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QUEEN : The queen of spectacle

La Máscara Editions
"Imágenes del Rock" Collection, number 64
"QUEEN: The queen of spectacle" Third Edition, by Arturo Blay.

(Translated by Gonzalo)

pp.53-54 : JOHN DEACON

John Deacon has played in Queen the same role Bill Wyamn or John Entwistle had in Rolling the Stones and The Who. This is, the quiet, unnoticed, sober bassist, an individual who seemed the only one not wanting to appear on the photo. But at the same time and despite being the youngest member of Queen, John Deacon was the most calmed and unruffled of the 4 members. And the most realistic. In fact, after firing the band's manager John Reid, it was John Deacon who got in charge of the band's affairs."John has an eye for bussiness, and also has a very complete vision of how rock and bussiness must work together"(Brian). It's been repeated a lot of times that it was John who convinced Brian, Roger and Freddie of making tours with the highest possible level of spectacle, in spite of not earning money: "We tour for our own satisfaction and for the status of the band. It's a long term investement" (John).

Born in 1951 in Leicester, John was a brilliant student, so brilliant that, in London University, he graduated in Electronics with cum laude calification. He combined his studies with his musical experiences, in the middle sixties, in The Opposition, a band inspired in huge bands like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, bands which were heading British music. There's a good story from that times. The one who once was second singer of The Opposition, Peter Bartholomew, abandoned the band before it disbanded, and lost contact with his fellows. The time passed and Peter became a huge Queen fan but ignoring that the band's bassist was no other than John Deacon, his former mate. Peter listened to Queen records one time and another, and one day, when Queen appeared in the TV program Top Of The Pops, in which John appeared with short hair as in his begginnings, Peter got a big surprise: "Wow! It's John, John Deacon... The Opposistion... Oh my God!" Then he remembered it all: "John was the most talented one in The Opposition, it was like he had been born with a bass in his hands. He was always very brilliant."

When John joined Queen, the band had been already working with a different bassists. "I probably was the only person in the band who could get a look from the outside, because I was the last to join in. I always knew that Queen had something, but I wasn't very convinced. Maybe until "Sheer Heart Attack" album".(John). Being the least known member of the band doesn't mean John hasn't his own crowd of fans. In a megaband like Queen even the staff has their own fans club.

However, John Deacon has always been, in a visual sense, the least spectacular of Queen. If it depended on him, a pair of jeans and a T-shirt were enough to go on the stage. This made Freddie sick, he had been happy if Queen went into scene dressed in sequins. This wasn't of John's taste, who even has gone into scene dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, especially in the last two tours.

It's true that John's shyness and modesty were in direct confrontation with Queen's spectacular visual philosophy, especially in their videos. Usually, Queen's videos meant imagination, sense of humor, huge decorations and incredible costumes. John beared it all despite he seemed to suffer as much as Brian, because none of them had a way in acting, on the contrary, Freddie and Roger were in their ease. Otherwise, in the stage, and despite not moving much, John invented a curious movement which has gone into History: he followed the rythm kicking quickly the floor while all his body kept the beat leaning forwards. It's the "John Deacon" style, which was greatly represented by a 11 years old boy in "The Miracle" video.

About the song aportation, John kept modest throughout the 70s, but wrote two great pop songs in 'A Night At The Opera' and 'A Day At The Races', 'You're My Best Friend' and 'You And I' respectively. He also wrote 'Spread our Wings' in 'News Of The World' and 'If You Can't Beat Them' in 'Jazz'. However, in the 80s, despite his production of songs was very little too, John wrote two of the band's greatest hits in the decade, 'Another One Bites The Dust' and 'I Want To Break Free', and wrote, along with Freddie, the ballad 'Friends Will Be Friends'. John also made solo work, by writing the soundtrack to the movie 'Biggles', wich deals about the ace of aviation created by W.E. Johns.

Very little is knows of John Deacon's private life. He likes to be hidden, free from the fame and safe of the press' hands. His ease to avoid interviews is legendary. It's because of this that there are so few John quotes in this book, beacuse he spoke few times in his life. His longest answer was after Live Aid and he only said he felt proud of being a musician and little more. Curious man, good old John.

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