Saturday, June 13, 2009

Queen: An Airbrushed Biography

Queen: An Illustrated Biography
by Judith Davis
Proteus Publishing, 1981
ISBN: 0906071917

What a dated cover illustration this is, eh? It’s style resembles something that is straight out of the ’70s. But it was 1981 and I bought it as soon as I saw it at the bookstore.

Davis’ book was one of the first biographies of the band that I can remember, and I’m glad I picked it up almost 30 years ago. In hindsight, there was nothing that exciting contained in the book since it merely chronicles the band’s career. (The real gossipy stuff would have to wait another seven or eight years.)

What I like about this book is that the cover is so different in its depiction of the band than later branding would embody. Any proscribed sense of royalty, majesty, or even high decoration is absent and instead we’re presented with a ho-hum air-brushed illustration of the band that was probably painted by an in-house illustrator at Proteus who managed to knock it off in a couple of hours.

But that's okay, it’s still a neat image. I wonder if the artist kept the original all these years or did it end up in a garage sale like so many other urban myths. Imagine what a collector’s item it would be if all the band members had signed the original.

Postscript — August 5, 2012

I received an email from a fan in Croatia looking for more information on this book as she is interested in purchasing a used copy. Although it has eluded me in the past, it turns out that there are at least two significant errors in this book. One is shown here on page 85:

And the other is in the discography where the Jazz album is missing altogether. Apparently, Queen released News of the World in 1977, took a year off, and released Live Killers in 1979.

What’s up with the Jazz confusion in this book, Judith?

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