Sunday, 3 June 2018

Queen - Sheer Heart Attack (1974)

"Let them eat cake" she says, just like Marie Antoinette....


Released November 1974

Recorded at various London studios

Running time 39.09

1974's Queen II had been a most impressive, but not particularly noticed album. The chart single from that collection, the jaunty Seven Seas Of Rhye saw more people paying attention to this interesting band. Later that year, the huge hit single Killer Queen started the era of Queen dominance. Now I'm Here followed as another hit, making Sheer Heart Attack a popular album purchase.


1. Brighton Rock

2. Killer Queen
3. Tenement Funster!
4. Flick Of The Wrist
5. Lily Of The Valley
6. Now I'm Here
7. In The Lap Of The Gods
8. Stone Cold Crazy
9. Dear Friends
10. Misfire
11. Bring Back That Leroy Brown
12. She Makes Me
13. In The Lap Of The Gods (Revisited)                   

Toning down the "fairies and elves" lyrics by now, concentrating on rockier themes and music, this was probably their purest "rock" album. The album's opener, the sprawling Brighton Rock with its extended Brian May guitar noodling in the middle, on to Killer Queen, through Roger Taylor's dense rock in Tenement Funster! to the mighty, grandiose catchy but heavy Flick Of The Wrist, the old "side one" was a corker. 

Finishing off with the melodic mini-song Lily Of The Valley and the huge rock punch of Now I'm Here, Queen were laying down some serious credentials now.

The old "side two" was another romp through several shorter songs, bookended by the anthemic, singalong two Lap Of The Gods songs. Stone Cold Crazy was a couple of minutes of almost punky breakneck thrash and Bring Back That Leroy Brown saw the first unfortunate signs of Freddie Mercury's obsession with 1920s vaudeville. She Makes Me was an underrated Brian May "heavy" track and Misfire was the first of quite a few, and latterly much better, John Deacon songs.

Along with Queen II, this was Queen's finest work committed to album including the multi-million selling follow up A Night At The Opera. This was a more enjoyable work, in my opinion.

Freddie Mercury subsequently had this to say about the album -

"....The album is very varied, we took it to extreme I suppose, but we are very interested in studio techniques and wanted to use what was available. We learnt a lot about technique while we were making the first two albums. Of course there has been some criticism, and the constructive criticism has been very good for us. But to be frank I'm not that keen on the British music press, and they've been pretty unfair to us. I feel that up and coming journalists, by the large, put themselves above the artists. They've certainly been under a misconception about us. We've been called a supermarket hype. But if you see us up on a stage, that's what we're all about. We are basically a rock band...."

Mercury was certainly right about the "rock band" thing, because at the time, 1974-75, they rocked, as their Live At The Rainbow release, featuring two shows from 1974 and A Night At The Odeon, from 1975 prove.


Photo by the great Mick Rock.