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Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Queen Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 22, 2011
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“Mark Blake clearly knows the British-rock-supergroup terrain.”
“If you're a Queen fan, don't hesitate to pick this one up…[and] if you have even a passing interest in the story you should give this a shot. You really won't be disappointed.”
“The most comprehensive bio to date about the over-the-top rockers…Blake's book effectively illuminates the band's story and music for both the casual fan and diehards.”
“A happy medium between fact and anecdote. Real Life rounds out the band’s history with plenty of ripe minutiae and lost details…[A] colorful account.”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
It seems clear from reading the book and the acknowledgments that the author gathered a ton of quotes from interviews and other sources over the years and used that to write the book. Unfortunately, he didn't go much beyond the quotes to find any detail and will toss off things that should be explored but aren't. The result is a choppy novel with virtually no narrative or details. Let me give you some examples. He mentions that John and Roger were going through extreme emotional problems during The Miracle and then says nothing about what those problems were. Other lines tossed off - Roger being arrested, Freddie's friendships with Elton John and Rod Stewart and how they all gave themselves female names, and John running the business side of the group. The author also tosses out general statements about how tough Queen was to work with and how they would sit in on record company marketing meetings but that's it. There are no statements or stories to follow up and tell you what went on in the meetings or what they did to get that reputation. Brian's "Star Fleet" record is described by merely using the liner notes! How about checking with the others on the record to give us some detail? Or interviewing Brian about it? Nope, that would involve work and since there aren't many existing quotes about it, it gets pushed aside like so much about Queen. There are some new interviews with Freddie's classmates and Billy Squier, but they don't add much.
The only thing he does seem to want to provide detail about is Freddie's sexuality and way too much of the book is concerned with when people knew that Freddie was gay.Read more ›
That said, there are anecdotes and band history that I had never read before. I guess as a Queen fan, I still want to read more about their musical virtuosity though. When you view the concert DVDs you see the great chemistry they had, so I think more upbeat anecdotes would have made this a better read. Some of it is clearly cobbled together from interviews on their DVDs. Seemed thrown together. Wait for it in paperback.
All in all I think it was worth it. I would say its better for someone who is not very familiar with what went on behind the scenes of one of the greatest bands of all time.
As a side note I don't really like the cover artwork but thats just me.
The problem is that Queen's music gets lost in the biographical mess. You don't get enough details about important works in the 70's, and Mark Blake wants to tell the story without talking too much about arrangements, notes and solos. Maybe it's not fair to criticize him too much, but what I really wanted was more talking about the songs, with less attention to girlfriends, boyfriends, mayhem and death.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this book as it told the story of the 4 Queen boys since the were young and starting out in their own local bands. Read morePublished on September 21, 2014 by Freddie46
This book is very thorough about the life of Queen. I enjoyed it.Published on August 26, 2014 by Julie Stickley
I just finished reading this for the second time. Easy to read, well written, full of lots of details about the experiences of May, Mercury (Bulsara), Deacon, Taylor, on their way... Read morePublished on April 25, 2014 by Betty Wiley
Having grown up listening to a lot of Queen in The Netherlands, I was looking forward to a 'behind-the-scenes biography about them. Read morePublished on February 14, 2014 by Adventuresmom
Queen is one of my favorite bands and this books fills in a lot of history. If you're a Queen fan you'll love it.Published on November 15, 2013 by Norman Levenstein
It gives great background on the guys who became Queen. Makes the members real people. I am very glad I bought it.Published on October 5, 2013 by madamekelly
If you are a Queen fan, music collector or you just need a good book to read for the summer, pick this one up. It is interesting and at times outrageous. Read morePublished on July 2, 2013 by Paul
I've never read anything on the life of the members of queen before. It was a good read when I was laid up after an accident. I really couldn't put this book down. Read morePublished on May 17, 2013 by Debbie McCullough