In 1992 Queen lost its front man and arguably one the most talented artist of the 20th century. It has been 20 plus years since then and Queen is still unsurprisingly popular around the world (If not in US). Their popularity crosses musical genre, age and culture. Formed in 1970, Queen remains one of the most unique, diverse and eclectic musical band of all time. Their talent and their work has outlived their critics and cynics. I don’t read or write music nor do I compose songs but I do know it for a fact that if Queen were a startup they would be have been a damn successfully startup and for many reasons.
The band knew exactly the kind of music they wanted to create and play. Their vision was as unique as their sound. At that time nobody composed or played music like them. The whole layered sound of their songs still remains unique and melodic. Strong vision and focus were basis of their future success. Though their music changed almost in every record their vision for their music remained the same.
Queen name itself is ambitious given the negative contortion associated with it. Risk seeking/taking nature of the band made them highly unpopular among critics but they thrived on word of mouth publicity and garnered loyal fan following. Band once claimed “We’re the Cecil B. DeMille of rock and roll, always wanting to do things bigger and better”.
Band was able to carve out a distinct sound at a time when Led Zeppelin, The Who, Stones and Beatles were still critics and media favorites. This I feel was hallmark of their originality. Its like creating a more popular, fast, accurate, intuitive and better search engine than Google today.
Our musical taste change as we grow, as we get wiser and as we experience new things in life. Adaptability is a key for longevity. One cannot rely on past laurels. The band knew this better than anyone. Starting with progressive heavy metal, the band changed gears many times. Stadium rock, heavy rock n roll, punk, pop, jazz, funk, disco, ballads and even gospel. These were the few genres they experimented during the course of their career. By not getting stuck with an era or a particular decade they were able to progress, evolve and change with time and taste.
Every member brought a unique skill to the band. Though each member was a polyglot they had their core strengths. Their skills blended well with each other. Part of their unique sound was to be attributed to their diverse backgrounds. Diverse personality heavily favored their unique sound.
They lived and literally died with music by their bedside, their true love and friend. “Passion” is probably the most overused and cliched word of our time. But I feel it is simple to understand and experience. If not in oneself then through the eyes of the people you look up for advice and for inspiration. This video explains it far better than I do http://goo.gl/my1Vs.
They remain the only band in the history of popular music in which every member wrote a Hit single. They were truly a democratic band with no one leader. Voice of the band was always more important than any one individual. A team effort. A band in a true sense.
If you don’t have fun with what you do then what’s the point? Queen were never a serious band they weren’t like bob dylan, John lennon or Pink Floyd. Fun for them was entertaining their fans and in that process having fun themselves. This behaviour was often criticized by elites, intellectuals who I feel misunderstood the band completely.
One can draw parallels between concrete/abstract concepts or actual physical objects in many ways. Everyone has a unique way to compare and contrast concepts and ideas and I think its a very important tool set to have. I find studying career of Queen very similar to studying a startup or an actual company at its founding stage. Above are few common points I feel can apply to a successful startup.
Finally it comes to the fact that it’s (startup or band) a creative gathering where goal is to create something out of nothing that touches lives of many people. A creation that will outlast their own individual lives.