Sourced from the Original Master Tapes, Mastered By Bob Ludwig, Cut at Half-Speed at Abbey Road Studios, and Pressed at Optimal in Germany
Released in 1973 by EMI after many other labels had turned it away, Queen's eponymous debut proved to be an important, auspicious and vital entry in the band's catalog. Consider the evidence: the opening “Keep Yourself Alive,” composed by May, is certainly quite a startling and brilliant beginning that throws Queen’s gauntlet down. “Doing All Right” was a May and Staffell number, fusing acoustic and metal guitars, while Brian’s piano part was played on Trident’s famous instrument.
“Great King Rat,” a typically bizarre Freddie piece, is notable for the tempo switching and heavy soloing designed to send audiences into a sweat-soaked frenzy. On “My Fairy King” Mercury introduces us to his fantasy world of Rhye and stakes his claim to provide piano on future recordings. And Freddie’s “Liar” was no slouch either. Brian’s “The Night Comes Down” is a lovely introspective slice of nostalgia and personal commentary that references his love for The Beatles in an allusion to John Lennon’s “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.”
Taylor's own “Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll” is a fine addition to the debut, a short old-school romp with John Anthony joining in the fun on backing vocals. By way of contrast May’s “Son and Daughter” stretches out the ensemble playing with a bluesy, psych metal twist. The acid rock styled “Jesus,” ostensibly a straightforward and descriptive view of Christ healing the sick, may also have been written by Freddie with Bowie’s words and imagery from “Ziggy Stardust” and “Five Years” still resonating. Queen reaches its finale with the short instrumental “Seven Seas of Rhye.”
Placed in context Queen’s debut is one of the great albums of 1973, a year that also saw the release of Steely Dan's Countdown To Ecstasy, George Harrison’s Living In The Material World, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy and Bowie’s Aladdin Sane – all albums that make nonsense of the concept that rock music was moribund and self-indulgent. Queen were certainly not operating in any comfort zone. They display élan and hungry ambition here and once they took the songs out on the road, either under their own steam or with Mott the Hoople, the fan base suddenly grew exponentially while a vibrant music press took due note of a new and potentially world-beating phenomenon.
Queen Queen Track Listing:
1. Keep Yourself Alive
2. Doing Alright
3. Great King Rat
4. My Fairy King
6. The Night Comes Down
7. Modern Times Rock 'N Roll
8. Son And Daughter
10. Seven Seas Of Rhye