The second installment in Hollywood Records’ massive 40th Anniversary Queen reissue program has just been released, and includes the albums News Of The World, Jazz, The Game, Flash Gordon, and Hot Space. The CDs have all been remastered, and a second disc of bonus materials has been added to each.
The first set contained Queen, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, A Night At The Opera, and A Day At The Races, which were recorded between 1973-1976. These albums saw the four-piece group go from finding their voice in the musical landscape of the early seventies to becoming one of the biggest bands on the planet.
If their mega-hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” represented a monumental gamble that paid off brilliantly, it also confirmed that the way forward was to push boundaries as far as they could. It is with that spirit that they continued on with their next five albums, recorded between 1978-1982. The discs in their second box set are the most experimental of Queen’s career.
News Of The World (1977)
While “Bohemian Rhapsody” may be the song most associated with Queen, “We Will Rock You” has received the most airplay. Almost immediately upon release the song was adopted by sports teams around the world. Whether fans knew of Queen or not, they knew the signature “boom boom chuck, boom boom chuck stomp, and the victorious line “We will, we will rock you!” “We Will Rock You” was the opening track on News Of The World, and segued directly into the first single “We Are The Champions.” Many radio stations played the two together as they appeared on the album.
The hard rocking “Sheer Heart Attack” follows; even though it was the title of Queen’s third album, the song makes its first appearance here. One of the key things about the old days of vinyl LPs was the fact that they were explicitly programmed by the band for the optimum overall listening experience. After the 1-2-3 punch on side one comes some of the deeper cuts on the album, and all still sound great.
Side two opens with another tribal stomp, but with risqué lyrics: Freddie Mercury’s “Get Down Make Love.” Another real highlight is “It’s Late,“ written by Brian May.
The bonus disc for News Of The World contains two entries from their final appearance on the BBC Sessions; “Spread Your Wings” and “My Melancholy Blues.” There are also strong live takes of “Sheer Heart Attack” and a virtually unrecognizable “We Will Rock You.” A lost gem titled “Feelings Feelings” round out the five extras on the EP.