From Classic Rock: Why Adam Lambert is the perfect man for Queen

It is so great to read every time when an unbiased blogger defends Queen’s choice of Adam Lambert as their singer. I’m breaking standards here and posting this article in its entirety. The blog requires a sign-in and some may prefer not to do that. The link for the blog is included at the end, for all who want to read the comments that follow.

Queen leather & sunglasses
Photo courtesy of

I went to some of the Queen forums looking to see what the fans are saying about Adam, mentioned in the second paragraph below. Don’t get excited. I didn’t find anything really negative. Just comments from people who love QUEEN, QUEEN, QUEEN! More power to them. If someone had to replace Adam, Glamberts would be just as critical, saying it’s only an imitation. Yes, while there’s only one Freddie, there’s also only one Adam. And that’s that!

Love ya!

~ Carol ~

What’s with all the hostility? Queen and Adam Lambert are made for each other

27/06/2014 ~ by Stephen Graves

Queen are back on the road, with American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert stepping into Freddie Mercury’s stiletto heels to belt out the band’s hits.

See them in concert – I have – and it’s clear that Lambert belongs with Queen. He’s got an astonishing voice, he inhabits the band’s material while putting his own spin on it, and he has great chemistry with Brian May and Roger Taylor on stage. So why are some fans fuming?

Thou Shalt Not Worship False Idols

Go on Facebook or the Queen forums, and you’re greeted with a torrent of abuse. Lambert’s a manufactured pop performer, they say, riding the coat tails of an iconic rock band to success – and desecrating the memory of Freddie Mercury in the process.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

For one thing, Queen isn’t the first band to change its line-up; it’s not even the first to do so in the wake of a tragic loss. AC/DC wasted no time in replacing Bon Scott with Brian Johnson; Alice In Chains has enjoyed critical and commercial success in the wake of Layne Staley’s death.

Ah, but Brian Johnson and William DuVall and Zakk Wylde are authentic musicians, say the disgruntled fans. They worked their way up the old fashioned way, instead of whoring themselves out to a reality show.

Queen fans who’ve had to suffer through West End musicals and 5ive covers may have a conniption at the words “American Idol,” but times have changed since the early days of the talent shows. The acts who get through to the finals these days aren’t starry-eyed dreamers; they’re professional musicians looking for a big break. Before appearing in Idol, Lambert trod the boards in musical theatre for a decade, performed in bands and worked as a session musician – just like, say, a pre-AC/DC Brian Johnson, who in 1970 could be found playing songs from the musical Hair on the cabaret circuit.

The Great Pretender

Of course, Freddie Mercury casts a long shadow. The passage of time has only cemented his place as one of the great frontmen of rock – but it’s also caused fans’ attitudes to harden, convincing them that Mercury is irreplaceable.

Time also colours our memories of other acts who’ve replaced beloved members. We tend to forget that AC/DC came in for a lot of stick for hiring Brian Johnson – and would’ve come in for even more if Twitter had been a thing in 1980. But nine successful albums later, hindsight paints it as just one more chapter in the band’s history.

To younger fans who never saw Freddie Mercury live, he’s been elevated to iconic status; replacing him seems as absurd as finding someone to fill in for Hendrix or Cobain. To older fans, the idea that some young upstart could possibly compete with their cherished memories of the band is unthinkable.

That, I think, is why some vocal fans demand that Queen give Lambert the boot and reunite with former frontman Paul Rodgers. He’s a proper rocker with a pedigree, they say. He’s from the right generation; older fans feel more comfortable with one of their peers up there on stage.

Never mind that Rodgers always seemed uncomfortable with Queen’s flights of fancy; you can’t picture him draped over a chaise longue, vamping through Killer Queen as Lambert does. Even when Freddie was singing Queen’s hardest rockers, he did so with a knowing wink – and it’s that same seam of camp that Lambert taps into. He’s not imitating Mercury, but he’s definitely in the same orbit.

Red Dragon Jacket
Freddie and Paul Rodgers

Maybe it’s time for a miracle

The reason that Queen has taken so long to find a suitable replacement for Freddie is simple: you need a performer with a majestic voice, magisterial stage presence and that theatrical sensibility. Trouble is, performers with that kind of talent are usually big names in their own right. Matt Bellamy, George Michael, Lady Gaga – they either have bands of their own, or thriving solo careers. Put simply, they don’t need Queen.

Neither does Lambert, really. His last album shot to #1 in the US charts, his tours have brought in millions – and his career’s just taking off. That Queen found an artist with that checklist of skills, who’s prepared to hook up with a pair of ageing rockers out of love for their material, is nothing short of miraculous.

Keep Yourself Alive

Lambert’s only performing the band’s hits, goes the complaint; he’s a karaoke act. And it’s true that AC/DC plunged straight into the studio with Brian Johnson – and came out with Back in Black, one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Queen’s more cautious approach is just as valid – but if they don’t get Lambert in the studio, they risk being seen as a tribute act to their own glory days.
I hope they do record an album with Lambert. Watching him on stage – pouring himself into the songs, hitting the high notes, larking around with Brian May – you can’t help but feel he’s given the band a second wind. It’s a shame that some old farts can’t see that.

If you hate the idea of a band moving on, that’s fair enough. Your albums aren’t going anywhere; you can hold on to your memories of past concerts. But don’t feel that your fandom makes you the custodian of the band’s legacy, and don’t ever think that you’re entitled to make demands of those musicians because saw them back in the day. A band isn’t a democracy; this one’s a monarchy, and it’s found its heir. Long live the Queen.

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  1. Amen to this! Let Adam just keep creating that magic with Queen and also on his own. We will be loving all of it!

  2. I loved Queen with Freddie. I love Queen even more with Adam Lambert!!! Adam isn’t Queens new frontman. He’s just lending his voice! He’s recording an album. Brian May loves Adam! Too bad Queen fans don’t get that!!!

  3. Lila Hayes Zubik says

    Wow, best article on the topic ever! That guy couldn’t have said it better!

  4. I believe the fans that love music and good old rock and roll, love this version of Queen with Adam Lambert. I’ve been to their first concert and I’m going to 2 more, there was never a negative word to be said. In fact, people said they had to give it to Lambert, he WAS the perfect fit ! This collaboration is only going to help both their careers . Those that refuse to accept Lambert, I feel sorry for, they are missing a great talent. I’m sure there were many that put Mercury down when he was with Queen. Just can’t please everyone. I just wish they wouldn’t spoil it for those you haven’t see the concert and may miss out because of statements made by a select few. So good to read all the positive reviews, and they just keep getting better. Heres hoping they, Adam and Queen, can collaborate on new music of their own. Has anyone heard Love Kills ?!!!

  5. Great article! I just cringe when I read negative comments. Queen has been my all time favorite band for many many years, I actually cried when I heard of Freddy Mercury’s death. On the other hand I have been a crazy Adam fan since he first opened his mouth to sing on American Idol, so it is only natural that I wouldn’t miss this concert for all the tea in China! I am stoked! I will be at the concert in Las Vegas Saturday night, will there be any Glambert get togethers beforehand?

  6. Mary Virsila says

    I absolutely loved this article. It could not have been said better. I can think of no one alive who could do a better job than adam lambert performing with queen. He is one of god’s miracles and he is a gift to queen and their music. I saw queen back in 1979 and it was a fabulous concert. I am so excited to see adam and queen in detroit in 2 weeks, it will be the highlight of my summer!!!!!

  7. As far as I am concerned Adam Lambert is the perfect man for Queen to use as their frontman! Adam is good looking. Has charisma like Freddy. He’s funny. Has a sense of humor. He is a gentleman. Easy to get along with. He knows the right way to dress to look cool. I can’t think of a thing lacking that would keep Adam from being Queens frontman! He is gorgeous and has a great voice. Adam I have always loved you since I first laid eyes on you. You are a class act. And I think you will go very far in the music world. Love you! Sherry

  8. I’m seeing the Show tomorrow in Houston I’m a BIG Queen and Fan and have been of Adams for the most part since Idol. Brian and Roger looked very recharged and having a great time.

  9. Sally SAT says

    OMG…I can’t wait until tomorrow. Me and my sis are going to the Adam Lambert Queen concert in Houston TX.

    Anyone going?

    Love and Peace

  10. LOVE your article. Just went and saw them in Auburn Hills (Detroit) and it was the best concert I’ve ever seen. Visuals and production were awesome and Adam is funny, quirky, and his goofy self. His vocals were wonderful and he interacted with the audience. At the end of “Tie Your Mother Down” he goes into a sing-a-long with the crowd. It was so cute. Everyone there was engrossed. Lots of Queen fans and many of them thought Adam was a true showman.