Rock Gods Battle AIDS
By Landon James
QUEEN, perhaps the 70s’ most famous glam rockers turned musical superpower, have returned to the studio after a decade of silence.
Of the four original QUEEN members, only Roger Taylor (drums, vocals) and Brian May (guitar, vocals) have united with rock front man Paul Rodgers, of Bad Company, to cut a new track to help fight HIV/AIDS across the globe.
“Say It’s Not True” is QUEEN’s first studio recording in 10 years and Rodgers’s first in seven years and is being released as a single; however, the song was a staple in the set list of QUEEN and Paul Rodgers’ successful world tour of 2005/2006 and originally appeared on the live album Return of the Champions.
Written by Taylor, the song commemorates the life and deeds of Nelson Mandela and has been released as a free download to help benefit Mandela’s 46664 HIV/AIDS foundation.
Founded in 2003 by Mandela, the 46664 (pronounced four, double six, six four) Foundation is an effort to stop the worldwide spread of HIV/AIDS.
Mandela was imprisoned in 1964 for 27 years for leading the anti-apartheid movement and fighting for the rights of all to live in freedom and peace. During his 27 years at Robben Island, he was referred to by his number and the year of his imprisonment, hence 46664.
In an effort to extend the reach of 46664, Mandela enlisted the support of May and Taylor along with Bono and Dave Stewart of Eurythmics in 2003. Since then, these artists have lent their musical and influential talents to the campaign.
Since 2003, concerts benefiting 46664 have been held in Cape Town, South Africa (2003), Georgia, South Africa (2005), Madrid, Spain (2005), and Tromso, Norway (2005).
As Ambassadors to the 46664 efforts, QUEEN rushed to lay down the track and have it available for download in time for the December 1 World AIDS Day awareness concert in Johannesburg, South Africa. The concert was held to raise money in the support of ending AIDS once and for all.
However, for May and Taylor, the fight with AIDS hits all too close to home. On November 24, 1991, QUEEN’s lead singer Freddie Mercury (real name Farrokh Bomi Blusara) died from HIV/AIDS.
In a statement on Nov. 23, 1991 Mercury asked the world to “join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide fight against this terrible disease.”
Mercury’s death sparked a heightened awareness of AIDS among QUEEN fans and the world alike.
May and Taylor, along with Rodgers, have carried on this fight in their involvement with Mandela and 46664.
In regards to “Say It’s Not True”, Taylor stated “By making this song available for free, we hope to help Nelson Mandela with his campaign to get across the message that no one is safe from infection.” Taylor followed stating “We have to be aware, we have to protect ourselves and those we love.”
All royalties from the upcoming CD single release of “Say It’s Not True” will go to benefit the 46664 campaign.