If I contributed anything of value to my children’s gene pool, I know it is a profound love of music (also a deep appreciation for chip trucks). It was this shared love that led my daughter and I to a matinee of the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody about Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen.
To say the film rocked our music-loving souls does not do it justice. Sharing with my teenage daughter the music of a band that shaped the playlist of my youth and seeing her experience it with the same adoration of Queen and Mercury’s operatic showmanship was worth the price of admission.
Basically, this movie validated for me that all those car trips of her childhood, where she and her little brother were my captive audience, both safely buckled in their seats listening to whatever music I put on the stereo, provided a solid, formative musical foundation.
In between Raffi and The Wiggles were Queen’s greatest hits, and a slew of other awesome bands to ensure a well-rounded education. I taught them to shake their heads to Bohemian Rhapsody and chant We Will Rock You before they could use a potty. And who wouldn’t want to wave their tiny hands in the air to We Are The Champions and clap along to Radio GaGa? When we needed to smile we rounded out with Crazy Little Thing Called Love. They grow up so fast.
There, in the darkness of that movie theatre, I was moved to see my daughter sing along to every song in the movie soundtrack. And like me, when the inevitability of Freddie’s death played out in song, she did so with tears streaming down her cheeks. We looked at each other, laughed, and cried some more. Kindred spirits, indeed.
Watching her appreciate the magnitude of the Queen performance at Live Aid was heartwarming because it brought back my memory of watching that event in my parents’ living room in 1985. It was an epic global event like nothing my generation had ever experienced. It was an awakening of the human connection through music that transcended culture, language and ethnicity with the power to bring people together from every corner of the world.
I remember watching Queen’s performance. I also remember the day Freddie Mercury died and how his death was so much more than just the loss of a musical legend. It was a time of fear as AIDS was killing people fast and the stigma around the disease was as horrific as the disease itself. That too has changed. We are smarter, better, kinder. Well, most of us are.
It’s amazing how you can look back at a specific time in history with the lens of today and realize just how much things have changed and how much better this generation is for it.
It’s hard for my daughter to believe that Freddie Mercury ever had to hide his sexuality, even had to be ashamed of it. But in 1985, I assured her there were no groups in my high school for the LGBTQ community. It wouldn’t even be an option. Change is good.
Freddie would have loved our car karaoke all the way home. Talk about a mother-daughter moment. Two bohemians. Harmony in heart and spirit, and maybe a little off key. Worth it.