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QUEEN

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Queen picture
Queen biography
Founded in London, UK in 1971 - Still active as of 2017

QUEEN are a four piece English Art rock band, formerly fronted by the flamboyant Freddie Mercury on vocals and piano, Brian May on guitar, Roger-Meddows-Taylor on drums and John Deacon on bass-guitar. Despite numerous rumours about Queen splitting up over the years, they never actually did, and the four remained together until the untimely death of Freddie Mercury on November 24th of 1991. Currently (2005) they are touring with Paul Rodgers (ex Free) on vocals.

The origins of Queen date back as early as 1967, when Roger Taylor and Brian May joined forces, and together with singer bass-player Tim Staffel started the psychedelic hard rock group Smile.

SMILE

Smile played a few gigs, supporting such recently formed groups as YES and PINK FLOYD, playing mostly covers, but extending them up to 20 minutes or so, changing tempos frequently. The album "Ghost of a Smile", released posthumously in 1998, is a pale reflection of what the band achieved on the live circuits.

Brian May and Tim Staffel were the main writers in Smile, and they released a single in the US ("Earth"), which didn't do much on the charts. Some other attempts at making a breakthrough were made, but due to the absence of commercial success Tim Staffel decided to try his luck with another band (Humpy Bong). Freddie (original name Farrokh Bulsara), was no stranger to Smile, and had already started performing with Wreckage and later Sour Milk Sea. He had attended several gigs of Smile, being both a friend of Tim Staffel and Roger Taylor, and was interested in joining the band. Freddie already had a vision for the direction Smile had to take, introducing flamboyance, bombast, glamour and visual presentation to their music and live shows.

QUEEN

Shortly after becoming a member Freddie proposed the new name for the band which would remain with them. He also decided to change his surname to something more becoming of a rock star. Mercury, being the winged messenger of the gods was an audacious name to take, but it suited Freddie fine. After the search for a bass player came to an end with John Deacon, Queen was ready for success, but it still took them 2 years before they could create their debut album.

The 1970s were a time for excess, especially in rock music, and few bands came quite as close to epitomising this excess as Queen. Queen intended to be a larger than life rock group, the music ...
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QUEEN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

QUEEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 540 ratings
Queen
1973
4.36 | 831 ratings
Queen II
1974
3.97 | 610 ratings
Sheer Heart Attack
1974
4.29 | 962 ratings
A Night At The Opera
1975
3.78 | 542 ratings
A Day At The Races
1976
3.24 | 496 ratings
News Of The World
1977
3.49 | 492 ratings
Jazz
1978
2.83 | 422 ratings
The Game
1980
2.14 | 342 ratings
Flash Gordon (OST)
1980
1.87 | 382 ratings
Hot Space
1982
2.91 | 351 ratings
The Works
1984
3.00 | 377 ratings
A Kind Of Magic
1986
3.20 | 365 ratings
The Miracle
1989
3.87 | 532 ratings
Innuendo
1991
3.26 | 307 ratings
Made In Heaven
1995
1.91 | 165 ratings
Queen + Paul Rodgers: The Cosmos Rocks
2008

QUEEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.54 | 169 ratings
Live Killers
1979
1.82 | 84 ratings
Live Magic
1986
3.47 | 54 ratings
At The Beeb
1989
3.98 | 127 ratings
Live At Wembley '86
1992
3.83 | 63 ratings
Queen on fire - Live at the Bowl
2004
2.72 | 40 ratings
Queen & Paul Rodgers: Return Of The Champions
2005
4.09 | 53 ratings
Rock Montreal
2007
3.06 | 17 ratings
Queen and Paul Rodgers - Live in Ukraine
2009
3.69 | 4 ratings
Hungarian Rhapsody - Live In Budapest
2012
4.28 | 35 ratings
Live At The Rainbow '74
2014
4.29 | 17 ratings
A Night At The Odeon
2015
4.55 | 11 ratings
On Air
2016

QUEEN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.67 | 14 ratings
We Will Rock You
1984
3.51 | 11 ratings
Rare Live : A Concert Through Time And Space
1989
3.26 | 20 ratings
The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
1999
3.41 | 37 ratings
Greatest Video Hits 1
2002
3.93 | 30 ratings
Greatest Video Hits 2
2003
4.27 | 81 ratings
Live At Wembley Stadium (DVD)
2003
4.24 | 32 ratings
Queen On Fire - Live At The Bowl
2004
3.96 | 16 ratings
Queen + Paul Rodgers - Return Of The Champions
2005
4.43 | 14 ratings
Classic Albums: A Night At The Opera
2006
3.52 | 37 ratings
Rock Montreal (DVD)
2007
3.57 | 14 ratings
Queen + Paul Rodgers - Live in Ukraine
2009
4.60 | 5 ratings
Days of Our Lives
2011
4.08 | 20 ratings
Queen - Hungarian Rhapsody: Live in Budapest (1986)
2012
4.83 | 24 ratings
Live At The Rainbow '74
2014
4.73 | 11 ratings
A Night At The Odeon
2015

QUEEN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.47 | 6 ratings
The Best Of Queen
1976
3.43 | 96 ratings
Greatest Hits
1981
3.79 | 5 ratings
The Complete Works
1985
3.22 | 67 ratings
Greatest Hits II
1991
3.69 | 13 ratings
Classic Queen
1992
4.00 | 16 ratings
Queen Rocks
1997
3.11 | 18 ratings
Smile: Ghost Of A Smile
1997
2.20 | 42 ratings
Greatest Hits III
1999
2.28 | 6 ratings
Stone Cold Classics
2006
2.32 | 6 ratings
The Singles Collection Volume 1
2008
2.29 | 5 ratings
The Singles Collection Volume 2
2009
2.35 | 11 ratings
Absolute Greatest
2009
2.28 | 6 ratings
The Singles Collection Volume 3
2010
2.29 | 5 ratings
The Singles Collection Volume 4
2010
4.20 | 5 ratings
Deep Cuts, Volume 1 (1973-1976)
2011
3.80 | 5 ratings
Deep Cuts, Volume 2 (1977-1982)
2011
3.80 | 5 ratings
Deep Cuts, Volume 3 (1984-1995)
2011
3.05 | 3 ratings
Icon
2013
3.42 | 12 ratings
Forever
2014
4.25 | 4 ratings
On Air (Deluxe Edition)
2016
3.75 | 7 ratings
Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack)
2018

QUEEN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 16 ratings
Keep Yourself Alive / Son and Daughter
1973
3.52 | 18 ratings
Liar / Doing All Right
1974
3.96 | 23 ratings
Seven Seas of Rhye / See What a Fool I've Been
1974
4.35 | 23 ratings
Killer Queen / Flick of the Wrist
1974
4.20 | 20 ratings
Now I'm Here / Lily of the Valley
1975
3.85 | 13 ratings
Lily of the Valley / Keep Yourself Alive
1975
4.16 | 29 ratings
Bohemian Rhapsody / I'm in Love With My Car
1975
3.28 | 23 ratings
You're My Best Friend / '39
1976
3.88 | 23 ratings
Somebody to Love / White Man
1976
4.00 | 16 ratings
Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) / Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
1977
3.76 | 17 ratings
Tie Your Mother Down / You and I
1977
3.62 | 13 ratings
Long Away / You and I
1977
3.33 | 28 ratings
We Are the Champions / We Will Rock You
1977
4.00 | 9 ratings
Queen's First E.P.
1977
3.50 | 23 ratings
Spread Your Wings / Sheer Heart Attack
1978
4.00 | 16 ratings
Mustapha / Dead on Time
1978
3.19 | 12 ratings
Mustapha / In Only Seven Days
1978
3.92 | 12 ratings
It's Late / Sheer Heart Attack
1978
2.96 | 26 ratings
Bicycle Race / Fat Bottomed Girls
1978
3.75 | 8 ratings
Love of My Life [Live] / Now I'm Here [Live]
1979
3.90 | 20 ratings
Don't Stop Me Now / In Only Seven Days
1979
3.30 | 10 ratings
Jealousy / Fun It
1979
2.67 | 6 ratings
We Will Rock You [Live] / Let Me Entertain You [Live]
1979
2.85 | 13 ratings
Crazy Little Thing Called Love / We Will Rock You [Live]
1979
3.00 | 11 ratings
Crazy Little Thing Called Love / Spread Your Wings
1979
3.58 | 12 ratings
Save Me / Let Me Entertain You [Live]
1980
2.77 | 13 ratings
Play the Game / A Human Body
1980
2.70 | 18 ratings
Another One Bites the Dust / Dragon Attack
1980
3.00 | 8 ratings
Need Your Loving Tonight / Rock It (Prime Jive)
1980
2.31 | 10 ratings
Flash / Football Fight
1980
3.31 | 20 ratings
Under Pressure / Soul Brother
1981
2.90 | 10 ratings
Staying Power / Calling All Girls
1982
2.27 | 11 ratings
Body Language / Life Is Real
1982
3.10 | 10 ratings
Las Palabras De Amor / Cool Cat
1982
2.78 | 9 ratings
Calling All Girls / Put Out the Fire
1982
2.91 | 11 ratings
Back Chat / Staying Power
1982
3.35 | 17 ratings
Radio Ga Ga / I Go Crazy
1984
3.07 | 15 ratings
I Want to Break Free / Machines
1984
3.08 | 12 ratings
It's a Hard Life / Is This the World We Created...?
1984
3.60 | 10 ratings
Hammer to Fall / Tear It Up
1984
2.44 | 9 ratings
Thank God It's Christmas
1984
1.72 | 13 ratings
One Vision
1985
2.75 | 8 ratings
One Year of Love / Gimme the Prize
1986
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Highlander Selection
1986
3.29 | 7 ratings
Princes of the Universe / A Dozen Red Roses for My Darling
1986
2.75 | 8 ratings
A Kind of Magic / A Dozen Red Roses for My Darling
1986
3.00 | 5 ratings
A Kind of Magic [Picture Disc]
1986
2.18 | 14 ratings
Friends Will Be Friends / Seven Seas of Rhye
1986
2.19 | 8 ratings
Pain Is So Close to Pleasure / Don't Lose Your Head
1986
2.57 | 11 ratings
Who Wants to Live Forever / Killer Queen
1986
4.07 | 10 ratings
Princes of the Universe / Gimme the Prize
1986
3.67 | 15 ratings
I Want It All
1989
3.45 | 11 ratings
Breakthru/Stealin'
1989
3.33 | 9 ratings
The Invisible Man / Hijack My Heart
1989
3.78 | 9 ratings
Scandal / My Life Has Been Saved
1989
3.70 | 10 ratings
The Miracle / Stone Cold Crazy [Live]
1989
3.38 | 13 ratings
These Are the Days of Our Lives / Bijou
1991
4.62 | 22 ratings
Innuendo / Bijou
1991
4.67 | 15 ratings
Innuendo (Explosive Version)
1991
4.13 | 16 ratings
I'm Going Slightly Mad
1991
2.53 | 13 ratings
Headlong
1991
4.11 | 17 ratings
The Show Must Go On / Keep Yourself Alive
1991
2.78 | 9 ratings
We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions [EP]
1991
2.13 | 20 ratings
George Michael and Queen With Lisa Stansfield: Five Live
1993
1.80 | 11 ratings
Heaven For Everyone
1995
3.33 | 6 ratings
A Winter's Tale / Thank God It's Christmas
1995
1.63 | 12 ratings
Too Much Love Will Kill You
1996
3.14 | 7 ratings
Let Me Live
1996
3.00 | 7 ratings
You Don't Fool Me - The Remixes
1996
4.00 | 6 ratings
No One But You / Tie Your Mother Down
1997
2.60 | 5 ratings
Queen + Paul Rodgers: Live From Italy
2005
2.67 | 6 ratings
Queen + Paul Rodgers: Reaching Out / Tie Your Mother Down / Fat Bottomed Girls
2005
2.78 | 9 ratings
Queen + Paul Rodgers: Say It's Not True
2007
2.78 | 9 ratings
Queen + Paul Rodgers: C-lebrity / Fire & Water
2008
3.33 | 3 ratings
Stormtroopers In Stilettos
2011

QUEEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Queen II by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.36 | 831 ratings

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Queen II
Queen Prog Related

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars

Despite having loved some of the band's later work (notably A Night at the Opera) since my childhood, I never really explored a lot of Queen's output until relatively recently.

That was a colossal mistake.

Queen II is quite possibly the best album the band ever recorded. It's by far the most progressive - and simultaneously, the heaviest - the band ever got. Twenty-nine and a half of the album's forty-one minutes are taken up by three epic suites that range in length from just over eight to just over twelve minutes, encompassing all but three of the album's songs.

I won't attempt to summarise the numerous twists and turns the album takes over that time, but it's almost impossible to believe it was put together over the span of a month by a group of lads who were in their early to mid-twenties. The arrangement of "The March of the Black Queen", an obvious precursor to "Bohemian Rhapsody" (and possibly even better than its more famous successor), required so many overdubs that the sixteen-track tape wore to transparent. The maturity of the songwriting is remarkable; sandwiched in between the fantasy-themed lyrics are some particularly poignant observations on love and family relationships. The album is incredibly stylistically diverse, reflecting the influence of prog bands like Genesis and Yes, pop bands like the Beatles and the Beach Boys, and hard rock bands like The Who and Led Zeppelin; there are some obvious pop moments like the "Be My Baby" pastiche "Funny How Love Is" (which is fantastic by the way), but they somehow manage to feel progressive anyway, because of how they're worked into longer suites.

I could write another two thousand words raving about this album, but I'm not sure there'd be a point. The only major flaw I can identify here is that Roger Taylor's contribution "The Loser in the End" feels out of place. It's not even a bad song; in fact, it's actually a fantastic hard rock song, but it just feels like it belongs on another album. In retrospect, this album is a strong candidate for one of the launching points of progressive metal, alongside the works bands like King Crimson and Rush were doing around the same time. I feel absolutely foolish for not giving it a listen much sooner, and I've had it almost on repeat for most of the past couple of days - it's been a long time since an album has provoked me to do that.

If all you know of Queen is the radio singles and perhaps A Night at the Opera, do yourself a favour and check this out. If you're interested enough in prog music to be reading this site, you probably won't be disappointed.

 Sheer Heart Attack by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.97 | 610 ratings

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Sheer Heart Attack
Queen Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars After some moderate success with Queen II, which was released in February 1974, barely 6 months had passed and the powers that be were demanding a follow up album, so in July of the same year, the band was writing new music for another album to be released by the end of the same year. There was a major problem, however, and that was the band was unable to even finish their previous tour because Brian May had been hospitalized after contracting hepatitis from a vaccination required for traveling to Austrailia, and then to make matters worse, he was re-hospitalized for a stomach ulcer. The band, after all of this, had to write the new album. The parts had to be recorded leaving out May's guitar and vocal parts.

When "Sheer Heart Attack" was finally finished, the result turned out to have more variety and less heaviness from its predecessors. It ended up signaling a movement of the band away from the progressively heavy sound to a more accessible, yet varied sound with songs ranging from hard, stadium rock to vaudeville style music. This formula would work well with the band and would end up giving the band its famous and sometimes unpredictable sound. However, whatever style the band tried would end up being top-notch music, never sounding very contrived most of the time, and also lending to the glam rock persona that Mercury and the band adopted. It's this glam rock style that helped the band retain its progressive status even with most of the music being more accessible.

The album surprised a lot of fans, yet most of them remained faithful and were eager to follow the band with this new sound. However, the album, being the first example of this new sound, can seem a bit choppy and uneven to most people. Personally, it is one of my favorites since I love the courage of the band to do this, and it is obvious they are trying to make this new formula work. The album appropriately begins with "Brighton Rock", a track that was actually written long before even the first Queen albums. It was originally intended for the Queen II album, but was left off because the band felt it didn't fit with the rest of that album. It starts off the album with a rousing and killer guitar solo after some vocals from Mercury. The guitar solo here is multi-tracked to give it that multi-guitar sound that May would become famous for and is considered one of the best solos ever. Honestly, it does sit up there with the best with May being the sole player through most of it. May was back from his illnesses with a vengeance.

Following this is the band's first radio hit "Killer Queen", and at this point the band takes a sharp turn from their previous sound. It definitely paid off for the band and gave them the song that would define its sound for several years. Following this is a sort-of medley of three songs that are masterfully connected to each other: "Tenement Funster" sung by Roger Taylor and John Deacon subbing for May on guitar, the fast and furious "Flick of the Wrist" with Mercury's octave wide vocals and May back at the guitar, and then the more ballad-like "Lily of the Valley" where Mercury gets to show off his Broadway style vocalizations. The first side ends with "Now I'm Here" returns to a heavier rock sound with some excellent guitar riffs from May and more Mercury style antics with a song about Queen's touring days with "Mott the Hoople"

Side two is bookended by the two parts of "In the Lap of the Gods", though the songs are completely unrelated. The trademark vocal overdubs are quite apparent in this track as the music almost takes on an operatic, choir sound, another thing the band would become famous for. The overdubs are done by Mercury and Taylor. The thing that is featured here mostly is Taylor's operatic style voice that ranges from deep notes to extremely high vocals that are apparently still in Taylor's normal range, not falsetto. This is followed up with "Stone Cold Crazy", the song that has been credited for being a foreshadowing of thrash metal and hinted at punk music (not for the last time for the band) and has been famously covered by Metallica. Again, the extremity of styles continues to be showcased with the short ballad "Dear Friends", and then the more happy sounding track "Misfire" which was John Deacon's first song written solely by him for the band where he plays most of the guitars.

The variety continues with the Jim Croce-inspired, ragtime sounding song "Bring Back that Leroy Brown". Queen proved it could flit from one style to the next with ease, and they would continue this for several albums to come. This was the band's strength. The vocals are again layered and overdubbed with Mercury singing and playing grand and honky-tonk style pianos and May playing a quick banjo-ukulele solo. The heavier and much darker track "She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettos)" brings in the brooding feel of the band with a nice May-written and sung track featuring him and Deacon on acoustic guitars and dramatic effects at the end of the track. The album ends with what was considered a song that an audience could sing to "In the Lap of the Gods? Revisited". It was a foreshadowing of the stadium tracks that band would love to make like "We Are the Champions" with a repeated wordless vocal melody that the audience could easily mimic and served for an effective barnburning show ender up until 1977.

Every one of the tracks on this album is non-filler and serves to showcase the band's versatility, and Queen still is the band that sits first in most people's minds as the band that could play any style and make it sound like they invented it. Even though each individual track, for the most part, might not be considered progressive in and of itself, but the fact that an album could unpredictably move from one musical style to another without a hitch while throwing in their amazing trademark over-the-top sounds and performances makes this band truly a progressive band, at least up through the "Jazz" album. There are several bands out there that are "Glam" bands that are also considered progressive, like Roxy Music, David Bowie, Be Bop Deluxe, and others. Glam and Progressive music at one time were usually synonymous during the seventies, which is why these bands are considered progressive as long as they could stretch the boundaries of rock, which Queen also did, but more through the meshing of styles from other genres. This is my argument that Queen is a progressive band, but these days many people don't seem to agree with this. Their individual songs might not have been as complex as "Genesis" for example, yet even "Genesis" in their early days had elements of the glam bands in their shows and music.

As far as this album, it has always been a favorite of mine, and I could easily give it a five star rating just out of emotion and personal preference, but for progressive purposes, it only rates as a four star, mostly because the sound is a bit more choppy not flowing quite as well as some of their future, more popular albums would be. I think if it hadn't been so rushed that it could have been as slick as "Night at the Opera" or "News of the World", but it does showcase a band that was brave to stretch rock beyond its normal boundaries by adopting and infusing other styles. No one did it better than Queen did and they paved the way for other bands to do the same in the future.

 Queen II by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.36 | 831 ratings

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Queen II
Queen Prog Related

Review by hergest ridge

5 stars A record hidden or forgotten, but for me surely the greatest one by Queen : Queen II. It's really a masterpiece of progrock music : all is great! The short instrumental "Procession" naturally leads to the first highlight : "Father to Son", wich is followed by an other highlight : "White Queen". All the songs on the first side are from Brian May except the last one from Taylor. The second side is entirely Mercury. It contains at least two highlights : "Seven Seas of Rhye" and the marvellous "The March of the Black Queen" wich equals for me in genius and progressivity the future hit "Bohemian Rhapsody". The begin of one song can surprise a lot at the first listen : "Ogre Battle" but after two or three plays we understand that the music is perfect for the title. Songs with several voices as in some Yes records, a very energetic guitar game by Brian May, a great Mercury's voice and a bombastic and theatrical approach are other features of this masterpiece to listen absolutely!

 Queen II by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.36 | 831 ratings

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Queen II
Queen Prog Related

Review by Hector Enrique

5 stars Queen's second album brought us what is probably in my opinion the most complete and best composed album of the quartet. Just 8 months after the release of the first album of the group, we find a compositional maturity and suddenly before one of the most relevant moments in terms of the musical value of his work.

The white side (A) shows four compositions of Brian May, in a striking creative maturity, starting with the dreary and deep Procession, with that guitar so characteristic of May, the almost confessional and melancholy Father to Son, White Queen and Some Day One Day, with the guitarist singing and demonstrating that not only a guitar master. The white side ends with Loser in the End, composed and sung by drummer Roger Taylor, his compositional contribution to the album.

But the best version of the group, would appear in a superlative way on the black side (b), which finds its climax from the beginning of the side with the super rocker Ogre Battle with a clean and clear Mercury vocal record, giving clear signs of power his privileged voice, going through the dynamic and convoluted The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, the minute and seconds of Mercury on piano playing the wonderful Nevermore with the coral funds towards the end of it, and ending with what could clearly consider the proud predecessor of Bohemian Rhapsody, the extraordinary The March of The Black with its choral passages, the power of Brian May's guitar and his infinite and dramatic changes of time in his 6 minutes that pass like a sigh between the rise and fall of nuances. Funny How Love is followed, a correct version, and the side concludes with the most popular song on the album, Seven seas of Rhye. All the compositions on this side are the work of Freddie Mercury, demonstrating not only his extraordinary voice but also his ability as a composer.

A fact to highlight and that gives even more value to the album, is the non-inclusion of synthesizers, where the recreated sounds respond to elements developed with guitar effects. Over time Queen included the use of synthesizers.

Queen II has not aged, and is a clear example of its value, 45 years later. Recommended for those who wish to explore Queen's mother music beyond their great successes of the late 70's and 80's.

 Live At The Rainbow '74 by QUEEN album cover Live, 2014
4.28 | 35 ratings

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Live At The Rainbow '74
Queen Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 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 II by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.36 | 831 ratings

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Queen II
Queen Prog Related

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars My formal introduction to the music of Queen came through the video for "Radio Gaga" back in 1984. As a young headbanger, this song and the accompanying video did nothing to impress. Over the next couple of decades, I became familiar with Queen's classic hits and, yes, there was some pretty cool guitar in a few of those. But Queen were quite clearly not heavy metal and so not my interest. If I had only heard this album back in my youth, I might have jumped on the Queen mobile much earlier. As it is, I only picked this up a few weeks before the movie "Bohemian Rhapsody" hit the theatres in November of 2018. Now, I have 11 of the 14 w/Freddie Mercury Queen albums.

Queen's early albums are actually quite a treat for the fan of early seventies heavy rock. But while the debut captures the 1970 to 1972 sound of Queen, "Queen II" shows the band progressing its heavy rock anthems into Queen's unique style, while also developing their signature sound of almost show tune-like rock with Brian May's melodic singing guitar, Mercury's entertaining piano work, and the layered, chorus vocals that they would put to excellent use in the mid-seventies.

Songs which surprised me for their bombast and head-banging riffs are "Father to Son" and "Ogre Battle", the former really getting heavy in the middle, and the latter featuring a guitar riff that could have easily inspired Judas Priest when they wrote "Victim of Changes" from 1976's "Sad Wings of Destiny". As a fan of really heavy riffs of the early seventies, I love these two ultra-powerful tracks. But neither of these are just straight ahead heavy rockers. "Father to Son" features quieter piano parts played by Brian May, and "Ogre Battle" makes good use of the studio with the music beginning in reverse and then one by one, the instruments flip around to forwards. The ogre battle part has Freddie Mercury hollering out ogre cries while Brian May's guitar simulates the swinging and crashing of battle axes.

Side one also holds the dramatic "White Queen (As It Began)" with both soft, melodic vocals acoustic parts and a dynamic chorus with more of that pretty acoustic guitar contrasted with heavy rock guitar. Brian May sings, "Some Day One Day", a pretty acoustic track with melodic rock guitar, and Roger Taylor closes the album with his hard rock message to mothers of young men, "The Loser In the End". His drumming is interesting and effective without being overly pretentious.

Most of side two follows the course of music style that would make Queen unique. This is quite possibly because Mercury wrote all the songs on side two, while side one was mostly written by May with the one song by Taylor. "The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke" already has that theatrical sound so typical of Queen: fast beats and piano, singing guitar, excellent vocal melodies that sway while the lyrical delivery tap dances, and over-the-top chorus vocals. This song alone sets Queen well apart from their contemporaries. "Nevermore" is a soft and pretty piano number that's barely over a minute long. "The March of the Black Queen" is in a way a precursor to the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" because it goes through various musical styles and changes over its six-minute plus course. The song attempts to be as self-indulgent as Mercury could muster. Unusual time signatures, polyrhythms and polymeters, and so much layering that the tape went transparent. Once again, we have an excellent example of the kind of song-written Queen was capable of putting forward.

Other tracks on side two include the sweet and catchy but thankfully short "Funny How Love Is" and the single "Seven Seas of Rhye", a rousing short piano and hard rock guitar track that is an easy pick for a best-of list.

What's to love about this album are the wonderfully creative blend of softer piano and melody songs, the hard and heavy rocking guitar and drum tracks, the incredible vocal works, and the imaginative and original song structures that prove Queen were masters in the recording studio. This level of creativity and boldness set the band apart from their peers. The one weak point I feel is that the recording quality could have been better. Some of the sublime moments on the album lose a bit of impact because the quality of the recordings isn't consistently warm and clear. I also find some parts have much louder mastering, at least on the 2011 remaster, particularly "Loser In the End", which is the one whole track that sounds cleaner and clearer than the others.

I now have much more appreciation for the later releases of Queen and even love "Radio Gaga". But still, I think the first three albums best capture the heavy side of Queen as well as the band's early ventures in studio experimentation.

 Queen by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.65 | 540 ratings

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Queen
Queen Prog Related

Review by TenYearsAfter

5 stars "Unique progressive hardrock!"

The year 1973 delivered a cascade of legendary rock albums, from SEBTP by Genesis, Brain Salad Surgery by ELP and DSOTM by Pink Floyd to A Passion Play by Jethro Tull, Quadrophenia by The Who, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by Black Sabbath and Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield, to name a few. Also released in 1973 was Queen its eponymous debut album, Rolling Stone reviewer Gordon Fletcher wrote these memorable words: 'There's no doubt that this funky, energetic English quartet has all the tools they'll need to lay claim to the Zep's abdicated heavy-metal throne, and beyond that to become a truly influential force in the rock world. Their debut album is superb.' Well, how excellent that Gordon Fletcher acknowledged Queen its unique sound and huge potential in such an embryonal state!

My first musical encounter with Queen was in the first part of The Seventies, during the heydays of the pirate radio broadcasting when I listened to especially Radio Northsea International, along Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg. One day in early 1974 I heard a catchy and energetic rock song featuring sparkling piano runs and unique vocals and guitar, that was Seven Seas Of Rhye (from the Queen II LP). I was blown away, to me it sounded as Rock Extra, what a very special and exciting music I concluded. It took a few years before I could buy Queen music, gradually I bought all their Seventies albums but stopped buying Queen records since The Game from 1980, I only consider Innuendo an interesting post Seventies album. If I take a look at all the Queen albums, their first has become my favourite one, because four smart, well educated, creative, self confident and determined musicians put all their musical ideas, emotion, energy and writing skills in that first album. For me it's an unique, very powerful and fascinating rock album with lots of shifting moods and musical contrasts, great vocals, inventive piano work and innovative rock guitar play. This is backed by a dynamic and powerful rhtyhm-section. It's hard to pigeonhole the Queen sound, I suggest somewhere between progressive hardrock and Art rock.

1. Keep Yourself Alive (3:47) : The album starts with an exciting, phaser driven guitar riff, then turns into a catchy rock song featuring perfectly timed, powerful drumming and Freddy his distinctive voice and vocal harmonies. Halfway a surprising break with propulsive drum beats (a kind of 'Neil Peart avant-la-lettre'), followed by echo guitar and raw vocals by Roger Taylor, and even Brian May does a nice vocal job. The final part turns back into the catchy rock song with the phaser driven guitar riff and Freddy his excellent vocals, here reigns a fresh, young and promising Queen, from the UK.

2. Doing All Right (4:09) : First tender piano work, fragile electric guitar and bluesy vocals, topped by the trademark Queen vocal harmonies. Then acoustic rhythm guitar and high piched vocals, followed by a sudden outburst with heavy rock guitar and a furious rhythm-section, finally the mellow climate returns, what a wonderful blend of folk, rock and blues, reminding me of Babe I'm Gonna Leave You by Led Zeppelin.

3. Great King Rat (5:43) : Brian May shines with a raw and agressive guitar sound (with wah-wan and overdubs), fuelled by powerful drums. Then lots of shifting moods, culminating in a heavy wall of sound with awesome rock guitar, drums, bass and vocals. Queen has delivered a very varied and dynamic compisition, in the realm of progressive hardrock.

4. My Fairy King (4:08) : Another captivating and exciting progressive hardrock composition with lots of tension and dynamics: from a slow rhythm with crystal clear high piched vocals to bombastic with sparkling piano and powerful guitar and a bluesy final part. Freddy showcases his wide vocal range and adds an extra dimension to the unique Queen sound.

5. Liar (6:25) : Emotional vocals in a compelling rock song, featuring elements of Led Zeppelin and The Who, but topped with the trademark Queen vocals and guitar. Remarkable is the subtle use of Hammond organ in the first part. Halfway a break with vocal harmonies, percussion and rock guitar, another example of Queen their delicate writing skills. In the end John Deacon impresses with propulsive bass work, in combination with fiery and howling guitar, very compelling and exciting!

6. The Night Comes Down (4:23) : This is a bluesy ballad with some experimental work on guitar and drums, pretty hypnotizing with beautiful acoustic rhythm guitar and Freddy showing his tender side.

7. Modern Times Rock & Roll (1:48) : Wow, this is heavy, an explosion of up-tempo rock with heavy guitar and Roger his raw and powerful voice, to me it sounds between AC/DC and punk, yet another surprising musical idea by Queen, after the dreamy previous song, variety rules!

8. Son & Daughter (3:20) : A kind of heavy and bombastic bluesrock, the dark and compelling atmosphere reminds me of early Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath but topped with the very distinctive Queen vocals and vocal harmonies.

9. Jesus (3:44) : A gospel-like climate, from slow and mellow to heavy up-tempo, Brian May shines again with excellent rock guitar.

10. Seven Seas Of Rhye (1:15) : This is the short instrumental version (the vocal version is on Queen II) featuring sparkling piano and propulsive guitar, in the end fading away.

One of the best debut rock albums, fascinating, exciting, varied and dynamic, and mindblowing on stage, as I witnessed in 1978, during the Sheer Heart Attack tour, Queen at its artisitic pinnacle!

 Flash / Football Fight by QUEEN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1980
2.31 | 10 ratings

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Flash / Football Fight
Queen Prog Related

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I thought this was a bargain when I purchased the download for 69 in 2013, but here we have a clear case of Inaccurate Childhood Memory Syndrome.

Between Greatest Hits and Classic Queen are nearly all of Queen's US hits, but I wanted more. "Flash's Theme AKA Flash," a minor (#42) 1981 single, is on neither of these collections, and I seemed to remember it being cool (I was 11 when it came out). So, I picked it up (virtually... you know what I mean). Turns out my memory was off a bit. This single came out between "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Under Pressure," so Queen was still a more-than-going-concern when "Flash" was released, but this one misses the mark a bit.

Prefiguring Prince's "Batdance" (another questionable hit by an unquestionably great artist) by nearly a decade, "Flash" is half of a song filled out with movie dialogue. The vocals and instrumentation are 100% Queen. Since my download didn't come with the b- side, I had to go to Youtube for another listen to "Football Fight," also from Queen's soundtrack to the 1980 movie Flash Gordon. "Football Fight" is a minute-and-a-half instrumental, and its title explains the music pretty reasonably. It too includes movie dialogue.

As "Flash" is not an important entry in the Queen catalog, I'm rating it two stars - - recommended for fans only.

P.S.: Ironically, I eventually replaced my CDs of Classic Queen and Greatest Hits with The Platinum Collection, thus paying again for "Flash's Theme AKA Flash."

 Sheer Heart Attack by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.97 | 610 ratings

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Sheer Heart Attack
Queen Prog Related

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sheer Heart Attack is, along with A Night at the Opera, is the most important Queen's album in my opinion.

Produced again by Roy Thomas Baker and the band itself, Sheer Heart Attack is a very diverse and stimulating collection of very good songs which revolve between art rock (Lily of the Valley, In the Lap of the Gods), prog-rock (Brighton Rock), pop (Misfire, Killer Queen) and even one of the first thrash metal songs in history (Mercury's Wreckage classic and a true milestone for metal)

The result is one of the funniest and more enchanting Queen's albums. A disc resistant to many plays with tons of great compositions (especially the ones with Mercury's signature) and the moment when both the guitars of May and Mercury's vocals began to acquire their true personality.

Best Tracks: Killer Queen (the first Queen's true hit), Brighton Rock (awesome guitar work), Lily of the Valley (just beautiful), Now I'm Here (an almost flawless hard rock song) Stone Cold Crazy (thrash metal before the genre was born) and In the Lap of the Gods Revisited (a true hymn)

Conclusion: Queen II was a superb album, maybe even better than Sheer Heart Attack in general terms. But this third effort demonstrated that these guys were one of the most diverse, versatile and stimulating bands of the seventies, able to success in very different genres and styles without losing their signature sound.

Strongly recommended!

My rating: ****

 Queen by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.65 | 540 ratings

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Queen
Queen Prog Related

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Queen stormed out of the blocks with this killer debut and everybody had to sit up and take notice. It is a grand entrance onto the music stage with some of the best rocking Queen tracks in their huge catalogue. The prog influences were there from the get go and the band were certainly headed for stardom with their innovative approach to music and their sheer boldness and audacity at exploring the experimental side of music. Freddie Mercury was the ace card with his powerhouse vocals, but the guitar work of Brian May cannot be underrated, nor can the rhythm section of Taylor and Deacon. It bursts through the gates with the proto metal guitar driven "Keep Yourself Alive". Brian May's guitar rhythms are thunderous with chops and crunches that must have inspired budding metal guitarists. "Doing All Right" is another rocker and is followed by the progressive off the wall "Great King Rat". It has many time changes and odd lyrics that place it towards the top of the proggiest on the album. The frenetic pace and energy of the band is evident and the band is exciting when they are in full flight like this. Queen unleashed are a thing of beauty and they were not taking any prisoners on this album.

"My Fairy King" showcase Mercury's high register vocals, and the harmonies that became a trademark for Queen. "Liar" is drenched in guitars and powerful harmonies and is a fan favourite. "The Night Comes Down" explores some blues tones with May outstanding on guitar.

"The Night Comes Down" is rhythmic and catchy with progressive nuances. The chord changes on this are very strange, angular guitar and choir effects add to the weird atmospheres. "Modern Times Rock'n'Roll" is a bit of a throwaway but still streets ahead of anything you will hear on the Hot Space album. This segues into "Son and Daughter" and feels a lot like Led Zeppelin but a very odd structure permeates it. "Jesus" is not my favourite, in fact it is mediocre at best, but has a fine solo section. It closes with the masterful art rock of "Seven Seas Of Rhye" which is very short but of course later explored at length on subsequent albums. Overall this debut is a grandiose entrance for Queen; the shape of things to come foreshadowing when they became a legendary supergroup.

Thanks to Proglover for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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