After a very short break indeed, Queen head off to Europe again in January for a three-month tour. Whilst over there, 'Don't Stop Me Now' from 'Jazz' is released in England, and sticks at No 9.
The band return to England for a few weeks' well-deserved rest in March. In April, they're approached by film producer Dino de Laurentis to write the score for a new version of the movie 'Flash Gordon.' They agree, although they need time to do it. (When Queen are first suggested to Dino de Laurentis, he immediately said "But who are the Queens?"??
From April 10th to May 7th, Queen tour Japan for the first time in three years. Returning to Europe, Queen spend June and July ensconced in Musicland Studios, Munich, piecing together what is to become their first live album and working on new songs for the next studio album. Only four of these actually end up on the final product ('The Game').
"We just went to Munich as we like the city and put it together there, ending up with far too many songs," explains Roger.
Whilst in the studio, Queen discover an unexpected talent in their engineer, known only as 'Mack'. His ideas appeal to the group so much that they decide he will be credited as 'co-producer' on the studio album.
In July, 'Live Killers', Queen's one and only live album, is released. A double album, it comprises tracks selected from over 50 recorded shows in the UK Europe, Japan and America between October '78 and May '79. It includes the controversial 'pre-taped' version of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Roger hates the album, and says so publicly, but it charts nicely at No 3. 'Love Of My Life', from the live album, is released at the same time, but doesn't get any further than 63.
From August 13th to 16th, Queen spend time at Shepperton Studios rehearsing for an open-air gig in Germany.
On Agust 18th, Queen top the bill at the open-air festival at Saarbrucken Ludwigparkstadion, Germany. Red Baron, Voyager, Molly Hatchett, Lake, Alvin Lee and Ten Yers After, The Commodores and Rory Gallagher also turn up. Unfortunatley, the gig was so plagued by technical problems that Taylor, in an uncharacteristic display of frustration, trashed his drumkit (not the beloved matt black Ludwig) at the end of the show.
In September, during a break in Queen's schedule, Roger has a rough time in St Tropez. First, his Ferrari blows up and bursts into flames, frying everyting inside except Roger, who manages to escape in time. Then his motorboat dies miles offshore, leaving him to drift for three hours before being rescued. And all he wanted was a holiday!
In October, Queen dip into the petty cash and buy Mountain Studios in Montreux. When resident engineer David Richards asks Freddie why the band want to buy the studio, and what they're going to do with it, Freddie replies: "Dump it int he lake dear.."!
'Crazy Little thing Called Love', one of the tracks completed at Musicland Studios for 'The Game', is released on October 5th. It reaches No 2.
Freddie: "I wrote 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' in the bath. I actually dragged an upright piano to my bedside table once. I've been known to scribble lyrics in the middle of the night without putting the lights on."
Freddie takes a crash-course in ballet (!) and mime, and dances with the Royal Ballet at the London Coliseum for a charity gala on October 7th. He has been invited by Derek Dean and Wayne Eagling to join them on-stage for a dance interpretation of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and 'Killer Queen'. The orchestra play their own versions of the numbers 'badly' according to Roger, who witnesses the whole event and doesn't enjoy one minute of it.
Freddie: "I was very brave, but I really enjoyed the experience with the Royal Ballet Company. I was shivering in the wings with nerves. It's always much harder when you are put outside your sphere, but I always like a challenge. I'd like to see Mick Jagger or Rod Stewart try somehting like that."
Quen fly to Ireland on Novemer 20th to kick off their UK 'Crazy Tour' at RDS Simmons Concert Hall, Dublin on the 22nd.
The police stop Queen making a personal appearance at the HMV Shop in Oxford Street on December 12th, in case hysterical crowsd disrupt the traffic.
The 'Crazy Tour Of London' starts at the Lyceum on December 13th. Queen have decided to play only small venues on this leg of the tour (Tiffany's in Purley, Lewisham Odeon, the Mayfair in Tottenham, etc), but the only problem is how to get all their equipment in. The Lyceum manager obligingly lets the roadcrew drill holes in the ceiling! Afer the show, Queen hold a 'Silly Hats' party with guests outshone by the legendary Mrs Shilling (and hat).
Roger: "I remember at the Lyceum gig in 1979 - the roof was too small to fit in all our lights - so we cut two holes in it. We got a call from Paul McCartney saying Wings were playing there next week and they'd need a hole in the roof, so could be pay for one of them? Just think - we became the first ever group to sell Paul McCartney a hole..."
Queen play the Hammersmith Odeon, as part of a 'Concerts for the People of Kampuchea' week. Others playing during the same week are Paul McCartney and Wings (the Beatles failed to reunite for the event), The Who, The Specials, The Clash, Ian Drury, The Pretenders, Rockpile and Elvis Costello. Although the whole of Queen's set is recorded, only one track, 'Now I'm Here' makes it onto the resultant compilation album (released 16 months later!). Queen are also the only band to play an entire set.
'Save Me' from last year's session in Munich, is released on January 25th. Advance orders throw it into the charts before the release date, and it climbs to No 11. 'The Game' is finally completed between February and May at Musicland Studios. In May, Queen finally get down to writing the music score for 'Flash Gordon.' It is recorded sporadically over the six months leading up to October, in various studios in the UK, USA and Europe, as they continue their annual world trek.
'Play The Game' is released on May 30th as a taster for the forthcoming album. It gets to No 14.
Roger's girlfriend, Dominique, gives birth to their son, Felix in June. He's two months premature and weighs only 2 lbs, but soon he's as healthy as any other baby.
Roger: "Dominique and I won't get married because of the baby. We don't need to."
Queen fly to LA on June 19th and spend ten days rehearsing before setting out on tour.
'The Game' is finally released on June 30. Despite press criticism, the album hits the No 1 position. The first album to feature synthesisers (played by Roger), and exploring new territories, many fans are concerned that Queen are 'selling out!'
In July Roger somehow finds the time to start work on a solo album; during Queen's few weeks off on their American tour.
Roger: "There isn't a lot of room on Queen albums for a lot of things I want to do, so I'm expressing my own excess."
But he is not leaving the band.
During breaks from touring, Freddie is spotted with Elton John at a party in the House of Commons sponsored by Arts Minister Norman St John Stevas. But who spotted him? Freddie has, by the way, now bought himself a luxurious 28-roomed marble-tiled house, in Kensington for £575,000... in cash.
'Another One Bites The Dust' is an instant hit on both sides of the Atlantic when it's released in August - No 1 in the States, and No 7 in the UK - but it confuses an awful lot of poeple. It's pure funk/disco! The American baseball team, The Detroit Lions, adopt the single as their anthem - and promtly lose the next five games!
"'Another One Bites the Dust' is lifted straight off Chic's 'Good Times' as if the Sugar Hill Gang never existed!" John Deacon, who wrote the song, is not pleased.
'Queen's Greatest Hits', originally planned for release in October, is filed away to make room for 'Flash Gordon'.
From November 23rd to December 18th. Queen trek round Europe breaking off in the middle for some UK gigs.
The single 'Flash' is unleashed on November 24th, heralding he album's release in a couple of weeks. Although not Queen in essence, 'Flash' reaches No 10.
Queen play their first British gigs for a year at Birmingham NEC and Wembley Arena between December 5th and 10th. Queen are the first to play Birmingham NEC 's New International Arena with its capacity for 11,000 people.
The new set incorporates parts of the 'Flash Gordon' soundtrack which is probably why Feddie is caried on-stage for the second encore by, of all people, Darth Vadar! On December 8th , 'Flash Gordon, the soundtrack album to a £15,000 production, is released at last. Queen reveal that the chief influence for the music was Zither and Zaza's monumental sound track for 'Prom Night'. The movie follows on December 14th.
By the end of 1980, Queen have sold 45,000,000 albums and 25,000,000 singles. And Freddie, John and Brian have cut their hair...
A severe lack of Queen in Britain this year. And it's their 10th Anniversary.
In February, it is exactly ten years since John Deacon joined Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor, and they became the Queen we know today. Celebrations? They'e far too busy for that.
Before embarking on a short Japanese tour, the band pick up the Best Single Award for 'Another One Bites The Dust' at the American Music Awards Ceremony.
In Japan Queen play five nights at Tokyo's infamous Budokan stadium from February 9th to 18th.
On the strength of 'Love Of My Life's massive success in Argentina, the band have spent the past six months planning a tour of the much-neglected South America. It is a gargantuan operation. No other major band has set foot in the nether regions of the USA, so the tour has to be immaculately organise. As there is no such thing as 'equipment hire' over there, Queen have to have 20 tons of sound equipment shipped from Japan - not only is the flight from Tokyo to Buenos Airies the longest direct flight in existence (36 hours), but it is also unbelivably expensive. Not only that, but a further 40-ton load of gear has to be delivered from Miami (including a full football field covering of artificial turf to protect the playing fields in the arenas they're playing), plus 16 tons of stage scaffolding from LA. The latter alone costs £49,000 to organise. Queen's five tons of lights represents a full six months' production at an airport light factory in the USA and burns 300,000 watts of power.
Ther thirteen-gig tour packs out football stadiums in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico to a capacity of from 34,000 (the smallest (to 131,000 (the largest). Not only do the authorities Queen meet know nothing about setting up gigs, but as each day passes another £25,000 evaporates.
So why do it?
Because no-one else has, Queen haven't before, they want to cover the entire surface of the planet - and, more imporantly, the reception in South America is unsurpassed, even by Japan.
Brian: "It's a long time since we've felt such warmth from a new audience. We feel really good about it now, as if our ambitions hae been particularly realised again."
Roger: "I was surprised we didn't get more ciriticism for playing South America. I didn't think we were being used as tools by political regimes, although obviously you have to co-operate with them. We were playing for the people... We weren't playing for the govenment."
The tour is spread out throughout the year, with a five month break in the middle of the ear. On march 22nd, having played six givs in Argentina and Brazil, Queen say farewell to South America for the timebing and head off in different directions. Feddie flies back to London on Concorde (forcing him to change in Paris - but he doesn't care, he just wants to travel comfortably and expensiely), Roger and Brian fly back on a DC10 (direct flight!) and John decies to spend a few days in New York.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Roger's second solo single, 'Future Management' is released.
On 6th April, Roger's first solo album, 'Fun In Space' is unleashed. It peaks at No 1.
'My Country,' the second single from 'Fun In Space', is released on June 29th.
Queen bury themselves in Mountain Studios form July to September to work on their next studio album, 'Hot Space'.
It just so happens that David Bowie is staying at his Swiss home while Queen are ferreting around in Montreux. He accepts an invitation from his friend John Deacon in August to visit them in the studio, and the next thing they they know.. (see November).
In September and October, South America once more play hosts to the band.
On October 19th, Queen return to the Appeal Court to prevent the distribution of an unauthorised publcation 'Queen - The First 10 Years'.
On October 26th, 'Queen's Greatest Hits' is released, together with a superb compilation video, 'Queen's Greatest Flix' and an official book, 'Queen's Greatest Pix. Soon Queen are topping both album and video charts.
In November, 'Under Pressure', a collaborative single by David Bowie and Queen, is sprung on an unsuspecting public. Straight to No 1.
Queen nip over to Canada for a couple of gigs on November 24th and 25th, before returning to continue work on 'Hot Space'.
On December 8th, The Royal Pilharmonic Orchestra and Royal Choral Society perform a selection of Queen's music for a Royal Promenade Concert at the Albert Hall. The concert is in aid of leukaemia victims. The ocncert is broadcast live on December 28h.
In 1981, Brian's second child, Louisa, is born.
The first two months of the year are spent putting the finishing touches to 'Hot Space' in Germany, and then at the beginning of March, the band fly to LA for a short break. In April, Queen and EMI sign a new long-term contract (for five albums). The deal is worldwide, excluding USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
On their European tour from April 9th to May 21st, Queen are supsported by Bow Wow Wow.
'Body Language', off the forthcoming album 'Hot Space', is released on April 19th and reaches No 25. The accompanying video is banned in the US by MTV because of its 'explicit nature'. 'Hot Space' explodes into the shops on April 23rd. It reaches No 4, but nobody is quite sure who's actually buying the album - since the Queen fans obviously (although they may lose a few with this album), but perhaps disco and funk fans too?
Planned concerts at Manchester's Old Tafford football ground and London's Arsenal football ground, due to take place in May and June, are cancelled. Apparently there is a lack of toilet facilities, as all portable chemical toilets in the country have been booked by cities being visited by Pope John Paul II!
The Manchester gig is replaced by one at Leeds United Football Ground on May 19th. It marks Queen's first appearance in Britain for nearly two years, and 40,000 fans turn up. The band are supported by Heart, Joan Jett and The Teardrop Explodes.
In June, the album of the Royal Promenade Conert last year is released, entitled 'Queen Medley'. 'Las Palabras de Amor' (The Words Of Love), the second single off 'Hot Space', slides up to No 17.
The UK tour continues with two gigs in Ingliston Royal Highland Exhibition Hall,near Edinburgh on June 1st and 2nd.
The Arsenal gig is replaced by a concert at Milton Keynes Bowl on June 5th, lst of the tour, which is recorded by Channel 4 for broadcast next year. 37,000 fans turn out. In the early hours of the morning, Queen's party at the Embassy Club is still going strong. Everyone turns up in either shorts or suspenders and stockings, including Queen. The club costs them £10,000 to hire. 'Backchat', the third and final single from the album, slithers to a disappointing halt at No 40 in August.
For the rest of the year, Queen are busy tourig the States and Japan again.