If Queen were to make their debut now, instead of 1973 when they released their eponymous debut, it’s very likely they’d be considered a novelty band, and I’m not even talking about Freddy Mercury’s skin tight cat suits or Brian May’s getting closer to God afro as reasons why.
The songs alone, which have proven not only to be fantastic examples of what can be accomplished with hard driving drums and guitars and brilliantly creative lyrics and vocal gymnastics, and have managed to stand up four decades later, could not possible survive the whims of tone deaf music programmers that control what makes it on radio nowadays. “My Fairy King,” or “Keep Yourself Alive,” both of which debuted with the band in 1973 might make it on a quirky iPod commercial, but you certainly wouldn’t catch the cast of Glee of American Idol singing along (and isn’t that pretty much the bellwether for what makes it or doesn’t today?).
“Tie Your Mother Down” and “Good Old-Fashion Lover Boy,” both off of A Day At the Races would suffer the same fate and don’t even get me started on A Night At the Opera’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” – a six minute song that’s part A cappella, part operatic and metal guitar solo – absolutely brilliant from start to finish, but wouldn’t be given a chance today given the fickle music world that currently exists.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band’s founding, Hollywood Record has just put out deluxe reissues of the Queen’s first five studio albums (Queen, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, A Day At the Races and A Night At the Opera) all released between 1973 and 1976.
Each album comes with a bonus EP of rare tracks, live songs, demos and alternate takes. I never thought I would say this, but thank God for the 70’s… at least you gave us Queen when musical tastes and minds were more open.
Queen – 40th Anniversary Reissues of first five studio albums/2011/Hollywood Records