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HOW TO BUY... QUEEN!

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With a voice as big as the old Wembley Stadium and a genuine Professor of Astronomy on a guitar made from a fireplace, there was only one Queen. This month's How To Buy question is: what are the best albums by Queen?

Once you're past the numerous Greatest Hitses and A Night At The Opera, where do you go? Are you a fan of hippy faerie-loving Queen, or the stadium-straddling moved of The Works? Or would you chance your pennies on the much-unloved Disco Queen of Hot Space?

MOJO needs to know. Leave your comments here and they could appear in a forthcoming issue of MOJO magazine. And tell us why you've made your selection. Give it to me one more time!

Posted by MOJO at 05:38PM | Categories: How To Buy


Comments

"Sheer Heart Attack" because it has May's coolest guitar solo ("Brighton Rock") and Queen's first truly great single ("Killer Queen"). A practice run for "Opera," and yet I listen to this one more often than its follow-up.


Posted by: Jay | 16 May 2006 18:03:54

Who should Start with the records Queen,Queen II and Shear Heart Attack to understand how they get to A night at the opera and then buy Opera twin A day at the Races. After the classic Queen Period the best of the rest are News of the world,The works and Innuendo


Posted by: José | 16 May 2006 19:23:41

"Jazz" for the audacity of songs like "Mustapha", the bell solo in "Bicycle Race", and the always funny Mr. Farenheit reference that Mr. Mercury provides in "Don't Stop Me Now". I don't think they felt that punk changed the sonic expectations of their audience.


Posted by: ibthistlethwaite | 17 May 2006 01:42:55

I would advise the dithering buyer not to bother and to perhaps consider watching reruns of A Touch of Frost rather than listening to rotten old Queen.
I do have a Queen Greatest Hits CD which belonged to my late father if anyone wants to make me an offer for it.


Posted by: Wang Dang Doodle | 17 May 2006 08:27:29

Great! I've always wanted to be asked that question, thanx a lot. For me it is "Queen II"; there is such a great leap forward from their first effort, they hardly seem the same band. Maybe not their best, but definetely the most original and bizarre album they made..... Bullshit! It is the best album they ever did.


Posted by: Oscar Fernandez | 18 May 2006 20:10:16

Song for song News of the World is the best album they've done.

Later offerings such as The Miricle and Innuendo may be better for beginers as they have something for everyone, from Brian May Spinal Tap guitars through to Freddie Mercury camp classics including an ode to his cat.


Posted by: Famous Phil | 19 May 2006 15:42:46

Beginners should start with Greatest Hits 1&2 (forget 3) and then move onto Queen's short-lived pinacle of Sheer Heart Attack, A Night At The Opera and A Day At The Races. Then get Queen At The BBC (which is far better than Queen or Queen II), News Of The World, Jazz, Innuendo and The Game (in that order). If that still isn't enough for you then get the rest as you feel like it but definitely leave Hot Space, Flash and Made In Heaven to last. (This is of course forgetting the live albums because these are far better watched on DVD than suffering the music without visuals).


Posted by: Tim G Rice | 21 May 2006 13:16:50

Queen II is the one. Sexier than prog, wittier than glam.


Posted by: kaspar | 21 May 2006 18:17:59

All of them (but not greatest hits 3). Any one who does not like QUEEN is a sad and borigng GIT.


Posted by: craig jones | 22 May 2006 10:17:58

Have to agree with Kasp on this one.
Queen II is their magnus opus followed by A Night At The Opera.
On the other hand, Jazz is their ultimate Pop masterpiece, their own white album.


Posted by: Kay One | 22 May 2006 13:14:08

The first four Queen albums are indeed all masterpieces , period , nuff said !


Posted by: John Jablonskas | 23 May 2006 02:37:00

Ok! Now I have a different Queen album 4 each mood I'm in. But the one that really gives me the shivers is Queen II. I can't explain it, it just takes me to different world, time and place. Nice isn't it? :)


Posted by: Calin | 23 May 2006 09:50:35

Queen's 70's albums are all indispensible. As a catalogue of music, it is second only to The Beatles.

You can hear in the first three albums how the band are building up to the sound of 'A Night at the Opera'.

'A Day at the Races' is unfairly overshadowed by '...Opera'. It's a band at the top of their game, with top notch songwriting.

'The Game' was their last great album. They evolved into a completely different band in the '80s, and the songs just weren't as good compared to their 70's material.


Posted by: Paul Soper | 23 May 2006 14:31:56

All Queen albums are great! My personal top five would be "A night at the opera", "day at the races", "Queen 2", "jazz' and "the miracle." There is no doubt whatever to me that Queen were the greatest band ever, nobody sounded like them, with their arrangements, talents and creativity!!!


Posted by: Harold Kaufman Jr | 23 May 2006 15:30:36

Queen II. Side Black & Side White both rock!


Posted by: Bill Hicks | 24 May 2006 08:24:09

hmmm in the eighties the music got more and more obvious and the lyrics got worse. Everything up to the first greatest hits are all great albums -the later ones have their moments but contain real stinkers - the works was their only great album after greatest hits.
I suffered a trip from dorset to cambridge with Hits 3 on the stereo - argh trapped with such rubbish. really, they don't need the money


Posted by: vervet | 24 May 2006 09:33:51

Queen 1 and 2 are the best rock albums ever made. It goes downhill from there sadly.


Posted by: james | 24 May 2006 13:30:30

My favorite all around would have to be Shear Heart Attack. It features some of their best riffs-to-tune ratio, some amazing studio wizardry and it keeps the campy tin-pan-alley-isms to a minimum. Brighton Rock is an air-guitar standard... :)

Queen 2 is definitely the peak of the pop/glam-prog mountain, and since it is not overburdened by airplay it still sounds fresh to ears grown weary of FM rock staples.


The two LP's that came out during my musical consciousness flowering would be News Of The World and The Game. 'News' is possibly the best mixture of hard rock/pop/pomp this side of Shear Heart Attack (and oddly enough contains the song of the same name, easily the HARDEST they had ever rocked this side of Stone Cold Crazy). It also has Get Down Make Love, complete with a 'no-synthesizers-involved' defying jaw dropping Whole Lotta Love-ish breakdown in the middle. Bizarre!

The Game is most likely their best pop move filled with the last flowering of their songwriting and inventiveness (and the last to bear the 'no-synth' claim). It's probably the one we played the most when I was growing up (this side of A night At The Opera, of course). After that it was all Radio Gaga.

I'd like to revisit Hot Space. There was an electro band that covered a few tunes off it (Queen Of Japan: coincedentally named?), leading me to believe that maybe it's an untapped source of Electro fascination. Still looking for a $.99 copy of that one.


Posted by: Scorpiomoon | 25 May 2006 07:31:29

Innuendo has a sort of crushing finality to it, arising from the majestic title track, which - structurally at least - recalls their finest moment, Bohemian Rhapsody; Freddie's ominous claim to be 'going slightly mad' on the song of the same name, highlighting his own frailty; and the eerie closer The Show Must Go On, which contains more imagery of death and decay. These tracks are interspersed with several more lightweight, albeit great, pop tracks. A fitting end to Queen's career.
Sheer Heart Attack is their best, though.


Posted by: Alex Dudok | 26 May 2006 10:07:05

I think "A Day At The Races" doesn't get the attention it deserves because it's overshadowed by "A Night At The Opera".

No other album opener had such an impact on me as did "Tie Your Mother Down".

And "Long Way" showed Brian May as a great leadsinger as did "Drowse" with Roger Taylor.


Posted by: Daniel Studer | 29 May 2006 13:36:14

Sheer Heart Attack is "the one" for me. A coming of age of ideas and approaches from the first two albums which set the stage for "A Night At The Opera". Who knew that "Stone Cold Crazy" would serve as inspiration for Metallica and their metal sub-genre?

But it is "Under Pressure" the one-off single with David Bowie that is my favourite track. As timely now (if not more so) as when it was first released - a cry for love and sanity in a world gone mad - the apocalyptic Reagan/Thatcher 80's.("Its the terror of knowing what this world is about...") The music mirrors the intensity of the lyric. This isn't mere sloganeering (All You Need Is Love) but actually gets under the skin and into the troubled psyche of the listener to break though denial into identification, past despair and (hopefuly) into action. A call to wage peace, love, and understanding - and what's so funny about that?


Posted by: Frederick Harrison | 12 Jun 2006 16:07:37

Queen had their best period in the 70's. I agree that "The Game" was the last of this great period. Then again i would say with "The Miracle" and "Innuendo" they did well again. But 70's stuff is best. Not easy to pick just one album out of it!


Posted by: Joerg Hayden | 14 Jun 2006 10:23:54

I love all of Queen’s albums. Each one has a unique style and sound, fusing operatic vocals and heavy metal guitars across the musical landscape, incorporating cabaret, rockabilly, disco, funk, and pop in a studio creativity rivaling The Beatles, and a live theatrical bombast rivaling The Who—all with tongue-in-cheek panache.

Like The Who, Queen peaked during the 1970s, and both bands should have eased off on the synthesizers in the 1980s.

That being said, in addition to the usual and obvious suspects (A Night at the Opera, Queen, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack), my favorite Queen albums are:

The Game: The first Queen album I ever bought. In many ways this is a John Deacon showcase—from his “Another One Bites the Dust” composition to his funky lick and solo on the surprisingly underplayed “Dragon Attack” to his bluesy plucking on “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” Freddie Mercury pays tribute to John Lennon with “Play the Game,” revisiting “All You Need is Love,” and “Save Me” is one of Brian May’s best compositions.

A Kind of Magic: After the pop excess of Hot Space and The Works, this album is a welcome return to Queen’s hard rock roots with “Princes of the Universe,” “Gimme the Prize,” and “One Vision.” Granted, these soundtrack songs to Highlander and Iron Eagle combined with weaker tracks make this an uneven album, but “Who Wants to Live Forever” features some of Brian’s and Freddie’s most emotional vocals, making this album more maligned than it deserves.

Innuendo: A fitting finale to Queen (not counting the posthumous coda, Made in Heaven). Devastating in it’s intensity after the more pop friendly flavor of The Miracle, I agree with Alex Dudok that the title track recalls the band’s finest hour, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “I’m Going Slightly Mad” and “The Hitman” are downright sinister in a fashion the band hadn’t performed since the 70s. “These Are the Days of Our Lives” and “The Show Must Go On” reveal Freddie’s vulnerability in a way no other Queen song did previously and are therefore more heartfelt in the wake of Freddie’s passing.


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