fantastic!
The video is a parody of the British Soap opera ” Coronation Street”. The show aired on Dec 9th 1960 and on September 17th it became the world´s longest running TV soap opera. The video was directed by one of the most important musical videos directors of the eighties, David Mallet. Queen wanted to show their fun side and at the same time support the women´s liberation movement. The second part of the video (which takes place in a “coal mine” was choreographed by Wayne Eagling. Eagling was a friend or Mercury´s and held previously collaborated in the “Bohemian Rhapsody” video. Wayne, who was at the time leader of the Royal Ballet used the dancers and choreographed the whole thing without his superiors knowing about it (which got him in trouble when this was discovered).
CULTURE CLUB – KARMA CHAMELEON
The video is lucky to be in a “One on one” with Queen´s, but as I mentioned at the beginning, they were both on heavy rotation in 1984 and I also remember my parents trying to explain to me that the lead singer was a man and I didn’t not understand why he was dressed as a woman, so in my mind, these two videos go together. The video is set in Mississippi in 1870 and it involves a jewel thief that also intends to con a group of confederate soldiers in a poker game and who is made to walk the plank into the river (the boat they are navigating the river in is called “The Chameleon”.
- Boy George: Back then I use think Boy George was gorgeous. Now I think he is creepy ( http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/jan/16/boy-george-sentenced-handcuffing-male-escort). That doesn’t mean that I don´t think he is great. I still love his voice and I think “Time” and “Miss Me Blind” are fabulous and his interpretation of “The Crying Game” is unique and shows his talent. In the video George is wearing pink lipstick, yellow and blue eye shadow, a hat, decorated braids, and a tie with tassels. I think he is a man who knows how to sell a contradiction.
- The extras: The music video was directed by Peter Sinclair. Set in Mississippi in 1870, we see soldiers (even though the war American Civil war ended in 1865) and we see black and white people going on a boat ride together (I only wish would have been like that). We see the soldiers and the women wearing red, gold and green.
Karma Chameleon is a hit song by Culture Club. The single spent 3 weeks on Billboard´s 100 No.1 in early 1984. It was a huge success worldwide. Culture Club´s Culture Club lead singer Boy George said “The song is about the terrible fear of alienation that people have, the fear of standing up for one thing. It’s about trying to suck up to everybody. Basically, if you aren’t true, if you don’t act like you feel, then you get Karma-justice, that’s nature’s way of paying you back.”
Betweeen Queen´s four members and Boy George and the extras (sorry, I didn’t even notice the rest of Culture Club), I think the one that looks best is Freddie. Freddiey, who besides being one of the greatest voices that ever lived, was a visionary, a free spirit, a cat lover and basically talent embodied… Freddie who died on my birthday and who I always listen to that day. Freddie: you are and will always be the fairest of them all.