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Queen + Adam Lambert – Are Bands Still the Same With New Members?

Brad Barket – Getty Images

There have been plenty of times in music history where bands have replaced members. Some high profile examples are the Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins swap with Genesis and the David Lee Roth/Sammy Hagar swap with Van Halen.

But those were, arguably, still when the bands were making their names and before they were huge stars.

But what about when a superstar band replaces one of their most prominent members?

Journey jettisoned their signature signer when Steve Perry and the band split in the late 90’s. But Journey has actually done pretty well as a touring act since then, with their new lead singer Arnel Pineda doing a pretty darn good Steve Perry impersonation.

If you haven’t guessed by now, the point of this is debating the addition of Adam Lambert to Queen.

Queen, fronted by the incomparable Freddie Mercury, were one of the biggest bands in the world during their glory years in the late 70s and 80s. When Freddie died of AIDS-related complications in 1991, most figured that, with him, the band Queen died as well.

Bassist John Deacon officially retired from music shortly after, leaving only two original members – guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor.

They’ve done a few one-off performances with high profile singers for benefit concerts and festivals (one of my very favorite performances was with British singer Tom Chaplin in 2010). They also took Paul Rodgers on a number of performances, but that played to mixed reviews at best.

After first playing with Brian May and Roger Taylor during the American Idol finale, it seemed like Adam Lambert had some chemistry with the surviving members of the band.

About a year ago, rumors started to swirl that Adam would be officially joining Brian and Roger for a full tour, but those rumors were quickly shot down by Adam himself.

Flash forward about a year, and the rumor became reality. Adam will officially be going on tour with Brian and Roger this summer. If you needed an indication of whether the public will buy into the “Queen + Adam Lambert” idea, the Madison Square Garden show sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Going back to the original question – can you still call the band “Queen” without, literally, the most vocal member of the band? I have to say yes, it’s fair game. Brian May and Roger Taylor have families to feed and they’re career musicians. Would you expect them to retire because two of their original bandmates are no longer a part of the group?

As far as “replacing Freddie” is concerned. Let’s be honest about one thing:

Nobody will ever replace Freddie Mercury.

Not vocally, not personality wise, and not his place in the band. But if a talented singer can bring Freddie, Brian, Roger, and John’s music to a new generation of fans, I say go for it.

So what do you think? Are you all for the “Queen + Adam Lambert” tour, or do you think that it’s disrespectful for someone else to sing Freddie’s songs? Comment below and let us know what you think!

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