A Night At The Opera
Hollywood Records, 1975
REVIEW BY: Melanie Love
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/05/2005
Though criminally underrated by most music fans, Queen has created an enduring legacy with a career spanning three decades. Mixing sequins and glam rock with recognizable hits, they conquered the charts with songs like "Another One Bites The Dust" and A Night At The Opera's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
But this album itself is just as varied as the beloved single, and significantly less beaten to death on classic rock stations around the world. Released in 1975, it was considered the band's breakthrough moment and is still attracting new fans to Queen's varied catalogue thirty years later.
Containing an astounding blend of heavy rock, jazz, folk and even a bit of lighthearted pop, A Night At The Opera is Queen's crowning achievement. Each member (guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon, drummer Roger Taylor and the incomparable Freddie Mercury on vocals and piano) penned songs and Queen to this day is the only band to ever have each person in the group achieve a number-one hit song.
Standouts include May conducting an entire orchestra of guitars on the plaintive ode to lost youth, "Good Company," as well as the most beautiful harp-accompanied ballad, "Love Of My Life" -- a longstanding concert favorite. The album tends to be overshadowed by the huge success of "Bohemian Rhapsody," but every song is truly a gem. From the biting venom in the band's ode to a greedy manager, "Death On Two Legs," to the playful interlude of "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon," each song flows seamlessly into the next.
And as usual, lead singer Freddie Mercury is outstanding, switching styles effortlessly -- from jaunty on "Seaside Rendezvous," to sweet in bass player John Deacon's pop hit, "You're My Best Friend," to mixing yearning, remorse and astounding operatic vocals in "Bohemian Rhapsody."
This album is a definite must-have not only for Queen fans, but for any music lover. Though fans are still split about the current tour with Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers taking over Mercury's vocals, one listen to A Night At The Opera reminds you just why Queen have remained so prolific through three decades and counting.