I remember in the last couple years, it was announced that Paul Rodgers was going to join Queen to replace Freddy Mercury. Jon Rowe and Jason Kuznicki both posted on it, with Jon being mildly cautious about it and Jason calling the idea “insane”. I recall at the time thinking that Jason was closer to the mark, despite the fact that I think Paul Rodgers is great and never liked Freddy Mercury at all (for some reason, I always hated watching him perform – it was like watching someone “vogue”, just cloying and preening and posing). But he undeniably had a great voice and sang some of the great songs in rock history, and Paul Rodgers’ voice just didn’t seem to me like it would fit. Well color me surprised.
Last night, the reformed Queen performed on the VH1 Rock Honors and Paul Rodgers did a great job fronting the band. He didn’t try to match Mercury’s soaring vocals, he interpreted the song to fit his voice and his style. But it sounded great. Now, I don’t know if he can pull that off on all of their songs, but I actually liked that version of We Will Rock You better than I would have with Freddy Mercury singing it. But I’ve always been a Paul Rodgers fan.
Jason had suggested that only David Bowie or Peter Gabriel could replace Freddy, and those are good choices (except for the fact that Gabriel has totally lost his voice now and is painful to listen to – and that’s hard to admit for me because I love Peter Gabriel). Jon actually figured that Paul Rodgers wasn’t gay enough to replace Freddy. But based on that one song last night, I’m on board with it. I’d like to hear some other songs, but I frankly think I would like this version of Queen better than the original.