It’s been 40 years since legendary rock band Queen formed in 1971. To celebrate, Island Records will be re-releasing the band’s first five albums (‘Queen’, ‘Queen II’, ‘Sheer Heart Attack’, ‘A Night At The Opera’ and ‘A Day At The Races’) on March 14th. In honour of the big anniversary, we’ve compiled a gallery dedicated one of the most flamboyantly charismatic groups in rock’n’roll history.
These five albums will be released as a standard CD as well as a deluxe 2 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.
‘Queen’ was recorded in the same studio that David Bowie was recording ‘Ziggy Stardust’ in at the time. Because Queen didn’t have any money, the album was recorded on Bowie’s downtime, so the band were recording at 3AM after Bowie had gone to bed.
It wasn’t until ‘Queen II’ was released that the band started to showcase multi-layered overdubs, harmonies, and varied musical styles (ballads, folk, blues, thrash metal, pop and rock). That album also includes the band’s first hit single, ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’.
‘Queen II’ was recorded in just over a month in 1973. The album cover, shot by rock photographer Mick Rock, was inspired by a Marlene Dietrich portrait (which was later brought to life in the band’s famous ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ video).
‘Sheer Heart Attack’, released in 1974, included Queen’s famous track ‘Killer Queen’. A song about a high-class call girl, it contains the guitar solo that Brian May has revealed he is most proud of and is the song that won Freddie Mercury his first Ivor Novello Award.
The band’s 1975 album ‘A Night at The Opera’ was named after the Marx Brothers film of the same title. It was also the most expensive album ever recorded at that time. Brian May later revealed that had the album not been a success, then Queen would have likely disbanded.
Queen also also credited with recording the first official pop promo for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, as they were on tour at the time and could not appear on Top of The Pops to perform the song.
Queen’s 1976 album ‘A Day At The Races’ was also named after a Marx Brothers film. That album contained the song ‘Somebody To Love’, which Freddie Mercury revealed was his personal favourite composition.
A new Queen single has also been released recently. Now available on on iTunes, it features ‘Keep Yourself Alive (Long Lost Retake)’ and ‘Stone Cold Crazy’, two heavier rock songs.
For a full tracklisting of each album, including bonus material, visit queenonline.com. You can get the five re-issued albums on March 14th through Island Records.