By the time of Queen’s sixth album “News Of The World” (1977) the band already ruled the world of rock music and were in the prime of their careers. It showed up brilliantly on this album with all four members of the group bristling with confidence. Hence the song writing, instruments and singing are all shared out, with everybody shining.
The album was a smash hit internationally, going four times platinum in the United States alone and selling over 6 million copies in all. Of course it also dripped some of the best known singles of the Seventies. The double A-sided “We Are The Champions”/”We Will Rock You” has been played at every sports ground in the world and especially at cup finals. If you put “We Are The Champions” on in any gathering, automatically everybody is a Freddie Mercury wannabe.
The second single “Spread Your Wings” is probably an even better song, though perhaps not as commercial. But they all stand the test of time very well.
The album opens up with the rabble rousing “We Will Rock You”, designed by its author Brian May to be a song to get the crowd going. With its Stomp-Stomp-Clap-Pause four/four measure it’s a complete earworm of a song.
In the running order of the tracks released on the original album it’s Freddie Mercury’s turn next with the songwriting on the aforementioned “We Are The Champions”. Then third out of the traps is a real blast with “Sheer Heart Attack”, written by Roger Taylor and a screaming rocker if ever there was one. In contrast the next lament “All Dead All Dead” is a song inspired by the death of Brian May’s boyhood cat.
The quiet man of the band John Deacon then gets his name on the score-sheet with “Spread Your Wings” while “Fight From The Inside” is one of the few Queen songs almost entirely played by one member: Roger Taylor wrote it, sang the lyrics and played the drums and guitars. Slash has been quoted as saying the jangling guitar riffs are amongst his favorites.
“Get Down, Make Love” opens side 2 and is one of the most sexually orientated songs ever laid down in a recording studio (snigger). Immediately following it is “Sleeping on the Sidewalk”, a blues excursion from Brian May that was recorded in one take (mistakes and all). It has a lovely, loose feel to it. “Who Needs You” is another John Deacon song, featuring Spanish guitars and Freddie Mercury on cowbell.
“It’s Late” would be the stand out track of almost any other album. Written by Brian May as a three act song, the last act sees the band really wig out in true rocking style.
Lastly we have “My Melancholy Blues”, a showpiece for the talents of Freddie Mercury and his jazzy style. It’s a fitting way to close out a classic album.
Queen backed up the album with an extensive tour of America and Europe. It was the ‘must have’ ticket for both the end of 1977 and early 1978. Queen played a full set with all the stage props, pyrotechnics etc. and did not even bother with a support band on the tour, such was their ability to draw a crowd.
Frank Kelly’s artwork for the album was also groundbreaking.
Mott the Dog Rating: 5 Stars.
Freddie Mercury – vocals, piano and cowbell
Brian May – guitars and vocals
John Deacon – bass guitar and vocals
Roger Taylor – drums, vocals, guitars
We Will Rock You
We Are The Champions
Sheer Heart Attack
All Dead All Dead
Spread Your Wings
Fight From The Inside
Get Down , Make Love
Sleeping on the Side Walk
Who Needs You
My Melancholy Blues
Note: Written By Mott The Dog and Hells Bells.