A Night at the Opera (Queen album)

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A Night at the Opera
Queen A Night At The Opera.png
Studio album by Queen
Released 21 November 1975
Recorded August – November 1975
Studio Sarm, Roundhouse Studios, Trident Studios, Olympic Studios, Scorpio Sound and Lansdowne, London and Rockfield, Monmouthshire
Genre
Length 43:10
Label
Producer
Queen chronology
Sheer Heart Attack
(1974)
A Night at the Opera
(1975)
A Day at the Races
(1976)
Singles from A Night at the Opera
  1. "Bohemian Rhapsody"
    Released: 31 October 1975
  2. "You're My Best Friend"
    Released: 18 May 1976

A Night at the Opera is the fourth studio album by the British rock band Queen, released on 21 November 1975 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, it was reportedly the most expensive album ever recorded at the time of its release. The album takes its name from the Marx Brothers film of the same name, which the band watched one night at the studio complex when recording.

The album was recorded at various studios across a four-month period in 1975. Due to management issues, Queen received almost none of the money they earned for their previous albums. Subsequently, they ended their contract with Trident Studios and did not use their studios for their album (with the sole exception being "God Save the Queen", which was recorded the previous year). They employed a complex production that extensively used multitrack recording, and the songs incorporated a wide range of styles, such as ballads, music hall, hard rock and progressive rock influences. Aside from their usual equipment, Queen also utilised a diverse range of instruments such as a double bass, harp, ukulele and more.

Upon release, the album topped the UK Albums Chart for four non-consecutive weeks. It peaked at number four on the US Billboard 200 chart and became the band's first Platinum-selling album in the US. The worldwide sales for the album are over six million copies. It also produced the band's most successful single in the UK, "Bohemian Rhapsody", which became their first UK number one and one of the best-selling singles in both the UK and the world.

A Night at the Opera received contemporary mixed reviews from critics, but they praised its production and the diverse musical themes, as well as recognising it as the album that established Queen as superstars. In 1977, it received two Grammy nominations for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus and Best Arrangement for Voices. Retrospective reviews, however, have hailed it as Queen's magnum opus, and as one of the greatest albums in rock history. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it number 231 on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2018, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Background

Queen's previous album, Sheer Heart Attack (1974), had obtained commercial success and brought the band mainstream attention, with the single "Killer Queen" reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart. However, despite this success, the band was broke at the time. This was largely due to a contract they had signed which meant that they would produce albums for a production company, who would then sell the album to a record company. This meant that Queen saw almost none of the money they earned, which Brian May described as "probably the worst thing we ever did." Their finances were in such a poor state that Roger Taylor was warned not to drum too hard, as they were unable to afford new drumsticks.[1] John Deacon, who had recently gotten married, was denied money by their management to put a deposit on a house.[2][3] This increasing frustration led to Freddie Mercury writing the song "Death on Two Legs", which would serve as the opening track to A Night at the Opera. Subsequently, the band negotiated out of their deal with Trident Studios and began searching for new management. They considered hiring Peter Grant, who was Led Zeppelin's manager at the time. Grant had intended the band would sign with Swan Song, Led Zeppelin's label, and suggested Queen go on tour while he sorted out their finances. However, the group feared Grant would prioritise Led Zeppelin over them, so they contacted John Reid, who was Elton John's manager at the time. Reid accepted, and advised the group to "go into the studio and make the best record you can make".[4][5]

In 1990, May told BBC Radio Two, "For A Night at the Opera we sort of returned [to the] Queen II philosophy. We had our confidence because we had a hit. We had a kind of almost desperation about us too because we were totally bankrupt at that point. You know, we had made hit records but we hadn't had any of the money back and if the A Night at the Opera hadn't been a huge success I think we would have just disappeared under the ocean someplace. So we were making this album knowing it was live or die ... each of us individually wanted to realize our potential as writers and producers and everything."[6]

Recording and production

""I do enjoy the studio, yes. It's the most strenuous part of my career. It's so exhausting, mentally and physically. It drains you dry. I sometimes ask myself why I do it. After Sheer Heart Attack we were insane and said never again. And then look what happens!"

-Freddie Mercury[7]

Queen worked with producer Roy Thomas Baker and engineer Mike Stone. It was the last time they would work with Baker until Jazz in 1978.[8] Gary Langan, who was 19 years old at the time and had been a tape operator on two of Sheer Heart Attack's songs, was promoted to an assistant engineer on the album.[9] The album was recorded at seven different studios over a period of four months; in contrast, Sheer Heart Attack had been recorded at four different studios.[10] It was reportedly the most expensive album ever made at the time, with the estimated cost being £40 000.[11][12] The group had a three-week writing and rehearsing session in a rented house in Herefordshire before recording began.[13] From August to September 1975, the group worked at Rockfield and Monmouthshire. For the remainder of recording sessions, which lasted until November, the group recorded at Lansdowne, Sarm, Roundhouse, Scorpio Sound and Olympic Sound Studios. As their deal with Trident had ended, Trident Studios was not used during recording. The only song on the album recorded at Trident was "God Save the Queen", which had been recorded on 27 October the previous year, shortly before the band embarked on their Sheer Heart Attack Tour.[14][15]

The group required multitracking for their complex vocal harmonies which typically consisted of May singing lower registers, Mercury singing middle registers and Taylor performing the higher parts (Deacon did not sing). Unlike their earlier albums, which had used 16-track tape, A Night at the Opera was recorded using 24-track tape.[9] Their vocal harmonies are particularly notable on the song "Bohemian Rhapsody", which features an elaborate opera sequence dominated by multitracked vocals.[9][16] Similarly, "The Prophet's Song" has an a capella middle section that utilises delay on Mercury's vocals. For their self-titled "guitar orchestrations", May overdubbed his homemade Red Special guitar through an amplifier built by Deacon, known as the Deacy Amp. Aside from their usual equipment, the group used a wide variety of instruments on the album. Mercury used a grand piano for the majority of the songs, contributing a jangle piano on "Seaside Rendezvous", while Taylor used a timpani and gong on "Bohemian Rhapsody". Deacon played double bass on "'39" and Wurlitzer Electric Piano on "You're My Best Friend".[15] In the album liner notes, May was credited to "orchestral backdrops" — a reference to the fact that he played a number of instruments not typically found in Queen songs.[14] He played an acoustic guitar on "Love of My Life" and "'39" as well a harp on "Love of My Life", and a toy koto on "The Prophet's Song". The song "Good Company" also features May recreating a Dixieland jazz band, which was done on his Red Special.[15][17]

While recording, Queen had watched the Marx Brothers film A Night at the Opera (1935), and had decided to name their latest album after it.[18][19] Subsequently, they became good friends with the film's star Groucho Marx, to the point where Marx sent the band a letter praising their 1976 album A Day at the Races.[20]

Music and lyrics

The album has been affiliated with progressive rock,[21][22] pop,[22] heavy metal[22] and hard rock.[21] It contains a diverse range of influences including folk, skiffle, British camp and music hall, jazz and opera.[21][23] Each member wrote at least one song: five of the songs were Mercury contributions, four were written by May, and Taylor and Deacon had one song each. The closing track was an instrumental cover of "God Save the Queen", the British national anthem, to which May was credited as the arranger. For their first two albums, much of Queen's songwriting combined contemporary progressive rock and heavy metal, which led to a "Led Zeppelin meets Yes" description of the band.[24][25] However, starting with Sheer Heart Attack, Queen began drawing inspiration from their everyday lives, and embraced more mainstream musical styles,[26] a trend which A Night at the Opera would continue.

Mercury later commented on the songwriting and production, "I did discipline myself... Take vocals, because they're my forté - especially harmonies and those kind of things. On Queen II we've gone berserk. But on this album I consciously restricted myself. That's brought the songwriting side of it across, and I think those are some of the strongest songs we've ever written."[7]

Songs

Queen performing live during their 1975 "A Night at the Opera" tour

Side one

"Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to...)"

"Death on Two Legs" can be referred to as Freddie Mercury's hate letter to Queen's first manager, Norman Sheffield, who for some years was reputed to have mistreated the band and abused his role as their manager from 1972 to 1975. Sheffield denied the allegations in his 2013 autobiography entitled "Life on Two Legs: Set The Record Straight", and referred to copies of the original 1972 management contracts between Sheffield and Queen, which were included in the book as proof of his defence.[27] Though the song never makes direct reference to him, after listening to a playback of the song at Trident Studios during the time of album release, Sheffield was appalled, and sued the band and the record label for defamation, which resulted in an out-of-court settlement, but also confirmed his connection to the song.[28]

During live performances, Mercury would usually rededicate the song to "a real motherfucker of a gentleman", although this line was censored on the version that appeared on their Live Killers album in 1979. Other than on the live album, he said it was dedicated to a "motherfucker I used to know".

In the Classic Albums documentary about the making of A Night at the Opera, Brian May stated that the band was somewhat taken aback at first by the bitterness of Mercury's lyrics, and described by Mercury as being "so vindictive that he [May] felt bad singing it".[29] After the song came together, it was agreed that the "author should have his way", and the song was recorded as written.[30]

As with "Bohemian Rhapsody", most of the guitar parts on this song were initially played on piano by Mercury, to demonstrate to May how they needed to be played on guitar. "Death on Two Legs" remained on the setlist until, and well into, The Game Tour in 1980, and was then dropped. However, the piano introduction was played during the Hot Space and Works tours.

"Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon"

"Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" is another song by Mercury. He played piano and performed all of the vocals. The lead vocal was sung in the studio and reproduced through headphones in a tin bucket elsewhere in the studio. A microphone picked up the sound from the bucket, which gives it a hollow "megaphone" sound. The guitar solo is also reported to have been recorded on the vocal track, as there were no more tracks to record on, as explained by producer Roy Thomas Baker during the 'Classic Albums' documentary.

"I'm in Love with My Car"

"I'm in Love with My Car" is amongst Roger Taylor's most famous songs in the Queen catalogue. The song was initially taken as a joke by May, who thought that Taylor was not serious when he heard a demo recording.

Taylor played the guitars in the original demo, but they were later re-recorded by May on his Red Special. The lead vocals were performed by Taylor on the studio version, and all released live versions.[31] The revving sounds at the conclusion of the song were recorded by Taylor's then current car, an Alfa Romeo. The lyrics were inspired by one of the band's roadies, Johnathan Harris, whose Triumph TR4 was evidently the "love of his life". The song is dedicated to him, the album says: "Dedicated to Johnathan Harris, boy racer to the end".

When it came down to releasing the album's first single, Taylor was so fond of his song that he urged Mercury (author of the first single, "Bohemian Rhapsody") to allow it to be the B-side and reportedly locked himself in a cupboard until Mercury agreed. This decision would later become the cause of much internal friction in the band, in that while it was only the B-side, it generated an equal amount of publishing royalties for Taylor as the main single did for Mercury.[32]

The song was often played live during the 1977–81 period. Taylor sang it from the drums while Mercury played piano and provided backing vocals. It was played in the Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour in 2005 and the Rock the Cosmos Tour in 2008. Taylor would again play the song for his concerts with The Cross and solo tours, where instead of drums he played rhythm guitar.

"You're My Best Friend"

"You're My Best Friend" was Queen's first single written by John Deacon. He composed while he was learning to play piano. He played the Wurlitzer Electric Piano (which Mercury called a "horrible" instrument in an interview) on the recording and overdubbed the bass later on. The song was written for his wife, Veronica Tetzlaff. The song was a top 10 hit.

"'39"

"'39" was May's attempt to do "sci-fi skiffle". "'39" relates the tale of a group of space explorers who embark on what is, from their perspective, a year-long voyage. Upon their return, however, they realise that a hundred years have passed, because of the time dilation effect in Einstein's special theory of relativity, and the loved ones they left behind are now all dead or aged.

May sings the song on the album, with backing vocals by Mercury and Taylor. During live performances, Mercury sang the lead vocal.[33] May had asked Deacon to play double bass as a joke but a couple of days later he found Deacon in the studio with the instrument, and he had already learned to play it.[34]

Since Queen had named their albums A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races after two of the Marx Brothers' most popular films, surviving brother Groucho Marx invited Queen to visit him at his Los Angeles home in March 1977 (five months before he died). The band thanked him, and performed "'39" a cappella.[35]

George Michael performed "'39" at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on 20 April 1992.[36] Michael cited this song as his favourite Queen song, claiming he used to busk it on the London Underground.[37]

Recently, Queen have included the song on the setlists of their recent tours with Adam Lambert [38] and before Adam with Paul Rodgers;[39] for all these tours since 2005 it is sung, as it is on the album, by May.

"Sweet Lady"

"Sweet Lady" is a distortion-driven fast rocker written by May. The song is an unusual rock style in 3/4-meter (which gives way to 4/4 at the bridge).

"Seaside Rendezvous"

"Seaside Rendezvous", written by Mercury, is notable for the mock-instrumental bridge section which begins at around 0:51 into the song. The section is performed entirely by Mercury and Taylor using their voices alone. Mercury imitates woodwind instruments including a clarinet and Taylor mostly brass instruments, including tubas and trumpets, and even a kazoo; during this section Taylor hits the highest note on the album, C6. The "tap dance" segment is performed by Mercury and Taylor on the mixing desk with thimbles on their fingers. Mercury plays both grand piano and jangle honky-tonk.

Side two

"The Prophet's Song"

The Prophet's Song was composed by May (working title "People of the Earth"). On the show In the Studio with Redbeard, which spotlighted A Night at the Opera, May explained that he wrote the song after a dream he'd had about a great flood while he was recovering from being ill while recording the Sheer Heart Attack album, and is the source of some of the lyrics. He spent several days putting it together, and it includes a vocal canon sung by Mercury. The vocal, and later instrumental canon was produced by early tape delay devices. It is a heavy and dark number with a strong progressive rock influence and challenging lead vocals. At over eight minutes in length, it's also Queen's longest studio song (not counting the untitled instrumental track on "Made in Heaven").

As detailed by May in a documentary about the album, the speed-up effect that happens in the middle of the guitar solo was achieved by starting a reel-to-reel player with the tape on it, as the original tape player was stopped.

The dream May had was about The Great Flood, and lyrics have references from the Bible and the Noah's Ark account.

"Love of My Life"

"Love of My Life" is one of his most covered songs (there have been versions by many acts like Extreme featuring May, Scorpions and Elaine Paige). Mercury played piano (including a classical solo) and did all of the vocals with startling multi-tracking precision. May played harp (doing it chord by chord and pasting the takes to form the entire part), Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar (which he'd bought in Japan) and his Red Special.

May eventually arranged the song so it could be played on an acoustic 12 string for live performances.

"Love of My Life" was such a concert favourite that Mercury frequently stopped singing and allowed the audience to take over. It was especially well received during concerts in South America, and the band released the song as a single there. When Queen and Paul Rodgers performed the song (specifically Brian solo) he sang almost none of the words and let the audience sing it all, continuing the tradition.

"Good Company"

"Good Company" was written and sung by May, who provides all vocals and plays a genuine George Formby ukulele banjo.[40]

The recording is remarkable for featuring an elaborate recreation of a Dixieland-style jazz band, produced by way of May's Red Special guitar and Deacy Amp. May composed the song on a Banjo ukelele, but recorded the song with a regular ukulele instead. Mercury was not involved with the song's recording, making it one of the few Queen songs not to feature their lead singer.

Photo of Queen taken from the photo sessions of their second album, which would inspire the look of the music video for "Bohemian Rhapsody"

"Bohemian Rhapsody"

"Bohemian Rhapsody" was written by Mercury with the first guitar solo composed by May. All piano, bass and drum parts, as well as the vocal arrangements, were thought up by Mercury on a daily basis and written down "in blocks" (using note names instead of sheets) on a phonebook. The other members recorded their respective instruments with no concept of how their tracks would be utilised in the final mix. The famous operatic section was originally intended to be only a short interlude of "Galileos" that connected the ballad and hard rock portions of the song.

The interlude is full of "obscure classical characters: Scaramouche, a clown from the commedia dell'arte; astronomer Galileo; Figaro, the principal character in Beaumarchais' The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro...Beelzebub; identified in the Christian New Testament as Satan, Prince of Demons, but in Arabic as "Lord of the Flies". Also in Arabic the word Bismillah', which is a noun from a phrase in the Qur'an; "Bismi-llahi r-rahmani r-rahiim", meaning "In the name of God, most gracious, most merciful".[41]

During the recording, the song became affectionately known as "Fred's Thing" to the band, and the title only emerged during the final sessions.

Despite being twice as long as the average single in 1975 and garnering mixed critical reviews initially, the song became immensely popular, topping charts worldwide (where it remained for an unprecedented nine weeks in the UK) and is widely regarded as one of the most significant rock songs in history.[42]

After Mercury's death, the song was rereleased as a double A-side to "These Are The Days Of Our Lives" on 9 December 1991 in the UK and 5 September, 1991, in US.

"God Save the Queen"

May recorded a cover version of God Save the Queen, the British national anthem, in 1974 before their Sheer Heart Attack tour. He played a guide piano which was edited out later and added several layers of guitars.[30] After the song was completed it was played as a coda at virtually every Queen concert. When recording the track May played a rough version on piano for Roy Thomas Baker, producer, and Mike Stone, engineer. He called his own skills on the piano sub-par at the time.[30] He performed the song live on the roof of Buckingham Palace for the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002.[43]

May has stated that he performed the song on the roof of Buckingham Palace as a homage to Jimi Hendrix's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Guitar layering is one of May's distinctive techniques as a rock guitarist. He has said that the technique was developed whilst looking for a violin sound. For tracks like this, he stated he can use "up to 30" layers, using a small amplifier named the 'Deacy Amp' built by Deacon, and later released commercially like the "Brian May" amplifier by Vox.

Reception and legacy

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[21]
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars[44]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[45]
Pitchfork 8.9/10[46]
PopMatters 9/10[25]
Q (1993) 3/5 stars[47]
Q (2006) 5/5 stars[48]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[49]
Uncut 5/5 stars[50]
The Village Voice B–[51]

A Night at the Opera was not reviewed by the majority of the UK music magazines when it came out because the band were remixing the album until the last moment, and consequently no preview discs or tapes were sent out to the media before the record was officially released. In Record Mirror & Disc, Ray Fox-Cumming attempted to review the album based on a single listening at the playback party held for the press, which he admitted "isn't really enough" to form a proper critical opinion. However, he described his first impressions of "an amazing rush of music with one track running helter-skelter into the next ... The orchestral effects, all done by voices, are dazzling but come and go too quickly to appreciate on a solo listening." Fox-Cumming stated that the album had three highlights — "Death on Two Legs", "The Prophet Song" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" — and only one bad track, "Sweet Lady". He concluded that "as a whole, A Night at the Opera is faster, flashier and more complex than Sheer Heart Attack, but they haven't gone over the top".[52]

On its release in the US four months later, Kris Nicholson of Rolling Stone said that although they share other heavy metal groups' penchant for "manipulating dynamics", Queen are an elite act in the genre and set themselves apart by incorporating "unlikely effects: acoustic piano, harp, a capella vocals, no synthesisers. Coupled with good songs."[53] Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, felt that the album "doesn't actually botch any of a half-dozen arty-to-heavy 'eclectic' modes ... and achieves a parodic tone often enough to suggest more than meets the ear. Maybe if they come up with a coherent masterwork I'll figure out what that more is."[51] The Winnipeg Free Press wrote: "The group's potential is practically limitless, indicating that Queen is destined to finally take its place among the small handful of truly major acts working in rock today."[54]

In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine called the album "a self-consciously ridiculous and overblown hard rock masterpiece" and "prog rock with a sense of humour as well as dynamics". Erlewine felt that Queen "never bettered their approach anywhere else".[21] Progressive rock historian Stephen Lambe has disputed that the album itself is progressive rock in his book Citizens of Hope and Glory: The Story of Progressive Rock. He wrote: "While far from progressive rock, it was the band's most grandiose and ambitious album yet, full of great songwriting and prog influences." He said the album was "a neat symbol of the furthest reach of the progressive rock movement".[55]

In 1992, Mojo called the album "an imperial extravaganza, a cornucopia", and Queen "a band of hungrily competitive individualists on a big roll of friendship and delight".[56] In a 2006 review, Paul Rees of Q observed that although A Night at the Opera was "released the same year as both Bowie's arch soul pastiche Young Americans and the sleek art rock of Roxy's Siren, it has rarely been heralded as either. Yet it was, and is, every bit as brash, bold and full of the joys of its own possibilities." Feeling that Queen "never came close to bettering their fourth album", Rees concluded that "later albums would expose the lack of soul at the heart of Queen's music; they were all surface, no feeling. They elected themselves the great entertainers, and this heady rush of experimentation was not to be repeated. But A Night at the Opera remains glorious, monumental. It is British rock's greatest extravagance."[48] In 2007, Chris Jones of BBC Music noted the diverse range of musical styles on the album, saying, "Sheer Heart Attack had hinted at a working knowledge of 19th century parlour balladry, 20s ragtime and Jimi Hendrix. A Night at the Opera was to add opera, trad jazz, heavy metal and more to the mix." He concluded that the album "remains their finest hour".[23]

In 2011, remastered versions of the earlier Queen albums were released, prompting another batch of reviews. Uncut said that the record "proved there was no limit to their capabilities" and concluded, "Containing not one but two monumental epics ('Bohemian Rhapsody', 'The Prophet's Song'), and gorging on grandiose gestures galore, A Night at the Opera secured itself instant classic status".[50] Pitchfork's Dominique Leone stated, "No punches pulled, no expense spared: A Night at the Opera was Queen at the top of the mountain".[46] AJ Ramirez of PopMatters wrote, "Kicking off with the downright ominous high-drama of 'Death on Two Legs' (a retort against the group's recently deposed management where Mercury spits out venomous invectives at the targets of his ire), the album gives way to a kaleidoscope of styles, from 1920 jazz to space-folk narratives to top-of-the-line contemporary pop-rock. Amazingly, while the transitions between genres would conceivably throw listeners for a loop, none are jarring. Instead, Queen succeeds because it pulls from all the best tricks in the library of showbiz history to deliver laughs, heartache, grandeur, and spectacle to its audience at precisely the right moments." He observed that "it’s the realization of such a unique sonic vision that pushes [the album] into the realm of true excellence ... A Night at the Opera stands as a breathtaking, involving creation, and unequivocally Queen's finest album."[25]

Accolades

In 1977 "Bohemian Rhapsody" received two Grammy Award nominations for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus and Best Arrangement for Voices.[57]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die US 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[58] 2005 *
ABC AUS Poll: Top 100 Albums[59] 2007 28
BBC UK Poll: Top 100 Albums[60] 2006 9
Channel 4 UK Poll: Greatest 100 Albums[61] 2005 13
Classic Rock UK The 100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever[62] 2001 25
The 100 Greatest British Rock Albums Ever[63] 2006 17
The 200 Greatest Albums of the 70's (20 greatest of 1975)[64] 2006 *
Kerrang! UK Poll: The 100 Best British Rock Albums Ever[65] 2005 19
NME UK Poll: Greatest 100 Albums of All Time[66] 2006 19
Q UK The 50 Best British Albums Ever[67] 2004 17
Rolling Stone MX Poll: The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time[68] 2004 11
US Poll: Readers' Top 100 Albums[69] 2002 82
US The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[70] 2003 231
Virgin UK Poll: All Time Top 1000 Albums[71] 1998 87

(*) designates unordered lists.

Re-releases

The album was first re-released in the U.S. by Hollywood Records on 3 September 1991 with two bonus remixes, as part of a complete re-release of all Queen albums.

On 30 April 2002, the album was again re-released on DVD-Audio with a 5.1-channel mix in Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound.[72] It also includes the original 1975 video of Bohemian Rhapsody.

On 21 November 2005, it was once more re-released by Hollywood Records Catalogue Number 2061-62572-2 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album and its first single, "Bohemian Rhapsody". This release is accompanied by a DVD-Video disc with the same track listing featuring the original videos, old and new concert footage (including "'39" from the Queen + Paul Rodgers tour and Brian May on the roof of Buckingham Palace playing "God Save the Queen") and audio commentary by all four bandmembers.

On 8 November 2010, record company Universal Music announced a remastered and expanded reissue of the album set for release in May 2011. This as part of a new record deal between Queen and Universal Music, which meant Queen's association with EMI Records came to an end after almost 40 years. According to Universal Music, all Queen albums were to be remastered and reissued in 2011. By September 2012 the reissue program was completed.[73] Along with this came a 5.1 channel release of the album on Blu-ray Audio.

Tour

Track listing

All lead vocals by Freddie Mercury unless noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to...)" Freddie Mercury   3:43
2. "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" Mercury   1:08
3. "I'm in Love with My Car" Roger Taylor Roger Taylor 3:05
4. "You're My Best Friend" John Deacon   2:50
5. "'39" Brian May Brian May 3:30
6. "Sweet Lady" May   4:01
7. "Seaside Rendezvous" Mercury   2:13
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
8. "The Prophet's Song" May   8:21
9. "Love of My Life" Mercury   3:38
10. "Good Company" May May 3:26
11. "Bohemian Rhapsody" Mercury   5:57
12. "God Save the Queen" (instrumental) Traditional, arr. May   1:11

Personnel

Queen

Production

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[98] Platinum 60,000^
Argentina (CAPIF)[98]
Hollywood Records release
Platinum 60,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[99] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[100] Platinum 100,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[101] Gold 20,000[101]
Germany (BVMI)[102] Platinum 500,000^
Japan (Oricon Charts) 150,000[103]
Poland (ZPAV)[104]
2008 Agora SA album reissue
2× Platinum 40,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[105] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[106] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References

  1. ^ Sheer Heart Attack & Killer Queen - Days Of Our Lives Documentary Queen Official. Retrieved 15 September 2018. -via YouTube
  2. ^ Jones 2012, p. 129.
  3. ^ Hodkinson 2004, p. 239.
  4. ^ The Millionaire Waltz by Queen Songfacts Songfacts. Retrieved 15 September 2018
  5. ^ Hodkinson, Mark (2009). "Queen: The Early Years". p.166
  6. ^ Purvis, George (2007). Queen: Complete Works. London: Titan Group Publishing. p. 44. ISBN 9780857685513.
  7. ^ a b Mercury Rising: The Queen Interview Sounds. John Ingham. Retrieved 28 September 2018
  8. ^ Cunningham, Mark (October 1995). "An Invitation to the Opera". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  9. ^ a b c Gary Langan recalls working as a sound engineer on Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and sharing the studio with rock legends The Sun. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  10. ^ Queen:Sheer Heart Attack - Behind The Albums uDiscoverMusic. Max Bell. July 12, 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2018
  11. ^ The 10 Most Expensive Rock Albums Ever Made Loudersound. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2018
  12. ^ A Night At The Opera This Day in Music.com. Retrieved 7 November 2018
  13. ^ Queen:A Night At The Opera - Behind The Albums uDiscoverMusic. Bell, Max. Retrieved 28 September 2018
  14. ^ a b albumlinernotes.com/A_Night_At_The_Opera.html
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External links

  • Queen official website: Discography: A Night at the Opera: includes lyrics of all non-bonus tracks.
  • A Night at the Opera at Discogs (list of releases)

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