Monday, September 05, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 9/5/16 - Queen's "I Want It All"...


"I Want It All" - Queen
from the album The Miracle (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #50

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the British rock group Queen, who had continued to have moderate success in the States in the early 80s with hits like "Radio GaGa". However while their popularity internationally was at a career high, their kind of old-school rock had lost ground at mainstream radio in America; the title track to their 1986 album A Kind Of Magic, which went all the way to #3 in the UK, missed the American Top-40 altogether at #42. In the three years between that and their next record, The Miracle, lead singer Freddie Mercury had been diagnosed with AIDS, however that information was not public, though his appearance had raised some concerns. The first single from the record was the balls-to-the-wall rock bombast of "I Want It All", written by guitarist Brian May and co-produced with David Richards built around May's powerful guitar crunch and the quartet's anthemic harmonies on the repetitive chorus. But in the video, you can see now how Freddie's outfit was wearing big on him...


While "I Want It All" was a decent hit on rock radio in the U.S., spending two weeks at #3 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, the single stalled at the halfway mark on the pop Hot 100 in June of 1989. Internationally, the record was again a huge success, reaching the top ten in the Netherlands (#2), Ireland (#3), their native Britain (#3), New Zealand (#3), Italy (#4), Norway (#4), Switzerland (#8), Germany (#9), Belgium (#10), and Australia (#10). It did manage to hit top-40 in Canada at #34. While in England the band would have a total of five top-40 hits from The Miracle, with "Breakthru" reaching #7, they wouldn't touch the American pop or rock lists with the set.

By the time they recorded their first album for their new label Hollywood Records, Innuendo, Mercury's health had severely deteriorated, leaving them barely finishing the studio work, let alone trying to tour behind the set. Lead track "Headlong" went to #3 on the rock chart in the US for a week and returned them to the top of the British chart for the first time since "Under Pressure" a decade prior. However, by the end of the year, Freddie would be gone. While the band continued, with different "fill-in" vocalists like Bad Company's Paul Rodgers and American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert, it seemed like a closure when the band's original "Bohemian Rhapsody", a top-10 hit in 1975, would bring them back to the American top-10 in the year after his death.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's the remainder of Queen (along with South African vocal group Thandiswa Mazwai) performing "I Want It All" along with "I Want To Break Free" and "Radio GaGa" in South Africa for an AIDS benefit in 2003...


While they weren't able to bring the song to a concert setting with Freddie, here they are with Paul Rodgers in 2005...


...and finally, again with Adam Lambert in 2015...


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