The period when the band broke out of the English Rock glam and heavy rock ghetto to become worldwide stars.
And just like that, my inboxes were FLOODED with requests for a Queen show. I guess a well-publicized biopic just released in theatres nationwide can do that. The thing is, I already did a show on their very early period, which I have included following this one. The new program will focus on the years 1975-1980, where they broke out of the Glam Rock and Heavy Rock scenes popular at the time to become one of the most loved bands in history.
“The Legacy Years” new program
In 1974, following a top 20 album and single in the U.S. and slightly higher chart positions back home, Queen knew they needed to do something to break out of the glut of Glam Rock and Heavy Rock acts from England that were unknowingly about to take a huge dive in popularity.
The band had already recorded and released Sheer Heart Attack in 1974: it’s a perfect example of everything you loved about the band on one disc, much like Revolver was to the Beatles recorded output. And just like Revolver, even though the hits weren’t huge, the album gelled amazing well in spite of the numerous stylistic changes. Further straying from their early progressive rock sound and expounding on the skills they acquired with that album, the band set out to either become legendary or call it a day.
That album, late 1975’s A Night At The Opera, contained “Bohemian Rhapsody”, quite possibly still the single most unique 45 to ever hit the charts and the band’s signature song. It was also rumoured to be the most expensive album ever recorded to that point, and the gamble paid off. The album launched a series of platinum albums and international stardom for the group.
Queen would further tweak their sound again dramatically by the end of the decade with The Game, which featured synthesizers for the first time and the inclusion of sounds previously not explored, like funk and disco. Again, the gamble paid off. A U.S. #1 album, 2 U.S. #1Hot 100 Pop Singles, a sellout world tour and most interestingly, a #2 R&B hit with a song that would not only cement their status as world-wide hit makers, but actually outsell “Rhapsody”, “Another One Bites The Dust”, complete with a bass hook lifted right off of “Good Times”, a hit for the band Chic a year earlier.
Sadly, a series of bad business decisions and a further change in musical direction that saw them completely out of step with rapidly changing music tastes would befall the band and pretty much killed their career in the United States after this, save for the minor radio hit. A disastrous tour in support of a disastrous album, Hot Space, in 1982, pretty much ended the band’s status as arena headliners as well. Queen would continue to be the mega-stars they always knew they were outside of North America, leaving fans here with a generation of memories that would have them remembered forever as stars of the 1970’s.
- We Will Rock You (live in Madrid), 1979, Live Killers
- Get Down, Make Love (live in Barcelona), 1979, Live Killers
- Fat Bottomed Girls (album version), 1978, Jazz
- Crazy Little Thing Called Love, single release 1979, The Game
- Feelings, Feelings, recorded 1977/released 2011, News Of The World 2011 Bonus EP
- The Hero, 1980, Flash Gordon Soundtrack
- Bohemian Rhapsody, 1975, A Night At The Opera
- Dead On Time, 1978, Jazz
- Tie Your Mother Down (album version), 1976, A Day At The Races
- Sweet Lady, 1975, A Night At The Opera
- Somebody To Love, 1976, A Day At The Races
- You’re My Best Friend, 1975, A Night At The Opera
- Another One Bites The Dust, 1980, The Game
- We Will Rock You, 1977, News Of The World
- We Are The Champions (Extended Raw Sessions Version), recorded 1977/released 2017, News Of The World 40th Anniversary Edition
“Before The Rhapsody” program 08 Sept. 2015
A little over three years ago, I put together an hour-long show detailing the bands first two years of recording and live performing, 1973 and 1974. This is an often glossed-over period in the band’s history, which is a shame, because Queen’s first three recordings and early tours proved that they could not only rock, they could roll and make some of the most fabulous Rock and Roll ever.
Tracklist for this program, which are presented in a continuous sequence.
1. Liar, 1973, from Queen
2. Seven Seas of Rhye, 1974, from Queen II
3. Keep Yourself Alive, 1973, original mix
4. Ogre Battle, 1973, recorded for a BBC broadcast
5. Polar Bear (demo), 1972, Smile cover
6. Stone Cold Crazy, 1974, Sheer Heart Attack
7. Brighton Rock, 1974, Sheer Heart Attack
8. Misfire, 1974, Sheer Heart Attack
9. Killer Queen, 1974, Sheer Heart Attack
10. Doin’ All Right, 1969, Smile (May and Taylor’s pre-Queen group with Tim Staffell on bass and vocals)
11. See What a Fool I’ve Been, 1974, b-side to “Seven Seas of Rhye”
12. In The Lap of the Gods, recorded 1974, Live at the Rainbow ’74
13. Big Spender, recorded 1974, Live at the Rainbow ’74
14. Modern Times Rock and Roll, recorded 1974, Live at the Rainbow ’74
15. Jailhouse Rock, recorded 1974, Live at the Rainbow ’74
16. God Save the Queen, recorded 1974, Live at the Rainbow ’74
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
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