Tag Archives: Freddie Mercury

Giorgio Moroder in the Studio!

I’m officially excited.

Granted, I was late in listening, but I took some time to check out Dean Delray’s podcast “Let There Be Talk” this morning.

While I would LOVE to make a general commentary about the podcast in general, I’m going to save that for a later, yet-to-be-determined date. Instead, let’s talk about the final two minutes of the podcast. More specifically, there was news that Giorgio Moroder is coming into the studio to work with Duran Duran for a portion of the next album.

I can’t even begin to explain how thrilled I was to hear this bullet point regarding the new album! Just hearing John speak his name in reference to being in the studio with him nearly blew my mind. I thought for sure this was going to be “just one of those things” that doesn’t end up happening.

So, who is Giorgio Moroder? Known as one of the founders of disco, Moroder is not only a producer, but a songwriter, performer and DJ. While he’s perhaps best known for his work in the disco and electronic dance music genre, it would be a mistake to pigeonhole his career in that way. He has worked with everyone from Donna Summer to Daft Punk, scored films such as Scarface, and written specific tracks like “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun. His career is comprehensive. As I said earlier on Twitter, with all of the seriousness in the world, “Mark Ronson cut his teeth on Moroder’s albums.”

Let’s look at a few songs over the course of his career, just to get a taste!

Disco

First up is Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”. If you can’t hear what is to later become new wave music in the first 30 seconds, you should stop the video, go back, and listen again. You’ll hear Nick Rhodes whispering to you.

Okay, maybe not really Nick Rhodes, but the influence is right there…makes my hair stand up on end, and I don’t mean like an astronaut, either.

The 80s

Next is “Call Me” by Blondie. Released in 1980, it was the main song from “American Gigolo”, co-written by Blondie and Giorgio Moroder.

Moroder’s influence touches even the great David Bowie, as evidenced by “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)”, 1981. This is just the audio track, but worth the listen for sure.

My daughter would have my head if I didn’t include “Flashdance”. Giorgio is credited as the music writer for the iconic song, lyrics and performance by Irene Cara.

Did you know he wrote “Danger Zone”? I didn’t!

My youngest (a huge Freddie Mercury/Queen fan) would be thrilled to know I’m using one of her favorites in today’s blog because it was co-written by Giorgio Moroder in 1984. While the song is probably on the other side of “different”…it’s also the reason I like it.

The 90s

Moroder has worked with everyone, including Elton John, producing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” on the 1993 Duets album. Still true to the original written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, it’s amped up for 1993, courtesy of Moroder and Ru Paul, who sings with Elton. The video is cute, too.

And beyond

I know I’ve shown you a lot from earlier in his career, so how about a few more recent offerings? In 2013, he collaborated with Daft Punk, performing a spoken-word monologue “Giorgio by Moroder”, for their album Random Access Memories. I ADORE this piece. The music is perfect, and to hear Giorgio speak of his own history – it’s superb.

In 2015, Giorgio released his own album, Deja Vu, collaborating (such a buzzword of the 2000’s, don’t you think?) with a variety of artists such as Sia, Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Charli XCX and others. Here’s the title track with Sia. I chose this one because he’s in the video. Maybe you’ll recognize him.

That is quite a bit of video watching and listening for one day! Maybe not “just a few”, but well worth the time. As you’re listening, the signature “Moroder” sound is there throughout, but each song stands up on its own. Giorgio has evolved over the years without losing the qualities that make his music unique. Duran Duran has done the same, evolving, without reinventing the wheel. It’s exciting to know that these two juggernauts—Duran Duran and Giorgio Moroder—will finally share studio space. I can’t wait to hear the results!

-R

John Taylor in the November 2018 Katy Kafe

I know that this blog post is late, both in terms of time and in terms of date.  Today has been the dreaded Sunday, the day of the week before I go back to work.  While I had a tremendously wonderful Thanksgiving, I opted not to do much around the house.  This, of course, is great for awhile but now…I’m trying to do 85 things at once.  I really hoped to be all caught up by the time I returned to work but…I don’t think that will happen.  I figured I would squeeze in some time to listen to this month’s Kafe (days late) and blog about my reaction.  Funny thing is that when I went to go listen to it, I discovered that I needed to renew my membership.  I did without question, which is good because there is nothing better than listening to a Katy Kafe yourself.  I definitely recommend it for this one, too, as I’m just covering some highlights and my thoughts.

This particular kafe focuses on Queen, both the band and the movie. John begins by talking about how much he loved the movie and thought it was a wonderful tribute.  (I saw it on Friday and totally agree.)  John had been lucky enough to have been friendly with Freddie Mercury and seeing the movie reminded him of the person Freddie was and those times.  I love that John shared a fun Duran fact.  Apparently, on the day Duran signed to EMI, the record label took the band to Wembly to see Queen play.  (I love stories like that.)  He goes on to say that while he does not list Queen as an influence, he knows that he wouldn’t be where he is now without them and that he always think about their live performances when playing large stadiums or festivals.

From there, Katy asked John various questions that fans submitted.  As I stated previously, I’m definitely not going to list every question and answer.  I’m just writing about the ones that hit me.  The first one focused on a photo of John and Freddie that has been floating around the internet.  Apparently, they went to the same musical and later partied together at the after party.  (I’m sure that would have been interesting to be at!)  Speaking of, I thought it was interesting that he and Nick called themselves fans of Queen and saw them when they came to Birmingham.  That said, by the time Duran came onto the scene, they weren’t considered as cool, according to John.  I am sure that there are many bands in my life that I might describe in the exact same way.

Queen did a musical called, “We Will Rock You.”  Duran would be interested in doing something like that but John thinks that it would be really difficult to get it right.  As a fan, I would love it but I think John’s point is valid.  It isn’t easy but if anyone could do it right, I think it might be Duran!  Go-Gos just did one!  Who knew?!

As far as songs goes, if John had to pick one Queen one, he would go with Bohemian Rhapsody.  As far as covers go, he could hear Queen performing Ordinary World and do it well.  Duran could play Radio Ga Ga, especially in a live show.  Hmm…

Of course, the question was asked about who could play John Taylor if there was a movie about Duran.  His answer won’t surprise anyone I don’t think  by saying no one he could think so.  He thinks it matters if they get the rest of the band right in order to get him right, which makes sense.  John quickly moved on to talk about the scenes in the movie with the band,  their dynamics and how much he loved them.  I felt the exact same way as they reminded me of all to the scenes I have watched over the years with Duran from Sing Blue Silver to Live from London and more.  Band dynamics are so interesting to me.

The final question asked was about Live Aid.  John was saddened when in the movie there is a listing of all the bands who were going to be playing and Duran wasn’t listed but REO Speedwagon was.  (Again, I have to agree.)  I do wonder why the movie didn’t mention Duran since they were so popular at that time.  Anyway, a part of John wished that they had played in London but loved the experience they had in Philadelphia.

John summarizes the movie by saying it is about “Freddie’s uniqueness” and the specialness of bands.  It reminds people that even with the greatness of Freddie, he still needed the band and vice versa.  I pointed out the exact same thing after having watched the film.  This led John to talk about how we are no longer living in an era of “the band” as technology fills in so much for artists now and Queen represents the golden era of “the band.”

The end of the kafe reveals one giant scoop on the Duran front which is that John is heading back to London next week to join the band in the studio!  This makes me even more excited for the next kafe which will feature all band members!  Who knows what we can learn then!

-A

A Night at the Movies with Bohemian Rhapsody

Since she barely began talking, my youngest has been singing. If she didn’t know the words, she would make up her own, or hum her way through the song. It (music) comes so naturally to her that she knows no other way. I don’t know when it became a “thing” for her to sing along with the radio, but she has been belting “Bohemian Rhapsody” since she was a tiny little thing in her car seat.

From “Bohemian Rhapsody”, to “Radio Ga-ga”, “We Are the Champions”, “We Will Rock You”, and plenty of the rest of the Queen catalog – she sings it all. The music and words just seem to resonate with her. I didn’t think much of it until we heard that there would be a movie based on the career of Freddie Mercury and Queen. My husband and I agreed that we’d take her to see it. We didn’t know if the story would be over her head, but we knew she’d love the soundtrack!

Both Walt and I are fans of Queen – we have their albums and love their music. Neither of us saw them in concert when Freddie was alive, though. We did go to see We Will Rock You in London while we were visiting, and even got to see both Roger Taylor (no, not OUR Roger Taylor…) and Brian May on stage for the curtain call.  We were thrilled the movie was being released and couldn’t wait to go.

The movie opened this past week, and on Sunday night, we went to see it. I tend to talk about my daughter as though she is still five, but the fact is—she’s emotionally mature for a ten-year old. She is very sensitive to other people (as if all of the empathy missing from the rest of us was packed into her little body!), and I find that she even explains things to me. There is this saying about how having a child means you’re OK with your heart being outside of your own body and walking around forever. Well, this heart of hers is FAR bigger than anything I could have grown on my own.

Freddie’s story of learning how to really love the person he was, and embracing his own bravado and talent really touched her. She openly sobbed as the story of “Bohemian Rhapsody” came to light, and talked a lot with me about his struggle of learning to love himself even when he knew he was different from what his parents expected. She was completely devastated at the end of the movie as she realized just how short Freddie Mercury’s life really was, and what the AIDS epidemic meant during the 1980s. The movie is one that I suspect will stay with her forever. I would have never thought so much of the movie would reach her so deeply. After all, she’s only ten, right?

I think back to being ten myself. Although my memory is fuzzy – I was around that same age when I first heard Duran Duran. It is fair to say they not only resonated—they helped form me into the person I am. Many fans feel that way about their own experience with them, too. I don’t believe I was ever the deep thinker that my youngest is. In spite of my own lack of emotional maturity at the time, Duran Duran worked their way into my head and heart, just as Queen has done with her. It is one of those parenting moments I treasure witnessing.

As I sat watching Bohemian Rhapsody in the theater, I thought about Duran Duran. It was impossible not to, really. Today I’ve seen so many people posting about Bohemian Rhapsody, and following up by saying they want their Duran Duran movie next – I just have to wonder what that might look like. I don’t think their story is over just yet.

Duran Duran continues to inspire me in a way few other things ever have. A good example is the video for “The Edge of America”. Who knew that thirty years after its release there would be a video made that even Rolling Stone and Billboard would comment on?

I think the best is yet to come.

-R