Piano Day 2020 – Queen Medley

Piano Day 2020 – Queen Medley

Piano Day 2020

Today, March 28th is Piano Day. Piano Day is a worldwide celebration of the piano every 88th day of the year – because of the number of keys on the instrument being celebrated.

The Piano Day website, pianoday.org says that ‘it doesn’t hurt to celebrate the piano and everything around it: performers, composers, piano builders, tuners, movers and most important, the listener.” which is actually a quote from Nils Frahm who is a German musician, composer, and record producer based in Berlin. I tend to agree with this quote.

Every year in Waterford for the past few years, through Piano Day Waterford there has been a piano in John Roberts Square where people could come and play. Last year there was even a live stream via a camer on the piano, so people could watch live on Facebook. With the current world-wide Corona Virus Lockdown in place there was no choice but to make this an online only event for 2020. Piano Day Waterford requested that people submit videos which would then be shared during the day. I submitted 2 to the Piano Day Waterford event and I did an extra one for my own use on the day.

Now that Piano Day 2020 is almost over and the videos have been shared, I can inlcude here in one place so you can view them. I hope you enjoy. I have done Love of My Life, Forever and a Queen Medley which is based on suggestions which I got from Twitter followers of my account @shanesqueensite.

The songs are introduced and shown below via the videos on YouTube. Enjoy!

Queen Medley

I asked for suggestions via Twitter on songs to include in a Queen Medley. Within 5 days I got 27 suggestions of songs and I then worked on finding songs which were either in the same key or shared a common chord. I was able to then link songs so that I could do a 4 minute Queen Medley. Considering I only had about 2 hours on the Wednesday and recorded it the next morning I think it came out ok.

Love of My Life

I always enjoy playing this song from A Night at the Opera. My version has the usual classic entrance and structure however at the solo I use Brian’s Guitar style solo as I think it fits well and we all know it from the Queen Concerts anyway.

Forever

A beautiful song from A Kind of Magic, Forever is a great song to play. I slightly re-arranged this one also to include those lovely minor chords near the end, Em, Cm, Am, Fm, Dm, Bm, Gm and then back to Em – though not in the version on the album I think it rounds off the song nicely, especially when it resolves through the lovely arpeggio in D before the final E5 chord ends the song. A Masterpiece by Queen.

I really hope you enjoyed these Piano Day songs and hopefully for Piano Day 2021 we will be back doing live performances.

Stay Safe and if you have any Piano Day performances of your own please drop me a line on Twitter @shanesqueensite or drop a comment below.

Coming Soon

As you know Brian May is doing MicroConcerts on Instagram. I am @shanesqueensite on Instagram also but I will be running some MicroConcerts next week. This will be anounced on my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ShanesQueenSite/ so if you play guitar, bass, sing or play drums please keep an eye out and I would love for as many people to take part as possible.

How to play the Intro to Seven Seas of Rhye on Piano

How to play the Intro to Seven Seas of Rhye on Piano

Seven seas of Rhye is one of my favourite songs from the Queen II album. Because there is such a high prevalence of piano in the song, of course I would want to play it. I learned the song many years ago and it’s only as the Shane’s Queen Site started to grow that I could see a growing appetite from visitors to see how songs were played.

About a year ago I uploaded a video to YouTube showing how to play the intro to Seven Seas of Rhye on Piano – you can see that video at https://youtu.be/x9WJr6s-7Hg . It’s not easy and many people wanted to know the keys to play so I have slowed things down in a new video. This updated video is under 5 minutes long but it shows how to play the Seven Seas of Rhye Piano riff in basic terms.

See the new slower version of the Seven Seas of Rhye on Piano video below…

The chords used in the arpeggios are D and G. In the first riff part the D moves between a D and G and in the second it moves from G to a combo which is actually a D7-3rd chord in other words the notes D A and C. The key to playing the riff for Seven Seas is the hitting of the D note twice before changing the riff pattern.

This can be seen in the video. (But if you have questions about playing Seven Seas of Rhye on Piano, please feel free to leave them on the video or as a comment below)

 

I hope you enjoy the new video of Seven Seas of Rhye on Piano and that it helps if you were trying to learn the song.

 

Feel free to comment on which Queen song you want to see explained on video next.

Recreating the Yamaha DX7 sound of Queen at Wembley 1986

Recreating the Yamaha DX7 sound of Queen at Wembley 1986

Recreating the DX7 for Who Wants to Live Forever – Wembley ’86

 

About the Yamaha DX7 Digital synth

The DX7 was a digital synth produced by Yamaha between 1983 and 1989. I was lucky enough to have used and borrowed a few DX7s back in the late 80s (it was probably between 1987 and 1989) and it was a fantastic synth for its time. I would guess that I used it for songs like Jump (Van Halen) at the time as Queen wasn’t on my radar (sadly) until the early 90s.

 

The DX7 and Queen

Queen had a DX7 and in the video showing the recording of ‘One Visio’ andn you can see Brian playing the intro on a Yamaha DX7. However, you will notice a MIDI cable on that video and the chances are this DX7 was only used as the MIDI Out and it was actually connected to some other synth for the final ‘One Vision’ intro we know and love – perhaps the Jupiter-8 as Queen had one of these also. I have gone through all the DX7 patches and I cannot find any which match the One Vision sound, so it is doubtful it was used on the album version.

The DX7 was apparently used on other songs such as A Kind of Magic, Who Wants to Live Forever, Pain Is So Close to Pleasure, One Year of Love, Rain Must Fall, Was It All Worth It and a few others. My guess is that the DX7 was used as a base sound and the final album sounds were re-eingineered in the studio.

The one place we see promenent use of the Yamaha DX7 is when Queen played Wembley in June 1986. When playing ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ live, Brian used the Yamaha DX-7 with Syn-Orchestra (or Syn Orch) patch from Rom 2A and then the patch from Rom 2B for I Want To Break Free. These 2 songs follow each other on the set list, so it was probably setup this way because of the simplicity of using the same patch.

So I decided to make a little video showing how you can connect a MIDI keyboard, synth or stage piano to a computer and recreate the same sounds. One problem – I don’t have a DX7 synth. Instead, I used the Synth Emulator DEXED. This is a free piece of software for Mac/Windows/Linux and is closely modeled on the Yamaha DX7. The creators have built this to be companion software for the original DX7 and feature multi formats (VST, AU, LV2). The link for downloading DEXED is included on the DX7 YouTube Video at https://youtu.be/XssPitrqOXM

The Video is below and I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to leave comments here or on the video and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more Queen / music videos very soon.

There are a pre-loaded set of sounds included in the Dexed package and you can also upload presets from what I can see. Hope you enjoy using Dexed as much as I did. If you have any comments about this DX7 / Who Wants to Live Forever video please leave them below or on the YouTube video.

New Street, Freddie Mercury Close, unveiled in London

Freddie Mercury Close, London street named after Queen singer

A street in Feltham, the London suburb where Freddie Mercury lived in November 1964, was renamed as Freddie Mercury Close on Monday 24th February. Freddie’s and the Bulsara family moved to 22 Gladstone Avenue in Feltham in 1964, after fleeing the revolution in Zanzibar. The house was commemorated with a blue plaque back in 2016. He was known as ‘Fred’ rather than Farrokh even before the family came to London, and signed himself as Fred Bulsara on letters until 1970, when he changed his name to Mercury. Freddie lived in Gladstone Avenue in Feltham until 1970, and even took jobs while in college such as washing dishes in the kitchens of Heathrow Airport, just a stone’s throw from Gladstone Avenue.

The Local authorities in Feltham agreed to rename part of a cul-de-sac on Hanworth Road as Freddie Mercury Close, which is the address of the headquarters of the World Zoroastrian Organization. As you probably know, Freddie was born into the Zoroastrian faith and practiced the ancient religion as a child. The World Zoroastrian Organization is now housed at 1 Freddie Mercury Close, Feltham, Middlesex, TW13 5DF.

The unveiling of the new road, Freddie Mercury Close, was attended by Freddie’s sister Kashmira Cooke (Bulsara), her son Samuel, Tony Louki the Mayor of Hounslow, supporters of the World Zoroastrian Organisation and The Lord Bilimoria CBE DL.

The location of Freddie Mercury Close has also been added to my list of Queen related Places to Visit in London.

Brian May grew up in the area also and recalls visiting Freddie at number 22 Gladstone Avenue. Freddie was insistent that Brian listen very closely to Jimi Hendrix and said “this is what we will do … we will be a group“. Brian realls thinking, “I don’t even know if this guy can sing” … turns out he really could !

 

Ironocally, Freddie Mercury Close runs almost straight into Queen’s Road… Coincidence?

New – Interactive map of Queen places to visit in London

New – Interactive map of Queen places to visit in London

New Section – Interactive Queen Map of London

Have you ever been to London and wondered where members of Queen lived or where a certain Queen video was shot. A new section on Shane’s Queen Site, is the Interactive Queen Map of London.

I have manually verified and linked over 25 locations in London where a Queen related item is of note.

Some of these include the following. The location of;

  • Queen’s first Top of the Pops appearance
  • Freddie Mercurys House at Logan Place
  • We are the Champions video shoot
  • John Deacons Wedding
  • various recording studios where Queen recorded in London
  • Some of the notable filming locations for the Bohemian Rhapsody Movie
  • apartments where Queen lived in their early career
  • The stall where Roger and Freddie sold clothes and art on High Street Kensington
    and many more Queen related locations in the area of London…

So far the Interactive Queen Map of London has proved very popular with over 600 hits in the first 48 hours of the system. 

I hope to add even more locations in the coming weeks and my plan is to expand the system further and wider to give a more complete view of Queen related locations in and near London.

If you have any locations that you know of, which are not listed on this Interactive Queen Map of London, please do leave a comment or drop me an email.

Click Here to view the Interactive Queen Map of London

Bohemian Rhapsody wins 4 Oscars at the 91st Academy​ Awards

Bohemian Rhapsody wins 4 Oscars at the 91st Academy​ Awards

Bohemian Rhapsody wins a total of Four Oscars at the 91st Academy Awards.

The Queen BioPic Bohemian Rhapsody was the Biggest Winner at the 91st Academy Awards with the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic winning a total of 4 awards – it now has more Oscars than the Godfather.

Rami Malek won the Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Oscars. He had to contend with a very strong list of contenders for the award. The others in his Oscar category included Christian Bale for Vice, Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born, Willem Dafoe for At Eternity’s Gate and Viggo Mortensen for Green Book. Having already won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for his leading role in Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek was very much the favourite to win.

Prior to Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek was most famous for the interesting portrayal of Elliot Alderson in Mr Robot. The Bohemian Rhapsody movie had a lot of setbacks during its production. Sacha Baron Cohen left the production due to conflict with the remaining Queen band members regarding how the role should be played. Then director Bryan Singer was fired and replaced with Dexter Fletcher.

On release, the Bohemian Rhapsody movie was initially panned by the critics and many said it was a terrible film and did not reflect Freddie Mercury correctly. Even with this, the movie has gone on to have the most amazing box-office success.

Queen At The Oscars

It was a great night at the Oscars because for the first time a rock band opened the show. That band was Queen+ Adam Lambert. They opened with a short version of We Will Rock You closely followed by We Are the Champions. On the Red Carpet, Adam Lambert said that We are the Champions was apt because everyone nominated could consider themselves a champion.

As the Oscars for Bohemian Rhapsody kept coming I don’t think Queen fans could have ever foreseen an event where Queen was so front and centre. On collecting his award Rami Malek said, “I may not have been the obvious choice but I guess it worked out.” It certainly worked out. Bohemian Rhapsody with 4 Oscars and it has 30 of the 59 awards it was nominated for.

So much for the critics who said this movie was not good. There are many reviews from the UK press which have Bohemian Rhapsody as a 1 or 2-star film. Perhaps the age of the movie reviewer is over, they were wrong, Bohemian Rhapsody has earned over $860,000,000* at the box office and has won 4 Oscars, 2 golden globes, 2 BAFTAs and a number of industry awards under its belt.

Critics, You were wrong – go home – the public has spoken, the industry has spoken, Bohemian Rhapsody is the Champion.

* Box-Office data correct at the time of this blog-post, Feb 27th 2019

How to play the Intro to Seven Seas of Rhye on Piano

The Tribute Bands Section is live again

The Tribute Bands Section is Live Once More…

When I moved Shane’s Queen Site from shanemcdonald.org to shanemcdonald.ie many of the scripts ceased working under the new design. It has taken quite some time to get things back in order but it is happening slowly but surely. I am pleased to announce that the Queen Tribute Bands section is now fully live again on Shane’s Queen Site.

I have painstakingly reviewed and manually updated over 57 different Queen Tribute Acts. Each Queen Tribute band has a screenshot of their website, a brief description of the band, what they do and any important elements which need to be mentioned as well as a link to their website. In some instances, if I know the band or have seen them perform, the descriptive data might include details on band members, gig dates and other information.

Within the Queen Tribute Bands section, there are two from the island of Ireland, namely Qween and Flash Harry, 14 bands from England, 13 from Italy, 6 from the USA, 4 from Australia, 3 from Germany, 2 from Holland, 2 from Brazil, 2 from Canada, 2 from Scandinavia, 2 from Portugal, 1 from Poland, 1 from Belgium and 1 from Argentina.

Because of the fact that I’m based in Ireland, very few international tribute acts visit here, so in effect, the only one of these bands I have seen is Flash Harry and I was hoping to catch Qween when then visited Waterford in March, but things did not work out for me and I missed the gig.

If there are any Queen tribute acts which I have missed please do let me know. Also, if you are one of the tribute bands lists and wish to enhance your listing, change the text etc, just get in touch and I will be glad to update your section.

This Queen fan site is updated as much as possible, normally once per week I do a few hours in keeping the content fresh, so if there is anything incorrect just drop me a line!

The band that I am in is called “Custom160” and we play in the south of Ireland, we do a lot of Queen, so if you see us advertised please come along and say hello.

Visit https://shanemcdonald.ie/queen/queen-tribute-bands-list/ if you wish to take a look at all the bands in this Queen Tribute Act Section.

Bohemian Rhapsody the Movie gets 5 Oscar Nominations including Best Picture

Bohemian Rhapsody the Movie gets 5 Oscar Nominations including Best Picture

Bohemian Rhapsody the Movie got a total of 5 Oscar Nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role and 3 others oscar nominations.

At the Oscar Nominations event which was held today at 1:30pm GMT the Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ picked up an amazing total of 5 Oscar nominations. The Movie had already collected 2 Golden Globes and 3 Critics Choice Nominations. This fresh set of oscar nominations comes only hours after the movie went on general digital release in the USA​. The movie was initially panned by critics worldwide before the movie was released however as soon as fans got to see it, the movie found a huge swell of support.​ The movie was released on 24th October in the UK and Ireland and it is still showing in most major cinemas. ​​

The movie “The Favourite” starring Olivia Colman and the Netflix’s movie Roma are the leaders in this year’s Oscar race, with a total of 10 nominations each.

The other nominees are the music-oriented “A Star Is Born” which starred Bradley Cooper and Lady GaGa, and, “Vice” with 8 Nominations. “Black Panther” becomes the very first Super-Hero movie to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars and it has 7 nominations. The undercover movie “BlacKkKlansman” picks up 6 nominations, followed by a movie you might have heard of called “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Green Book ” which both have 5 nominations.

Bohemian Rhapsody’s Oscar Nominations are as follows;

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Sound Editing
  • Sound Mixing
  • Film Editing

The Oscars take place in the Dolby Theatre on 24th February when we will find out the winners… Here’s Hoping for more Bohemian Rhapsody Movie successes!

Having already won Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild awards, do you think the Bohemian Rhapsody Movie can win an Oscar? Feel free to leave a comment below!

What is Queen’s Top Voted Song of 2018?

What is Queen’s Top Voted Song of 2018?

A Top Queen Songs Poll was run on this site over the past 12 months. Website visitors were asked to pick from a short list in 6 groups, the top 3 songs from each group then qualified for a final round of voting to determine what is Queen’s Top Voted Song of 2018?

Overall there were over 1,000 votes cast in this Top Queen Songs poll. The IP addresses and cookies limited the possibility of people voting twice. Therefore, I believe that this result stands up in light of what Queen songs visitors to this website prefer. There were over 190 songs I could have chosen for the initial shortlist but I used the results of the 2008 poll, which included this long-list, to prune the initial group stage down to about 50 songs, the final group had about 20.

The results of the Top Queen Songs Poll 2018 

So what is the Top Queen song? Well in reverse order the Top 10 Queen songs as voted by visitors to Shane’s Queen Site are as follows;

5. Innuendo (Innuendo)

4. Love of My Life (A Night at the Opera)

3. The Show Must Go On (Innuendo)

2. Somebody To Love (A Day at the Races)

1. Bohemian Rhapsody (A Night at the Opera)

Not surprisingly Bohemian Rhapsody tops the Top Queen Songs Poll with 15% of the Final Poll vote. This is in line with every previous Top Queen Songs poll which has run on this site since 2006. 60% of the songs were from the 1970s which may show that people tend to enjoy the rock and grandeur of the earlier albums.

Ths Top Queen Songs Poll will be reset in mid-January for 2019 with a new format which will hopefully shed more light on which Queen songs the public like. Don’t forget to bookmark this site and revisit soon to vote in the new Queen poll.

The final poll results are shown below with the percentages of the Top 10.

Bohemian Rhapsody Wins 2 Golden Globes and Oscars are next

Bohemian Rhapsody Wins 2 Golden Globes and Oscars are next

At the Golden Globes last evening Rami Malek won the Golden Globe for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. The Bohemian Rhapsody Movie also won in the best film drama category.

When accepting his award, Rami Malek, who portrayed Freddie Mercury in the biopic, said: “Thank you to Freddie Mercury for giving me the joy of a lifetime. This is for you, gorgeous.”

The Bohemian Rhapsody Movie was a surprise win, as the favourite, A Star Is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper​ was​ tipped to win the top award. In fact, A Star is Born had 5 nominations and only went home with one, winning the best song award for Shallow, co-written by Mark Ronson. Bohemian Rhapsody won both awards it was nominated for and now looks towards the Oscars for more potential awards.

The Nominations for the 2019 Oscars will be announced on January 22nd. 

Brian May and Roger Taylor were in attendance at the awards ceremony and I’m sure if Freddie was there it would have been quite a flamboyant affair.

The Bohemian Rhapsody film goes from strength to strength and who knows, the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild award wins may not be the last.

The film is still showing in theatres ad this week, (week starting 7th Jan) in the UK & Ireland there is a sing-a-long version of Bohemian Rhapsody in select cinemas which should be fun for all Queen fans to attend.

If you think that the movie can achieve Oscar success on top of the Golden Globes win, pop a comment below and let us know what you think it could be nominated for in the Oscars.