Hi folks. This is another album review of a band and album, which is of great significants to me. In this case it is the new album by Queen called Queen On Air. This album is composed of the bands BBC appearances on the radio, from 1973 to 1977. 8 of these songs have appeared on a previous album and others have been on the 2011 deluxe versions of the first 6 albums. I am going to give you some insight as to some of the recordings first appearances and I will even give you the complete track listing, for one of the previous albums along with this one.
In 1989 Queen released a compilation album called Queen At The BBC or At The Beeb. Initially this album was released outside of North America, in late 1989 but it was finally released in North America in early 1995. I first bought my own coppy as an import in late 1991, while trying to collect all of the bands back catalogue as it was released on Hollywood Records. It had 8 songs and all of them appear on this new album, from BBC sessions in 1973. They are spread out through the first disk of On Air, as it is a double album.
When Queen At The BBC came out in 1995 in North America I expected something like what we have today and was disappointed, that we only got the original 8 songs from the 1989 compilation. However, years of waiting have payed off and we have even more goodies, than what we got on the original album or 2011 deluxe versions of the Queen albums.
Some of these songs we may have heard on the radio and I have tried to find them but couldn’t up to now. The fast version of We Will Rock You is a prime example of this. I had heard it a few times over the years on radio specialty shows focussing on Classic Rock and a live concert segment. When Queen was on tap some of the songs which appeared on A Night At The Odeon and the fast studio version of We Will Rock you were played. Since the deluxe versions came out we had been teased about more material coming out in coming years, with BBC and live recordings as bonus tracks and now, they are here.
As for the material, it spans the first 5 years of Queen as a recording act, with a record label behind them. It is also part of an ongoing project of releasing archived material and there is probably more to come I’m sure. But for now, we have this as the latest offering and here is the track listing of the original album (Queen At The BBC) and the new album (Queen On Air), for comparison.
Queen At The BBC
Track 1. My Fairy King, four minutes and six seconds
Track 2. Keep Yourself Alive, three minutes forty-eight seconds
Track 3. Doin’ Alright, four minutes ten seconds
Track 4. Liar, six minutes a twenty-eight seconds
Track 5. Ogre Battle, three minutes fifty-seven seconds
Track 6. Great King Rat, five minutes fifty-six seconds
Track 7. Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll, two minutes
Track 8. Son and Daughter, seven minutes eight seconds.
Now for a comparison, here is the track listing for the new album Queen On Air.
Tracks 1 through 4 are exactly the same as Queen at The BBC. Track 5 is See What A Fool I’ve Been, which appeared as a bonus track on the 2011 Deluxe version of Queen II. Tracks 6 and 7 are Keep Yourself Alive and Liar, with a slightly different vocal track for both. Liar doesn’t even have hand claps at the beginning of the song. Track 8 is a version of Son And Daughter which was recorded at the same session as See What A Fool I’ve Been. Track 9 is Ogre Battle, with a guitar intro similar to how the song was performed live. Track 10 is Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll, 11 is Great King Rat and Track 12 on Disk 1 is Son And Daughter as all 3 tracks appeared on Queen At The BBC.
Disk two starts out with a version of Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll which is more or less like it was performed live, with the ending they added on.
Never more first appeared as a bonus track on the 2011 Deluxe Version of Queen II and next is White Queen (As It Began). All 3 of these songs were recorded on April 3rd 1974.
Tracks 4 though 7 are: Now I’m Here, Sstone Cold Crazy, Flick Of The Rist and Tenement Funster, which are taken from a BBC session October 16th 1974. The latter two appeared as bonus tracks on the 2011 Deluxe version of Sheer Heart Attack.
Now we get into one of the main attractions to this for me and Queen aficionados and completists. Next is a shortened version of We Will Rock You, with an explosion at the end and something about some mythical figure who imagined he had created the universe, or something like that. Next is the fast version of We Will Rock You, as a studio track. For years it has appeared on live albums such as: Live Killers, On Fire and Queen Rock Montreal but the studio version was a rare treasure, until today. I mentioned yearlier that I had heard it years ago on the radio and obviously, I tried looking for it and now I and millions of Queen fans around the world can own it for the first time.
Next is Spread Your Wings and this version first appeared on the 2011 Deluxe version of News Of The World, as a bonus track.
It’s Late is the next track but not the whole song is played. After the second chorus it goes into a psychedelic, hypnotic and tripie section such as like the one in Get Down Make Love. However the songs ends as it does on the album.
My Melancholy Blues is the last track and it also appeared first on the 2011 Deluxe version of News Of The World.
Over all, this is a great album for those of us who have been looking for rare and Long sought after material. The fast studio version of We Will Rock You was at the top of my list, after last years A Night At The Odeon came out and I have a feeling there is more to come. There are remixes which are waiting to come out and a whole bunch of live material in the can, that the band are hoping to release in the coming years.
This isn’t the only album which is related to Queen coming out this month! Sound garden are rereleasing their 1991 album Badmotorfinger in a deluxe and super deluxe version on the 18th. The song to look for is a version of a track called New Damage, which features a guitar solo from Brian May. This has also been a long almost forgotten track, except for Youtube and I am very glad I will finally get to keep it, rather than just listen to it.
As for the new Queen album, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and I give those who put it together, nothing but props for finally being able to release this rare material.