I have been a fan of Queen for most of my life. I just didn't know it until the movie Wayne's World came out. Which by the way is probably one of my all time favourite movies. Everyone loves that scene in the "Mirthmobile" where they head bang their way through Bohemian Rhapsody. Myself included. I remember asking my dad about the song after we finished watching it on VHS (yes, I'm older than blu-ray but younger than beta max.) What song was that? What band had put together that amazing piece of epicness that had just blew my 8 year old mind. Without a word my father walked over to his extensive LP collection and pulled out Queen's A Night at the Opera. I was completely taken by the rainbow of colour in the middle of a white background, "the band that did this...did that song?! Whoa!!!" My dad found the song and proceeded to recreate the head banging scene with me on our couch. As he played me the rest of the LP I realized something. I knew this music. This was the music from when I was little. I would eventually figure out the music I remember most from when I was small was the original London cast recording of Les Meserables, the soundtrack to Phantom of the Paradise (if you've never seen that movie my heart is sad for you) and A Night at the Opera by Queen. I still love all three of those albums with all my heart.
So what does my Queen fandom have to do with Switzerland? A whole lot actually. We are planning a bit of a pilgrimage to this memorial.
Nestled on the Swiss Riviera is a town called Montreux. The band had a Studio there. Freddie Mercury had a lake home there and the very the bands first album recorded abroad "Jazz" was recorded in Montreaux as well as the last Queen album "Made in Heaven." The song "A Winter's Tale" is said to be Mercury's tribute to the town.
18 years after Queen first came to Montreux and almost 5 years to the day after his death they unveiled this bronze statue overlooking Lake Geneva. Queen member Brian May wrote the epitaph which simply reads, "lover of life - singer of songs."
I love the idea of being in the same space as greatness so hopefully at some point this summer we'll find ourselves on Lake Geneva in the same space that Freddie Mercury found so peaceful.
How did I convince the husband who is pretty "meh" about Queen that we needed to go there? Apparently Shania Twain has a house here. Apparently we might need to pop by and say hello to a fellow Canadian.