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Queen "A night at the opera" poll

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Sear, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    I'm In Love With My Car is one of my favourite Queen songs, even if, as a lifetime non-driver, I don't necessarily understand the sentiment behind it. :D
  2. Satellite Sky

    Satellite Sky Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    There are arguments for Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, maybe even Races, but Opera is still probably their best. And The Prophet's Song is my single favorite Queen song.
    johnny q, ArpMoog, TonyR and 3 others like this.
  3. Hadean75

    Hadean75 Forum Moonlighter

    5/5 Masterpiece

    I thought about rating it 4/5 because I don't think it's a perfect album, but I just couldn't do it. It has too many strong tracks to rate it less than a 5/5.
  4. thetman

    thetman Forum Resident


    very cool, that looks awesome. you did a good job.
    Not a NOTA theme, but I am lucky too, to have a "Works" 1984 Christmas card they sent out to people in the business. I had it framed up as well. Fully autographed.

  5. MDNA4ever

    MDNA4ever Boys in the Trees

    Iconic masterpiece
  6. OberonOz

    OberonOz Forum Resident

    If it is Beatles-related - however tangentially - you can absolutely guarantee that we have had a thread about it here!! hehe

    And you are right, I think, about Queen and A Night At The Opera.
    A Night at the Opera is to Queen as Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is to The Beatles. Not that the two albums are the same, but each represent a similar thing in the career of the two bands.
    andrewskyDE and Man at C&A like this.
  7. OberonOz

    OberonOz Forum Resident

    How cool! What a great set of autographs. Would look very cool on your wall :)
  8. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    "Sweet Lady" is killer. A marvel of really quirky phrasing for one. It's like a cubist rock tune or something.
  9. redfloatboat

    redfloatboat Forum Resident

    If Bohemian Rhapsody had never of happened[including the video, obviously] how would ANATO stack up?
    So the album comes out and instead of Bo Rhap there is another very good song in it's place, but this one didn't drop jaws around the world. Would lots of people still be saying the album is a masterpiece?
    Ernold likes this.
  10. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    No, they absolutely would not.

    The whole thing, the entire reason we are discussing the Opera album like this, rests on Bo Rhap. There really isn't anything else on the entire album that makes it worthy of consideration as a 'classic' or a 'masterpiece', or any similar adjectives.

    Was Brian May's songwriting stronger in 1975 than in other years? No. Was Roger Taylor's contribution to Opera better than the songs he contributed to several other Queen albums? No. John Deacon had hit his stride, yes, but he wrote comparably memorable songs on many other records. Even Freddie, the writer of Bo Rhap - was his songwriting at an absolute peak on this album? Not really. His songs on the albums before and after were every bit as good, overall. Arguably better, in fact.

    Did the album do new things? Only Bo Rhap's 'opera' section really ventures into places that the band themselves, and other bands before them, hadn't ventured into before, and even Bo Rhap employs structural ideas that Freddie had already explored previously.

    Does it all flow and hold together better than other Queen albums from the mid-70s? Not really, no.

    This thread would probably be about Sheer Heart Attack, or simply not exist at all.

    It wasn't A Night at the Opera that saved Queen's career - it was Bohemian Rhapsody, a striking, unusual song with an exotic title and a memorable video. I think that, deep down, the remaining members of the band all know that (and no doubt resent it, in some cases).
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
  11. Sordel

    Sordel Forum Resident

    Midlands, UK
    Interesting thoughts.

    For sure, we're talking about ANATO because of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, in the same way that we talk about Thriller because of “Thriller” the multimedia single. Could they have had a similar success doing “that video” with “The Prophet's Song”? Maybe, maybe not. But the idea that without “Bohemian Rhapsody” there really isn't anything else first rate on the album is too much. It's like saying that Sgt. Pepper without “A Day In The Life” has nothing first rate; just because there's one song that becomes the focal point of our experience of the album should not detract from the other great songs.

    “Love Of My Life” is a great ballad. It just is. Better than “You Take My Breath Away”? Debatable, but we're deep into five star territory with both. “Good Company” is a masterpiece: such a jolly song with such a sad, profound subject. “‘39” gets mixed responses in this thread but for me it's a standout. And to become a classic an album doesn't have to have every single track at masterpiece level ... it just needs a consistently interesting, high-quality series of songs, which ANATO certainly has without “Bohemian Rhapsody”. When I spin this album I play it through ... I never skip “filler” to get to “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which for me has been rather played-out for me by its cultural ubiquity.

    Whether “Bohemian Rhapsody” saved Queen's career is for me a historical footnote because I don't listen to albums for the “hit single” ... “Sledgehammer” arguably “saved” (or perhaps made) Peter Gabriel's career but I would never play So just for that song.
  12. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    I remember seeing Brian or Roger talking about how they had Sgt. Pepper in mind when sequencing A Night At The Opera.
  13. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    Except I didn't say that. At all.

    There are several really, really good songs on A Night at the Opera. And I completely agree with the tracks you mentioned - Love of My Life, '39, Good Company. All fine songs.

    But is there enough about it to make it be described as a 'classic' album, a 'masterpiece', Queen's high watermark, without Bo Rhap? Are these songs, good as they are, better than other things Queen did in the years either side of A Night at the Opera I'd argue not.

    That is what I said.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
  14. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    Groucho was a pretty hip dude.

    Huge fan of (and became good friends with) Alice Cooper.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
    Sear likes this.
  15. RobNeil

    RobNeil Forum Resident

    Midlands, UK
    I would, yes.
    KAJ1971 likes this.
  16. Sordel

    Sordel Forum Resident

    Midlands, UK
    Your statement: “There really isn't anything else on the entire album that makes it worthy of consideration as a 'classic' or a 'masterpiece', or any similar adjectives.”

    My paraphrase: “without “Bohemian Rhapsody” there really isn't anything else first rate on the album”.

    My paraphrase may have been other than your intention but it's pretty close.
    Andrew Russe likes this.
  17. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    Nope, it's not close, because there is a difference, surely, between an album with a handful of really good songs on it (alongside some definite duffers, I hasten to add) and an actual 'classic', a genuine 'masterpiece?'

    Or is that how you define a 'masterpiece', perhaps? A few really good songs? If so, there are an awful lot of 'masterpieces' out there...

    We wouldn't be singling Opera out for special praise on the basis of '39, or Good Company, or even Love of My Life - or even these songs combined, unless the whole record was at that level, which it clearly isn't. These are great songs, but they don't really exceed the songwriting standard that Queen exhibited on other albums, either side of Opera.

    We are singling out Opera because it has Bohemian Rhapsody on it. That is the point I am making. It's not the same as saying that there aren't any other good songs on it, which is a statement I haven't ever made. Love of My Life, for example, is a beautiful song (though I prefer the less fussy acoustic arrangement that they used live).

    Stick Bohemian Rhapsody on the end of Sheer Heart Attack or A Day at the Races and that's what this thread would be about.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
  18. Sordel

    Sordel Forum Resident

    Midlands, UK
    Hmmm. Rumours is a masterpiece. It would still be a masterpiece without “The Chain” ... yet without “The Chain” it's really “just” a set of good songs. American Beauty is a masterpiece and to my ears doesn't even have one truly great song on it. I suppose it depends on exactly how good the good songs are. The good songs on ANATO are pretty good: other bands would kill for those songs.

    I think that where we tighten up use of the word masterpiece is when we argue that Queen (or any artist) can only have one masterpiece: it's their summit. A lot of people do think that's what masterpiece means, but for me someone can have several, and I have no problem thinking that Queen has more than one.
  19. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    I can only talk about Rumours, as I don't know American Beauty - and I guess we must be telepathic here because, for some reason, I knew you were going to mention Rumours in your reply. But I completely agree with your comment that an album can be brilliant without having a 'highlight' track, or even anything truly great on it.

    I don't see The Chain as standing out or being head and shoulders above the other songs in the same way as Bohemian Rhapsody, on their respective albums. Yes, The Chain has a certain 'epic' quality, and a memorable hook, but that whole record is packed full of beautiful, emotionally resonant songs, and it all holds together as a listening experience to a greater degree than Opera. There are several songs better than The Chain on Rumours. In fact, it's largely constructed out of 'just' a strong riff. I don't see it as the pinnacle of songwriting on that album, not even close.

    Still, a shame they left the glorious Silver Springs off, an act of vandalism for which Mick Fleetwood should never be forgiven. But evidence that the band had great songs to spare when they made that album.

    Anyway, Rumours is more deserving of the label 'masterpiece' than A Night at the Opera.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
  20. Andy Smith

    Andy Smith You fill up my senses, Like a gallon of Magnet..

    The last truly magnificent Queen album. The gentle downhill slide came after this.
  21. Ernold

    Ernold Look up the number

    No, the "gentle downhill slide" started in 1978, when the band started to lose focus in the studio, for various reasons.
  22. Well, first of all, if there's no 'Bohemian Rhapsody' the album would possibly have a different title. Wouldn't make sense being 'at the opera' without this song.
    And I guess they maybe wouldn't have been inspired enough to take the title from that Marx Brothers film either.
    Andrew Russe likes this.
  23. thetman

    thetman Forum Resident

    thanks, yes its actually hanging in my office. I'm not really an autograph collector but I do enjoy having this particular piece.
  24. TheNirvana

    TheNirvana Well-Known Member

    4.25/5, I'd say. I have the original European vinyl version. All in all mega album, love it, but took me a lot of attempts to really get everything on it.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2021
  25. Rufus rag

    Rufus rag Forum Resident

    Sort of agree but 'Jazz' is a very underated album ! Certainly that's the only album after 'Opera' that really any good. Others have a few good songs here and there but nothing consistent.
    Andy Smith likes this.

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