QUEEN

Non-Metal / Hard Rock / Proto-Metal • United Kingdom
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Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen's earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, incorporating more diverse and innovative styles in their music.

History

In 1968, guitarist Brian May, a student at London's Imperial College, and bassist Tim Staffell decided to form a band. May placed an advertisement on the college notice board for a Mitch Mitchell/Ginger Baker type drummer; Roger Taylor, a young dental student, auditioned and got the job. The group called themselves Smile. While attending Ealing Art College, Tim Staffell became friends with Farrokh Bulsara, a fellow student who had assumed the English name of Freddie. Bulsara felt that he and the band had the same tastes
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Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates

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Amazon (logo)
The Platinum Collection: Greatest Hits I, II & IIIThe Platinum Collection: Greatest Hits I, II & III
Box set
Hollywood Records 2002
$19.21
$17.50 (used)
Bohemian Rhapsody [2 LP]Bohemian Rhapsody [2 LP]
Hollywood Records 2019
$27.36
$20.14 (used)
Greatest Hits I [2 LP]Greatest Hits I [2 LP]
Hollywood Records 2016
$29.64
$34.98 (used)
A Night at the Opera [Vinyl]A Night at the Opera [Vinyl]
Hollywood Records 2008
$15.98
$19.99 (used)
Queen Rock Montreal + Live AidQueen Rock Montreal + Live Aid
Multiple Formats
Eagle Rock Ent 2007
$9.50
$6.13 (used)
Live at Wembley StadiumLive at Wembley Stadium
Extra tracks · Remastered
Hollywood Records 2003
$15.88
$15.87 (used)
Queen: Greatest Hits I & IIQueen: Greatest Hits I & II
Hollywood Records 1995
$16.31
$9.73 (used)
Made In HeavenMade In Heaven
Hollywood Records 1995
$12.59
$3.63 (used)
News of the World [Vinyl]News of the World [Vinyl]
Collector's Edition
Hollywood Records 2009
$16.58
$9.99 (used)
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QUEEN Discography

QUEEN albums / top albums

QUEEN Queen album cover 3.98 | 42 ratings
Queen
Proto-Metal 1973
QUEEN Queen II album cover 4.45 | 56 ratings
Queen II
Proto-Metal 1974
QUEEN Sheer Heart Attack album cover 4.09 | 45 ratings
Sheer Heart Attack
Proto-Metal 1974
QUEEN A Night At The Opera album cover 4.21 | 57 ratings
A Night At The Opera
Proto-Metal 1975
QUEEN A Day At The Races album cover 3.79 | 40 ratings
A Day At The Races
Hard Rock 1976
QUEEN News Of The World album cover 3.71 | 30 ratings
News Of The World
Hard Rock 1977
QUEEN Jazz album cover 3.61 | 32 ratings
Jazz
Hard Rock 1978
QUEEN The Game album cover 2.94 | 15 ratings
The Game
Non-Metal 1980
QUEEN Flash Gordon album cover 2.38 | 12 ratings
Flash Gordon
Non-Metal 1980
QUEEN Hot Space album cover 2.16 | 12 ratings
Hot Space
Non-Metal 1982
QUEEN The Works album cover 3.43 | 10 ratings
The Works
Non-Metal 1984
QUEEN A Kind Of Magic album cover 3.53 | 13 ratings
A Kind Of Magic
Non-Metal 1986
QUEEN The Miracle album cover 3.52 | 10 ratings
The Miracle
Non-Metal 1989
QUEEN Innuendo album cover 3.98 | 15 ratings
Innuendo
Non-Metal 1991
QUEEN Made In Heaven album cover 3.13 | 10 ratings
Made In Heaven
Non-Metal 1995
QUEEN The Cosmos Rocks album cover 2.89 | 5 ratings
The Cosmos Rocks
Non-Metal 2008

QUEEN EPs & splits

QUEEN Queen's First EP album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Queen's First EP
Hard Rock 1977
QUEEN Five Live album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Five Live
Non-Metal 1993

QUEEN live albums

QUEEN Live Killers album cover 3.65 | 11 ratings
Live Killers
Hard Rock 1979
QUEEN Live Magic album cover 3.27 | 4 ratings
Live Magic
Non-Metal 1986
QUEEN At The Beeb album cover 3.00 | 3 ratings
At The Beeb
Proto-Metal 1989
QUEEN Live At Wembley '86 album cover 4.31 | 7 ratings
Live At Wembley '86
Non-Metal 1992
QUEEN Queen On Fire: Live At The Bowl album cover 3.94 | 5 ratings
Queen On Fire: Live At The Bowl
Hard Rock 2004
QUEEN Return Of The Champions album cover 2.85 | 4 ratings
Return Of The Champions
Non-Metal 2005
QUEEN Rock Montreal album cover 3.92 | 3 ratings
Rock Montreal
Hard Rock 2007
QUEEN Live In Ukraine album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Ukraine
Non-Metal 2009
QUEEN Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest
Non-Metal 2012
QUEEN Live At The Rainbow '74 album cover 4.42 | 4 ratings
Live At The Rainbow '74
Proto-Metal 2014
QUEEN A Night At The Odeon album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
A Night At The Odeon
Hard Rock 2015

QUEEN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

QUEEN re-issues & compilations

QUEEN Greatest Hits album cover 4.75 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits
Hard Rock 1981
QUEEN The Complete Works album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Complete Works
Non-Metal 1985
QUEEN Greatest Hits II album cover 4.33 | 3 ratings
Greatest Hits II
Non-Metal 1991
QUEEN Classic Queen album cover 4.05 | 2 ratings
Classic Queen
Non-Metal 1992
QUEEN The 12 3.50 | 1 ratings
The 12" Collection
Non-Metal 1992
QUEEN Box Of Tricks album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Box Of Tricks
Non-Metal 1992
QUEEN Greatest Hits I & II album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Greatest Hits I & II
Hard Rock 1994
QUEEN Ultimate Queen album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ultimate Queen
Non-Metal 1995
QUEEN Queen Rocks album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Queen Rocks
Hard Rock 1997
QUEEN The Best I album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best I
Non-Metal 1997
QUEEN The Best II album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best II
Non-Metal 1997
QUEEN The Crown Jewels album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Crown Jewels
Non-Metal 1998
QUEEN Greatest Hits III album cover 2.68 | 2 ratings
Greatest Hits III
Non-Metal 1999
QUEEN The Platinum Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Platinum Collection
Non-Metal 2000
QUEEN Greatest Hits (2004) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits (2004)
Non-Metal 2004
QUEEN The A-Z Of Queen: Volume 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The A-Z Of Queen: Volume 1
Non-Metal 2007
QUEEN The Singles Collection: Volume 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles Collection: Volume 1
Non-Metal 2008
QUEEN The Singles Collection: Volume 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles Collection: Volume 2
Non-Metal 2009
QUEEN Absolute Greatest album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Absolute Greatest
Non-Metal 2009
QUEEN The Singles Collection: Volume 3 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles Collection: Volume 3
Non-Metal 2010
QUEEN The Singles Collection: Volume 4 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles Collection: Volume 4
Non-Metal 2010
QUEEN Deep Cuts: Volume 1 (1973-1976) album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
Deep Cuts: Volume 1 (1973-1976)
Proto-Metal 2011
QUEEN Deep Cuts: Volume 2 (1977–1982) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Deep Cuts: Volume 2 (1977–1982)
Non-Metal 2011
QUEEN Deep Cuts: Volume 3 (1984–1995) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Deep Cuts: Volume 3 (1984–1995)
Non-Metal 2011
QUEEN On Air album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
On Air
Hard Rock 2016

QUEEN singles (56)

.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Keep Yourself Alive
Proto-Metal 1973
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Seven Seas Of Rhye
Proto-Metal 1974
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Killer Queen
Proto-Metal 1974
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Now I'm Here / Lily Of The Valley
Proto-Metal 1975
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
Bohemian Rhapsody
Proto-Metal 1975
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
You're My Best Friend
Proto-Metal 1976
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Somebody To Love
Hard Rock 1976
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Tie Your Mother Down
Hard Rock 1977
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
We Are The Champions
Hard Rock 1977
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Spread Your Wings
Hard Rock 1978
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Bicycle Race
Hard Rock 1978
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
It's Late
Hard Rock 1978
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Don't Stop Me Now
Hard Rock 1979
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Love Of My Life
Hard Rock 1979
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Non-Metal 1979
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Save Me
Non-Metal 1980
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Play The Game
Non-Metal 1980
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Another One Bites The Dust
Non-Metal 1980
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Flash
Non-Metal 1980
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Under Pressure
Non-Metal 1981
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Body Language
Non-Metal 1982
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Las Palabras De Amor (The Words Of Love)
Non-Metal 1982
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Calling All Girls
Non-Metal 1982
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Back Chat
Non-Metal 1982
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Hammer To Fall
Hard Rock 1984
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Thank God It's Christmas
Non-Metal 1984
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Radio Ga Ga
Non-Metal 1984
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
I Want To Break Free
Non-Metal 1984
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
It's A Hard Life
Non-Metal 1984
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
One Vision
Hard Rock 1985
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
A Kind Of Magic
Non-Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Friends Will Be Friends
Non-Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Pain Is So Close To Pleasure
Non-Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
One Year Of Love
Non-Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Who Wants To Live Forever
Non-Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Invisible Man
Non-Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Breakthru
Non-Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
I Want It All
Hard Rock 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Miracle
Non-Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Scandal
Non-Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Show Must Go On
Non-Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Headlong
Non-Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Innuendo
Non-Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
I'm Going Slightly Mad
Non-Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Bohemian Rhapsody / These Are The Days Of Our Lives
Non-Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
These Are The Days Of Our Lives
Non-Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
A Winter's Tale
Non-Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Heaven For Everyone
Non-Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Too Much Love Will Kill You
Non-Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Let Me Live
Non-Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
You Don't Fool Me
Non-Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
No-One But You / Tie Your Mother Down
Non-Metal 1997
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Reaching Out / Tie Your Mother Down
Non-Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Bohemian Rhapsody (Live From Hyde Park)
Non-Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Say It's Not True ‎
Non-Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
C-lebrity
Non-Metal 2008

QUEEN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.00 | 1 ratings
We Will Rock You
Hard Rock 1981
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits
Hard Rock 1981
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Works Video Ep
Non-Metal 1984
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Rio
Non-Metal 1985
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Budapest
Non-Metal 1986
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Magic Years Volume One
Non-Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Magic Years Volume Two
Non-Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Magic Years Volume Three
Non-Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Rare Live
Non-Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Miracle Video Ep
Non-Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
4.75 | 3 ratings
Queen At Wembley
Non-Metal 1990
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Flix II
Non-Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Box Of Flix
Non-Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Final Live In Japan
Non-Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At The Rainbow
Proto-Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits (US)
Non-Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Japan
Non-Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
Non-Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Flix I & II
Non-Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Champions Of The World
Non-Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
2.50 | 1 ratings
Made In Heaven
Non-Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Queen Rocks
Non-Metal 1999
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Flix III
Non-Metal 1999
.. Album Cover
4.67 | 2 ratings
Greatest Video Hits 1
Non-Metal 2002
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Greatest Video Hits 2
Non-Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
4.64 | 5 ratings
Queen At Wembley (Reissue)
Non-Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Jewels
Non-Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
4.57 | 3 ratings
Queen On Fire: Live At The Bowl
Hard Rock 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Return Of The Champions
Non-Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Super Live In Japan
Non-Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
4.83 | 5 ratings
Queen Rock Montreal & Live Aid
Hard Rock 2007
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 1 ratings
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest
Non-Metal 2012
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At The Rainbow '74
Proto-Metal 2014
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Night At The Odeon
Hard Rock 2015

QUEEN Reviews

QUEEN Live At The Rainbow '74

Live album · 2014 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Everyone knows that Queen were a fine live act... but god daaaaamn, were they amazing in their early years! Live at the Rainbow '74 captures not one but two complete shows (some truncated editions exist - ignore them), the first from the Queen II tour and the second from the Sheer Heart Attack tour.

As a London-based group, the Rainbow was something of a home turf for Queen, and the rapturous response they receive from the crowd is rewarded with a fine performance each night. I would actually give the Queen II set the edge - not only does it showcase just how much excellent material there is on the first two Queen albums, but it also seems a bit tighter. By the Sheer Heart Attack set they are already adapting to a different musical direction, and the somewhat longer set begins to flag.

Evidently, they were struggling to find a balance between keeping the set at a reasonable length and including everything they wanted to throw in there, a problem which would only become more acute as their parade of hits grew longer. The Night At the Opera setlist, as captured on the A Night At the Odeon live album, would be trimmed back appropriately; if you picked up that live set too then between that and this you'd have more or less the perfect sampling of live Queen from their early almost-prog/not-quite-metal days.

QUEEN Jazz

Album · 1978 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
QUEEN unleashed their last album of the 70s at the height of their popularity after releasing four hit albums in a row, countless sold out shows around the world with an equally impressive series of hit singles as well. By the time the band got to the 7th album JAZZ, it seems that the band was doing a little assessment of where they had been musically since their debut “Queen I” was released in 1973. While the title of the album may suggest that the band were embarking on yet another left turn into a new genre of music where perhaps they would tackle Miles Davis covers with a swing band or something, the band was really just pulling an old Jedi mind trick and creating an album that took elements from the six albums that preceded and then turning it all into one of the biggest parties of their career.

At this point, it seemed QUEEN could do no wrong with one hit after another and album sales going the multi-platinum status. On JAZZ once again QUEEN tackles a dizzying number of musical genres with their four man democracy finding the whole team stoking the flames of the songwriting process. Two songs for bassist John Deacon, two for drummer Roger Taylor, four for guitarist Brian May and five numbers for the charismatic frontman and pianist Freddie Mercury. Best known for its two flamboyant but gleefully hilarious Single / B-Side combo “Bicycle Race” and “Fat Bottomed Girls,” JAZZ remains one of the bands funnest and most memorable albums of their career that runs the gamut from the usual piano ballads to the heavy rockers. In fact, JAZZ is one of QUEEN’s heaviest albums that takes the hard rock of the earliest albums and even brings back the some of the progressive experimental touches.

JAZZ consisted of thirteen tracks that bounce all over the place with each taking a 180 from its predecessor. Although Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on the island of Zanzibar (part of Tanzania in Africa) and raised both there and in India, he had mostly eschewed any ethnic and folk heritages of his youth in his music and instead swallowed the Western world’s pop pill paradigm completely. Surprisingly, JAZZ begins with a tribute to his past with the opening “Mustapha,” that consists of a mix of English, Arabic and Persian lyrics. It starts off as exotic Middle Eastern music but then incorporates the expected QUEEN pop rock bombast with Mercury belting out his famous “Allah, Allah, Allah we pray for you” in fine form. The track was a single in some countries and the intro was often used in live settings as a variation of segueing to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

After the QUEEN’s version of silk road magic ends, the hilarious and bizarrely performed “Fat Bottomed Girls” finds the band in great harmony with Mercury and May sharing lead vocals. The official video featured a large number of naked girls riding bicycles since “Bicycle Race” was the single and this was the B-side. The track displays a standard bluesy hard rock sound that keeps the arena rock appeal while adding a more heavy metal feel with a drop D guitar tuning. The track is followed by the piano ballad “Jealousy” which begins with a bizarre sitar sound that is created from the strings of the piano, another technique dating back to the track “White Queen (As It Began)” from QUEEN II. The album takes many elements from the first album to the previous “News Of The World.”

The most recognized track on the album “Bicycle Race” is one of the most complex on the album and was inspired by the 1978 Tour de France when passing through Montreal where the band happened to be recording JAZZ at Mountain Studios. The track effortlessly fuses traditional pop music’s two verses and a chorus but adds a bicycle bell solo, unusual chord progressions and progressive time signatures that jump around. The multi-tracked vocal harmonies just kill it as do the multi-layered guitar antics of May. This is one of the most infectiously addictive songs ever, a true sing-along song if there ever was one. May also cranks out some very idiosyncratic guitar solos and the effortless deviation into an unrelated style seems like divine intervention.

Tracks like “If You Can’t Beat Them,” “Let Me Entertain You” and “Dead On Time” are more hard rockers mixed with soft parts while “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “In Only Seven Days” are lighter numbers. “Dreamer’s Ball” and “Fun It” are something completely different. The former, a tribute to Elvis Presley who had died the previous year of recording JAZZ, is a tasty bluesy number which is May’s baby with prominent guitars and has a rather dreamy high school ball charm. “Fun It” debuts QUEEN’s first foray into disco with a funky simple groove. While Taylor wrote it, he and Mercury perform shared lead vocals and while it may be the weakest track on the album, it clearly represents the direction of the future beginning with the following album “The Game’s” huge hit “Another One Bites The Dust” as the drumbeat is nearly identical.

The album ends with “More Of That Jazz” which is loop based performed entirely by May. While it’s a bona fide separate track, it morphs into a recapping medley that contains snippets of "Dead on Time", "Bicycle Race", "Mustapha", "If You Can't Beat Them", "Fun It", and "Fat Bottomed Girls” which perfectly sums up the entire feel of the JAZZ album, namely a recap of the entire 70s QUEEN experience. Hard rock with prog elements from the first two albums? Check. Sophisticated overdubs and multi-layered tracks of the “Days At…” albums? You bet. Pop based arena rock digestibility of “Sheer Heart Attack” and “News Of The World?” Oh yeah. QUEEN dished out their last great album with JAZZ and it truly feels like an end of an era in retrospect. It seems like they had already planned their next move which would be to nurture the pop elements and drop the heavier, the progressive and outlandish elements that made them, well QUEEN. Personally i never cared much for the albums that follow save a few tracks but on JAZZ they crafted another excellent assemblage of quirky catchy songs, which sadly ended here.

QUEEN News Of The World

Album · 1977 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
From the very beginning, QUEEN cleverly walked that line that skirted a pigeonholed genre definition and rather crafted a unique mix of hard rock, piano pop ballads, touches of jazz, Victorian music hall and subtle and not so hints of progressive rock which culminated on their hugely successful album “A Night At The Opera” which continued on the followup and sequel “A Day At The Races.” While the progressive rock scene was fading and then suddenly practically obliterated once the Sex Pistols detonated their punk rock bomb onto an unsuspecting music industry which once unleashed, the world would never be the same. Wise bands either folded completely or adapted. QUEEN wasn’t going anywhere and found a way to sally forth without completely abandoning their signature idiosyncrasies but by merely streamlining them into more digestible packets that would find them in a more commercial mood on their sixth album NEWS OF THE WORLD.

The punk rock scene was predominantly a backlash against the pompous fantasy bands that were more engaged in escapism than confronting the realities and injustices of the world that surrounded them. While the true prog acts were the most greatly affected, pseudo-prog light bands like QUEEN felt the impact as well but had less of a problem adapting since they were already half way there. Indeed, the relevance of the early 70s arena rock bands was fading and a new brand of ugly in-yer-face stripped down errancy was in the works ranging from the angry anarcho-punk of the Sex Pistols to the more artistic post-punk that followed. Adding to the pressures of change were also the more funk fueled bass grooves of the disco scene. The new audiences either wanted the world go down in flames or they simply wanted to usher in a new form of simplified escapism in the form of the dance floor. Either way, QUEEN was due for a makeover and that’s exactly what the doctor ordered and delivered with NEWS OF THE WORLD.

The irony of QUEEN’s situation was in that their music was about as far from punk as possible. It was multi-layered, slick and often had more in common with a ballet recital than a rock band but as luck would have it they would record their sixth album in the same studio that the Sex Pistols were working on their landmark punk album “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here Comes The Sex Pistols.” Joining the ranks of the once complex bands who were watering down their sound in response to the new wave reality, QUEEN tamed their musical compositions significantly and focused on more straight forward arrangements that kept the tracks more easily categorized with infinitely easier to swallow hooks. The tracks ranged from straight forward blues rock to funk and even a punkish metal guitar driven fury in the form of “Sheer Heart Attack,” an unfinished track during the sessions of the album of the same name that was revived for a modern day adaptation.

While QUEEN tamed the complexity, they made no attempt to decrease the diverse elements that made them stand out from the rest of the rock world. NEWS OF THE WORLD finds just as many musical genres nestled into the mix and while the over-the-top production had been tamed and used to create subtleties that weren’t so overweening, they were still there to be found. The music on the other hand was a new form of sing-along arena rock that was designed to be played in a live audience setting and nothing conveys this more than the album’s opening dynamic duo powerhouse combo of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions,” which have been literally played somewhere ceaselessly since they emerged back in 1977, especially after having caught on as being as mandatory as the national anthem at stadium sports events. Although played to death, the anthemic stomp and dripping with attitude lyrical content has guaranteed that the band probably made a billion dollars in royalties off these two tracks alone.

While the two openers are the sounds of dread for many including myself, the rest of the album isn’t quite as bad if taken in an arena pop rock context. “Sheer Heart Attack” is a feisty heavy metal punk infused rocker that proves that QUEEN didn’t wimp out while they were strolling down simplicity alley and an equal middle finger back to the punk crowds that made fun of their musical style. NEWS OF THE WORLD also became more a democracy for the band with both Roger Taylor and John Deacon composing two songs each. Taylor crafted the heavy ball busting “Sheer Heart Attack” and “Fight From The Inside” whereas Deacon contributed with “Spread Your Wings” and “Who Needs You.” May would write four tracks and Mercury only three making this the least Mercury dominant album up to this point in their career.

NEWS OF THE WORLD is a fairly decent set of pop rock tunes laced with other genres minus the first two overplayed tracks that i can no longer tolerate in any way shape or form. The tracks range from the same operatic piano led rock such as “All Dead, All Dead” and “Fight From The Inside” to the more funk and jazz laced tracks like “Get Down, Make Love,” “Sleeping On The Sidewalk” and “My Melancholy Blues.” Some of the music hall tendencies of the past still emerge briefly in tracks like “It’s Late,” but have mostly been replaced by bluesy rockers that are more suitable for a live arena rock setting. This was the period when QUEEN were on top of the world as far as playing in live venues.

While most fans of QUEEN’s earlier music won’t find NEWS OF THE WORLD to be anywhere near the top of their favorite QUEEN albums, the album has remained their most successful commercially speaking with sales exceeding 10 million as well as making them one of the most successful arena rock bands of all time. While i rarely listen to this one, mainly due to the two opening tracks, this is not a bad album for a once mighty progressively infused rock band in simplified form but in terms of sophistication a clear step down the totem pole. The artwork was also a stroke of genius in that it cleverly latched onto the sci-fi themes in the same year that Star Wars stole the public’s attention, so no matter what you may think of the music on NEWS OF THE WORLD, one can only gaze back in time in admiration as to how cleverly QUEEN played their cards in terms of a business oriented brand name and laughed all the way to the bank a mere four years after they were in utter poverty. Now that’s a true tale of rags to riches if i’ve ever heard one.

QUEEN A Day At The Races

Album · 1976 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
Oh how the tides had turned for QUEEN in two short years. After completing the “Sheer Heart Attack” tour the band was destitute despite cracking the top 20 with two singles, having a high charting album and a successful world tour that consisted of 77 live performances. This was mostly due to the miscreancy of their manager Norman Sheffield. After firing the shady bloodsucker, the band hired Elton John’s manager John Reid who would instill in them the confidence to sally forth and crank out the best album possible. Lo and behold, QUEEN did just that with the lauded classic “A Night At The Opera,” a behemoth work of massive proportion that took everything QUEEN and put it on steroids. The album was considered the most expensive ever to make at the time with lavish production and countless studio time to make it one of the most classic albums in recorded music.

So how does one follow “A Night At The Opera?” Well, with A DAY AT THE RACES of course. Realizing that they had at last found the limelight they deserved with shady managers well behind, QUEEN went the logical route and created a sequel to their 1975 masterpiece with basically the same exact album cover albeit with a black background substituting for a white and yet another Marx Brothers film title which prompted Graucho Marx to contact the band and congratulate them on their success and excellent choice of album titles! The one two punch of Marx Bros film titles prompted the band to promise that there would never be any albums titled “Duck Soup” or “Room Service” in the future and that a new chapter of QUEEN would begin with the very next album.

QUEEN’s fifth album was eagerly anticipated and basically went platinum before it even went on sale but it when it did hit the market it shot up to #1 in various countries like the UK, Japan and the Netherlands as well as hitting #5 on the US Billboard 200. QUEEN were now superstars a mere two years after being on skid row and dangerously close to having no future as a band at all. Commercially A DAY AT THE RACES continued all the fortune and fame that “A Night At The Opera” had won this eccentric English quartet however despite the attempt to create a sequel which finds a similar musical approach of incorporating bluesy heavy rock, piano pop, waltzes and Victorian music hall themes with other disparate genres, the album comes off with a completely different feel. Unlike the previous album, this one also has gospel and jazz elements but tends to have less of the progressive rock nuances more present on the first four albums despite the many time signatures that do occur.

While A DAY AT THE RACES very much uses its predecessor as the template, there was a deliberate attempt not to merely carbon copy and paste onto a new album despite the almost identical album covers. Once again the entire band lent a hand in both the songwriting process and multi-instrumentalism with the usual Mercury and May tracks receiving the most exposure. Predictably the May penned tracks are heavier and guitar oriented. The feisty opener “Tie Your Mother Down” actually dated back to 1968 at the time when when May was working on his PhD in Astronomy and wrote the track on a Spanish classical guitar while vacationing in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The track was resurrected and given the heavy metal treatment and one of the better track on the album which made the perfect opener to SHOUT to the world that QUEEN was back.

Likewise, May’s other contributions included “Long Away” on which he not only played guitar but sang as well as the closer “Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)” which has two choruses sung in Japanese. The best May penned track is sure the heavy “White Man” which tackles the sticky subject of the atrocities that Native American populations were subjected to by the conquistadors of Europeans who stole and killed with impunity and how they continue to do so. This is one of the heaviest tracks the band has ever cranked out with chunky guitar riffs and rough and tumble harmonic vocal delivers by all the members.

Both Deacon and Taylor contribute a song each just as on the previous album. Deacon’s was “You And I” which is a piano driven track where Deacon himself plays acoustic guitar but not nearly as memorable as his outstanding “You’re My Best Friend” on “Opera.” Likewise Taylor delivered the guitar slide heavy “Drowse” which utilized the same 6/8 time signature that he used with “I’m In Love With My Car” although it sounds nothing like that track. Instead it is a mid-paced rock track with a very bluesy feel. Likewise, while decent not as memorable as “I’m In Love With My Car.”

The rest of the lion’s share was written by Freddie Mercury who implement this piano jangles as the basis for the songwriting process. He cranked out the expected similar ballads such as “You Take My Breathe Away” which began with a rather cool multi-tracked vocal intro turned piano ballad and outroed the same way. While Mercury would spew with vitriol on “Death On Two Legs” about his former business manager, on “The Millionaire Waltz” he would do the exact opposite by dedicating this one to his current manager John Reid who helped turn the tides. The track is noticeably similar to “Bohemian Rhapsody” in that the piano arrangements utilize the same multi-key and multi-meter elements as well as the multi-tracked guitars and vocal styles. The track also has many time signature changes making this one the most progressive on the album. The tasty “Somebody To Love” was influenced by the gracious gospel work of Aretha Franklin and become the big hit of the album.

While QUEEN was riding high by 1976 as they quickly became one of rock music hottest musical acts, it was also clear that there seemed little they could do to top the majesty of their miracle album “A Night At The Opera.” While all the elements were recycled for the following A DAY AT THE RACES, this sequel is clearly not up to par with the magnanimous and outlandishness of its predecessor. While there are many great tracks on board, none have the graced by the hands of god effect that “Opera” delivered with ease. At this point QUEEN was becoming formulaic as a pop rock act and would become more of a brand name rather than a true art rock band that had launched them into the limelight. Despite not living up to the magnitude that “Opera” delivered, A DAY AT THE RACES is still a stellar QUEEN album that delivers all the expected eccentricities, musical diversity and of course seas of overdubs to infinity. While Mercury’s wings may have become singed because he flew too high too quickly, at this point he and the rest of QUEEN were still airborne at least.

QUEEN A Night At The Opera

Album · 1975 · Proto-Metal
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siLLy puPPy
By the time their third album “Sheer Heart Attack” had been released and run its course, QUEEN found themselves perched on a rather peculiar precipice. Not only had that album launched them onto the world’s stage with two huge hit singles, a Billboard top 20 album charting and a successful debut headlining tour that took them across the world on a 77 show live circuit that lasted several months but due to the rather unscrupulous shadiness of their business manager Norman Sheffield, the band was left in a state of unthinkable poverty despite the new found success, a state of affairs so utterly dismal that drummer Roger Taylor was even advised not to drum too hard because they couldn’t even afford to replace the drum sticks if they happened to break.

This left QUEEN in a very strange position where they would either soon become irrelevant and fade into history as a mere footnote of obscure 70s flashes in the pan or on the contrary go back into the studio and create one of the best albums of all time. After acquiring the management skills of John Reid who had helped Elton John become one of the top stars of the 70s, the band went into many studios and cranked out their fourth album A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, which took the name of the famous Marx Brothers film and it should go without saying created their most successful and revered album of their entire career. Fate was truly on QUEEN’s side as EMI Records not only welcomed the band’s return to the studio but had enough faith to grace it with a lavish production job which would make A NIGHT AT THE OPERA the most expensive album ever recorded at the time.

With this do or die situation at hand, the 70s version of the Fab Four: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Deacon and Roger Taylor spent months in various studios crafting their most ambitious album yet and in many ways, the album that the previous three had been hinting at all along. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA took QUEEN’s eclectic styles of genre skipping with a lush complex production that implemented unthinkable layers of overdubs and multitrack recording techniques. All the efforts proved successful of course with A NIGHT AT THE OPERA going platinum on both sides of the Atlantic and spawning the band’s most successful single of their career “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a multi-segmented song so magnanimous in nature that it single-handedly made QUEEN one of the most popular rock bands in history.

Like the albums prior, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA continued QUEEN’s signature mix of catchy pop hooks, classically infused piano riffs, heavy rock bombast and progressive rock nuances. This fourth album puts all those attributes on steroids and finds Freddie Mercury’s operatic flamboyancy reaching its apex. In addition to the expected styles, QUEEN added even more disparate genres such as skiffle, Victorian music hall and even Dixieland jazz which gives A NIGHT AT THE OPERA the ping pong ball effect where one track cedes into another seemingly unrelated one that often gives the impression that tracks were recorded by completely different bands however careful listening will reveal a few underlying themes. The tracks segue together in the same key, May’s ubiquitous harmonic guitar overdubs and an extreme appetite for pomp and awe where no limitations are considered.

The state of affairs that found QUEEN starving while the bigwigs running the show got rich off their efforts found Freddie Mercury in a less than happy mood where he lashed out in the form of the album’s opener “Death On Two Legs (Dedicated To….)” which once the story is understood about the bloodsucking management makes perfect sense as the name Norman Sheffield can easily be inserted in the missing credit. The track opens with Mercury’s infamous piano style which quickly finds May’s equally eccentric guitar parts joining in. The track is a vituperatory heavy rock format with a catchy melodic development. While no names were mentioned, the thematic delivery ruffled feathers and found a lawsuit for defamation that was settled out of court.

Starting with the second track “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon”, the album begins to alternate between heavy rock tracks and more piano driven music hall styles which are rather short little ditties that offer the spirit of the variation experienced in the music hall era of English musical halls that remained popular from the 1830s well into the 1960s. QUEEN joined bands like The Beatles and The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in implanting this traditional form of music into their format. After track two’s short stint, it is quickly followed by the outstanding Roger Taylor penned “I’m In Love With My Car” which not only remains one of QUEEN’s most recognizable tracks with its heavily produced series of guitar sounds and unmistakable hooks but adds the humorous touch that fits in with the album titles Marx Brothers theme. While Taylor wasn’t a main songwriter, he was sort of the George Harrison of the band meaning when he was allowed to contribute he only delivered top quality.

Next up is “You’re My Best Friend,” a tender ballad that allowed bassist John Deacon to shine where he not only wrote the song but played the Wurlitzer piano as well as his usual bass. This would prove to be another huge hit for QUEEN which hit the top 10 and has remained one of the band’s most popular having appeared on every sort of Greatest Hits compilation conjured up over the years. Like Taylor, Deacon proved to be a vital ingredient to the band’s overall chemistry even if his contributions to songwriting were overshadowed by the dualistic prowess of the formidable Mercury and May team.

The next two tracks were all written by May with the self-described sci-fi skiffle track “39” being written and sung by Brian May. This acoustic guitar tale of a group of space explorers who engage in a time defying journey finds Deacon playing a double bass and Mercury and Taylor relegated to only serving as backup vocalists. Contrast ensues when the next heavily distorted and heavy rocker “Sweet Lady,” also a May construct, zigzags in waltz timing but finds a more 4/4 rich timing in various segments giving the true rocker of the album a rather progressive feel with one of May’s heaviest off-the-leash guitar solos on the entire album.

After the honky tonk jangle piano flashback of the Mercury piano driven “Seaside Rendezvous” which found a wealth of wind instruments such as clarinet, tuba, trumpets and kazoo and even a thimble induced tap dance section, the second side of the album finds May’s outstanding “The Prophet’s Song” adding some progressive rock touches, which is one of the album’s most ambitious tracks as well as longest as it extends past the eight minute mark. Graced with a toy Japanese koto, a strong guitar driven melody, passionately delivered lyrics and an unusual vocal canon that is bathed in psychedelic production techniques, this track displays a wild display of ever-changing dynamic shifts as it refers to the Book of Genesis with the famous line “return like the white dove” in reference to the tale of Noah’s Ark. It also showcases some of the band’s most outstanding vocal harmonies on overdrive. Probably one of my all time favorite tracks by QUEEN.

While the Mercury piano ballad “Love Of My Life” and the May banjo / ukulele Dixieland score “Good Company” are more of brief intermissions than actual serious compositions, they prove to be more like mood generating fluffers for the larger than life “Bohemian Rhapsody” which has remained QUEEN’s most recognizable contribution to the music scene in all of history. This idiosyncratic behemoth was developed as Mercury’s classic piano runs which dictate the other instrumentation but the score runs the gamut from tender piano ballad music to the famous ending opera segment that exhorts operatic themes in true Wagnerian pomp with references to Scaramouche, Galileo, Figaro, Beelzebub, Bismillah and of courses the fandango. The famous heavy metal ending and reprise to the piano melody have made this standout track immortal and entire books could be written about it. The track hit the top 10 once again in the 90s when it appeared on the film “Wayne’s World” proving that the track had multi-generational appeal.

As the album ends with the short reworked cover version of “God Save The Queen,” the British national anthem, it signifies that a new royalty had arrived with the release of A NIGHT AT THE OPERA and with a new royal seal appearing on the album cover, it was clear that indeed a strange updated musical act had usurped the rock and roll crown and delivered one of the most ambitious, most expensive and most outlandish albums to have emerged in the 70s. While i find this album to the masterpiece that most deem it to be, it doesn’t necessarily start out that way. While some tracks are clearly stronger than other, a masterpiece isn’t about every track existing on an equal playing field but rather how they are juxtaposed next to each other and what their purpose is. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA has instantly lovable tracks but once the instant flash wears off, allows repeated listens to unleash new magic. That’s exactly what A NIGHT AT THE OPERA offers. An ever changing series of reactions that allows this to remain a classic in modern times just as it must’ve been when it was released. The only downside to this album is that the band was never able to replicate its grandiose heights again but nevertheless it made QUEEN a household name for the rest of time and continues to have new periods of interest.

QUEEN Movies Reviews

QUEEN Queen Rock Montreal & Live Aid

Movie · 2007 · Hard Rock
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Kingcrimsonprog
I have seen a few other Queen DVDs and have a penchant for concert Blu Rays in general so I had high expectations going into this. Queen Rock Montreal not only lived up to my expectations but in many areas exceeded them. Not only is the concert filmed just before the synthesizers-period, with the band absolutely playing the hell out of their instruments, but the technical aspects of the concert recording are top notch too, leaving the whole thing great in all departments.

The sound quality is absolutely superb, crystal clear and very big, which really brings to attention all the skill and virtuosity with which Queen played the gig, and that's not just the mix but the recording quality itself too.

The video, which is of course excellent in the main concert, has been scrutinized and cleaned up on the original 35mm prints before being re-scanned for maximum quality, there is even a fairly detailed description of the process in the linear notes. Consequently, the concert looks amazing and clear in a way no other Queen concert does as of yet.

In terms of the concert itself, there is no question of quality whatsoever. Queen are absolutely electric and deliver a wide array of some of their hardest and heaviest material in about as energetic and impressive a performance as has been captured on film, and mix it up with a few quieter numbers for balance and variety, leaving a full and complete Queen concert experience.

The band don't even just stick to the big radio hits either, playing material such as 'Dragon Attack,' 'Get Down Make Love,' and 'Sheer Heart Attack,' that you wouldn't necessarily expect in with the 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' and 'Under Pressure,' level songs.

The highlights for me were the excellent performance of 'I'm In Love With My Car,' with Roger both singing masterfully and nailing the drum fills to perfection as well as their fast and hard rendition of early number 'Keep Yourself Alive.'

The band's performance is excellent, the track listing is excellent and the audio visual quality is excellent. What more could you possibly ask for in a concert Blu Ray ?

In terms of extras, you get commentary from Brian and Roger, A hilariously bad 80s TV special on Queen, An interesting rehearsal/interview for Live Aid and of course the excellent Live Aid performance itself, which doesn't even require describing it is that well regarded.

Overall I highly recommend this product, I enjoy a lot of Live Concert DVDs and Blu Rays and this is definitely one of the finest I've come across, especially if you like the harder rock side of Queen.

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