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A recurring joke in Pratchett and Gaiman's Good Omens is that all the music tapes in Crowley's car are songs from Queen, which is apparently a British rock band. From near the start of the book:

Crowley was currently doing 110 mph somewhere east of Slough. Nothing about him looked particularly demonic, at least by classical standards. No horns, no wings. Admittedly he was listening to a Best of Queen tape, but no conclusions should be drawn from this because all tapes left in a car for more than about a fortnight metamorphose into Best of Queen albums.

This joke is picked up again and again throughout the book, as Crowley and Aziraphale try to play various tapes in his car - Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, etc. - and always get a Queen-ified version. Possibly due to my utter ignorance about popular music, I don't get the joke.

Why do tapes left in a car turn into Queen albums, specifically?

  • 2
    I think it is because Queen is usually the only half decent CD in service stations so people buy it to listen to in cars even if they wouldn't normally. – Bellerophon Oct 4 '17 at 21:29
  • When I was a student (again) it was a thing to rummage through a friend’s car glove box to see what cassettes they they had. There was nearly always a copy of Best of Queen (later on it would have been ABBA Gold) - so we loved Pratchtet’s idea that any tape left in a glove box for too long magically turned into the Best of Queen. – Andrew Probert Mar 13 at 10:07
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The theory proposed by Terry Pratchett is that "Best of Queen" is the only decent music that can be found on the road in gas station markets, so those CDs tend to accumulate in the car, without the driver noticing them much.

Neil Gaiman proposes that the CDs do really turn into "Best of Queen" albums, just like that. He occasionally gets fan mail about it: here and here


For stuff like that, the Annotated Pratchett File, where I got this piece from, is a good resource. I can't access their cited source right now, so I'm still looking for a primary source.

7

The first "Greatest Hits of Queen" album that is featured in the book is the most sold album in british pop history. Everyone in UK has the cd lying around somewhere, so chances are high that when you look for a cd in the car you get the impression that you always find the "Greatest Hits of Queen".

6

Pratchett also has a running joke throughout his books about items of entertainment morphing into more stereotypical/low brow forms when the owners aren't looking. Compare this quote from The Last Continent:

It is a simple universal law. People always expect to use a holiday in the sun as an opportunity to read those books they’ve always meant to read, but an alchemical combination of sun, quartz crystals and coconut oil will somehow metamorphose any improving book into a rather thicker one with a name containing at least one Greek word or letter (The Gamma Imperative, The Delta Season, The Alpha Project and, in the more extreme cases, even The Mu Kau Pi Caper).

Since a Queen CD is a relatively inoffensive and popular choice of road-trip music, the same phenomena could result in Crowley and Aziraphile's respective music of choice changing into nostalgic rock.

0

There have long been suggestions that Queen have satanic links. Freddie joked in his live performances in the mid 70s that his jewel encrusted single glove was given to him by Satan himself. It is Freddie's very dry delivery of the joke that set some people on edge and started the rumour-mill. Just Google or Youtube 'Freddie Mercury Devil Worship' to find more on the ridiculous theories.

  • That's interesting, but in Good Omens the Queen thing is claimed to be a general phenomenon rather than something which happens only in Crowley's (satanic-related) car. – Rand al'Thor Jun 6 at 12:46

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