Queen Returns to Rock USA

Some of rock's greatest anthems are to be heard performed live again across America after more than 20 years, as rock legends Queen, now joined forces with Paul Rodgers, singer and songwriter of Bad Company/Free fame, announce they are to play a 23-date tour of the USA and Canada this coming Spring.

The tour announcement comes only a matter of weeks after Queen and Rodgers ignited sold-out box office and strong media attention with two sold-out performances at The Meadowlands, NJ, and the Hollywood Bowl on a stop-off along the way to their recent sold out Japanese tour.

Away from the North America concert circuit for more than two decades -- an enforced retirement brought on by the tragic loss of lead singer Freddie Mercury, Queen with Rodgers will launch into their coast-to-coast tour Friday, March 3 in Miami, Fl at the American Airlines Arena.

Spending six weeks on US soil, the band will closely re-route its triumphant '82 North American tour, bringing it back to the Queen-heartlands: Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Portland, among other US cities, plus Canadian stops in Toronto and Vancouver, where the tour winds up on April 13, 2006.

The announcement of this full-time return to touring in the USA by Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, with Rodgers now as vocalist, coincides with the 30th anniversary celebrations of the band's history-making single "Bohemian Rhapsody" and its definitive 70's album, "A Night At The Opera."

"A Night At The Opera" was the album which provided Queen with its breakthrough in the USA, where it reached No. 1 and remained on the charts for 52 weeks, giving them their first gold record in the States.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" continues to be rediscovered by new generations; the hit movie "Wayne's World" made it a hit all over again in 1992, and for the current generation, the song has become reality TV's most often selected song among aspiring rock performers.

While Queen was already touring the USA regularly, having made their first appearance before a stateside audience on April 16th, 1974 in Denver, performing their one and only tour support (for Mott The Hoople), this, the band's fourth album, propelled them into the super-band status. From here until the final tour of 1982, Queen performed more often in the USA than any other country in the world; in the following two years, Queen would spend more than seven months alone playing American dates.

The early '80s saw Queen at their zenith in the USA; firstly the band's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" hit the No. 1 spot, then "The Game" album spent five weeks at No. 1 on the album chart between September-October 1980, and the single from it "Another One Bites The Dust" topped the singles chart in October, staying there for three weeks, even, unexpectedly, reaching No. 2 on the R & B chart. It subsequently won the Favourite Single in the Rock/Pop category at the American Music Awards the following January. The band's great rock anthems, "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" continue to echo across sports stadiums throughout America as the perennial favorites at any major season events.

As of this past June, according to the RIAA, Queen had sold more than 31.5 million albums in the United States, ranking them the 50th biggest selling artist in the States. The band's catalogue continues to be much in demand; Queen is consistently among the Top 10 download artists at iTunes.

Foo Fighter's Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins inducted Queen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Two years later, in June 2003, the band was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Paul Rodgers likewise has enjoyed a phenomenal career worldwide. Rodgers first exploded onto the music scene with mega hit "All Right Now, " co-written by Rodgers then in Free. The song became a #1 hit in 20 territories and in the '90s ASCAP recognized "All Right Now" for passing one million radio plays in the U.S. The members of Queen have long cited Free's "Fire and Water" album as "one of our bibles when we were starting off."

In 1973 Rodgers formed Bad Company with guitarist Mick Ralphs. They wrote, produced and recorded six multi-platinum albums in five years, including such global hits as "Feel Like Makin' Love, " "Can't Get Enough, " "Rock & Roll Fantasy, " "Shooting Star" and "Bad Company." Point of interest, Rodgers also played guitar and piano on several of these recordings. In the U.S., "10 From 6" still generates sales of 1, 000, 000 copies annually -- 20 years after its release.

Since the '90s, as a solo artist, Paul has been honored with a Grammy nomination for his "Muddy Water Blues" album, and worked with Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh and most recently, with Aretha Franklin, The Temptations and The Four Tops on the The Tops' TV/DVD special "From the Heart" which celebrated their 50th anniversary.

The collaboration between Queen and Rodgers was cemented when May, Taylor and Rodgers performed in public together for the first time last fall, bringing the house to its feet at the first annual UK Music Hall of Fame Awards in London when on accepting their induction, Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor with Rodgers served up blistering versions of "We Will Rock You, " "We Are The Champions" and Rodgers' "All Right Now."

"There was a natural chemistry between us when we performed together in London. Brian and Roger brought a new dimension to my songs, " said Rodgers. "The idea took hold for us to do something together after that, and the momentum has taken on a life of its own."

The momentum took the shape of a 32-date European tour this past spring which saw Queen + Paul Rodgers visit over a dozen countries in 12 weeks, culminating in huge outdoor summer concerts in Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands and a return to London's Hyde Park playing to a crowd of over 65, 000.

A major Japanese tour was then scheduled for early fall, and along the way, two stopover concerts in the USA. The Meadowlands, NJ, and LA's Hollywood Bowl revived the same kind of audience worship scenes first experienced by Queen circa '80s; unquestionable validation that this many years on, and albeit with a different front man, the power of Queen's music and musicianship remains undiminished in the passage of time.

"It was more than enough, " say May and Taylor, "to persuade us that it was the right time to return for a lengthier period of dates. And it is going to be great to be back in some of our favourite cities."

For the Spring 2006 tour dates Brian May (guitar & vocals), Roger Taylor (drums & vocals) and Paul Rodgers (vocals, guitar & piano) are joined by Danny Miranda, ex Blue Oyster Cult on bass, Jamie Moses, former Brian May band member on second guitar, and Spike Edney, long-time Queen sideman on keyboards. (Queen bassist John Deacon has retired from touring.)

Anyone seeking a taste of what to expect from seeing Queen perform with Paul Rodgers can check out the two-CD live set Return of the Champions, and the companion piece DVD filmed during the European tour, both released by Hollywood Records.

Also shortly available, Hollywood Records commemorates the 30th anniversary of "Bohemian Rhapsody, " which was first released in the USA December 7, 1975 with a special anniversary DVD and CD of the band's classic album, A Night At The Opera.

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