Friday, July 16, 2021

Queen revisit US breakthrough on latest episode of The Greatest

Queen revisit their US breakthrough on the latest episode of the weekly video series The Greatest.

As the 70s drew to a close, a change of scenery and a song written in ten minutes by Freddie Mercury in the bath finally delivered Queen the elusive number 1 slot across the board in America.

By 1979, and after seven albums, Queen’s band members felt that in order to stay fresh and feel challenged it was time to change the way they approached their studio recordings. It was to be the start of an enduring relationship with German producer (Reinhold) Mack and Freddie’s fascination with the city of Munich, where he would end up living between 1979 and 1985 and where he would stage his now-famous Henderson’s 39th birthday party.

The first thing we did was Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” recalls Roger Taylor, “and Fred did write the song in the bath in about ten minutes.”

“It’s Freddie’s tribute to Elvis, in a way,”
explains Brian May, “he was very fond of Elvis, and of Cliff Richard, I have to say, also. Yeah, Freddie wrote it very quickly and rushed in and put it down with the boys. By the time I got there, it was almost done. And I think the sounds that Mack managed to get, these very elemental, real, very real sounds, ambient sounds in the studio had a big contribution to make. It does sound very authentic, everything about it is sort of like original rock and roll sounding.”

The lead single from “The Game”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was released six months before the album, and it quickly delivered a career milestone for Queen.

“We were still making the record, we hadn’t even nearly finished the album,” says Taylor, “and we were going out in Munich and somebody came up and said ‘oh it’s gone to number one in America’, and we were going ‘yeah! More drinks!’”

“That was the first number one across the board in America, Billboard, Cashbox, and Record World, I think,”
adds May.

As well as topping the US charts, the song also held the top spot in Australia for seven weeks, and reached number 2 in the UK.

Freddie often jokingly referred to the simplicity of the song being due to the fact he only knew how to play three chords, and while he played the acoustic guitar on the studio recording, Brian switched his famous Red Special for a Fender guitar to secure that authentic rockabilly style.

“The Game” earned Queen their first and only No. 1 album in the US, where it went on to sell more than 4 million copies.

See also:

Queen’s Greatest Hits tops UK Vinyl Albums chart
Queen celebrate 1978 independence on The Greatest
Queen highlight John Deacon hits on The Greatest
Queen continue look at Queenmania in Japan on The Greatest
Search Queen at hennemusic