Category: Queen

Queen – Sheer Heart Attack

ARTIST: Queen                            220px-Queen_Sheer_Heart_Attack

TITLE: Sheer Heart Attack

YEAR RELEASED: 1974

CHART ACTION: #12 US, #2 UK

SINGLES: Killer Queen (#12 US, #2 UK), Now I’m Here (#11 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Stone Cold Crazy

LINEUP: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Queen solidifies its home fan base, and breaks through in the US with this diverse and tasty record.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Running out of the gate quickly with “Brighton Rock”, a showcase for Brian May’s guitar work and Freddie Mercury’s vocal range, then hitting the listener with the breakthrough track “Killer Queen”, this third record from Queen started fast. It didn’t relent.

Campy songs, ballads, some prog work, layers upon layers of harmonies, and even a medley of three diverse songs that work well together – this record had it all for Queen and was a bluepring for their work in the rest of the decade.

Some of the proggy stuff is a bit heavy handed, and some of the ballady songs a bit too earnest, but for the most part this is Queen at their best.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: It’s said the “In the Lap of the Gods” has the highest vocals on any Queen song – it’s a scream by Roger Taylor.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, the latest one had live and BBC tracks 

GRADE: A: Whenever I start playing this one, I always run through it a couple of times. Just a couple of tracks aren’t up to snuff.

 

Queen – Queen II

ARTIST: Queen                                         220px-queen_ii

TITLE:  Queen II

YEAR RELEASED: 1974

CHART ACTION: #49 US, #5 UK

SINGLES: Seven Seas of Rhye (#10 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nothing really hit the radio here.

LINEUP: Freddy Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Very proggy, kinda concept-y second album from Queen doesn’t work all of the time, with some great individual songs bogged down by a concept.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Queen really went for the gusto on their second album, and proved they had some great versatility in them and their sound. Yet, they hitched their second record to a concept that seemed to be muddled at times. You can’t really half-do a concept album, and some songs didn’t seem to flow with it.

This is also one of the softer Queen albums. There is some definite Brian May guitar magic happening, but the album focuses less on bombastic arrangements and more on the acoustic guitar and piano.

I’ve run hot and cold on this album. I know some people love it, but it seems too disjointed and Queen’s prog efforts aren’t as strong as their other songs.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: There were two sides, the White Side (all written by Brian May save one Roger Taylor track), and the Black Side (all written by Freddy Mercury)

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, BBC cuts and a b-side

GRADE: B:  It’s hot-and-cold, and I’m hot-and-cold on the album in general.

Queen – Queen

ARTIST: Queen 220px-Queen_Queen

TITLE:  Queen

YEAR RELEASED: 1973

CHART ACTION: #83 US, #24 UK

SINGLES: Keep Yourself Alive, Liar

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably not – radio didn’t go back to this one.

LINEUP: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Queen’s first album is definitely a Queen album. Right out of the gate they had their sound and style.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When the first cut comes out of your speakers, “Keep Yourself Alive”, you can’t help but turn it up loud. It’s one of the best opening salvos on a debut record. It’s probably about the only one that casual fans know, too.

The other tracks? Most of them are pretty darn good. “Liar” and “Jesus” sound like they could have been released at any time by the band. “Son & Daughter” is one of the heaviest songs they’ve ever done. The rest range from ballads to songs in the fantasy realm (like they’d explore on Queen II).

The guitar sound is there. Many of the vocal overdubs are there. (Though not as over the top as they would get). Freddie has his voice. It’s a great album and fits right in their catalog in the 70’s.

NOTES & MINUTAE: John Deacon was listed as “Deacon John” in the first pressings.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  A bonus cut that was supposed to be on the album had they been satisfied with the mix and then demos cut in 1971.

GRADE: A: It’s a great success and a contender as one of the best debut albums ever.