Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week it’s all about Queen, with the reissue of their first five albums. It’s the beginning of a vast back catalogue reactivation for the great band.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Telling you that Queen are among the greatest bands of all time is rather like suggesting you’ll get cold if you spend any time sunbathing in a freezer. Rather obvious, isn’t it? However, the reissues campaign that Universal has just started with the entire Queen back catalogue is a chance to reacquaint ourselves with the joys of the band.
The first batch features the albums Queen, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, A Night At The Opera and A Day At The Races. All have been remastered and come with a bonus CD, featuring live cuts, BBC sessions and different mixes. While it’s nice to have something extra, really it’s the supreme power, pomp and purpose of the original albums which still make them outstanding.
What is easy to forget is just how diverse and innovative the band were.
The manner in which Queen could mix pure heavy rock with touches of jazz, classical flourishes and folk moments is breathtaking when you listen again. Their flair for doing something different yet inviting was never better perhaps than on these five albums – although that’s not to suggest the rest are irrelevant. Because they certainly are not.
Ultimately, what these albums showcase are four men with a vision, and the confidence to pursue this, while also making it accessible to the rest of us.
Also just put out is Deep Cuts Volume 1 (1973-1976), which is a compilation of songs from these albums. However, as it’s been put together by Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins – a huge fan of the band – the choice of tracks is more varied and interesting.
Everyone should have these albums. They’re an essential part of musical history. Oh, and for those who moan about the fact these records are available again, the point is this: you don’t have to buy them.