Queen: The Complete Works by George Purvis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow! This was exhausting to read and it had to be exhausting to write. This is the most comprehensive reference book I’ve ever seen relating to a rock band, or any musician for that matter. It’s amazing how much information is contained in this book. As the blurb on Goodreads says, “Georg Purvis’s meticulous, session-by-session, song-by-song, album-by-album, tour-by-tour record of the band’s progress is the complete reference source that Queen fans have been waiting for.” No kidding. This book details every album, every song (even unreleased songs), every tour and set list, every side project and solo efforts of the members of Queen. It’s unbelievable! Now, I’ve been a big Queen fan since the mid ’70s, so I’m biased. Someone who’s not a fan probably wouldn’t get much out of this book. And even though I’m giving it five stars, there are some weaknesses. Redundancy is a big one. There are only so many descriptions one can read of the same tour for North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, and South America with maybe three song changes in the set lists before boredom sets in. And I don’t care as much about all of the side project and solo work of the band members, so reading about Roger Taylor’s adventures with his band The Cross was uninteresting to me. But each song — are you kidding me??? That is research, my friends! The author of this book is a Queen fan, but also a strict critic who pulls no punches with songs he considers to be weak or bad. He also reports many of the reviews the band received, both good and bad. I learned a lot in reading this heavy 475 page book, and at times, it was highly enjoyable. But, as I mentioned, at other times it was drudgery. One thing the book lacked that surprised me was commentary on the album cover art. I would have enjoyed reading about that and am disappointed it’s not in there. There’s commentary on the videos, so why not the album art? However, I can get past that. I’ve read a lot of Queen books and have many more to read and while it often seems there’s not much more I can learn about the band, a book like this comes along and you realize how much you don’t know at all. It was a lengthy process to get through this book, but I’m glad I did. Recommended for any Queen fan.