By: Claudia Rivero
(Photos are from my visit to Mountain Studios in 2015)
It all started with Crazy Little Thing Called Love. I was hooked from the moment I heard that song, and it was right there and then that my obsession with QUEEN was born. I was about eight years old at the time, and I wanted to know everything about the band especially their lead singer, Freddie Mercury. He was so unique, so wild and his microphone was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.
Little did I know this incredible band had been around for years and already had amazing songs like Bohemian Rhapsody, Millionaire Waltz, Somebody to Love...talk about being late to the party.
It was my dad who introduced me to QUEEN by way of an 8 track of The Game, which I assume he purchased at a garage sale or a "boutique" as he used to refer to his Saturday and Sunday shopping excursions. I played Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Another One Bites the Dust over and over. I used to dance around the living room when no one was watching, and I even had my own Freddie-like microphone in the form of a duster or a broomstick. We were new to the United States, therefore, my English wasn't very good looking. I made up my own words which were nowhere close to the actual lyrics, and so you can imagine what my version of these songs sounded like.
I'm a little older now, ahem, and my love for QUEEN is stronger than ever. In 2015 I had the privilege of visiting Montreux, Switzerland, home of the Queen Studio Experience located in the original Mountain Studios. If you're not familiar with Mountain Studios all you need to know is that not only QUEEN recorded there, but so did David Bowie, AC/DC, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Duran Duran, B.B. King, Marvin Gaye and The Rolling Stones, just to name a few.
QUEEN owned the studio from 1979 to 1996 and recorded seven albums there, including Made in Heaven, their final with Freddie Mercury.
The studio, located inside the Casino Barriere de Montreux houses a plethora of memorabilia such as the band's costumes, some of Freddie Mercury's handwritten lyrics, and instruments owned by Roger Taylor, John Deacon, and Dr. Brian May.
The best part is the actual control room, which apparently looks the same as it did when QUEEN worked there except for the original Neve desk. A replica sits in its place, and fans are allowed to mix a couple of QUEEN's songs including Mother Love, Freddie's last recording before his death from AIDS-related complications in 1991.
If you love QUEEN as much as I do, then you must add a visit to Mountain Studios to your bucket list.
As a fan, I'm forever grateful to the surviving members of QUEEN: Dr. Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon for their generosity in making this place accessible to the public.
Happy 70th birthday Freddie Mercury! You are loved and missed, and you were right when you said: "I won't be a rock star, I will be a legend!"