Minggu, 19 Agustus 2007

History of Kramer Guitars

Kramer Guitars is an American manufacturer of electric guitars and basses. Kramer produced aluminum-necked electric guitars and basses in the 1970s and wooden-necked guitars catering to hard rock musicians in the 1980s; Kramer is currently a division of Gibson Guitar Corporation. The company was founded in the late 1970s by Dennis Berardi and Gary Kramer, a close friend and associate of Travis Bean, to manufacture aluminum-necked guitars. Gary Kramer, Dennis Berardi, Peter LaPlaca (a Vice President at Norlin, parent company of Gibson), and investor Henry Vaccaro joined forces to open a plant in Neptune, New Jersey. Soon thereafter, Gary Kramer moved to Los Angeles, and his connection with the company would be in name only. Kramer was endorsed by several famous musicians, such as Eddie Van Halen, Richie Sambora, Mick Mars, and Vivian Campbell.

History of Washburn Guitars

The Washburn guitar company started making guitars in 1833 in Chicago. The factory would later be involved and located near a musical movement in Chicago in the 1920s. The movement was a “Delta Blues” movement, which came as a result of an influx of African Americans to the area. This type of blues would change the way blues music was played, and would also change rock and roll. This blues movement helped in the success of Washburn guitars.Washburn guitars were very popular during the 1920s. The musicians played the guitars as well as making them by hand. The Washburn guitar and the blues movement that it was involved with are associated with Maxwell Street. This street is only a few blocks from the factory, and where Washburn guitars were first embraced. Today, Washburn guitars have embraced the image from its origins and the blues movement. Many famous and successful artists play Washburn instruments, and endorse Washburn instruments. Musicians like the guitar players for Matisyahu, Sum41, Avril Lavigne, CKY, and The Allman Brothers are all endorsed by Washburn. Washburn makes electric guitars, acoustic guitars, electric basses, acoustic basses, banjos, mandolins, travel guitars, and amplifiers. The company also makes accessories including guitar cases, clothing, and other parts like tuners, pick ups, and straps. Washburn is mostly known for its electric guitars and acoustic guitars. The company makes eight different styles or “Series” of both electric and acoustic guitars

History of Dean Guitars

Dean Guitars was created in 1977 by luthier Dean Zelinsky who began building guitars at an early age. Zelinsky thought that rock guitar design had stagnated and decided to do what he could to change things. The first Dean guitars were released in the mid-1970s and featured designs including "pointy" guitar bodies and large V-shaped headstocks. These designs quickly gained in popularity because of the radical look and also because of the improved tone and sustain of the guitars. They also had a unique neck.[citation needed]
Dean's marketing campaign, which featured models holding the guitars in alluring poses, was widely copied by other guitar manufacturers until the onset of the grunge rock movement in the 1990s. (Advertising-heavy magazines from this time, such as Guitar for the Practicing Musician, heavily influenced "lad mags" such as Maxim.) Dean has since revived this practice.
In 1986, Zelinsky decided he did not want to continue making guitars and sold the company to make furniture. He has attributed his decision to the popularity of the "superstrat", which he derides as a "Floyd Rose trem with a guitar attached to it." In the late 1990s, Elliott Rubinson (CEO of Dean Guitars) revived the brand name, later bringing Zelinsky back aboard as an executive and creative consultant. Since then, Dean Guitars has grown in to one of the leading guitar companies in the world.[citation needed]
Their online BBS community continues to be the most active in the entire industry with close to 10,000 active users and growing.

History of Ibanez Guitar

The Hoshino Gakki company began in 1908 as a musical instrument sales division of the Hoshino Shoten bookstore company. In 1935 they began manufacturing their own stringed instruments. The company had little presence in the Western world until the mid-1960s.
They started on importing Spanish guitars from the famous Spanish luthier Salvador Ibáñez (1854 - 1920), but when the Spanish workshop was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939) and the original guitars became unavailable (and very much sought after because of their excellent quality), they bought the rights of the trademark Ibanez and started making Spanish and acoustic guitars on their own, first as "Ibanez Salvador", and later as "Ibanez".
Harry's Rosenbloom, of Medley Music, based in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, was manufacturing handmade guitars under the name "Elger." By 1965 Rosenbloom had decided to stop manufacturing guitars and chose to become the exclusive North American distributor for Ibanez guitars. At the time, the phrase "made in Japan" was considered to have negative connotations of low quality, so Hoshino Gakki and Rosenbloom wanted to distribute the instruments under a "non-Japanese" name, so it was decided to market all the instruments (and not only the acoustics) under the Ibanez brand name. In 1981 Hoshino purchased Elger Guitars, renaming the company "Hoshino U.S.A." and retaining the company headquarters in Bensalem, Pennsylvania as a distribution and quality-control center.
In the early 1970s Hoshino began making Ibanez guitars that were almost exact copies of popular models by Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker. Using somewhat cheaper materials and greater automation in manufacturing, they were able to sell these guitars for a significantly lower price than the originals. The low price combined with the relatively high quality of the guitars made these models very popular. Many guitar aficionados feel that the early- and mid-70s mark a low point in the quality of guitars from the major manufacturers, which helped contribute to the popularity of the Ibanez copies. These guitars have become known as "lawsuit" guitars and have become highly collectible.
The actual lawsuit referred to was brought by the Norlin Corporation, the parent company of Gibson guitars, in 1977, and was based on an Ibanez headstock design that had been discontinued by 1976. Hoshino settled out of court, and by 1978 had begun making Ibanez guitars from their own designs.
Abandoning the strategy of copying "classic" electric guitar designs, the newer models began incorporating more modern elements into their design, such as radical body shapes, slimmer necks and flatter fingerboards (which allowed for faster playing), higher-output electronics and colourful finishes. This led to an increasing popularity with heavy metal musicians. The company also began an extensive program of consulting with well-known guitar players, such as Kevin 'Noodles' Wasserman, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Munky, Andy Timmons, George Benson, John Petrucci, Herman Li and Sam Totman, creating signature models made to the players' specifications.
Hoshino also manufactures Ibanez electro-acoustic and acoustic guitars, both nylon and steel-stringed. The logo used on the headstocks of the acoustic guitars is the original Spanish Ibanez logo. Most Ibanez guitars were made for Hoshino by the FujiGen guitar factory in Japan up until the mid to late 1980's and from then on Ibanez guitars have also been made in other Asian countries such as Korea and China.

History of Gibson Guitars

Orville Gibson (born 1856, Chateaugay, New York) started making mandolins in 1894 in Kalamazoo, Michigan USA. The mandolins were distinctive in that they featured a carved, arched solid wood top and back and bent wood sides. Prior to this mandolins had a flat solid wood top and a bowl-like back (similar to a lute) made of multiple strips of wood. These bowl-back mandolins were very fragile and unstable. Disdainful of the shape, Orville Gibson characterized them as "potato bugs." Gibson's innovation made a better-sounding mandolin that was immensely easier to manufacture. Orville Gibson's mandolin design, with its single-pieced carved sides and a single-pieced neck, was patented in 1898; it would be the only innovation he patented.[2]
In 1902, the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co, Ltd. was founded to market the instruments.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the Gibson company was responsible for many innovations in guitar design, and became the leading manufacturer of arch-top guitars, particularly the Gibson L5 model. In 1936 they introduced their first "Electric Spanish" model, the ES-150, generally recognized as the first commercially successful electric guitar.

1996 Gibson Les Paul Studio Limited Edition Gem Series Topaz
As a result of the strong sales of the Fender Telecaster in 1950 Gibson decided to make a solid-body guitar. This was despite the fact that Gibson, like most other guitar manufacturers, were contemptuous of the concept of a solid-body guitar. Although guitarist Les Paul was one of the pioneers of solid-body electric guitar technology, the guitar that became known as the Les Paul was developed without any input from its namesake. After the guitar was designed, Les Paul was asked to sign a contract to endorse the guitar to be named after him. At that point he asked that the tailpiece be changed, which was his only contribution. (Ironically, this tailpiece was changed in 1954.)[3] The Les Paul was released in 1952. The late 1950s saw a number of innovative new designs including the eccentrically-shaped Gibson Explorer and Flying V and the semi-acoustic ES-335, and the introduction of the "humbucker" pickup. The Les Paul was offered in several models, including the Custom, the Standard, the Special and the Junior. In 1961, the body design of the Les Paul was changed, due to the demand for a double-cutaway body design[4]. Les Paul did not care for the new body style and let his endorsement lapse, and the new body design then became known as the Gibson SG. The Les Paul returned to the Gibson catalogue in 1968 due to the influence of players such as Eric Clapton and Peter Green. Both the Les Paul and the SG later became very popular with hard rock and heavy metal guitarists; Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin , Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Slash of Velvet Revolver (formerly of Guns N' Roses) and Ace Frehley of Kiss are known for their preference for a Les Paul Standard. Pete Townshend of The Who, Angus Young of AC/DC, Frank Zappa of Mothers Of Invention and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath are some of the more well-known SG players.
Between 1974 and 1984, in a move that is still controversial to this day, production of Gibson guitars was shifted from Kalamazoo to Nashville, Tennessee in an effort to reduce the costs associated with high-wage, unionized workers in the Industrialized North. Norlin continued to struggle with cost and quality issues. In early 1986 the Gibson Guitar Corp. was bought by Henry E. Juszkiewicz, David H. Berryman and Gary A. Zebrowski. The survival and success of Gibson today is largely attributed to this change in ownership. Currently, Juszkiewicz stands as CEO and Berryman as president of the company. More recently new production plants have been opened in Southern and rural areas, such as Memphis, Tennessee as well as Bozeman, Montana. The Memphis facility is used for semi-hollow and custom shop instruments, while the Bozeman facility is dedicated to acoustic instruments. The quality of current production instruments from these facilities has played a major role in the resurgence of the brand.

History of Fender Guitar

The company began as Fender's Radio Service in late 1938 in Fullerton, California, USA. As a qualified electronics technician, Leo was asked to repair not only radios, but phonograph players, home audio amplifiers, public address systems and musical instrument amplifiers. (Technical note: at the time, most of the above were simply variations on a few simple vacuum-tube circuits). All designs were based on the research developed and released to the public domain by Western Electric in the 30s, and used vacuum tubes for amplification. The business also sidelined in carrying records for sale and the rental of self-designed-and-built PA systems. He became intrigued by design flaws in current musical instrument amplifiers, and he began custom-building a few amplifiers based on his own designs or modifications to designs.
By the early 1940s, he had partnered with another local electronics enthusiast named Clayton Orr (Doc) Kauffman, and they formed a company named K & F Manufacturing Corp. to design, manufacture, and sell electric instruments and amplifiers. Production began in 1945 with Hawaiian lap steel guitars (incorporating a patented pickup) and amplifiers, which were sold as sets. By the end of the year, Fender had become convinced that manufacturing was more profitable than repair, and he decided to concentrate on that business. Kauffman remained unconvinced, however, and they had amicably parted ways by early 1946. At that point Leo renamed the company the Fender Electric Instrument Company. The service shop remained open until 1951, although Leo Fender did not personally supervise it after 1947. The first big series of amplifiers were built in 1948. These were known as tweed amps because they were covered in the same kind of cloth used for luggage at the time. These amps varied in output from 3 watts to 75 watts.
Fender moved to Tolex coverings for the amps in 1960 with the exception of the Champ which kept its tweed until 1964. Fender also began using Oxford, Utah and CTS speakers interchangeably with the Jensens; generally the speaker that could be supplied most economically would be used. Jensens and Oxfords remained the most common during this period. By 1963 Fender amplifiers had a black Tolex covering, silver grille cloth, and black forward-facing control panel. The tremolo was changed to a simpler circuit based on an optical coupler and requiring only one tube. The amps still spanned the spectrum from 4 watts to 85, but the difference in volume was even larger due to the improved clean tone of the 85w Twin.

Steve Vai

Listen Steve Vai playing now :

Steven "Steve" Siro Vai (born June 6, 1960 in Carle Place, New York) is a Grammy Award winning guitarist, composer, vocalist, and record producer.

Where Vai's contributions to others' material has been constrained by the largely rock or heavy-rock style of those bands, his own material is somewhat more eclectic. Vai's playing style has been characterized as quirky and angular, owing to his superb technical facility with the instrument and deep knowledge of music theory. Vai has been credited with the first use of the 7-string guitar in a rock context, first appearing in the David Lee Roth video Yankee Rose, and has used double and triple neck guitars on many occasions.

An interesting point to note is Vai's commitment to practice. In several guitar magazines and texts, he expounded a practice regime called "The Ten-Hour Guitar Workout".

Personal life
Vai is married to Pia Maiocco, former bass player of Vixen, who can be seen in Hardbodies. Steve and Pia have two children, Julian Angel and Fire. In his spare time Vai enjoys keeping bees, which regularly produce a crop of honey that Vai sells for his Make a Noise Foundation.

Band History - not including guest appearances
* Frank Zappa (1980-1982)
* Steve Vai (1982-1984)
* Alcatrazz (1985)
* David Lee Roth (1985-1986)
* Public Image Ltd. (1985-1986)
* Frank Zappa (1986)
* David Lee Roth (1987-1988)
* Whitesnake (1988-1990)
* Solo (1989-present)
* Ozzy Osbourne (1995)

Solo albums
* Flex-Able (1984)
* Flex-Able Leftovers (1984)
* Passion and Warfare (1990)
* Sex & Religion (1993)
* Alien Love Secrets (1995)
* Fire Garden (1996)
* The Ultra Zone (1999)
* The 7th Song (2000)
* Alive in an Ultra World (2001 )
* The Elusive Light and Sound, volume 1 (2002)
* The Infinite Steve Vai: An Anthology (2003)
* Real Illusions: Reflections (2005)
* Sound Theories (2007)

Selasa, 07 Agustus 2007

deep purple

The Montreux Jazz Festival, Royal Albert Hall, Melbourne Entertainment Centre, a Blizzard somewhere in the Alps, Tokyo, Rio, Moscow’s Olympic Hall, Cape Town, Bangalore, La Paz, Toronto and Kansas City.

What do they have in common? They are just a few of the places where you could have seen a Deep Purple show over the last couple of years. Simply reading the itineraries gives you an idea of how this band operates on a truly international level.

Deep Purple is not a conformist group. There never was, nor ever will be, any fawning to trends. What you do get from them are cutting edge performances based on a sound philosophy: ‘the music comes first’. That music comes from within the core spirit of the band, nowhere else. They won’t be bagged. Why?

In the sixties and early seventies they were described (by others) as ‘Progressive’ or ‘Underground’, when they made a conscious decision to depart from the ‘Hush’ era in order to record the seminal album ‘Deep Purple in Rock’. ‘Fireball’, ‘Machine Head’, ‘Made in Japan’ and ‘Who Do We Think We Are’ quickly followed, and they were then tagged (along with Zeppelin and Sabbath) as leaders of the ‘Hard Rock’ explosion. At this point began the gradual disintegration of the famous MK 2 line-up, (Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, Paice) and some long overdue individual R & R.

The eighties re-union as ‘Perfect Strangers’ shook the world (again) with a fresh look at the music but with a bold detachment that stated ‘this is Deep Purple’. The era was to end in disharmony, however (again), with first Gillan leaving, then Blackmore and then Gillan returning; confusing? Not really.

After the divorce, and seeing this as a genuine opportunity to get back to the music, the guys invited Joe Satriani to join as locum, and he spent the best part of a year on the road with the newly revitalized band before returning to his own commitments. The scene was set for the most important line-up change since ’69.

Steve Morse was the only name on the list, and the question he asked, (after a couple of out of town gigs had confirmed the chemistry) ‘Is there a dress code?’ paved the way for a return to the humorous disdain the band have for what they used to call ‘poseurs’.

They never set out to be ‘Rock Stars’. Call them ‘Classic’ and they will laugh and patiently explain that nostalgia is not a creative word. Sure they’ve been through the mill a few times. However each time they’ve emerged stronger, and now you see a band that is hard and professional; displaying texture, dynamics and a humanity that can only come from those rare artists who are masters of their craft.

Deep Purple’s music has evolved organically into an expressive maturity, and the sell-out shows at the cities mentioned above are testament enough to the massive fan commitment. There’s a lot of affection out there for what many say is the greatest of them all.

Stats: 130m albums.

The following is what they say about themselves:

Ian Gillan: singer and writer. Various bands ’62-’69, Deep Purple, JC Superstar (as JC on the original recording), various Gillan Bands and solo stuff, Black Sabbath then DP again.

Roger Glover: bassist , writer and producer. Various bands ’61-’69. Deep Purple, Rainbow, then DP again.

Production credits include: Nazareht, Elf, David Coverdale, Judas Priest, Status Quo, Rory Gallagher, Rainbow, Pretty Maids.

Solo albums: The Butterfly Ball (1974), Elements (1978), Mask (1984), Accidentally On Purpose (with Ian Gillan – 1987), Night And Day (2001).

Steve Morse: guitarist and writer. Founded and wrote music for 6 time Grammy nominated Dixie Dregs, was a member of Kansas in the late 80’s. Steve was named Best Overall Guitarist by Guitar Player Magazine 5 times. He continues to record solo albums and some touring with the Steve Morse Band.

Ian Paice: drummer and writer. Early stuff, Deep Purple founder member, Whitesnake, Gary Moore then DP again. Paul MacCartney album and tour.

Don Airey: keyboards. Stints with Cozy Powell, Colosseum II, Sabbath, Rainbow, Ozzy, Tull, Whitesnake, Gary Moore, ELO, & DP. Credits as player, arranger or producer on c.200 albums including one solo venture, “K2”.

Minggu, 05 Agustus 2007

Instrumental Rock Articles

Except for a brief period at the end of the '50s and the early '60s, instrumental rock hasn't been a major commercial force. There have always been instrumental rock hits, of course, and the best instrumental rockers have acted as key inspirations to many of the best rock & roll musicians.

Even before rock & roll became the nation's dominant popular music in the mid-'50s, instrumentals were common in the R&B, jump blues, and country boogie that ranked as rock's chief ancestors. Raunchy R&B saxophonist Joe Houston and lightning-fast country boogie steel guitarist Speedy West were just two of the primarily instrumental musicians who were key influences on first generation rock & rollers. In 1956, organist Bill Doggett's " Honky Tonk" became the first massive instrumental hit of the rock era, although it was more notable for the sax riffs of Clifford Scott than the playing of bandleader Doggett.

The earliest rock & roll instrumental hits, such as the Champs' "Tequila," featured the sax as the lead instrument, but in 1958 Duane Eddy was responsible for changing the emphasis of instrumental rock to the guitar. With his distinctively low, twanging leads (augmented by Steve Douglas's superb saxophone), Eddy was one of the most popular singles artists of his era. His material can sound somewhat repetitious and dated these days, but he was a major influence on the next generation of rock guitarists, from George Harrison on down.

The Ventures were perhaps even more influential, offering a sleek sound with dual lead guitars and crisp drumming. A key building block of instrumental surf music, the group inspired countless nascent guitarists and were extremely popular, especially overseas, where the English language wasn't as key a component of rock music.

Link Wray, although nowhere near as successful as Eddy or the Ventures, may have been the most innovative guitarist of the era. On his 1958 hit "Rumble" and numerous excellent non-hit follow-ups, he pioneered guitar fuzz and distortion on vicious rockers. He was cited as an influence by Pete Townshend, who with several other British guitarists would take Wray's sound a few steps further in the distortion and feedback-riddled guitar leads of British Invasion and psychedelic rock.

In Southern California, Dick Dale developed a reverb-heavy sound with his Fender Telecaster that became known as "surf music."

Though relatively few surf instrumentals were big national hits (the Surfaris' "Wipe Out" and the Chantays' "Pipeline" were the biggest), the surf scene was huge in California, and of course a big influence on the Beach Boys, who (along with Jan & Dean) developed a vocal surf sound that became an important part of early- and mid-'60s rock & roll.

The years 1958-1963 were also riddled with many exciting hits, big and small, by performers who were never heard from again, or only managed to run off two or three big tunes. Besides guitarists like Santo & Johnny and Lonnie Mack drummers ( Sandy Nelson, Preston Epps, Cozy Cole), organists ( Dave "Baby" Cortez), saxophone-driven combos ( Johnny & the Hurricanes), and even bass players (ex- Elvis Presley sideman Bill Black) got in on the act with memorable hit tunes.

Instrumental rock was already decreasing in popularity when the British Invasion overran the States, making vocalists a near necessity. In the years between the initial rock & roll explosion and the Beatles, however, instrumental performers were responsible for some of the most exciting and gutsy rock & roll available. A key force in the preservation of rock's most exciting elements, instrumental rock was also hugely popular at a local level, and many musicians who wet their chops in instrumental combos went on to join, or develop into, important '60s rock groups. In any case, mid- and late-'60s rock groups never neglected instrumental rock entirely -- Paul Butterfield's East West, the Rolling Stones' "2120 South Michigan Avenue," the Who's "Underture," Quicksilver Messenger Service's "Gold and Silver," the Yardbirds' "Jeff's Boogie," Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive," and Country Joe & the Fish's "Section 43" are only a few of the great hard rock and psychedelic instrumentals of the era. While the British Invasion is often thought of as a death knell for instrumental rock, instrumentals remained a key strand of soul music for the next decade. The most popular and influential instrumental soul combo were Booker T. & the MG's. In addition to backing most of the greatest performances on the Stax/Volt label, the Memphis group also ran off a long string of marvelously taut instrumental hits of their own. The Mar-Keys and the Bar-Kays were also popular instrumental exponents of the Memphis soul sound. Saxophonist Junior Walker took Motown to its grittiest extremes on his instrumentals (though he often used vocals as well).

There was also no shortage of one-shot soul instrumental hits. Cliff Nobles ( "The Horse"), jazzman Hugh Masekela ("Grazing in the Grass"), Billy Preston ("Outa-Space"), Love Unlimited Orchestra ("Love's Theme"), MFSB ("TSOP"), and the Average White Band ("Pick up the Pieces") all had mammoth pop hits with soul instrumentals, although these groups by and large didn't limit their material to instrumentals exclusively. Ramsey Lewis developed a breed of soul-jazz-pop in the mid-'60s, as did his ex-sidemen Young-Holt Unlimited who hit the Top Ten when they added a lot of straight funk and came up with Soulful Strut."

While rock and soul instrumentals haven't been nearly as prevalent in the 1980s and '90s as they were in earlier decades, instrumentals will always be a presence in the music, as surprise hit singles and a testament to the power of guitars, saxophones, drums, and other instruments to move listeners without the benefit of vocals.

12 Most Important Instrumental Rock Albums:
Various Artists, Rock Instrumental Classics, Vol. 1: The '50s (Rhino)
Various Artists, ^Rock Instrumental Classics, Vol. 2: The '60s (Rhino)
Various Artists, Rock Instrumental Classics, Vol. 3: The '70s (Rhino)
Various Artists, Rock Instrumental Classics, Vol. 4: Soul (Rhino)
Various Artists, Rock Instrumental Classics, Vol. 5: Surf (Rhino)
Duane Eddy, Twang Thang: The Anthology (Rhino)
Link Wray, Rumble! The Best of Link Wray (Rhino)
The Ventures, Walk, Don't Run: The Best of the Ventures (EMI)
Booker T.& the M.G.'s, The Very Best of Booker T. & the M.G.'s (Rhino)
Booker T.& the M.G.'s, Best of Booker T. & the M.G.'s (Fantasy)
Dick Dale, King of Surf Guitar: Best of Dick Dale (Rhino)
Various Artists, ^Guitar Player Presents Legends of Guitar, Surf: ol. 1 (Rhino)

By Ritchie Unterberger

The Rolling Stones Biography

FORMED: January 1963, London, England

The Rolling Stones define rock 'n' roll. They are the longest running act in the history of rock music, having remained wildly popular and prodigiously productive over their 30-year career. The group was formed by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who met as schoolmates in Dartford, Kent. The legend has them bumping into each other on the platform at Dartford railway station, where Keith notices a blues album under Mick's arm. A bond is struck immediately and the pair go on to form a band with a variety of personnel, who eventually include a boogie-woogie pianist called Ian Stewart and a gifted blonde blues guitarist from Cheltenham called Brian Jones (although at the time he is calling himself Elmo Lewis for added authenticity). The best way to chronicle the Rolling Stones' accomplishments is to break it down by year:


The Stones are just three of a growing circle of musicians who were devoted to the music of American artists like Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and Elmore James. They perform these artists' songs with an almost missionary zeal to further the R&B cause, as well as earn enough money to stay alive. For some months, the impoverished early Stones live in squalor in London's Edith Grove. They beg gigs from older, jazz-tinged luminaries like Chris Barber, Cyril Davies and Alexis Korner, yet such is the Stones' raw energy and rapid development, they soon leave behind the somewhat purist and divided world of the jazz and blues establishment.

In July, the Stones take their name from a Muddy Waters song called "Rollin' Stone Blues" and make their live debut at London's Marquee Club (minus Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts). They start playing pubs and clubs around the city and suburbs. Bill Wyman joins late in the year -- the popular story being that he was asked because he had his own amplifier!


In January, Charlie Watts joins the Stones and plays his first gigs. The band gigs constantly with residencies at venues like Ealing Jazz Club, Ken Colyer's Studio 51 and Eel Pie Island in Twickenham. Audiences often consist of fellow budding blues musicians like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend. Their weekly steamy nights at the Crawdaddy at Richmond's Station Hotel result in ecstatic press reviews, and in April a sharp young mover called Andrew Loog Oldham catches the Stones at the Crawdaddy and signs them to his management company the next day. He starts the "Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone" press campaign which endears the group to hordes of youngsters who find the Beatles a tad cute. The shockwaves are still being felt today.

In May, the Stones are signed to Decca Records by an A&R man infamous for turning down the Beatles. A month later "Come On," the first Rolling Stones single, is released. An older generation recoils in horror as the group performs the song on England's top pop TV show "Thank Your Lucky Stars." The song -- an obscure Chuck Berry cover -- climbs to No. 21 on the U.K. charts. The second single, "I Wanna Be Your Man," is given to the group by John Lennon and Paul McCartney after they run into the Stones on the street. They finish writing it on the spot. That reaches No. 12. Live gigs are already attracting hordes of screaming teenage girls who drown out the band.


The group start the year on their first major package tour supporting America's Ronettes, the girl group produced by Phil Spector. In January, the Rolling Stones EP -- four covers of current U.S. rock'n'soul classics -- appears. In February, they release a third single, a version of Bo Diddley's "Not Fade Away," which features Phil Spector on maracas.

By now the Stones are becoming a ferocious R&B machine. They ditch the stage uniforms, grow their hair longer and inspire a legion of lookalikes. No group in history has sparked such horror in the older generation. "Not Fade Away" becomes the Stones' first Top 10 entry, hitting No. 3. The first album immediately sparks controversy for being untitled and featuring no writing on the cover. It reaches No.1. The record mainly consists of raw, feisty covers by heroes like Chuck Berry and Willie Dixon. It also features the first bona fide Jagger/Richards composition, "Tell Me," which was written after Andrew Oldham locked them in his kitchen with the intent of writing some songs. In April, there's teen mayhem when they play the NME Pollwinners' Concert at Wembley Arena.

In June, the band's cover of the Valentinos' "It's All Over Now" becomes the Stones' first No.1 and gold record. It was recorded at Chicago's legendary Chess studios -- home of Muddy Waters and other Stones heroes -- during the group's first visit to the States that month. The Stones go on to predate the dance music explosion by 25 years and headline their fan club's "All Night Rave" at London's Alexandra Palace, which also features John Lee Hooker and winds down at 6:30 a.m.

In August, more Chess material appears on the Five By Five EP, and November caps an eventful year with another chart-topper -- a cover of Willie Dixon's "Little Red Rooster."


The momentum continues -- as does the band's superhuman schedule -- with a second chart-topping album, Rolling Stones Number 2. In February, the single "The Last Time" (the first A-side to be written by Mick and Keith) also hits No. 1.

In August "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" sweeps the world and becomes one of the biggest Stones anthems ever. Keith says he woke up in the middle of the night in a motel room with that riff in his head and had to whack it down there and then. The following month sees the release of the Got Live If You Want It EP -- a noisy record of the live show recorded over the first three days of the March U.K. tour. The Out Of Our Heads album, recorded between U.S. dates and featuring a bunch of Jagger/Richards gems, is released in July. The chart topping "Get Off My Cloud" puts the cap on another action-packed year.


February sees the single "19th Nervous Breakdown," followed by the ground-breaking, chart-vaulting Aftermath album, on which the Stones start to experiment with different instruments and 11-minute tracks. Every song is written by Mick and Keith. In May, the expansion of the Stones' sound continues on the number one "Paint It Black" single, where Brian's sitar rides the pummelling beat. September's "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadows?" single sees the group's first dabblings with full-on psychedelia. October sees the group's last U.K. tour for three years (with Ike & Tina Turner supporting).


The Between The Buttons album sees a further flowering of the psychedelically inclined studio experimentation expanding the Stones' current whimsical English pop music. In February, Mick and Keith are arrested when Keith's Redlands home is raided by the police. Thus starts the run of high-profile court appearances that divide the nation's generations and are widely believed to be part of some greater conspiracy to silence the unbelievably powerful Stones. But despite all the charges hurled against Jagger, Richards and Jones, no Stone went to jail for any extended period.

After the bust, the Stones tour Europe to literally riotous responses in many cases, and headline the massively popular "Sunday Night At The London Palladium" TV show, where they perform the already-controversial "Let's Spend The Night Together" single and its genteel flip "Ruby Tuesday." They spark further outrage by refusing to ride on the silly roundabout at the end of the show.

In August, the hastily assembled "We Love You" single is released to thank the public for their support during the Jagger/Richards trials. Lennon and McCartney pop up on backing vocals while Mick and girlfriend Marianne Faithful return the favor by joining in with the Beatles "All You Need Is Love" for the "Our World" simultaneous satellite TV broadcast. In December, the highly experimental Their Satanic Majesties Request album baffles many with its extended psychedelic explorations, but still hits the top three. Much attention is focused on its three-dimensional sleeve.


In May, the Stones make a surprise appearance at the end of the NME Pollwinners' Concert. It is immediately obvious that the group have returned to their blues roots as they tear into the new "Jumpin' Jack Flash" single and "Satisfaction." After the uncertainty of the previous year the Stones are back to claim their crown as Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band In The World. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is released later that month and pole vaults to the top. The Beggars Banquet album is supposed to follow in August, but Decca objects to the Stones' graffiti-splattered toilet wall sleeve and it finally emerges in a plain white cover in December. The album launch party ends up with the Stones hurling custard pies in the faces of Decca executives. The album itself shows a new maturity and bluesy raunch, as well as the dark and dangerous image epitomized by "Sympathy For The Devil."


After a meeting with other band members, Brian leaves the Stones on June 8, saying he wants to form a new group. A few days later the Stones hold a photo call in London's Hyde Park to introduce their new guitarist, Mick Taylor, who was formerly in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He will make his live debut with the Stones at a free concert to be held in the park on July 5, and plays on the upcoming single, "Honky Tonk Women"/"You Can't Always Get What You Want."

On July 3, Brian Jones is found dead in his swimming pool in Sussex. The Hyde Park gig becomes a memorial for Brian and the group unveil their new songs. The classic bar room raunch of "Honky Tonk Women" is unleashed a week later and shoots to No. 1.

The chart-topping Let It Bleed album is released in December and turns out to be another feast of apocalyptic blues ("Gimme Shelter"), salacious melodrama ("Midnight Rambler") and more tales from the darkside. The Stones embark on their first U.S. tour since 1966 and, in the new climate of audiences who sit and listen, find the new live power and sense of occasion which remains with them to this day. The U.S. tour climaxes in December with the tragic Altamont Speedway concert.


Two years after it was filmed, Mick Jagger's movie debut in Nic Roeg and Donald Cammell's Performance finally gets released. Jagger plays reclusive rock star Turner. It's accompanied by a soundtrack to which Mick contributed "Memo from Turner."

In September, a live album of the previous year's Madison Square Garden show New York, Get Yer Ya-Yas Out, hits No. 1. It's initially designed as an official alternative to the Stones bootlegs starting to appear. The 1969 tour also results in the movie, Gimme Shelter.


The Stones, whose contract with Decca has expired, launch their Rolling Stones Records imprint with the mighty double header of "Brown Sugar" and "Bitch," which continue to push the barriers and court controversy with their lyrics. The band undertake a farewell tour of the U.K. as they prepare to go into tax exile in the south of France. In April the mothership album, Sticky Fingers, appears with a sleeve designed by Andy Warhol, which depicts a mystery groin complete with adjustable zipper! While the rock 'n' roll is sleazier than ever, a beautifully damaged haze hangs over tracks like "Sister Morphine" and "Wild Horses," which features the country influence of Keith's new mate, Gram Parsons from the Flying Burrito Brothers.


In April, the Top Five hit "Tumbling Dice" is the first single to trailer the upcoming double album Exile On Mainstreet, recorded in the basement of Keith's house in the south of France. The album is derided at the time for sprawling self-indulgence, but Keith is always glad to point out that it is now held up among the band's most enduring work.

The Stones tour the States -- described by organizer Pete Rudge as "not like a rock 'n' roll tour, more like the Normandy landing." It sees the group setting a standard of the grand spectacle required for stadium gigs.


In August, the balladic "Angie" trailers the more melodic Goats Head Soup album, recorded in Jamaica; stirring it up with the controversial "Starfucker" finale. The tour hits Europe, including a spectacular stretch at Wembley Arena.


July's Top 10 single, "It's Only Rock'n'Roll," started life in Ronnie Wood's South London home studio, with David Bowie on backing vocals and the Faces' Kenny Jones on drums. The roughhouse rock feel is continued on the album of the same name, although the highlight could be considered the haunting ballad, "Time Waits For No One."

The Stones/Wood connection becomes closer when Keith appears on most of Ronnie's first solo album, I've Got My Own Album To Do, and both Mick Taylor and Jagger guest. Keith appears with Ronnie at his Kilburn State gig in July. In December Mick Taylor quits to pursue a solo career.


After much speculation and a string of recording sessions-cum-auditions in Munich, which eventually give birth to the Black and Blue album, the Stones announce Mick Taylor's replacement -- Ronnie Wood. (Candidates who didn't get past the jamming phase include Jeff Beck, Peter Frampton and Rory Gallagher). Ronnie has already taken leave from the Faces to tour with the Stones, and Keith admits he nearly asked him to join back when Brian left.


Black and Blue is released in April and features those guest spots from guitarists Harvey Mandel, Wayne Perkins and the successful Mr. Wood. "Fool to Cry" is the single and makes the Top 10. That summer, the group tour and appear straddling an unfolding lotus stage complete with giant inflatable penis and Tarzan rope for Mick.


In February, Keith and Anita Pallenberg are busted in Toronto, where the Stones are playing some low-key club dates to record for an upcoming live album. October's Love You Live double album features songs from the previous tour and a side from the Toronto gigs at the El Mocambo club.


The dance music-influenced "Miss You" (one of the early 12" singles) hits the number one spot in the U.S. The Some Girls LP follows. Originally called Some More Fast Numbers, some say the charged energy level is influenced by the recent punk rock explosion. In fact, the next single, "Respectable," shows the group commenting on their new status as "pillars of society" -- before slamming into brief acquaintance Margaret Trudeau, the Stones-slumming wife of the Canadian Prime Minister.

The Stones tour America to wildly enthusiastic audiences and equally ecstatic reviews. All stage props have been stripped back, to allow room for the new energy coursing through the group with a totally integrated Ronnie Wood and fully-cylindered Keith Richards.


Wood releases a third solo album, Gimme Some Neck, which again features Keith and Mick. In April, the Stones join together to support Keith, doing a set for the Benefit Concert for the blind which honors the Toronto court's sentencing commitment. Keith then joins Ronnie for the New Barbarians tour. The Barbs appear at the Knebworth Festival supporting Led Zeppelin.


In June a new single, the reggae and disco-tinged "Emotional Rescue," trailers the album of the same name and hits the Top 10.


August sees "Start Me Up" motor into the Top 10 as a slashing kickstart trailer for the upcoming album, Tattoo You, which also includes the warm follow-up single, "Waiting On A Friend." The Stones undertake the first of periodic mega-tours which sees them astride a colossal stadium-stage, complete with hydraulic platforms and huge avant garde paintings.


The Stones tour hits Europe, including several nights at London's Wembley Stadium. In June, the Stones release Still Life, a live album drawn from the '81 American gigs along with the group's cover of "Going To A Go Go."


It's August and in typical Stones fashion, an agreement is reached and signed at 3:00 a.m. in Paris' Ritz Hotel by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and CBS head Walter Yetnikoff. The deal is reportedly worth 28 million dollars and calls for the Stones to deliver four studio albums.

In October, the "Undercover Of The Night" single is unveiled with the theme of South American political unrest dominating an epic video directed by Julian Temple. Mick's execution scene stirs some controversy while Keith sports a skull mask and a gun. The single reached the Top 10, as did the album with its peel-the-stickers-off-the-stripper sleeve.


In February, the Stones are in Paris recording Dirty Work at Pathe-Marconi Studio. Mick Jagger releases his first solo album, She's The Boss. In June he duets with David Bowie on the specially recorded version of "Dancing In The Street" for Live Aid. Mick also appears at the all-day event in Philadelphia, singing a saucy duet with Tina Turner in which he whips off her skirt. It's his first ever live solo set performed in front of 1.5 billion viewers. Later that day, Keith and Ronnie flank Bob Dylan for an acoustic set to close the show at JFK Stadium. Three months later, Keith and Ronnie repeat their acoustic act, backing Bono for a version of "Silver And Gold," which appears on the Artists United Against Apartheid album.

Later that year, the Stones begin work on a new album. Near the end of the sessions -- which the group later admit were not their most harmonious -- their road manager, soul brother and "Sixth Stone" Ian Stewart dies of a massive heart attack in London at the age of 47. Ian had been with the group since the start and still played piano on stage. "We all felt the glue had come unstuck," says a grieving Keith.


"Harlem Shuffle" -- a cover of Bob & Earl's 1964 hit featuring soul legend Bobby Womack on backing vocals -- is released in March and hits the Top 20. The Dirty Work album follows and is dedicated to Ian Stewart. It closes with one of Keith's most moving ballads, "Sleep Tonight." Again there is no tour although Charlie takes the big band across the States later that year and repeats the exercise during lulls in the Stones' schedule from then on.


Keith records his first solo album for Virgin Records at Montreal's Le Studio. Taylor Hackford's Chuck Berry tribute, Hail! Hail! Rock'N'Roll, opens in October. Keith is the musical director of the movie, which features performances by Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Etta James, Julian Lennon, Robert Cray and Richards himself.


Mick releases his second solo album, Primitive Cool, and enjoys an hugely successful tour of Japan and Australia. In September, Keith's debut album, Talk Is Cheap, is released. He follows this with a three-week sold-out tour of the U.S. with his back-up band, the X-Pensive Winos. "Take It So Hard" is the first single and video released.

On October 16th, Keith, whose house in Jamaica suffered hurricane damage, guests at the "Smile Jamaica" hurricane relief benefit concert at the Dominion Theater, London. He plays two songs with U2-- "Love Rescue Me" and "When Love Comes To Town."


At the start of the year, the Rolling Stones are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Mick, Keith, Ron and Mick Taylor are present at the ceremony held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The absence of Wyman and presence of Taylor sparks rumors that the Stones will tour with Taylor replacing Wyman, and Ron Wood will move to the bass. Pete Townshend helps induct the Stones, telling them in his speech, "Guys, whatever you do, don't try to grow old gracefully. It wouldn't suit you." Mick replies in his own speech: "After a lifetime of bad behavior, it's slightly ironic that tonight you see us on our best behavior." Mick, Keith, Ronnie, and Mick Taylor join the now-expected all-star jam session, during which Mick duets with Tina Turner on "Honky Tonk Women," and with Little Richard on "Can't Turn You Loose" and "Bony Moronie." He then brings down the house with "Start Me Up."

Keith releases his second video "Make No Mistake," directed by Paula Grief, from Talk Is Cheap in March. In May, he is presented with the "Living Legend Award" at the International Rock Awards.

Earlier, Mick and Keith meet at Eddy Grant's studio in Barbados to see if they can still write songs together. Before the meeting, there's speculation as to whether the two can still remain in the same room. Two months later, they have 12 new tunes ready, plus the usual welter of unfinished ideas. Working like they did on the classic albums of the '60's and '70's -- from the groundfloor and building -- they come out with a string of gems, which are then honed and bashed into shape by the whole group at George Martin's AIR Studios in Montserrat with Chris Kimsey co-producing. The band whack everything down live in five weeks, with mixing to follow in London.

In July, the Rolling Stones hold a press conference at New York's Grand Central Station to announce their forthcoming Steel Wheels tour and album. Mick holds up a ghetto blaster and plays the new "Mixed Emotions" single to the assembled world media. It's released in August and puts the group back onto the world's charts.

Steel Wheels is a Stones classic. A complete album of new stuff, as opposed to touched up old demos like much of the late-'70's and '80's output. The sound is raw and bristling on tracks like the first single, "Mixed Emotions," but the album also proves the band can still deliver gorgeous ballads like "Almost Hear You Sigh," or Keith's lovely "Slippin' Away."

While the album is generally acclaimed as the group's best in years, the group make it a double whammy with the awesome scope and spectacle of the "Steel Wheels" tour. The stage set is the biggest ever, a surreal post-nuclear nightmare factory, all girders, funnels and catwalks bathed in ferocious lighting and walls of fire and smoke. The set straddles the Stones' entire career in over two hours with every song a piece-de-resistance -- from the giant inflatable "Honky Tonk Women" to Mick's materialization one hundred feet above the stage for "Sympathy." The group play like their lives depend on it, and also like they were having a total blast.

Starting in Philadelphia on August 30, the huge operation (a veritable mobile army) goes on to play around 70 gigs. In December, the U.S. leg ends up at the Atlantic City Convention Center for a radio-TV simulcast. Guests include John Lee Hooker, Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin from Guns 'N Roses, and Eric Clapton.


In February, the Stones tour Japan for the first time with 10 sold-out shows at Tokyo's Korakuen Dome, playing to 50,000 a night. For Europe, Steel Wheels gives way to Urban Jungle -- partly because European stadiums aren't big enough for the huge set, partly because they just fancied a change of scenery. The new stage resembles a post-nuclear tropical ruin, with giant inflatable dogs appearing during "Street Fighting Man." It hits London's Wembley Stadium in July, then again in August at the end of the tour, with the resurrection of the Steel Wheels set. Over the past year, the Stones have played 115 shows to over six million people.


All five members of the band immerse themselves in solo projects. In November, at the London office of the Stones' financial advisor Rupert Loewenstein, Mick, Keith, Charlie, Ronnie are present for the signing of the Stones' deal with Virgin Records.


The Stones take the year off to recharge their batteries. Meanwhile Richards records and releases his second solo album, Main Offender, on Virgin. He tours Europe and then goes where no Stone has gone before -- Argentina, where the X-Pensive Winos play to a Buenos Aires crowd of 40,000.


The Stones celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of their first single. During a live interview on the BBC's "London Tonight" news program in January, Bill Wyman finally makes it official: "I really don't want to do it anymore." Regarding his efforts to prevent Bill from quitting, Keith states: "I did everything but hold him at gunpoint." Also in January, Ronnie plays the first of four solo concerts in Japan, wrapping up on the 14th at Tokyo's Budokan. Meanwhile, Mick releases his third solo album, Wandering Spirit. The night of the release, Mick plays a private concert for 1,200 invited guests at New York's Webster Hall. Guests include Robert De Niro and Francis Ford Coppola. Mick performs 11 songs from his new album, then encores with the Stones' "Rip This Joint," "Live With Me," and "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby (Standing In The Shadows)?" The tour ends with sell-out shows in Tokyo. Three days later in Seattle, Keith opens the U.S. leg of his Main Offender tour. Later in the year, Billy Joel ind
ucts Keith into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.


After pre-production in Barbados, the Stones gather in Dublin, Ireland at Windmill Studios to start work on a new album. Their first under a new deal with Virgin, the band sees much of the back catalogue re-mastered on CD. Don Was is picked as co-producer of Voodoo Lounge alongside the Glimmer Twins. Was, who made his name with the surreal rock 'n' soul of Was Not Was, has recently produced Bonnie Raitt, the B-52's, Bob Dylan and Iggy Pop. Bassist Darryl Jones and keyboard player Chuck Leavell are called in to help out. Other guests include Ivan Neville, Bobby Womack, Bernard Fowler, Benmont Tench, Flaco Jimenez and Luis Jardim.

The results are staggering. As virtually all reviews have pointed out, Voodoo Lounge is peak Stones; a group firing on all cylinders. After the success of the Steel Wheels project, the Stones know they have nothing to prove and the new sound seems less self-conscious and more inventive than their recent work. It's the sound of a group getting together and raising the hell they know and love. Mick's singing is stronger and more expressive than usual, notably on the chilling anti-terrorism ballad "Blinded By Rainbows," and lascivious car song "Brand New Car," which is in the best tradition of double entendre blues. Like all Rolling Stones classic albums, each song is propelled by Keith's explosive guitar riffs and underpinned by Charlie's ferocious drumming.

The album and its accompanying tour is announced in New York -- this time after the group arrive via boat at Pier 60. The tour kicks off on August 1 at Washington. D.C.'s RFK Stadium, and plays the U.S., Canada, Japan, Mexico, South America and the Far East. As Bobby Keys, long time Stones sax player, once remarked in a choice moment during the 1971 outing: "Looks like rock 'n' roll is on the road again!"

And how! The Voodoo Lounge tour launches with a shower of praise from critics and fans alike. In between playing to sold-out shows in stadiums across the U.S., the Stones find time to pick up an MTV Lifetime Achievement Award, plus a Billboard Award for Artistic Excellence. The band also make history on November 10, when they become the first rock 'n' roll band to broadcast a concert live on the Internet. By the end of the year, sales of the Voodoo Lounge album pass the four million mark, and the North American leg of the tour is written into the record books as the most successful tour in history.


The year starts in Stones' usual breathless fashion -- this time because of the high altitude of Mexico City's Autodromo Stadium. A lack of oxygen was no problem throughout the South American leg of the tour. Having never played South America as a band before, the Stones are greeted with a fever-pitch hysteria that's overwhelming, even by Latin standards. In Argentina, they are mobbed wherever they go and are kept awake by 5:00 a.m. reprises of the chorus of "Wild Horses."

The band sweep through South Africa, a seven-night sell-out stand at the Tokyo Dome, and Australasia before embarking on the final leg of the tour in Europe on June 3 in Stockholm. In Montpellier, they are joined on stage by Bob Dylan for the aptly-titled "Like a Rolling Stone." The band later release their version of the song as a single. While on the road, the band find time to stop and record acoustic versions of classics like "Street Fighting Man," and more arcane numbers like "Spider and the Fly" and "I'm Free." These tracks make up the live acoustic album Stripped. The tour ends in Rotterdam on August 30 with the promise that this will definitely not be the last time.

While the release of Stripped is seen as a present-day celebration of past glories, the Stones end the year by re-enforcing their commitment to the future by making it enhanced with multimedia content. The band also launch their second official website (Stonesworld) and release their debut CD-ROM (Voodoo Lounge).


Even when not active, the Stones are everywhere, with music featured in Casino (released late in '95), Basquiat (in which Keith also has a song called "Nearness to You" recorded in 1980), and The Fan. Meanwhile, the band once again get involved in solo projects. Charlie Watts is the first to break cover with the release of his quintet's Long Ago & Far Away, which features classics from the likes of Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael. At his home in Jamaica, Keith completes production work on an album which features traditional Rastafarian Bingi drums (to be released later this year).


The Stones continue to redefine rock music and themselves in the process. The ageless rockers begin recording the follow-up to Voodoo Lounge in a Los Angeles studio with executive producer Don Was and producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. The Dust Brothers (Beck, the Beastie Boys) take over behind the mixing board, with mixer/producer Danny Saber (who has re-mixed tracks for U2 and Garbage) and Was also producing a few songs each. Bridges To Babylon is released in the fall.


In November, the Stones chronicle their 1998 tour with the release of No Security, their third live album of the decade.

Kiss Biography

Following the demise of Wicked Lester, Kiss were formed in 1972 by Paul Stanley (b. Paul Eisen, 20 January 1950, Queens, New York, USA; rhythm guitar, vocals) and Gene Simmons (b. Chaim Witz, 25 August 1949, Haifa, Israel; bass, vocals), who went on to recruit Peter Criss (b. Peter Crisscoula, 27 December 1947, Brooklyn, New York, USA; drums, vocals) and Ace Frehley (b. Paul Frehley, 22 April 1951, Bronx, New York, USA; lead guitar, vocals). At their second show at the Hotel Diplomat, Manhattan, in 1973, Flipside producer Bill Aucoin offered the band a management contract, and within two weeks they were signed to Neil Bogart's recently established Casablanca Records. In just over a year, Kiss had released their first three albums with a modicum of success.

In the summer of 1975 their fortunes changed with the release of Alive! , which spawned their first US hit single, with the reissued live version of 'Rock And Roll All Nite' climbing to number 12 in November. The appeal of Kiss has always been based on their live shows: the garish greasepaint make-up, outrageous costumes and pyrotechnic stage effects, along with their hard-rocking anthems, combined to create what was billed as 'The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Show On Earth'. Their live reputation engendered a dramatic upsurge in record sales, and Alive became their first certified platinum album in the USA. Destroyer proved just as successful, and also gave them their first US Top 10 single, earning Peter Criss a major songwriting award for the uncharacteristic ballad, 'Beth'.

Subsequent releases, Rock And Roll Over , Love Gun and Alive II , each certified platinum, confirmed the arrival of Kiss as major recording artists. By 1977 Kiss had topped the prestigious Gallup poll as the most popular act in the USA. They had become a marketing dream: Kiss merchandise included make-up kits, masks, board games, and pinball machines. Marvel Comics produced two super-hero cartoon books, and a full-length science-fiction film, Kiss Meet The Phantom Of The Park, was even produced. The ranks of their fan club, the Kiss Army, had swollen to a six-figure number.

In September 1978 all four group members released solo albums on the same day, a feat never before envisaged, let alone matched. At the time, this represented the biggest shipment of albums from one 'unit' to record stores in the history of recorded music. The albums enjoyed varying degrees of success; Ace Frehley's record came out on top and included the US Top 20 hit single, 'New York Groove'. Gene Simmons, whose album featured an impressive line-up of guests including Cher , Donna Summer , Bob Seger and Janis Ian , had a hit single in the UK with 'Radioactive', which reached number 41 in 1978. After the release of Dynasty in 1979, which featured the worldwide hit single, 'I Was Made For Lovin' You', cracks appeared in the ranks.

Peter Criss left to be replaced by session player Anton Fig, who had previously appeared on Frehley's solo album. Fig played drums on the 1980 release Unmasked until a permanent replacement was found in the form of New Yorker Eric Carr (b. 12 July 1950, d. 24 November 1991), who made his first appearance during the world tour of 1980. A fuller introduction came on Music From The Elder , an album that represented a radical departure from traditional Kiss music and included several ballads, an orchestra and a choir. It was a brave attempt to break new ground but failed to capture the imagination of the record-buying public. Frehley, increasingly disenchanted with the musical direction of the band, finally left in December 1982. The two albums prior to his departure had featured outside musicians.

Bruce Kulick, who had contributed to the studio side of Alive II and played on Stanley's solo album, supplied the lead work to the four previously unreleased tracks on the Killers compilation of 1982, and Vincent Cusano (later to become Vinnie Vincent ) was responsible for lead guitar on the 1982 release, Creatures Of The Night . By 1983 the popularity of the band was waning and drastic measures were called for. The legendary make-up that had concealed their true identities for almost 10 years was removed on MTV in the USA. Vinnie Vincent made his first official appearance on Lick It Up , an album that provided Kiss with their first Top 10 hit in the UK. The resurgence of the band continued with Animalize .

Vincent had been replaced by Mark St. John (b. Mark Norton), a seasoned session player and guitar tutor. His association with the band was short-lived, however, as he was struck down by Reiters Syndrome. Bruce Kulick was enlisted as a temporary replacement on the 1984 European Tour, and subsequently became a permanent member when it became apparent that St. John would not be able to continue as a band member. Further commercial success was achieved with Asylum and Crazy Nights , the latter featuring their biggestUK hit single, 'Crazy Crazy Nights', which peaked at number 4 in October 1987 and was soon followed by another Top 40 hit single, 'Reason To Live'.

Hot In The Shade succeeded their third compilation album, Smashes, Thrashes And Hits , and included another US hit single, 'Forever', which reached number 8 in February 1990. Work on a new Kiss album with producer Bob Ezrin was delayed following Eric Carr's illness due to complications from cancer. He died on 24 November 1991, in New York, at the age of 41. Despite this setback, Kiss contributed a hit cover version of Argent 's classic 'God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You II' (UK number 4, January 1992) to the soundtrack of the film Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey, and brought in replacement drummer Eric Singer (ex- Black Sabbath ; Badlands ). The album Revenge also provided them with their highest charting US album (number 4), and their first Top 10 release since Dynasty reached number 9 in 1979.

The Kiss My Ass tribute album was released in 1994, with contributions from Lenny Kravitz , Stevie Wonder , Garth Brooks , Lemonheads , Faith No More , Dinosaur Jr, Rage Against The Machine and others. The interest in Kiss My Ass led to a historic reunion for MTV Unplugged . A stable unit with Bruce Kulick (guitar) and Eric Singer (drums), together with Simmons and Stanley, appeared to be on the cards, but Frehley and Criss returned for a reunion tour. So successful was the tour that Kulick and Singer were naturally somewhat annoyed and both quit. Their irritation was further exacerbated by the fact that a new studio album, Carnival Of Souls , featured both of them. In 1997 Vincent sued the band, alleging that they owed him royalties.

A year later Psycho Circus marked the return of the original line-up to the studio, and became the group's highest charting US album when it debuted at number 3 in October. With a history spanning three decades, Kiss' impact on the consciousness of a generation of music fans, particularly in the USA, remains enormous.

Queen Biography

FORMED: 1971, London, England

1968: Smile
In 1968, Brian May and Tim Staffell, both students at Imperial College, decided they wanted to form a group. Brian placed an advertisement on the college notice board for a "Ginger Baker type" drummer, and a young medical student called Roger Taylor auditioned and got the job. They called the group Smile. Smile were signed to Mercury Records in 1969, and had their first experience of a recording studio in Trident Studios that year. Tim Staffell was at Ealing College of Art with Freddie Bulsara, and introduced him to the band. Freddie soon became a keen fan. Sadly, in 1970 Smile decided to call it a day, as nothing seemed to be happening for them. Tim went off and joined a band called Humpy Bong, and Freddie left his band Wreckage and joined up with Brian and Roger - it had all begun.

1970: Queen's birth
Freddie changed his name by deed poll to Mercury, changed the band's name to Queen, and John Deacon was asked to audition as their bass player (they had had three temporary ones so far in their short history). In February 1971, John Deacon was taken on as the fourth member of Queen. The band rehearsed tirelessly and played several small gigs at Imperial College, where they rehearsed for close friends. Then they were offered the chance to test a new recording studio called De Lane Lea. In return for trying out the new equipment, they could also make free demo tapes. They did. No one was interested! They had signed a recording contract and publishing and management agreements with Trident in 1972, and during that year were paid just ?0 per week. Queen were given the 'down time' - or out of hours studio time - at Trident Studios, where they began work on their first album.

1973: a recording deal
In 1973, Trident and EMI signed a contract for a recording deal for Queen, and July of that year saw the release of Queen, their first album. The band were offered a big break - their first major tour as support band to Mott The Hoople. It began in Leeds in November 1973, and it was said by many people during that tour that 'Queen were more than a support act ....' Queen II was finally released in March 1974 - it should have been earlier, but there was a minor printing error on the sleeve that Queen insisted on having corrected! The band embarked on their first headlining tour of Britain, starting in Blackpool in March 1974. In April 1974, the band embarked on their first-ever USA tour as guests to Mott The Hoople. But in May of that year, whilst on tour, Brian collapsed with hepatitis, and the band had to cancel the rest of their dates.

1974: Sheer Heart Attack!
Work on their third album began without Brian and with a lot of help from Roy Thomas Baker. Brian finally felt well enough to go into the studios to record his guitar parts, although he was still ill and spend much time between takes in the studio bathroom being very sick! But eventually, the album was finished, and Sheer Heart Attack was released in November 1974. It was a huge hit both sides of the Atlantic as the world came to realise that Queen were certainly a force to be reckoned with!

1975: the big tour
In January 1975, Queen left for the USA on their very first headlining tour. Ticket sales were phenomenal, and demand was so high that they had to add more shows, doing two shows in one day at some venues, both shows being sold out. Quite a few shows on that tour had to be cancelled, as Freddie had developed a severe throat problem, but he soldiered on and performed as many as possible, although doctors had advised him against it. Also in January 1975, Queen engaged the services of a Music Business lawyer, Jim Beach, to negotiate them out of their Trident agreements, as Trident were no longer being as supportive as they should have been, and the band were unhappy with the situation. Their first Canadian gig was in Edmonton on April 2nd, where they were joined on stage by support act Kansas. April of 1975 saw Queen set to pay their first-ever visit to Japan.

1975: Japan mania
When they arrived at the airport, there were over three thousand fans there to greet them, as Sheer Heart Attack was Number One in Japan at the time. It was a scene reminiscent of Beatlemania in the Sixties, and the band were quite surprised at their 'pop star' welcome! In May 1975, Freddie was presented with an Ivor Novello Award by the Songwriters Guild for Killer Queen.

1975: Bohemian Rhapsody
Queen began work on their new album in June. Links with Trident were finally severed - to the band's great relief - in August, and by September Queen had signed with new management: enter John Reid. When the band decided to release Bohemian Rhapsody in 1975, everyone told them it was far too long and just would not be a hit at 5 minutes and 55 seconds. But Freddie gave a copy of the single to friend and London DJ Kenny Everett, informing him that it was for him personally, and that he must not play it on air. But of course he did - fourteen times in two days!! From then on, every major radio station played the song in full, and not edited versions as was first thought. It was a colossal hit, and really established Queen as th?band of the era. The video for the single, directed by Bruce Gowers using ideas from the band themselves, was considered to be the one that began the whole video craze - they just didn't know what they were starting! The single stayed at Number One for an amazing nine weeks!

1975: A Night At The Opera
The album was, at the time, one of the most expensive ever recorded, but when A Night At The Opera was released in November 1975, it was a massive hit, and gave them their first platinum album. Freddie had designed a Queen logo for the Queen I album, which was re-worked and used as the cover for A Night At The Opera. The now-famous 'crest' features the band's star signs - two fairies for Virgo, a crab for Cancer and two lions for the two Leos. The launch party for the album was held in the exclusive Opera Bar at the London Coliseum Theatre.

1976: touring
In January 1976, Freddie was presented with another Ivor Novello Award, for Bohemian Rhapsody. Also in January, the band set off on their third American tour, which took them all over America and continued until the end of March. They then flew direct to Japan, arriving yet again to a riotous reception. By this time, all four Queen albums were in the UK Top Twenty, which was an unheard-of feat. They undertook an extensive tour of Japan, and then flew on to Austria. Their tour 'Down Under' began at the Perth Entertainment Centre.

1976: another new album
They flew back to the UK to begin work on their next album, A Day At The Races, but recording was halted while the band took off on a short UK tour. On September 18th, 1976, Queen decided they wanted to say thanks to their dedicated fans, and so - in true extravagant style - they staged a huge free concert in London's Hyde Park. The crowds were estimated at between 150 and 200 thousand people - the largest audience Queen had played to up to that time, and to date still the highest-ever attendance record for a concert in Hyde Park.

1976: A Day At The Races
It was September, and the band were hard at work on their new album. A Day At The Races was released in December 1976. The band all attended a special horse race at Kempton Park to promote the album, and in 'A Day At The Races Stakes', a special race sponsored by EMI, they all backed the same horse without telling each other - and it won! Five days before its release, the advance orders for A Day At The Races were in excess of half a million - the highest orders EMI had ever received for any album.

1977: Roger's solo single
1977 had only been around for four days before Queen jetted off to America to rehearse for their forthcoming tour. They were on the road constantly through January, February and most of March in the USA and Canada. Roger decided, at the end of all that, to record a solo single, which he paid for out of his own pocket. I Wanna Testify was released in August. In May of 1977, Queen flew out of Stockholm to begin an extensive European tour. Their concert at Earls Court in London featured the famous 'Crown' lighting rig. It was 54 feet wide, 26 feet tall and weighed in at 5,000 pounds. It cost the band ?0,000.

1977: We Are The Champions, the video
In October 1977, the fan club members were asked for the first time to take part in one of the band's videos. We Are The Champions was filmed at the New London Theatre. After initial filming was finished, the band remained on stage and played an impromptu gig to say thanks to the fans who had turned up and worked so hard. October '77 also saw the band presented with a Britannia Award for the Top British Single: Bohemian Rhapsody, of course!

1977: News Of The World
Queen released News Of The World on October 28th, 1977. The cover was a drawing that Roger had discovered, by Science Fiction artist Kelly Freas. Roger asked him if he would mind adapting his illustration for the album cover, and Freas readily agreed.

1977: another tour
In November they were off to the USA again for rehearsals for the forthcoming tour. For the first time, their finances enabled them to charter a private plane for the tour - it made life on the road that much more comfortable. The tour began on 11th November - their second USA tour that year. They all arrived back in the UK just in time to spend Christmas with their families. That Christmas, We Will Rock You was knocked off the French Number One slot after 12 weeks ...... by We Are The Champions!

1978: a new management
In February 1978, Queen decided they should set up their own management structure. They parted company with John Reid more amicably than their split with Trident - this severance agreement was actually signed in the back of Freddie's Rolls Royce during a break in filming We Will Rock You in the back garden of Roger's house in Surrey! A short (by Queen standards!) tour of Europe began in April 1978 - again in Stockholm. In July, the band started work on their new album. They recorded it in Montreux and France - the first time they had ever recorded outside Great Britain.

1978: Bicycle Race
As publicity for the forthcoming single Bicycle Race, the band hired Wimbledon Stadium, and fifty naked girls had their own bicycle race. The original cover of the single featured the rear view of one of those naked girls, but due to public outcry in some countries, panties had to be drawn on! More touring in the USA and Canada began in October. November 10th saw the release of Jazz, the band's seventh album. The sleeve was packed to contain a fold-out poster of the naked bicycle race. The Americans banned it from the actual album sleeve, and inserted an application form instead so that fans could send away for their poster. The launch party for Jazz was held in New Orleans, and has since gone down in history!

1978: the party
The band hosted the party themselves in order to invite both EMI, their American record company, and Elektra, their USA representatives. It was the first time that both companies' executives had met, and they both ensured that ALL of their directors attended, each to try to outnumber the other! The party was a completely over-the-top affair, featuring mud wrestlers, midgets, topless waitresses, and a host of other weird and wonderful characters.

1979: buying a studio
The North American tour finished in late December, and the band flew back to the UK for Christmas, but they didn't get too much time to rest, as by January 1979 they were off to Europe yet again. The tour kicked off in Hamburg, and by March were ensconced in Mountain Studios in Montreux, working on their 'live' album. The band enjoyed the peace of Montreux and liked the studio there, so they decided to buy it (the studio, not the town!) When Freddie was asked by resident engineer David Richards why they had bought it and what they intended to do with it, Freddie quipped '...dump it in the lake, dear'!!

1979: Live Killers
The band flew out to Japan for yet more touring in April 1979. In June, they approached the All England Lawn Tennis Club and asked if they could use the Centre Court at Wimbledon (after the tournament, of course!) for a concert. Permission was refused. The band's first live album (and their only double album to date), Live Killers, was released in June 1979. It was an album released by very popular demand. Queen were approached to write the musical score for the science fiction film Flash Gordon. When the idea was first discussed with producer Dino de Laurentis, he simply asked '...but who are the queens?'!! The band agreed to work on the score, and started work during June in Munich.

1979: Crazy Tour
The end of 1979 found Queen embarking on 'The Crazy Tour'. It included such illustrious venues as Tiffany's in Purley, the Lewisham Odeon, Alexandra Palace, and finally, the Hammersmith Odeon. They were one of many bands who performed at the venue to raise money for the starving people of Kampuchea. During that Crazy Tour, the bands' tour manager, Gerry Stickells, collapsed backstage and had to be rushed to hospital. Gerry had been with Queen on every tour since 1976 (and has done very one since!)

1980: synths
At the start of 1980, the band were working hard on their new album, The Game - it was the first album to use the electronic wizardry of synthesisers. In June they were off to tour North America - again! Roger also started work on his first solo album in 1980. The Game was released in June of that year, and it went five times platinum in Canada alone! Another One Bites The Dust became the band's biggest-ever, worldwide-selling single to date. It became a huge 'crossover' hit in the USA, topping the charts in Rock, Soul and Disco. The band received a 'Dick Clarke' award as best band; a top Billboard award for 'Top Crossover Single'; and was nominated for various other awards including Grammys and Canadian 'Juno' awards.

1981: touring
On December 8th 1980, the soundtrack album for Flash Gordon was released. At the end of 1980, Queen had sold over 45,000,000 albums worldwide. In February 1981, after another Far East tour, the band flew to Rio de Janeiro for the start of their first tour of South America. Queen were the first rock band to undertake a stadium tour of South America, paving the way for many more bands to follow. The band's equipment had to be flown in a privately hired 'Flying Tiger' 747 cargo plane from Tokyo - the flight between Tokyo and Buenos Aires is the longest air route between capital cities in the world.

1981: more touring
Their first South American gig was Buenos Aires, on February 28th 1981. They then filled three more Argentinean World Cup soccer stadiums, playing five sold-out stadium gigs in just eight days. They then played two nights at the massive Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paolo. On the first night, 131,000 people attended, and Queen created rock & roll history as it was the largest paying audience for a single band anywhere in the world. During those two nights at the Morumbi Stadium, 251,000 people saw the Queen spectacle - that's a larger audience than most bands can expect in their whole career! Every single one of Queen's albums was in the Top Ten in Argentina during their tour - a first for any band.

1981: Roger's solo album
Whilst they were in Sao Paulo, the band celebrated the fact that the single, Love Of My Life, had been in the Sao Paulo singles chart for over 12 consecutive months. In April 1981, Roger released his first solo album, titled Fun In Space. Queen were back in South America - it was a return trip, being hailed as 'The Gluttons For Punishment Tour'! Unfortunately, their last two Venezuelan gigs in Caracas had to be cancelled, as the ex-President of the country had died. So the band moved on to play in Mexico, in Monterrey and Puebla - just outside Mexico City. Whilst there, the band's promoter, Jose Rota, was arrested and jailed. Jim Beach had to pay over $25,000 bail money to release him so the tour could continue!

1981: Hits, Flix and Pix
Greatest Hits, Greatest Flix and Greatest Pix were released simultaneously in October 1981. Greatest Hits - the album - entered the charts as soon as it was released, and has rarely been out of the British charts since! Greatest Flix - the video - was the first real collection of promo videos released commercially by any band. Greatest Pix - the book - was compiled by Jacques Lowe, who was President Kennedy's personal biographer during his term of office. It was Jacques' personal selection of the greatest Queen pictures of the previous decade.

1982: Hot Space
The band's twelfth album, Hot Space, was released on May 21st, 1982 whilst the band was in the middle of an extensive European tour. On June 5th that year, they played the huge open-air Milton Keynes Bowl. The whole show was filmed by Tyne Tees Television, under the direction of Gavin Taylor, to be shown on Channel Four's The Tube programme at a later date. In September 1982, the Japanese company, Mercury Records (nothing to do with Freddie!) released an album called Gettin' Smile. It was at first thought to be a bootleg, but after listening to the album, Roger and Brian declared it to be the REAL Smile, although neither of them recalled having recorded so much with that band! In December 1982, Queen made it into the Guinness Book of Records as Britain's highest-paid executives.

1983: solo recordings
In January 1983, Freddie began work on a solo album, and Roger began work on his second solo album. During the early part of the year, Brian had flown out to Los Angeles and gathered together a few close friends in the Record Plant studios there. Brian had some basic ideas to work on, but it was generally a lengthy jam session. However, Brian had no intention of wasting the talents of Edward Van Halen, Alan Gratzer, Phil Chen and Fred Mandel - and so kept the tapes rolling throughout the whole session. The result was the mini album Star Fleet Project, which was released in October 1983.

1983: USA recordings
The band went back into the studios in August 1983 to start work on their next album. Work commenced at the Record Plant in LA - the first time the band had recorded in America. After a number of months, recording switched from LA to Munich - a city that the band spent so much time in during that recording session that they almost thought of it as home!

1984: The Works
In February 1984, the band released their thirteenth album - The Works. Radio Ga Ga, taken from that album, became a worldwide hit, reaching Number One in nineteen different countries. The video for the single, directed by David Mallett, featured fan club members again. The handclapping chorus became a favourite with live audiences all over the world. Another single from The Works was I Want To Break Free, and that had an even more outrageous video also featuring members of the fan club. It featured the band dressed as the characters of a popular British television soap opera - Coronation Street. When asked why, Roger said he had become bored with serious epic videos, and thought it was about time they had some fun and proved they could still laugh at themselves. MTV in America refused to show the video.

1984: Strange Frontier
In June 1984, Roger released his second solo album, Strange Frontier. Also in June, a company called Guild Guitars launched a special copy of Brian's home-made Red Special guitar. It was called the BHM1, and Brian had been closely involved in all the aspects of its production. Sadly, about a year later, Brian and Guild had some discussions about the design of the instrument which resulted in Guild ceasing production.

1984: tour problems
In August, Queen flew out to Belgium to start The Works tour in that country. October saw them in Bophuthatswana, South Africa, and a series of gigs at the famous Sun City Superbowl. The gigs themselves were fraught with problems, as Freddie had serious voice complications resulting in cancellations. But the problems were mild compared to what the band returned to. Their visit caused much public outcry, although the band defended their actions, saying they were a non-political band and that they had gone out to play music for the people, and for no other reason.

1984: first full-length video
Queen's first-ever full-length video was released in September 1984. We Will Rock You was filmed during the band's 1981 Montreal concerts. During September, Queen had no fewer than nine albums in the UK Top 200.

1985: Rock In Rio
1985 was the year of 'Rock In Rio'. It was billed as the biggest rock festival to be held anywhere in the world, and Queen were headlining the event. (Remember that bit about 'not being a support act for long...'?) The whole festival was recorded for broadcast throughout South America, but Queen were the only band able to obtain the rights to release their performance on video. Live in Rio was released in May 1985.

1985: Spandau Ballet?
The band performed their first-ever concert in New Zealand on April 13th, 1985 in Auckland. The band were met outside their hotel on arrival by a group of chanting anti-apartheid demonstrators. Tony Hadley, singer with British band Spandau Ballet, flew over from Australia where his band was on tour to see the Queen show, and was honoured to be asked to join Queen on stage for their encore.

1985: Mr. Bad Guy
Freddie's first solo album, Mr. Bad Guy, was released on April 19th whilst the band was on tour in Australia. The gig in Melbourne had to be played with no lighting rig at all, as the whole computer system that controlled the lights had broken down. After an Australian tour peppered with problems - not least being the incessant rain - the band flew across to Japan. Their concert at the Tokyo Olympic swimming pool was filmed by NHK to be shown on network Japanese television.

1985: Live Aid
July 13th 1985, was a day that went down in history as the Live Aid Global Jukebox took the world by storm from London's vast Wembley Stadium and from Philadelphia in the USA. Queen were just one of a multitude of top bands who all performed a short, 20-minute set. The world was watching, and Queen were unanimously voted - by press and public alike - as the band that stole the show. That event was a turning point for Queen.

1985: One Vision
They had decided some time previously to take a break from each other, but that day brought them together with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. One Vision was the first release to come from that new inspiration.

1986: Highlander
Queen were approached by Russell Mulcahy to record the soundtrack to his first feature film - a fantasy tale about an immortal Scotsman - called Highlander. In an interview, Mulcahy stated that Queen had been the first band he had thought of for the score.

1986: A Kind Of Magic
In March 1986, John formed a new band, called The Immortals, to write and record some of the music for a forthcoming film called Biggles. They recorded just one track - No Turning Back - and the band folded. On June 2nd, Queen released their fourteenth album, the soundtrack to Highlander, entitled A Kind Of Magic. The album entered the UK chart at Number One and remained in the top five for thirteen consecutive weeks.

1986: Magic Tour
On June 7th, the Queen machine was in action again as the band embarked on their 'Magic Tour of Europe'. The first UK gig was Newcastle's St James Park football stadium. The band, and promoter Harvey Goldsmith, donated all the proceeds from that concert to the International Save The Children Fund. On July 11th, the 'Queen Tornado' - as Freddie had dubbed it - hit London and two sold-out shows at the vast Wembley Stadium. During the set, four enormous inflatables, modelled on the characters from the Kind of Magic album, were released from amongst the audience into the night. The following night's show was filmed by Tyne Tees Television, again directed by Gavin Taylor, to be shown on TV at a later date.

1986: Queen on the tele
When that concert was finally shown on television, it became the first-ever simulcast between Channel Four and the Independent Radio network in Britain. This feat has never since been repeated - possibly because, in order to achieve this, a satellite dish had to be delivered to every single independent radio station in the UK so that they could receive the sound by satellite whilst receiving the pictures by the normal land lines.

1986: the Budapest performance
On 27th July, Queen made history again (something of a habit with this band!) when they played the beautiful Nepstadion in Budapest, Hungary. It was the first time a major rock band had played a stadium date in the Eastern Bloc, and it was completely sold out well in advance. The concert was filmed by the Hungarian State Film Agency, MAFILM, in connection with Queen Films - they had to commandeer every 35mm camera in Hungary to film it!

1986: Knebworth
On August 9th, the band flew into Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire, in a specially repainted helicopter featuring the characters from the Kind of Magic album cover. It was the final date on the Magic Tour, and the biggest audience so far - estimated at well over 120,000 people. It caused one of the biggest traffic jams in history as everyone tried to arrive in plenty of time! Over one million people saw Queen on that European Magic Tour - in excess of 400,000 in the UK alone.

1986: CD releases
In November 1986, EMI Records released the entire Queen catalogue of albums on the Compact Disc format - the first time any band's complete collection had been made available simultaneously. In December, Queen's fifteenth album - and their second live album - was released. Entitled Live Magic, it entered the British chart at Number Three. On 13th December, the band's film Live In Budapest opened in Budapest at 9 a.m., and proceeded to play to nine sold-out houses in that one day. Seven completely full screenings were shown each day for a week.

1987: The Great Pretender
During 1986, in the UK alone, Queen sold a staggering 1,774,991 albums. On February 3rd, Freddie released a cover version of the great old Platters song, The Great Pretender. In the video to accompany the song, Freddie recreated many scenes from his own and Queen videos, and actor Peter Starker, Roger Taylor and Freddie all donned wigs, made up their faces, and became the female backing singers! It was an expensive video!

1987: the meeting
One of Freddie's all-time heroines was opera diva Montserrat Caballe, and in March 1987, he met with her in her home city of Barcelona. An astonishing partnership was forged with Montserrat agreed to record an album with Freddie. He penned a song about Barcelona for her, and the two began to write and record that album. Freddie and Montserrat appeared on stage together for the first time in May 1987 at the Ibiza '92 festival, held at the famous Ku Club on the holiday island. They performed Barcelona.

1987: the forming of The Cross
In August 1987, Roger advertised for, auditioned and chose musicians to form a new band, The Cross. He wanted a band he could write with and, more importantly, tour with during Queen's increasingly lengthy 'quiet' periods.

1987: Barcelona, the single
The single Barcelona was released in Spain in September 1987, and 10,000 copies were sold in just three hours. The Spanish Olympic Committee adopted the song as the theme for the Olympic Games being held in the city in 1992 - then decided against it, which caused much anger amongst the fans.

1987: The Magic Years
Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher are an Austrian director/producer team who followed Queen all over Europe during the Magic Tour, filming them on stage, back stage, resting, playing and generally 'touring'. They then searched the archives for footage of live shows, interviews or out-takes from videos. After that, they interviewed the band, their friends, their fans and other 'stars'. Finally, in November 1987, a trilogy of documentary-style videos was released, called The Magic Years. The trilogy received numerous awards, including the famous Silver Screen award in the USA (the biggest film and TV festival in the world) and the IMMC award at the Montreux Golden Rose TV festival. Also during 1987, Queen were presented with the prestigious Ivor Novello award for their 'Outstanding Contribution to British Music'.

1988: Shove It!
In January 1988, Queen went into the studios to start work on their next album. On January 25th, The Cross released their debut album called Shove It. The Cross also embarked on their first European tour, playing club and university dates throughout the UK, then clubs in Germany.

1988: solo releases
Freddie and Montserrat appeared together again on October 8th at the huge La Nit event staged in Barcelona, which was held to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic Flag from Seoul. Freddie and Montserrat closed the event, held in the presence of the King and Queen of Spain, with Barcelona, The Golden Boy and How Can I Go On - tracks taken from their forthcoming album.

1988: Barcelona, the album
Barcelona, the duet album from Freddie and Montserrat, was released on October 10th, 1988. The launch party was a typically extravagant affair held in the Crush Bar of the beautiful Covent Garden Opera House - a fitting venue!

1988: The Cross - live
On December 4th, The Cross played a one-off gig at London's Hammersmith Palais, at a party held exclusively for fan club members. Special guests on stage were Brian and John.

1989: The Miracle
Queen released their sixteenth album on May 22nd 1989, entitled The Miracle. It entered the UK chart at Number One and went on to become a massive worldwide success, reaching Number One in most European countries. To promote the release, the four members of the band gathered in a Radio One studio and allowed themselves to be interviewed by DJ Mike Reid - a scoop for him, as the band had not given a joint interview in many years.

1989: best of the 80's
As it was the end of a decade, there were numerous 'Best of the Eighties' style programmes on television, especially in the UK, and Queen were voted the 'Best Band of the Eighties' by the viewers of Independent Television and readers of its magazine TV Times. It was an accolade they were immensely pleased with, and they all appeared together on the show to collect it.

1989: Queen in the studios
In late November 1989, Queen were already back in studios working on the next album - they had felt so inspired by the huge success of The Miracle.

1990: awards
On February 18th, 1990, Queen were honoured yet again when they were recognised by the British Phonographic Industry (at last!), and presented with an award for their 'Outstanding Contribution to British Music'. They all collected the award, and went on to host a huge star-studded party at London's Groucho Club.

1990: The Cross' second album
The Cross released their second album on March 26th, called Mad: Bad: And Dangerous To Know, a title taken from a quote used to describe the eccentric Lord Byron! The Cross also undertook a short German tour.

1990: Macbeth
Brian, meanwhile, wrote and produced the haunting music for a version of Shakespeare's Macbeth, performed at London's Riverside Theatre.

1990: Hollywood Records
In November 1990, Queen signed a major new recording deal in North America with the Disney-financed Hollywood Records. Hollywood immediately began the task of pushing Queen back up the popularity ladder, and plans were laid to re-master and re-release the entire back catalogue on CD - up till then, the collection had not been available on CD in North America.

1990: live performances
On December 7th, The Cross played their only UK date for some time at London's Astoria Theatre, at yet another Queen fan club party. Brian joined them on stage for the encore.

1991: Innuendo as a single
On January 14th 1991, the band released the six-and-a-half-minute long epic Innuendo as a single. It was a massive success, giving the band their third UK Number One single and ensuring them the Number One slot throughout Europe. The album of the same name was released on February 4th, and crashed straight into the UK chart at Number One, hitting the high spot again throughout Europe - and it even charted top thirty in America.

1991: Blue Rock
In March 1991, The Cross went into studios to start work on their third album, and Brian flew out to Montreux in July to continue work on his long-awaited solo album. The Cross album was completed in July, and release was schedule for early September for a great third album, entitled Blue Rock. The album was only ever released in Germany, on Electrola records. Queen went into the studios in London to begin work on their next album in late April.

1991: the final video
On May 30th, 1991, Freddie filmed what was to become his final video for Queen - the haunting Days of Our Lives. A version featuring Disney animation was made for the USA.

1991: Seville Guitar Legends
Brian organised the Rock section of the Seville Guitar Legends festival, and amongst those chosen by Brian to perform their music were Nuno Bettencourt, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Joe Walsh - to name but a few. The concerts were performed live in October on the site of the Seville Expo '92 exhibition.

1991: the second Hits album
Greatest Hits Two was released in October 1991, a double album featuring 17 tracks. They also repeated their earlier success by releasing Greatest Flix II and Greatest Pix II - this time compiled by Richard Gray. A special box was also released called Box of Flix, featuring Flix One and Two plus four bonus tracks. Needless to say, both Hits II and Flix II were Number One!

1991: Freddie's farewell
On November 23rd, Freddie announced to the world that he had AIDS. Just the next day, his fight was over, and he died peacefully at his home surrounded by friends and family. The world was in shock. Freddie had kept his illness very private, and only those closest to him had been aware of just how close to the end he really was. Fans from all over the world sent flowers and cards, and many even travelled to London to be at Freddie's house. A quiet family cremation service was held three days after his death, conducted in the Zoroastrian faith that Freddie's parents followed so strictly.

1991: Driven By You
In April, Brian had been commissioned by a London advertising agency to write a piece of music for an advertising campaign for Ford cars. The resulting track, Driven by You, was so good (and proved so popular) that Brian released it as his first solo single on November 25th. It made the top ten in the UK charts.

1991: BoRhap, the sequel
As a tribute to Freddie, and to raise funds for the Terence Higgins Trust to continue the fight against AIDS - as Freddie's last wishes requested - Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are The Days of Our Lives was released as a double A-sided single. It entered the UK chart at Number One, where it remained for five weeks, raising over one million pounds for the AIDS charity.

1991: popular than ever
In December 1991, Queen had no fewer than 10 albums in the UK top 100.

1992: award for Freddie
In February 1992, the annual BritAwards recognised Freddie with a special posthumous award for 'Outstanding Contribution to British Music', and - out of three Queen nominations - Days Of Our Lives won the Best Single of 1991 award. At that awards ceremony, Roger and Brian announced plans for a massive open-air concert at London's Wembley Stadium to celebrate Freddie's life and give him a send-off to remember.

1992: ticket sales
The tickets went on sale the next day, with no announcement of who was going to play apart from Brian, Roger and John, and all 72,000 tickets sold out in just six hours.

1992: Tribute Concert
On Easter Monday, April 20th 1992, many of the world's top stars joined Roger, John and Brian on stage at Wembley Stadium to pay an emotional tribute to Freddie. The stadium was packed to capacity, and it was televised live to over one billion people.

1992: more awards
In April 1992, Queen were awarded an Ivor Novello award for Best Single with 'Days Of Our Lives', and Brian also won an award for Driven By You for Best TV Commercial Music.

1992: Back To The Light
September 1992 saw the release of the long-awaited Brian May solo album, called Back To The Light. The album went into the UK charts at number 6 and achieved double gold status.

1992: Brian's tour
The Brian May Band was then formed. Having warmed up in Chile, Argentina and Brazil in November 1992. The Brian May Band embarked upon a World Tour, beginning in the USA and Europe as special guests to Guns N'Roses. They then went on to headline their own sell-out tour of North America, Japan and Europe, finishing in Portugal in December 1993.

1992: Mercury Phoenix Trust
In the summer of 1992 The Mercury Phoenix Trust was founded to distribute the money raised by the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS awareness. It is a registered charity.

1992: the results
Funds generated in the U.S.A. through Fox Television's prime time broadcast of the concert and the re-release of Bohemian Rhapsody as a single (a sum in excess of $1 million) were distributed to AIDS charities all over the United States. In the UK over ? million was donated to The Terence Higgins Trust from the re-release of Bohemian Rhapsody. In addition another ?.2 million has been distributed to date to over 100 different established charities and body Positive self-help groups in the UK, the rest of Europe and Africa.

1992: a Tribute on video
Prior to Christmas 1992, a double video of the Freddie Tribute Concert was released, with all proceeds being donated to the Mercury Phoenix Trust.

1992: The Great Pretender
The Freddie Mercury Album was released in November 1992 with the first single In My Defence on 30 November 1992. This single was followed by 'The Great Pretender' in January 1993 and Living On My Own in Spring 1993. This latter single won a posthumous Ivor Novello Award as the 1993 International Hit of the Year.

1993: Five Live
1993 saw the release of the George Michael / Lisa Stansfield / Queen mini album Five Alive. This mini album and the single Somebody To Love were released worldwide in aid of the Trust. They reached the top ten in 31 countries worldwide and the single reached number one in the UK on 22nd April.

1993: Live At The Brixton Academy
In February 1994 EMI released 'The Brian May Band Live At Brixton Academy' on album and video, the first live recordings of the band.

1994: Happiness?
In September 1994, Roger Taylor released his solo album Happiness?. This was preceded by the May 3rd release of a single, Nazis 1994, which addresses the issue of Europe's increasing rise of Neo-Nazism. The second single Foreign Sands was released throughout Europe at the end of September 1994. Roger Taylor's band toured the UK and Italy in November 1994 - January 1995.

1995: Made In Heaven!
After four years in the making, November 6, 1995 saw the worldwide release of Made In Heaven, Queen's twentieth and final album. Begun in April 1991, the album was the last work to be recorded by the band with Freddie Mercury, recording continuing through to the last months of Freddie's life.

1995: the dedication
The album, much of the finishing work undertaken by John, Brian and Roger after Freddie's death, carries a dedication to the 'immortal spirit of Freddie Mercury', in recognition of his request that the material be completed and be heard by the public.

1995: the songs
The finality of the album is underlined in two particular tracks, A Winter's Tale, the last song written by Freddie, and Mother Love a Brian and Freddie song which features the last vocal track Freddie laid down.

1995: Montreux
Much of the recording on Made In Heaven was carried out at Queen's studio in Montreux, Switzerland, the town where Freddie was also living at the time. This landmark point in the history of Queen is immortalised in the album sleeve - a landscape view across the lake which Freddie's home overlooked.

1995: personal album
To many, Made In Heaven represents not only Queen's most personal album, but also the band's finest.

1995: BFI project
Always recognised for their innovative music videos, Queen wanted to look at an entirely new way of presenting the tracks of the album in a visual form. This was achieved by joining forces with the British Film Institute in a unique venture to produce a series of short films based around each of the album tracks using the talent of new young directors working with the BFI. The first of these was Evolution, a film made by director Simon Pummell inspired by Heaven For Everyone. As well as being seen on television, the film is expected to be seen also on cinema screens. Under the BFI project, a further six-eight films are anticipated to be made.

1995: 20CD set
The release of the album also provided a fitting occasion to reflect on the highlights and achievements of Queen's 25 years. A week after its release, November 13, comes the release of Ultimate Queen, a deluxe box set of 20 Queen albums presented in a wall mounted presentation case. Available as a limited edition, Ultimate Queen contains the complete studio work of the group with the classic live albums Live Killers, Live Magic and Live At Wembley. Individually numbered, each case presents the album collection on high quality litho printed picture CDs accompanied by an embossed 12-page colour booklet.

1995: Champions Of The World
As a companion to the box set, Queen also released the definitive video documentary, Champions of the World. In two hours of film and music, the video contains a wealth of material not previously available. More than simply re-telling the band's history, Champions of the World also provides a rare insight into the lives of John, Brian, Freddie and Roger.

1995: Queen Phenomenon
The release of the album is also celebrated on television with two Channel 4 specials on Queen: a new one-hour documentary, The Queen Phenomenon, to air on December 4 at 10pm, and Queen At Wembley, a live recording of one of the highlights of the group's 1986 Magic Tour, to be screened on December 6 at 11:00pm.

1995: the website
On November 6 Queen fans worldwide were able for the first time to communicate with each other and connect with the band with the launch of the Queen web site on the internet. Considered one of the most advanced sites available, it incorporates seven locations offering audio samples, video clips, stills artwork, communication and information centres, as well as a shopping mall. The site address is: http://www.queenonline.com/

1995: the statue
On November 8 sculptor Irena Sedlecka commenced work on the full size version of the statue of Freddie Mercury to be unveiled in 1996.

1995: more broadcastings
December will see Queen back on the airwaves in a major way with a two hour documentary radio series being produced by Unique Broadcasting for broadcast on Radio One FM during the month.

1996: radio series
This will be followed in January by an even more extensive radio series of five hours to be broadcast across the Independent Radio Network.

1996: Freddie in a museum
November will also see Freddie's image on display at the Museum of the Moving Image on London's Southbank with the installation of a holographic movie created from his likeness; in essence, a 3-D image on film.

1997: Queen Rocks
1997 saw the release of Queen's third compilation album Queen Rocks. It became a big succes in many countries and featured a new song written by Brian and recorded by Roger, Brian and John.

1998: Another World
Another World saw the release in 1998. Brian's long awaited solo album. This became the last album with Cozy Powell; he died after a car accident just after the recordings had been completed. While On My Way Up got released in Europe, the UK had Business as a single. Business featured a special Cozy mix and a small message by Brian for Cozy. In August Why Don't We Try Again got released as a single in the UK, Holland released Another World as a single in September.

1998: Electric Fire
Right after this release Roger released his forth solo album Electric Fire. Two singles were taken from the album: Pressure On and Surrender. The latter got released in 1999 and featured a special Radio Mix. A short UK tour followed after this release.

1999: Hits three
The end of 1999 saw the release of Greatest Hits III and Greatest Flix III of Queen. A new mix was included on the compilation: Under Pressure, the Rah Mix and a unique live performance with Elton John and the three remaining Queen members.

2000: Furia
Brian released his own soundtrack album in August 2000 for the French movie Furia. It got later released in the UK, Japan and all over Europe.

2000: th?box set
The Solo Collection, a 10 CD and 2 DVD box set got released in October 2000 of Freddie. The box featured the three solo albums, two discs with single tracks, three CD's with rarities such as demos, unreleased takes and instrumental tracks. An interview and instrumental CD was also included plus 2 DVD's featuring all of Freddie's video clips plus a new documentary. A single was released in Holland and Italy to promote the box set.

2001: .....
2001 will hopefully see the first Queen rarities box set and perhaps some other surprising things, such as a live performance of Brian and Roger (and maybe even John) somewhere on the globe...