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Queen - A Night At The Opera

"The Diamond in the Crown" of the "Queen", "A Night At The Opera", was released on November 21, 1975, and on the occasion of it's anniversary, we would like to tell you some interesting facts about this masterful album:



1. This is Queen's fourth studio album in two years.


2. The name of the album came from a Marx Brothers film of the same name from 1935, which the band watched during the recordings.


3. The album was recorded in six different recording studios across England.


4. The duration of the recordings lasted about three months from August to November 1975.


5. At the time of its release, "A Night At The Opera" was considered an album with the most expensive production cost in the world.


6. The album features a wide range of influences from different musical genres: Hard Rock, Progressive Rock, Pop, folk, Opera, Skiffle and Jazz.


7. The album also features a wide variety of instruments beyond the band's traditional instruments, such as harp, ukulele, and koto (Japanese strings).


8. The album does not include synthesizers, which the band members were very proud of and noted on the album cover.


9. All four members contributed to the writing of the materials for the album.


10. This album produced the band's biggest hit "Bohemian Rhapsody".


11. Freddie Mercury began writing The song in the late 60's. The name he gave it during the writing process was - "The Cowboy Song".


12. He also wrote all the roles of the various instruments for the song. The piano, bass, drums and even the guitar.


13. The recordings lasted about three weeks and were held in August and September 1975. During the recordings the band used no less than four different studios.


14. The vocal harmonies were the hardest to record, the band members testified that they would sometimes repeat the vocal parts for 10-12 hours a day.


15. The recording of musical instruments also took a long time and included a large number of channel uploads. The song had layers upon layers of musical and vocal channels, some say there were about 180 different overdubs to create the wonderful harmonies and rich sound.


16. The piano that Freddie Mercury played on during the recording is the same piano that Paul McCartney played during the recording of the song "Hey Jude".


17. Despite the length of the song (about 6 minutes) and despite the record company's opposition to its release as a single, the song was very successful on radio stations and reached number one on various charts around the world.


18. Very ironically, the song with the title "Mama Mia" by "ABBA", managed to knock "Bohemian Rhapsody" from the top of the British chart.


19. The word "Scaramouche" in the song, refers to a clown in Italian literature.


20. The word "Beelzebub" in the poem, is attributed in Christian literature to the devil.


21. The word "Galileo" Mercury used in the song was tribute to guitarist Brian May who is a doctor of astrophysics.


22. The name "Figaro" appeared in Rossini's opera "The Barber of Seville".


23. The word "Bismillah" is the first word in the Qur'an.


24. The famous video for the song was the band's first ever. It was created because the band did not want to appear on the British TV show "Top Of The Pops" live, since the song was too complex to perform live.


25. How complex was the production of this song? It had layers upon layers of musical and vocal channels, some say there were about 180 different overdubs to create the wonderful harmonies and the rich sound.


26. The video clip for the song was based on the "Queen II" album cover.


27. The "Queen II" album cover was based on the famous photograph of Marlene Dietrich.


28. The director of the clip was Bruce Gowers, it took him 3 hours to film it at a cost of 3,500 Pound.


29. Freddie Mercury noted that the song "In the Lap of the Gods" from the album "Sheer Heart Attack" is the prologue to the song "Bohemian Rhapsody".


30. Following the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991 the song was released again as a single and this time too it reached number one in the music charts.


31. The song returned to the charts a year later following its inclusion in the soundtrack of the movie "Wayne's World" from 1992. This time it jumped straight to second place on Billboard.


32. The song reached the top of the charts for the fourth time in 2018, following the success of the movie "Bohemian Rhapsody".


33. In 2002 the song was voted in the "Guinness Book of World Records survey" as the first of all the singles released in the UK ever. John Lennon's "Imagine" and the Beatles' "Hey Jude" came in second and third.


34. In 2012 the song was selected at the top of the list of songs with" the best vocal performance in rock" by "Rolling Stone magazine".



35. It also ranks 166th on the same magazine's "500 greatest songs" of all time list.


36. In 2000 it was selected in England, Israel and other places in the world, as the Millennium song.


37. At the time of its release, "A Night At The Opera" was the band's most successful album, shooting straight to number one on the UK charts and holding the top spot for 4 weeks.


38. The song "Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to") is a Freddie Mercury letter of hatred to the band's previous manager Norman Sheffield, who managed the band from 1972-1975.


39. Sheffield denied all the band' accusations against him, in a book he published in 2013 called: "Life on Two Legs: Set The Record Straight".


40. During the band's performances, Freddie Mercury used to open the song with an introduction by calling Norman "a real motherfucker of a gentleman."


41. The song "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" was written by Freddie Mercury about his love for the day of rest (Sunday) and what he likes to do on it.


42. This is the shortest song on the album. Only 1:07 in length. Mercury plays on piano and sings all vocals.


43. Freddie Mercury's voice sounds like he's singing through a megaphone, but that's not the case. This effect was achieved by recording Mercury through headphones that were put inside a bucket and placed in a remote part of the studio, then recorded again for the vocal channel.


44. The song "I'm in Love with My Car" written by Roger Taylor, is one of the most famous in his entire catalog.


45. The song was written for Queen's stage worker Johnathan Harris, who was in love with his "Triumph TR4" car. This was also noted on the album cover with the following words: "Dedicated to Johnathan Harris, boy racer to the end".


46. The engine sound heard in the song is authentic. It's a recording of Roger Taylor's Alfa Romeo car engine.


47. Taylor insisted that the song will be issued as the b-side for the "Bohemian Rhapsody" single and he locked himself in the closet until Freddie agreed.


48. Roger Taylor's insistence paid off greatly, when he finally received royalties almost equal to those of Freddie Mercury for the hit "Bohemian Rhapsody."


49. The song "You're My Best Friend" was written by John Deacon to his wife Veronica Tetzlaff.


50. Deacon plays a song on an electric piano on which he learned to play right before to writing the song.


51. “39” was written by Brian May and was influenced a bit from Skiffle The song tells the story of a group of space explorers who set out on a one-year journey in space, but when they return to Earth they discover that 100 years have passed and that their loved ones have aged or passed away.


52. Brian May sings the song with background vocals by Freddie and Roger. John Deacon plays a double bass he learned to play following a joke by Brian May who asked him to play the instrument, but did not really mean it.


53. The song "Sweet Lady" was written by Brian May who wanted to write a song with a strong riff on a rhythm of the typical 3/4 waltz. Roger Taylor noted that this is one of the songs he has the hardest time performing live due to the rhythm.


54. The (seemingly) instrumental piece starting at 0:51 in the song "Seaside Rendezvous" is performed entirely by the vocals of Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor, it does not use any instruments.


55. The song "The Prophet's Song" composed by Brian May was influenced by a dream about the great flood in the days of Noah.


56. He wrote the song while he was ill during the recording of the album "Sheer Heart Attack".


57. This is Queen's longest song of all of it's albums and is over 8 minutes long.


58. The song "Love Of My Life" was written and played by Freddie Mercury, with the addition of guitar by Brian May. The song was written for Mercury's girlfriend Mary Austin. May plays the villain harp in the song.


59. The jazzy song "Good Company" was written and sung by Brian May alone. He wrote the song on a banjo, but during the recording he plays on ukulele.


60. The cover of the British anthem "God Save the Queen" was first recorded by Brian May in 1974, before the tour that accompanied the album "Sheer Heart Attack". The recording was reworked with the addition of the guitars for the purpose of the album.


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