After the band’s six-night stand at New York’s Uris Theatre in May 1974, Brian May collapsed and was diagnosed as having hepatitis.While recuperating, May was initially absent when the band started work on their third album, but he returned midway through the recording process. Released in 1974, Sheer Heart Attack reached number two in the United Kingdom, sold well throughout Europe, and went gold in the United States.It gave the band their first real experience of international success, and was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. The album experimented with a variety of musical genres, including British music hall, heavy metal, ballads, ragtime, and Caribbean. At this point, Queen started to move away from the progressive tendencies of their first two releases into a more radio-friendly, song-orientated style.Sheer Heart Attack introduced new sound and melody patterns that would be refined on their next album, A Night at the Opera.
The group’s second LP, Queen II, was released in 1974, and features rock photographer Mick Rock’s iconic image of the band on the cover. This image would be used as the basis for the 1975 „Bohemian Rhapsody” music video production.The album reached number five on the British album chart and became the first Queen album to chart in the UK.The Freddie Mercury-written lead single „Seven Seas of Rhye” reached number ten in the UK, giving the band their first hit.The album is the first real testament to the band’s distinctive layered sound, and features long complex instrumental passages, fantasy-themed lyrics, and musical virtuosity.Aside from its only single, the album also included the song „The March of the Black Queen”, a six-minute epic which lacks a chorus. The Daily Vault described the number as „menacing”.Critical reaction was mixed; the Winnipeg Free Press, while praising the band’s debut album, described Queen II as a „over-produced monstrosity”. Allmusic has described the album as a favourite among the band’s hardcore fans,and it is the first of three Queen albums to feature in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
In July 1973, Queen finally under a Trident/EMI deal released their eponymous debut album, an effort influenced by the heavy metal and progressive rock of the day.The album was received well by critics; Gordon Fletcher of Rolling Stone said „their debut album is superb”,and Chicago’s Daily Herald called it an „above average debut”.It drew little mainstream attention, and the lead single „Keep Yourself Alive”, a Brian May composition, sold poorly. Retrospectively, „Keep Yourself Alive” is cited as the highlight of the album, and in 2008 Rolling Stone ranked it 31st in the „100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time”, describing it as „an entire album’s worth of riffs crammed into a single song”.The album was certified gold in the UK and the US.
In 1972 Queen entered discussions with Trident Studios after being spotted at De La Lane Studios by John Antony and after discussions were offered a management deal byNorman Sheffield under Neptune Productions, a subsidiary of Trident to manage the band and enable them to use the facilities at Trident to record new material whilst the management search for a record label to sign Queen. This suited both parties at the time as Trident were expanding into management and Queen under the deal were able to make use of the hi-tech recording facilities shared by bands at the time such as the Beatles and Elton John to produce new material. However Trident found it difficult to find a label for a band bearing a name with such connotation during the early 1970s.
Having attended art college, Mercury also designed Queen’s logo, called the Queen crest, shortly before the release of the band’s first album.The logo combines the zodiacsigns of all four members: two lions for Leo (Deacon and Taylor), a crab for Cancer (May), and two fairies for Virgo (Mercury). The lions embrace a stylised letter Q, the crab rests atop the letter with flames rising directly above it, and the fairies are each sheltering below a lion. There is also a crown inside the Q and the whole logo is over-shadowed by an enormous phoenix. The whole symbol bears a passing resemblance to the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, particularly with the lion supporters. The original logo, as found on the reverse-side of the first album cover, was a simple line drawing but more intricate colour versions were used on later sleeves.
The band had a number of bass players during this period who did not fit with the band’s chemistry. It was not until February 1971 that they settled on John Deacon and began to rehearse for their first album. They recorded four of their own songs, „Liar”, „Keep Yourself Alive”, „The Night Comes Down” and „Jesus”, for a demo tape; no record companies were interested. It was also around this time Freddie changed his surname to „Mercury”, inspired by the line „Mother Mercury, look what they’ve done to me” in the song „My Fairy King”. On 2 July 1971, Queen played their first show in the classic line-up of Mercury, May, Deacon and Taylor at a Surrey college outside London.
While attending Ealing Art College, Tim Staffell became friends with Farrokh Bulsara, a fellow student who had assumed the English name of Freddie. Bulsara felt that he and the band had the same tastes and soon became a keen fan of Smile. In late 1970, after Staffell left to join the band Humpy Bong, the remaining Smile members, encouraged by Bulsara, changed their name to „Queen” and continued working together. When asked about the name, Bulsara explained, „I thought up the name Queen. It’s just a name, but it’s very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid. It’s a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it.”
The band have released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles, and 10 number one DVDs. Estimates of their record sales generally range from 150 million to 300 million records, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists. They received the Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1990, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.In 1968, guitarist Brian May, a student at London’s Imperial College, and bassist Tim Staffell decided to form a band. May placed an advertisement on the college notice board for a „Mitch Mitchell/Ginger Baker type” drummer; Roger Taylor, a young dental student, auditioned and got the job. The group called themselves Smile.
By the early 1980s, Queen were one of the biggest stadium rock bands in the world, with „Another One Bites the Dust” their best selling single, and their performance at 1985’s Live Aid is regarded as one of the greatest in rock history. In 1991, Mercury died of bronchopneumonia, a complication of AIDS, and Deacon retired in 1997. Since then, May and Taylor have occasionally performed together, including a collaboration with Free and Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers under the name Queen + Paul Rodgers which ended in May 2009. Since 2011, May and Taylor have collaborated with vocalist Adam Lambert under the name of Queen + Adam Lambert. In November 2014, Queen released a new album, Queen Forever, featuring vocals from the late Freddie Mercury.
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May(guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen’s earliest works were influenced byprogressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, incorporating further diverse styles into their music.Before joining Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing together in a band named Smile with bassist Tim Staffell. Freddie Mercury (then known by his birth name of Farrokh „Freddie” Bulsara) was a fan of Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques after Staffell’s departure in 1970. Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the name of the band to „Queen„, and adopted his familiar stage name. John Deacon was recruited prior to recording their eponymous debut album in 1973. Queen enjoyed success in the UK with their debut and its follow-up, Queen II in 1974, but it was the release of Sheer Heart Attack later in 1974 and A Night at the Opera in 1975 that gained the band international success. The latter featured „Bohemian Rhapsody”, which stayed at number one in the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks; it charted at number one in several other territories, and gave the band their first top ten hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. Their 1977 album, News of the World, contained two of rock’s most recognisable anthems, „We Will Rock You” and „We Are the Champions”.