“A Self-Consciously Ridiculous And Overblown Hard Rock Masterpiece!”
And with that quote, I present to you one of the wildest albums ever created – and it is, indeed, a masterpiece!
All Hail The Queen!
Well, the iconic band Queen, that is! They are one of rock’s most legendary bands, with an amazing musical legacy, and one of the most entertaining and talented lead singers of all time…
We Are The Champions!
There are so many reasons to love Queen: they were one of the first “glam rock” bands, and their flamboyant “theatrical rock” was showcased in such classic tunes as “Somebody To Love”, “We Are The Champions” and of course, “Fat Bottomed Girls”, who make the rocking world go round!
Here is some history, courtesy of wikipedia: “Queen formed in London in 1970, originally consisting of lead singer Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon and Roger Taylor on drums. 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 further diverse styles into their music.”
A Night At The Opera!
It was the brilliant album “A Night at the Opera” in 1975 that gained the band international success. Included was the seminal “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which stayed at number one in the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks, and gave the band their first top ten hit in the US.
In a retrospective review for Allmusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine called the album “a self-consciously ridiculous and overblown hard rock masterpiece” – and while that is certainly true, it’s all the more reason that it’s a mad mad mad mad masterpiece!
Lift Your Crown To “Bohemian Rhapsody”!
Perhaps the most brilliant song in the Queen repertoire is “Bohemian Rhapsody” – which is, of course, from “A Night At The Opera!”
Here is the classic music video!
As wikipedia reports: “Bohemian Rhapsody” was written by Freddie Mercury, with the first guitar solo composed by May. All piano, bass and drum parts, as well as the vocal arrangements, were thought up by Mercury on a daily basis and written down “in blocks” (using note names instead of sheets) on a phone book. The other members recorded their respective instruments with no concept of how their tracks would be utilized in the final mix. The now famous operatic section was originally intended to be only a short interlude of “Galileos” that connected the ballad and hard rock portions of the song.
Of course, the song became even more iconic when Dana Carvey and Mike Myers performed the song in the classic scene from the movie “Wayne’s World.”
This song will live on forever: it also encapsulates everything that makes “A Night At The Opera” such a mad masterpiece – it blends a multitude of musical styles in a crescendo of creative madness…
An Album Full Of Magic!
While “Rhapsody” is the most well known song on the album, there are many other moments of musical genius as well, such as the other hit single, “You’re My Best Friend.”
“Best Friend” is a beautiful song, immediately blending the unique sound of Queen with a masterful pop sensibility…in fact, the album never stops being a virtuoso demonstration of a band at its musical peak!
“A Night At The Opera” Facts!
“A Night at the Opera” was the band’s fourth studio album, released in November 1975. Co-produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, it was the most expensive album ever recorded at the time of its release! It also has some of the most entertaining songs ever put on vinyl, such as…
“I’m In Love With My Car!”
This is one wild wild song! “I’m in Love with My Car” is amongst Roger Taylor’s most famous Queen songs. It was initially taken as a joke by Brian May, who thought that Taylor was not serious when he heard a demo recording. It’s Queen rocking out at their hardest!
Here’s an amazing live version of the song from 1981, as part of a combo with “Killer Queen”:
The lyrics for “I’m In Love With My Car” were inspired by one of the band’s roadies, Johnathan Harris, whose Triumph TR4 was evidently the “love of his life”. The song is dedicated to him, the album says: “Dedicated to Johnathan Harris, boy racer to the end”.
And Speaking Of “Love Of My Life”…
Another iconic Queen song came from “Night At The Opera” as well: this brilliant ballad written by Freddie Mercury. “Love of My Life” was written for Mercury’s girlfriend at the time, Mary Austin. Mercury played piano (including a classical solo) and did all of the vocals.
“Love of My Life” was such a concert favorite that Mercury frequently stopped singing and allowed the audience to take over. Again, Mercury was a consummate performer, and Queen was an amazing band.
There are many more great moments from the album, and it’s so much fun to listen to straight through. Here is the album’s entire track list:
1. “Death on Two Legs”
2. “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon”
3. “I’m in Love with My Car”
4. “You’re My Best Friend”
6. “Sweet Lady”
7. “Seaside Rendezvous”
1. “The Prophet’s Song”
2. “Love of My Life”
3. “Good Company”
4. “Bohemian Rhapsody”
5. “God Save the Queen” (Instrumental)
“A Night At The Opera” has been remastered and re-released with some great special additions, so buy it and listen to one of the wildest, most entertaining albums ever made!