Queen - Queen

Queen – Queen

88 / 100

This debut album from Queen saw the beginning of one of the most iconic rock bands in history, apart from The Beatles.

Written by: Explorer

ALBUM: Queen
YEAR: 1973
Reissue List

LINEUP: Freddie Mercury – lead and backing vocals, piano, hammond organ * Brian May – electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals, piano on ‘Doing All Right’ * Roger Taylor – drums, percussion, backing vocals, lead vocals on ‘Modern Times Rock N Roll’ * Deacon John – bass

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.. (instrumental)



This album saw the beginning of one of the most iconic rock bands in history. I’ve gone on record before as saying that apart from The Beatles, no other band has released a run of albums so perfect as Queen, from this their debut through to 1977’s ‘News Of The World’.

Recorded in fits and starts in studio down time and frustratingly for the band, for a good year or so left on the shelf, this platter found Queen in full on heavy/prog mode, taking cues from the likes of Led Zeppelin and Yes both lyrically and musically, but still so unequivocally Queen.

Upon release, this album pretty much sunk without trace here in the UK, but a prestigious support slot on Mott The Hoople‘s 1973 winter tour would change all that.

My first live experience was seeing Queen as the opening act on said tour, and it doesn’t get much better than that eh? Even then (with hindsight) they seemed destined for greatness, with a swagger and an abundance of self confidence Queen had, even then the world was at their feet. They just didn’t quite know it then.

The Songs

Even at the very start Queen had the balls to be different. Opener ‘Keep Yourself Alive’, which was the first single they released, was an audacious statement indeed, with its long intro and drum solo it was just too ‘left field’ for the charts back then and promptly sold next to nothing. But within the album there were cuts that gave us signs of things to come.

‘My Fairy King’ is without doubt the precursor of all of that, with its time changes and beautiful lyrical imagery, (this is deeper than Bo Rhap, by the way) and even then a penchant for the downright odd, this song alone is worth the admission price. Saying all that though the rest of the material ain’t far behind. ‘Liar’ is as hard hitting as it gets, and in the live setting back then was a real stunner.

The hard rock vein was well and truly furrowed with the tracks ‘Modern Times, Rock N Roll’, ‘Great King Rat’, ‘Son And Daughter’ and ‘Jesus’, and the more gentle side of the band was also well represented with the Pre Queen (Smile) song ‘Doing Alright’ and the more organic ‘The Night Comes Down’. The album was finished off with a short snippet of ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’ which was to become the bands first hit in 1974, and from then on there was no looking back.

Production wise, well it was the early 70’s, the fabled Trident drum sound was in evidence and Brian May’s unique guitar sound was already in place. Freddie Mercury was, back then an untamed animal and has never sounded better than on this and the preceding next 5 albums, and Roger Taylor and Deacon John (sic) were as locked in as ever.

In Summary

There was always a hint of the Pre-Raphaelites about Queen back then, it’s a shame that they should discard that in favour of a more direct commercial approach, but money talks eh?

It goes without saying that for me early Queen (up to ’77) is as good as it gets. This debut album is one that ranks alongside all of the other great debut albums (Boston, Guns N Roses etc) but without selling millions. It shows a band so focussed and committed to their (very) particular vision and that nothing was going to stop them (now). Essential listening.

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