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Album: Queen

Queen is the debut album by English rock group Queen, released in July 1973. It was recorded at Trident Studios and De Lane Lea Music Centre, London, with production by Roy Thomas Baker (as Roy Baker), John Anthony, and Queen. The album was influenced by the seaside rock, hard rock, and heavy metal of the day and covers subjects such as folklore ("My Fairy King") and religion ("Jesus"). Lead singer Freddie Mercury composed five of the ten tracks. Lead guitarist Brian May contributed four songs, including "Doing All Right" which was co-written by Smile band-mate Tim Staffell. Drummer Roger Taylor composed and sang "Modern Times Rock and Roll." The final song on the album is a short instrumental version of "Seven Seas of Rhye". The band included the comment 'No synthesizers' on the album sleeve, as some listeners had mistaken their elaborate multi-tracking and effects processed by guitar and vocal sounds as synthesizers. Bassist John Deacon was credited on the sleeve notes of the original vinyl release as "Deacon John", as Mercury and Taylor thought this may make him sound more interesting. Queen had been playing the club and college circuit in and around London for almost two years when the band had a chance opportunity to test out the new recording facilities of De Lane Lea Studios. Taking advantage of the opportunity, they put together a polished demo tape of five songs: "Keep Yourself Alive," "The Night Comes Down," "Great King Rat," "Jesus," and "Liar". Despite the demo tape's quality, the band received only one offer from a record company - a low bid from Chrysalis Records, which they used to try to entice other companies. They were finally taken aboard in 1972 by Norman and Barry Sheffield, who were setting up Trident Studios; however, Queen were allowed to record only during the studio's downtime, after the paying artists had left, which was usually between 3am and 7am. One day, while waiting to use the studio, Freddie Mercury was asked to record vocals by producer Robin Cable, who was working on a version of "I Can Hear Music" and "Goin' Back." Mercury enlisted Brian May and Roger Taylor to record the tracks. These recordings were released on a single under the name Larry Lurex. The arrangement of recording only during downtime lasted from June to November 1972. The limitations this imposed on them led the band to focus on completing one track at a time, but problems arose almost immediately. The band had thought highly of their De Lane Lea demo tracks, but producer Roy Thomas Baker asked them to re-record the songs with better equipment. "Keep Yourself Alive" was the first song to be re-recorded, and Queen did not like the result. They recorded it once again, but during the mixing sessions, no mix met their standards until engineer Mike Stone stepped in. After seven or eight failed attempts, Stone's first try met with Queen's approval. Stone would stay on to engineer and eventually co-produce their next five albums. The first, rejected re-record of "Keep Yourself Alive" was later released by Hollywood Records in the United States, titled "(Long Lost Re-take)," with Brian May's approval. Another track that proved problematic was "Mad The Swine", which was recorded for the album but then derailed by Baker and Queen disagreeing on the quality of the percussion. With the issue unresolved, the track was left off the album. It re-surfaced in 1991 as both the B-side to the "Headlong" CD single in the UK, and on the Hollywood Records re-release of the album. The version of "The Night Comes Down" which appears on the album is, in fact, the De Lane Lea demo recording, as its quality was apparently up to the standards of the rest of album's recordings. Other recordings from this period, such as two Smile tracks ("Silver Salmon" and "Polar Bear"), "Rock And Roll Medley" (a live encore staple from the era), and the infamous track "Hangman" (whose existence was long denied officially, beyond live concert recordings), have surfaced in the form of acetate pressings, now owned legitimately by private collectors. Though the album was completed and fully mixed by November 1972, Trident spent months trying to get a record company to release it. After eight months of failing that, they simply released it themselves in 1973. During this time, Queen had begun writing material for their next album, but they were disheartened by the current album's delay, feeling they had grown past that stage, even though the record-buying public was just getting wind of them. They recorded two BBC sessions during the interim. The first single, "Keep Yourself Alive" (the Mike Stone mix, now considered the standard album version) was released a week before the album (UK dates, 6 July and 13th respectively). The track length was edited for release in the US, from 3:47 to 3:30. The US single was issued in October. All countries had the B-side "Son And Daughter". The album was released in the US on 4 September. Elektra Records released a single of "Liar" in a heavily edited form (without the band's knowledge) on 14 February 1974, with the B-side "Doing All Right". Elektra later re-issued the edited version of "Keep Yourself Alive" in July of 1975, this time with the rare double B-side (rare for a 7" single) of "Lily Of The Valley" and "God Save the Queen". Both versions are unique compared to the album versions. Hollywood Records released a CD single featuring five versions of "Keep Yourself Alive" to promote the forthcoming "Crown Jewels" boxed set (1998). The versions on the CD are: "Long Lost Re-take", "BBC Session #1 Version", "Live Killers Version", "Album Version (Unremastered)", and "Album Version (1998 Remastered Version)". User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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