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Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

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Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

Old 02-02-10, 02:15 PM
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Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

I was hesitant to discuss this album without the next one in the same thread, since I consider them tied very closely together, not only in appearance and name, but in style and sound. Nevertheless...

A Night at the Opera: released November 1975



Cast:
Freddie Mercury - vocals, vocals, Bechstein Debauchery and more vocals
Brian May - guitars and orchestral backdrops
Roger Taylor - percussion
John Deacon - electric bass

Produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen
Executive Engineer Mike Stone

All titles composed, arranged and performed exclusively by Queen

No synthesizers!

Track listing:
Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to... (Mercury) 3:43
Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon (Mercury) 1:07
I'm in Love With My Car (Taylor) 3:05
You're My Best Friend (Deacon) 2:52
'39 (May) 3:31
Sweet Lady (May) 4:03
Seaside Rendezvous (Mercury) 2:15
The Prophet's Song (May) 8:21
Love of My Life (Mercury) 3:39
Good Company (May) 3:23
Bohemian Rhapsody (Mercury) 5:55
God Save the Queen (traditional, arranged by May) 1:18













And to finish off this masterpiece of an album:

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Old 02-02-10, 03:24 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

Great album. I tend not to rank it as my favorite because it's so familiar, but a thread like this reminds me how perfect the album is. There's not a song on this album that isn't perfect at accomplishing what the band seems to want to accomplish. And the Prophet's Song is tremendously under-rated.
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Old 02-02-10, 10:47 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

My first Queen album, back when it was new. Like JasonF I probably don't rank it as my favorite due to familiarity, but it's great from beginning to end (and that includes the Roger Taylor song).
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Old 02-02-10, 11:16 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

"I'm in Love With My Car" is definitely the one Roger Taylor song I like best of his, "Sheer Heart Attack" from NOTW being second.

I'm not sure I understand the statements about it not being a favorite album because of its familiarity. It sounds like you're saying you know apple pie is your favorite dessert, but you don't say it is because it's everyone else's favorite.

I list Queen II as my favorite album because it's the one where they blossomed into the band they were striving to be, and because it has such a great variety of tracks. But this album, coupled with the next one, Day at the Races, are true masterpieces of modern music. It's hard to call them rock or pop or even classic, because I think Queen stood out on their own as an undefineable, truly original, way ahead of their time entity. They made music in general, and great music, at that. The music of Queen is an art form. As far as I'm concerned, with this album and the next one, they set a bar so high that nobody has acheived since. It's familiar because it's recognized as being so fantastic.

Now if you're saying you're not not listing this is a favorite just because it's most peoples' favorite...

I'd better stop before I confuse myself further.

Last edited by The Infidel; 02-03-10 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 02-03-10, 12:26 AM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

Originally Posted by The Infidel View Post
I'm not sure I understand the statements about it not being a favorite album because of its familiarity. It sounds like you're saying you know apple pie is your favorite dessert, but you don't say it is because it's everyone else's favorite.
It's more like "Familiarity breeds contempt." I've heard it all so many times that I can play it in my head. There's nothing new there, nothing to surprise me because I've heard it all before. But if I can take a step back from it and try to listen to it with fresh ears, I remind myself why it is that I did listen to it so much in the first place.
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Old 02-03-10, 01:09 AM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

I'm not afraid to say this is my second favorite Queen album, after Sheer Heart Attack. "Death On Two Legs" is one of the most vicious and biting album openers of all time. Apparently the song was about the band's former manager, and they put his name in the song. The manager then sued for slander and his name had to be removed (which is why it says "For _______" on the sleeve).

While I think the kaleidoscopic nature of Sheer Heart Attack works better for me, there's no denying that this is the album where Queen achieved total synthesis. Every song (even "I'm In Love With My Car") feels like it fits, and the whole album is of a piece. Whereas previous Queen albums had one or two classic tracks (and by that I mean ones you still hear regularly on the radio), A Night At The Opera feels like every song is a stone cold classic. Each track, especially "The Prophet's Song" and "Bohemian Rhapsody," feels appropriately epic, or intimate ("Love of My Life," "'39"), or jaunty ("Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon," "Seaside Rendezvous").

Easily one of the best records of the 70's, and hell, rock in general. While Queen continued to make great music after this, I don't think they ever beat the 1-2 punch of Sheer Heart Attack and A Night At The Opera.
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Old 02-03-10, 01:17 AM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

I'm going to look forward to posting Day at the Races next week, because I don't see how Sheer Heart Attack and Night at the Opera are a better one-two punch than Night at the Opera and Day at the Races (although I realize that's your opinion, and I respect it). Sheer Heart Attack is a fantastic album, but it's a stand-alone. I don't know if I've ever read it anywhere, but I really feel like Night and Day were intentionally written, recorded and released to complement each other in every way imaginable. If that's not a one-two punch, I don't know what is.

By the way, if you don't already have it, I highly recommend picking up the Making Of A Night at the Opera DVD. I believe a couple of the video clips above came from that, and it's extremely interesting to watch and listen to.

Last edited by The Infidel; 02-03-10 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 02-03-10, 01:27 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

Yeah, I've got that classics album DVD of A Night At The Opera. Great stuff.

I knew you were going to comment on my assertion that the band never did better than Sheer Heart Attack and this one. The fact is I just don't think A Day At The Races is as good of an album as the other two, and I'll go into that more next week.
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Old 02-03-10, 01:41 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

Next week.
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Old 02-03-10, 01:48 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

Originally Posted by The Infidel View Post
I'm not sure I understand the statements about it not being a favorite album because of its familiarity.
I've just listened to it so many times and for so long, it doesn't have that minty fresh taste, so I probably can't judge it completely fairly. If I could, who knows maybe it would be my favorite. As it stands it's definitely up there just not quite at the top.
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Old 02-05-10, 02:55 AM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

The quintessential Queen album and one of rock's classics. A Night at the Opera showcases everything that made Queen great: amazing vocals, a diversity of songs, flamboyance, unashamed pomposity. This was a group of musicians that worked in perfect accord despite (or maybe because of) their diverse musical tendencies.

Bohemian Rhapsody is the most famous track, but I think The Prophet's Song is the real standout. It almost seems like a novel or a film. Just an incredible song.
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Old 02-05-10, 01:45 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

I grew up in the 70's so the classic Bohemian Rhapsody was readily available on the radio at that time.
But I never did pull the trigger on this album. Maybe some day I will but I still haven't.
Freddy has a great voice for metal although we all know Queen's not a metal band.
I was nice to hear that song BH, again. I haven't heard that in probably over 15 years.
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Old 02-05-10, 01:57 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

Originally Posted by Ginwen View Post
My first Queen album, back when it was new.
Same here. This is easily my favorite Queen release, and imo still ranks as one of the best "no dead tracks" albums ever released. From start to finish it is magnificent...
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Old 02-05-10, 11:36 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

An incredibly uneven, and ultimately frustrating, album for me. Great, great opening track. A fantastic single from Deacon showing that he will indeed be a songwriting force to be reckoned with. Mercury again exhibiting his love of American camp. And of course the genre defining Bo Rhap, all great, fantastic stuff.

But, what are we to make of the rest of it? Quite possibly the worst four pack of songs May ever contributed to any album. Taylor still trying mightily, but not quite getting there. Love of My Life has some good elements but just drags on too long. And the God Save the Queen outro is just pointless.

I swear, this album is so uneven that every single vinyl copy must have been shipped warped.

Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to... (Mercury) 3:43
Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon (Mercury) 1:07
I'm in Love With My Car (Taylor) 3:05
You're My Best Friend (Deacon) 2:52
'39 (May) 3:31
Sweet Lady (May) 4:03
Seaside Rendezvous (Mercury) 2:15
The Prophet's Song (May) 8:21
Love of My Life (Mercury) 3:39
Good Company (May) 3:23
Bohemian Rhapsody (Mercury) 5:55
God Save the Queen (traditional, arranged by May) 1:18
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Old 02-06-10, 03:55 AM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

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Old 02-09-10, 05:10 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

This was my second Queen album to own after "The Game" came out.

A humorous story that will haunt me later...my dad is a preacher and his minister of music & youth bought me this album from a yard sale because he heard how much I loved "The Game" and their first greatest hits album (released in 1981). I devoured both and being an eight year old kid in 1981 (along with the Flash soundtrack blowing my wee little mind), I was completely blown away by this album even as a child. I listened to this album even more than the other two I had pretty much warped the vinyl by so much play.

This is a perfect album. There isn't a clinker on the whole thing (whether '39 is your speed or not is simply up to you though). I can remember running to the stereo every time I played Death On Two Legs so I could catch the word "ass" and turn it down before my parents accidentally heard it, as they would have banished it quite quickly. Problem is, even at 9, I was so enthralled by Bohemian Rhapsody that I made my mother listen to it one time. This was the beginning of the end due to the word "Beelzebub" in the lyrics. I had made a cassette of the song and was playing it that way and she made me play it over and over so she could make sure she heard every lyric and what they said. Somewhere in 1982 to 1983, I lost my identity but I will leave that story once we get to The Game.

I am glad to see so much love for The Prophet's Song. That song was made for stereo and I loved listening to it as a kid with headphones on. I used to crank it as loud as I could get away with just to hear May's crunchy guitars jump in super heavy after the creamy middle.

My rating: ***** out of *****! Buy it now if for some reason you don't own it.
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Old 02-09-10, 05:36 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

By the way...you are really missing out if you have never heard the DVD-A of this album. It will blow your mind at how good it sounds.
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Old 02-09-10, 05:45 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

I have it, and listen to it every so often on my surround sound.
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Old 02-09-10, 07:22 PM
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Re: Queen: Album by Album Discussion, A Night at the Opera (1975)

I owned the album WAY back when. Then CDs came out. And I waited. No "Night at the Opera." Waited and waited. Then I heard you can get the CD as a Japanese import. I was in the Navy and our ship pulled into Yakusuka, Japan. So off to a CD store in search of "Night at the Opera." First store I found, the worker didn't speak English (or claimed not to) so I was on my own. Since the spine was printed in Japanese, I had to start pulling CDs out one by one. FINALLY, I had that puppy in my hands!

$26 lighter (damn exchange rate) I claimed victory.


Fast forward years later, it was one of the first 5.1 audio discs I bought.
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