Saturday, January 29, 2011

Queen: first 5 albums to be reissued in March

As part of the band’s 40th Anniversary celebrations, legendary rockers Queen will be reissuing their first 5 albums this Spring.

On March 14, the groundbreaking albums "Queen," "Queen II," "Sheer Heart Attack," "A Night At The Opera" and "A Day At The Races" will again see the light of day, remastered and each will be released as a standard CD as well as a deluxe two-disc set which will feature new bonus content.

Each deluxe album will be released on iTunes featuring bonus tracks plus additional sleeve notes, unseen pictures and videos. The albums also set the scene for their band's forthcoming "Stormtroopers In Stilettos" global exhibition that launches in London on February 25.

From the pure raw rock of "Queen" through to the majestic anthems on "A Day At The Races," the first five albums highlight the diverse talent, musical ambition and already global success of a band made up of some of the best songwriters, musicians and performers of all time.

"Queen" - recently nominated by Dave Grohl as his favourite album of all time, was recorded in the same studio that David Bowie was recording "Ziggy Stardust." Because they didn't have any money, the album was recorded on Bowie's downtime, so Queen were literally recording at 3 a.m. after Bowie had gone to bed. "Queen" is their heaviest album, influenced by The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and contains some of their hardest-rocking songs, and also some of their most imaginative. Like all subsequent Queen albums, no two songs sound the same and there are mixtures of light and shade, the band teasing one minute with a lullaby, then blowing your head off.

"Queen II" is the real beginning of Queen as we know it. It's the first time we hear the multi-layered overdubs, the harmonies, the varied musical styles (ballads, folk, blues, thrash metal, pop and rock, it's all there). It also includes their first hit single "Seven Seas of Rhye," which led to the first of many iconic performances on "Top of the Pops." The band recorded "Queen II" in just over a month in 1973 ahead of its release in 1974. The album cover was shot by legendary photographer Mick Rock and inspired by a Marlene Dietrich portrait. The image was later brought to life in the revolutionary "Bohemian Rhapsody" video.

"Sheer Heart Attack"
- Roger Taylor's favorite Queen album, was released in 1974 and reached No. 2 in the U.K. Prior to this, Queen were mostly considered a heavy rock band, but this album experimented with a variety of musical genres, including music hall, heavy metal, ballads and ragtime. At this point Queen started to move away from the progressive tendencies of their first two releases into a more radio-friendly, song-orientated style, illustrated by "Killer Queen," which was their biggest hit at that point reaching No. 2 in the U.K. It also went to No. 12 in the U.S. Billboard chart, the first of many hits there. A song about a high-class call girl, it contains the guitar solo that Brian May is most proud of and won Freddie Mercury his first Ivor Novello Award.

"A Night at The Opera," named after the Marx Bros. film, is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest albums of all time. Exceptional on every level, musically, lyrically and artistically, Queen took the strongest elements of their previous two albums to make the ultimate winning combination. The most expensive album ever recorded at that time, it delivered rock, opera, heavy metal, romance, ballads, pop, sci-fi folk, music hall, "trad jazz" and even the national anthem. The album contains perhaps the most famous rock song of all time, "Bohemian Rhapsody," which went on to spend fourteen weeks at number one, be voted "Song of the Millennium," become the only song in history to reach Christmas No. 1 twice and sell a million copies on two separate occasions. Queen also recorded the first official pop promo for "Bohemian Rhapsody" as they were on tour and could not appear on "Top of The Pops" and this video paved the way for MTV and VH1.

By 1976, Queen were back in the studio recording "A Day At The Races," which was written and recorded by Queen at their happiest, riding on the crest of a wave and loving every second. The album is an infectiously jubilant piece of music, full of love, optimism and good old-fashioned rock and roll. Like "A Night at the Opera," it again borrowed the name of a Marx Bros. movie, and its cover was similar to that of "A Night At The Opera," a variation on the same Queen crest. It reached number one on the British chart and features the classics "Tie Your Mother Down," Freddie Mercury's personal favorite composition "Somebody To Love," and "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy."

"Queen" track listing:

01. Keep Yourself Alive
02. Doing All Right
03. Great King Rat
04. My Fairy King
05. Liar
06. The Night Comes Down
07. Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll
08. Son And Daughter
09. Jesus
10. Seven Seas Of Rhye

Bonus tracks:

01. Keep Yourself Alive (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)
02. The Night Comes Down (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)
03. Great King Rat (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)
04. Jesus (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)
05. Liar (De Lane Lea Demo, December 1971)
06. Mad The Swine (June 1972)

"Queen II" track listing:

01. Procession
02. Father To Son
03. White Queen (As It Began)
04. Some Day One Day
05. The Loser In The End
06. Ogre Battle
07. The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke
08. Nevermore
09. The March Of The Black Queen
10. Funny How Love Is
11. Seven Seas Of Rhye

Bonus tracks:

01. See What A Fool I've Been (BBC Session, July 1973 - 2011 remix)
02. White Queen (Live at Hammersmith Odeon, December 1975)
03. Seven Seas of Rhye (Instrumental Mix 2011)
04. Nevermore (BBC Session, April 1974)
05. See What A Fool I've Been (B-side version, February 1974)

"Sheer Heart Attack" track listing:

01. Brighton Rock
02. Killer Queen
03. Tenement Funster
04. Flick Of The Wrist
05. Lily Of The Valley
06. Now I'm Here
07. In The Lap Of The Gods
08. Stone Cold Crazy
09. Dear Friends
10. Misfire
11. Bring Back That Leroy Brown
12. She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettos)
13. In The Lap Of The Gods . . . Revisited

Bonus tracks:

01. Now I'm Here (Live at Hammersmith, Dec 75)
02. Flick of the Wrist
(BBC Session, Oct 74)
03. Tenement Funster (BBC Session, Oct 74)
04. Bring Back That Leroy Brown (A capella Plus)
05. In The Lap of the Gods..Revisited (Live at Wembley July 86)

"A Night At The Opera" track listing:

01. Death On Two Legs (Dedicated To...)
02. Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon
03. I'm In Love With My Car
04. You're My Best Friend
05. '39
06. Sweet Lady
07. Seaside Rendezvous
08. The Prophet's Song
09. Love Of My Life
10. Good Company
11. Bohemian Rhapsody
12. God Save The Queen

Bonus tracks:

01. Keep Yourself Alive (Long-Lost Retake, June 75)
02. Bohemian Rhapsody (Operatic Section A cappella)
03. I'm In Love With My Car (Guitar & Vocal version)
04. You're My Best Friend (Backing Track)
05. '39 (Live at Earls Court, June 77)
06. Love Of My Life (South American Live Single June 79)

"A Day At The Races" track listing:

01. Tie Your Mother Down
02. You Take My Breath Away
03. Long Away
04. The Millionaire Waltz
05. You And I
06. Somebody To Love
07. White Man
08. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
09. Drowse
10. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)

Bonus tracks:

01. Tie Your Mother Down (Backing Track)
02. Somebody To Love (Live at Milton Keynes, June 82)
03. You Take My Breath Away (Live in Hyde Park, Sept 76)
04. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy (Top of the Pops July 77)
05. Teo Torriatte
(Let Us Cling Together) (HD Mix)

Queen Queen

Queen – Liar (1973)

See also:

Queen to celebrate 40th Anniversary in 2011