Queen: Album by Album is my hard cover coffee table book in which I have two
or three experts per studio album go off about all things Queen—same format
and sumptuous quality as my similar titles on Rush, AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Iron
Maiden. Every studio album is dissected, as we talk about who write what, who
can sing up a storm, production bells and whistles, the shocking left turn
into synth rock, all the hits, Freddie’s sexuality, Brian’s Red Special,
B-sides, Mack vs. Roy Thomas Baker, Freddie’s death… man, on that front, the
Made in Heaven album turns out to bestow upon us one of the best chapters
actually, although the tragedy of it all begins with Innuendo.
Along the way we also evaluate the album covers, the lyrics, prog versus glam
versus rock and dance, guitar solos, drum sounds, John Deacon… heck, pretty
much everything needed to enhance your listening trip once more through these
Your panel of commentators this time consists of:
Chris Caffery, Ralph Chapman, Stephen Dalton, David Ellefson, Jim Jenkins,
Hansi Kursch, Reinhold Mack, Roger Manning Jr., Ian Mosley, Patrick Myers,
Daniel Nestor, Nina Noir, John Norum, Darius Rucker, Derek Shulman, Dee
Snider, Richie Unterberger, Jeb Wright and, yes, Sir Paul McCartney.
Gorgeous book, spot varnish and neons on the cover, same very cool 10” x 7
3/4” dimension as my recent Zeppelin, Floyd, Clash and AC/DC books, gorgeous
hard cover, tons of rare pictures throughout, of the band, of memorabilia.
As my introduction to the book states...
Queen: greatest band ever to walk this earth?
Across many interviews and debates on radio, magazines, across the Internet,
over 20 years of having a blast talking about this stuff, I’m pretty sure I’ve
made that argument repeatedly. It’s crazy, I know, picking just one, and then
when we really get into it, someone always challenges with the idea that the
band that can win an accolade like this has to be great start to finish, and
that Queen might get knocked down a peg on this stipulation.
Fair enough, because as soon as that happens, I fall back to the following
supportable provocation: Queen is absolutely the greatest band to ever walk
this earth, in any era, based on a specific and substantial run of albums
across a single decade. Judas Priest, to my mind, comes close with what they
produced from 1976 to 1979, but Queen is clearly the victor, at least in this
writer’s opinion. The remarkable run of seven albums Queen produced between
1973 closing with Jazz in 1978 just might be the greatest hot streak of pure
genius in all of recorded music. No one in the ‘60s (let’s not have that
Beatles talk right now, please), not Led Zeppelin in the ‘70s, not U2 or REM
in the ‘80s or whatever you might conjure in the ‘90s, no one can touch the
royal hem of Queen as they set about crafting Queen, II, Sheer Heart Attack, A
Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, News of the World and Jazz. Bloody
‘ell, I get heart palpitations just thinking about it.
And then Queen set about provoking and challenging that legacy, like true
fearless artists, challenging their millions of fans to follow them into the
unknown. And that we did, with mixed results—delight, revulsion, every emotion
on the rainbow—as Queen constructed and then concluded a catalogue of
Which is the perfect set-up for the explosion in the fireworks factory you’re
about to witness, as myself and an army of dedicated Queen fans take up
machetes and hack our way through the catalogue—the good, the bad and the
ugly—toward myriad new ways to reconcile and understand what it was Queen was
after at the various phases in their action-packed career. Together, I think
we’ve created an amusing celebration of all things Queen, couched in a
cacophony of enthusiasm that evokes you and your smartest music fan buddies
standing around the kitchen slowly depleting the fridge of its brews.
In the end, here’s hoping that you get out of this book what I most certainly
did, and that’s a pile of new educated ways to look at the band’s bewildering
bee’s nest of styles and songs. What I further appreciated is the way that our
panel of experts have been able to paint pictures of the larger milieu in
which Queen was operating at any given time. I found helpful and endearing the
personal stories about initial reactions to these records, as well as the
myriad ways speakers compared Queen to other bands. The personalizing of these
records indeed helped me feel closer to the albums as well as the larger Queen
community. I took great comfort in the fact that the psychological guidance
and support and the intellectual and musicianly heft that these songs
provided, were simultaneously being felt around the world by millions of
passionate music fans like me. Here was a communion with many of those fans,
an inspiring meeting of minds that was the greatest absolute joy of compiling
So without further ado, let’s wade into the thick of Queen: Album by Album,
and the intense, and sometimes controversial opinions of a bunch of fine Queen
fans from many delightful walks of life. I hope the Queen record that is the
love of your life emerges unscathed, and if it doesn’t, that you are
good-humored and open-minded enough to at least accept into your heart the
judgments of our cast. They, like you, are here because they care so damn
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