Daniel Nester author of God Save My Queen
God Save My Queen: A Tribute by Daniel Nester is a piece of writing that draws from a very unliterary source: the British rock band Queen.
World famous in the 1970s for such songs as "We Will Rock You," "We Are The Champions," "Another One Bites The Dust," and the mock-opera epic "Bohemian Rhapsody," the band ended its run in 1991 with the death of its flamboyant lead singer, Freddie Mercury, from AIDS. Though critically reviled, Queen's music rests in our public consciousness--in sports stadiums, TV commercials, and Wayne's World.
But it is a source of a deeper and more personal obsession for the author, poet and journalist Daniel Nester. In God Save My Queen, a short essay, or riff, accompanies, in order of album and track, every song recorded by the band, in chronological order, until its flopped "disco" album, 1982's Hot Space. Not quite memoir, neither prose poetry nor rock book, Nester takes up the space between genres, when a fan's life and object of obsession collide.
All along, we learn about both the band and author through trivia, lyrics, sexual awakenings, close readings of solo albums, and scholarly, footnoted thoughts. It's an essay that pretty much posits Queen as the Rosetta Stone of all knowledge, drawing connections to everyone from Liza Minelli, Leni Riefenstahl, Singin' In The Rain, Marlene Dietrich, Billie Jean King, Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury sharing an imagined kiss in 1981, even a rant on Courtney Love's giggling over Kurt Cobain's mention of Freddie Mercury in his suicide note, which she read over PA speakers to the world in 1994.
This may sound ironic or postmodern. And it is. But it's also a reflection of the loss of heroes, trans-Atlantic love, and how pop culture can lead to very real, poetic moments. The entries for the songs in God Save My Queen add up to a love letter to a band, and a time when all that mattered was a record player and a pair of headphones.
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