17 very productive years
Queen albums 1973-1991 rated
From 1973 to 1991 Queen produced a rich body of work in studio. They literally covered every music style, from Heavy Metal to Opera, from Pop to Dance. Some albums did better than others in the charts but all have left their mark in Rock music history. We rate their 14 studio albums that were completed with Freddie Mercury on this list.
1 – “A Night At The Opera” 1975
A “Night at the Opera” was released on 21 November 1975 and would be the fourth studio album by the British rock band, Queen. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, it would become the most expensive album ever made at the time. “A Night At The Opera”, borrowing its title from the Marx Brothers’ film could so easily have been a gigantic flop for Queen. But ultimately, the group’s willingness to experiment, even when it doesn’t quite work out 100%, makes them interesting. “A Night at the Opera” incorporates a mix of styles and ranges including ballads, music hall style, hard rock tracks, and progressive rock influences all mixing together to culminate in this overblown rock masterpiece. Opening with the track “Death On Two Legs” which was an attack on their original manager, the late Norman Sheffield, the album then hurdles through a range of styles. The writing would be pretty evenly divided among Mercury and May with bass guitarist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor both writing one song apiece. Deacon’s, “You’re My Best Friend” would go on to become the second hit off the record and remains a pop classic. Mercury’s campy music hall style “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon,” “Seaside Rendezvous”, and May’s mystical prog rock “’39,” “The Prophet’s Song”, eventually brings it all together on the multi-part epic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The entire piece took three weeks to record, with some sections featuring 180 separate overdubs. Producer Roy Thomas Baker said, “Every time Freddie came up with another ‘Galileo’, I would add another piece of tape to the reel.” Baker recalls that they kept wearing out the tape. The album would go on to peak at number four on the US Billboard 200 chart and became the band’s first Platinum-selling album in the US. In the UK the album would top the chart for four non-consecutive weeks. The worldwide sales for the album are over six million copies. It also produced the band’s most successful single in the UK, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, it became their first UK number one and one of the best-selling singles in both the UK and the world.
Strongest tracks: “Death On Two Legs”, “You’re My Best Friend”, “´39″”I’m In Love With My Car”, “The Prophet’s Song”, “Love Of My Life”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
2 – “Queen II” 1974
Often disregarded in their discography, the second Queen album it’s their first to be presented in the concept format, a formula that they would return to in “A Night At The Opera”, and also their first to contain elements of the band’s signature sound of multi-layered overdubs, vocal harmonies, and varied musical styles. The album features two different mood styles represented by the colors black and white, it didn’t really produced smash hits aside of “Seven Seas Of Rhye” that already had been used as a short instrumental on 1973 “Queen”. The blend of Heavy Rock with Art-Rock and Pop sensibility makes it one of Queen’s groundbreaking albums that has influenced musicians such as Axl Rose, Billy Corgan and Steve Vai. In recent years it’s cult following has surpassed some of the band’s best selling albums.
Strongest tracks: “Father to Son”, White Queen (As It Began)”, “The Loser in the End”,”Ogre Battle”, “The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke”, “The March of the Black Queen”, “Seven Seas of Rhye”
3 – “The Game” 1979
A new turning point into Queen’s sound, “The Game” became their most successful album in the United States in part because included several catchy songs such as “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” that satisfied the American audiences. It’s the band’s first album to include a synthesizer, a surprising change given the fact that in all their previous albums they proudly stated on liner notes the non-use of the instrument. Despite being a successful record, it generated some criticism mainly from American press who claimed the band had turned their backs on Rock and went Disco due to the success of the funky-beat “Another One Bites The Dust”. When you listen to songs like “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” reminiscent of 50’s and early 60’s Rock N’ Roll, “Need Your Loving Tonight”, “Rock It (Prime Jive)” or “Sail Away Sweet Sister” there are literally no Disco elements to be found, overall, no matter how good a Queen album was, a lot of the American music critics always needed to find something on it to make it less good.
Strongest tracks: “Play The Game”, “Another One Bites The Dust”, “Need Your Loving Tonight”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “Sail Away Sweet Sister”, “Save Me”, “Rock It (Prime Jive)”, “Dragon Attack”
4 -“Sheer Heart Attack” 1974
A step closer to the traditional and characteristic Queen sound was delivered in “Sheer Heart Attack”, their 3rd album it’s a heavier guitar driven Rock and moves away from the mystical subjects and concept of the two previous ones. The album includes the songs “Now I’m Here”, “Killer Queen”, “Brighton Rock”, “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited” and the Proto-Speed Metal “Stone Cold Crazy”.
Strongest tracks: “Brighton Rock”, “Killer Queen”, “Now I’m Here”, “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited”, “Stone Cold Crazy”, “Tenement Funster”, “Flick Of The Wrist”
5 – “Queen” 1973
Queen’s debut album, a blend into Heavy Metal and Glam Rock resulted in this wonderful but often disregarded masterpiece of the band, even though it’s Queen at their best energy. Opening with the absolute classic “Keep Yourself Alive”, it reveals a diverse body of work unusual for a band in their early steps, rough and sensitive at the same time, the contrast between songs like “Liar” and “The Night Comes Down”, right with “Modern Times Rock N’ Roll” makes this a groundbreaking Queen album,where their traditional sound was not yet developed but it’s already there.
Strongest tracks: “Keep Yourself Alive”, “Liar”, “Great King Rat”, “Jesus”, “Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll”,”Son and Daughter”, “The Night Comes Down”, “Doing All Right”
6 – “News Of The World” 1977
“News Of The World” to this date is Queen’s best selling studio album, with sales exceeding 6 Million copies, upon it’s release became one of the most successful albums around the world, the inclusion of Rock anthems such as “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” can be seen as one of the motives. This is the first album where the songwriting is not dominated by Freddie Mercury, instead leaves more space to Roger Taylor and John Deacon. Some influences of American music can be found here in tracks such as “Get Down, Make Love”, “My Melancholic Blues” and “Sleeping On The Sidewalk”.
Strongest tracks: “We Are The Champions”, “We Will Rock You”, “Get Down, Make Love”, “My Melancholic Blues”, “Sleeping On The Sidewalk”, “All Dead, All Dead”
7 – “A Day At The Races” 1976
The follow up to “A Night At The Opera” didn’t achieved the same success as it’s predecessor, it was the band’s first self-produced album and the first not to feature producer Roy Thomas Baker who produced all their previous first 5. Despite not achieving the same level as success as their 1976 critically acclaimed album, “A Day At The Races” was a best seller, it includes hits such as “Tie Your Mother Down” and “Somebody To Love”, the songs “Drowse” , “White Man” which are two of the albums best tracks, and also featured is the tribute to their loyal Japanese fans with “Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)
Strongest tracks: “Tie Your Mother Down”, “Somebody To Love”, “Drowse” , “White Man”
8 – “Innuendo” 1991
Queen’s final studio album completed with Freddie Mercury, “Innuendo” it’s their return to the roots. Queen had progressively start abandoning their 80’s sound formula on the previous album “The Miracle”, in “Innuendo” they brought back their Hard Rock songs, Psychedelic effects and overdubs who were reminiscent of the 70’s era. The darkest of Queen albums since “Queen II”, was recorded under the difficult circumstances of Freddie Mercury’s illness which reflects on the lyrics and somber tone of the songs such as “Innuendo” and “I’m Going Slightly Mad”, both hit singles for Queen. “The Show Must Go On”, “These Are The Days Of Our Lives” and “Headlong” were three other successful songs from the album.
Strongest tracks: “Innuendo” , “I’m Going Slightly Mad”, “The Show Must Go On”, “These Are The Days Of Our Lives”, “Headlong”
9 – “Jazz” 1978
Usually smashed by critics, “Jazz” was a good diverse Queen album that produced some of their careers biggest hits “Fat Bottomed Girls”, “Bicycle Race”, the mega-hit “Don’t Stop Me Now” and their concert staple during the late 70’s “Let Me Entertain You”. The weakest moment in the album is really the final track which is a blend of all the album songs put together.
Strongest tracks: “Fat Bottomed Girls”, “Bicycle Race”, Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Let Me Entertain You”
10 – “The Works” 1984
One of Queen’s biggest sales disasters in the U.S, however everywhere else “The Works” did well. The synthesizer charged album didn’t please to some of their oldest fans who hadn’t still accepted “Hot Space”, despite including some of the biggest hits in the bands career, “I Want To Break Free”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “It’s A Hard Life” and “Hammer To Fall”. The sonority of the album was influenced by Electronic German Retro-Futuristic beats that relied deeply on synthesizers. The American audiences largely ignored the album and it lacked of promotion in a conservative U.S due to the TV ban of the video “I Want To Break Free” where the band shows up in drag. Only after Freddie Mercury’s death, the band would conquer back their American fans. The songs from “The Works” are now more popular in the U.S than it was when it came out.
Strongest tracks: “I Want To Break Free”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “It’s A Hard Life”, “Hammer To Fall”, “Is This The World We Created?”
11 – “The Miracle” 1988
As the 80’s approached it’s end, Queen started slowly going back to their heavier original Rock sound, in “The Miracle”, the inclusion of classic Queen “I Want It All”, “The Miracle” and “Breakthru” are some of the albums highest moments. The album also features some of Queen’s best songs that are often disregarded such as “Party” and “Scandal”, this was a fair predecessor and warm up to “Innuendo”.
Strongest tracks: “I Want It All”, “The Miracle”,”Breakthru”,”Party”, “Scandal”
12 – “A Kind Of Magic” 1986
Partially a soundtrack album to the movie “Highlander”, “A Kind Of Magic” it’s a paradoxical album that features simultaneously some of their weakest and best songs. You get tracks such as “Friends Will Be Friends”, “Who Wants To Live Forever”, “A Kind Of Magic” which are essentially soft radio friendly Rock songs and the edgier “Princes Of The Universe”, “Gimme The Prize” and “One Vision”.
Strongest tracks: “Princes Of The Universe”, “Gimme The Prize”, “One Vision”, “Who Wants To Live Forever”, “A Kind Of Magic”,”Friends Will Be Friends”
13 – “Hot Space” 1982
The “Ugly Duck” of Queen’s discography, viewed by many as the lowest musical point in their career, “Hot Space” is their official incursion into the 80’s more polished pop and dance sounds. A sales flop that time finally begins to do justice, “Hot Space” features many good Queen songs but only one became a hit, the David Bowie duet “Under Pressure”, however “Staying Power”, “Back Chat”, “Body Language” and “Calling All Girls” are also solid cuts and usually would sound better on their Live form than the album. Also included is the tribute to John Lennon “Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)” inspired on Lennon’s songwriting style.
Strongest tracks: “Under Pressure”, “Staying Power”, “Back Chat”, “Body Language”, “Calling All Girls”, “Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)”
14 -“Flash Gordon” 1980
The soundtrack for the sci-fi movie “Flash Gordon” aside of the tracks “The Hero” and “Flash” it’s an all instrumental Queen album, not that this is a bad thing, but the record needs to be viewed for what it is, bits and pieces of music scattered to be included on specific scenes of a sci-fi movie.
Strongest tracks: “The Hero”, “Flash”
Listen to some of Queen’s best songs compiled by Pop Expresso on Spotify
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