The worldwide sales for the album are over six million copies. It also produced the band's most successful single in the UK, " Bohemian Rhapsody ", which became their first UK number one. Despite being twice as long as the average length of singles during the s, the song became immensely popular worldwide. Contemporary reviews for A Night at the Opera were mixed, with praise for its production and the diverse musical themes, and recognition as the album that established Queen as worldwide superstars.
Retrospective reviews have hailed it as Queen's best album, and one of the greatest albums in rock music history. Queen's previous album, Sheer Heart Attack , had obtained commercial success and brought the band mainstream attention, with the single " Killer Queen " reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart , as well as providing the band with their first top 20 hit in the United States.
This was largely due to a contract they had signed which meant that they would produce albums for a production company, who would then sell the album to a record label, which Brian May later described as "probably the worst thing we ever did.
In December , the band hired Jim Beach as their lawyer and began negotiating their way out of Trident. Although they declined, as they were still negotiating their way out of Trident, Arden approached Sheffield directly and presented him with his offer. Sheffield agreed; however, by the time Queen returned from their tour in May , the deal was scrapped.
They regained control of their back catalogue, while their former publishing company, Feldman, was taken over by EMI. This tour was necessary for regaining funds, and its cancellation was a major setback.
With funds running low, Queen immediately began searching for new management. Rudge was on tour with the Rolling Stones at the time and could not be reached, so they contacted Grant.
Reid was initially doubtful about managing another band; however, he accepted after learning it was Queen, and advised the group to "go into the studio and make the best record you can make".
It was the last time they would work with Baker until Jazz in The album was recorded at seven different studios over a period of four months; in contrast, Sheer Heart Attack had been recorded at four different studios. As their deal with Trident had ended, Trident Studios was not used during recording. The only song on the album recorded at Trident was " God Save the Queen ", which had been recorded on 27 October the previous year, shortly before the band embarked on their Sheer Heart Attack Tour.
The group required multitracking for their complex vocal harmonies which typically consisted of May singing lower registers, Mercury singing middle registers and Taylor performing the higher parts Deacon did not sing.
Unlike their earlier albums, which had used track tape, A Night at the Opera was recorded using track tape. For their self-titled "guitar orchestrations", May overdubbed his homemade Red Special guitar through an amplifier built by Deacon, known as the Deacy Amp , later released commercially as the "Brian May" amplifier by Vox.
Guitar layering is one of May's distinctive techniques as a rock guitarist. He has said that the technique was developed whilst looking for a violin sound.
Aside from their usual equipment, the group used a wide variety of instruments on the album. Mercury used a grand piano for the majority of the songs, contributing a jangle piano on " Seaside Rendezvous ", while Taylor used a timpani and gong on "Bohemian Rhapsody".
The album has been affiliated with progressive rock ,   pop ,  heavy metal ,  hard rock  and avant-pop. For their first two albums, much of Queen's songwriting combined contemporary progressive rock and heavy metal, which led to a " Led Zeppelin meets Yes " description of the band.
Lyrical themes ranged from science fiction and fantasy to heartbreak and romance,  often with a tongue in cheek sense of humour. Sheffield denied the allegations in his autobiography entitled "Life on Two Legs: Set The Record Straight", and referred to copies of the original management contracts between Sheffield and Queen, which were included in the book as proof of his defence. In the Classic Albums documentary about the making of A Night at the Opera , Brian May stated that the band was somewhat taken aback at first by the bitterness of Mercury's lyrics, and described by Mercury as being "so vindictive that he [May] felt bad singing it".
During live performances, Mercury would usually rededicate the song to "a real motherfucker of a gentleman", although this line was censored on the version that appeared on their Live Killers album in Other than on the live album, he said it was dedicated to a "motherfucker I used to know". However, the piano introduction was played during the Hot Space and Works tours.
He played piano and performed all of the vocals. The lead vocal was sung in the studio and reproduced through headphones in a tin bucket elsewhere in the studio. A microphone picked up the sound from the bucket, which gives it a hollow "megaphone" sound.
The guitar solo is also reported to have been recorded on the vocal track, as there were no more tracks to record on, as explained by producer Roy Thomas Baker during the Classic Albums documentary. The song was initially taken as a joke by May, who thought that Taylor was not serious when he heard a demo recording. Taylor played the guitars in the original demo, but they were later re-recorded by May on his Red Special. The lead vocals were performed by Taylor on the studio version, and all released live versions.
The lyrics were inspired by one of the band's roadies , Johnathan Harris, whose Triumph TR4 was evidently the "love of his life". The song is dedicated to him, the album says: "Dedicated to Johnathan Harris, boy racer to the end". When it came down to releasing the album's first single, Taylor was so fond of his song that he urged Mercury author of the first single, "Bohemian Rhapsody" to allow it to be the B-side and reportedly locked himself in a cupboard until Mercury agreed.
This decision would later become the cause of much internal friction in the band, in that while it was only the B-side, it generated an equal amount of publishing royalties for Taylor as the main single did for Mercury. The song was often played live during the —81 period. Taylor sang it from the drums while Mercury played piano and provided backing vocals.
Taylor would again play the song for his concerts with The Cross and solo tours, where instead of drums he played rhythm guitar. He composed it while he was learning to play piano, and played the Wurlitzer electric piano which Mercury called a "horrible" instrument in an interview on the recording and overdubbed the bass guitar afterwards. The song was written for his wife, Veronica Tetzlaff. The song was released as the album's second single after "Bohemian Rhapsody" and was also a top 10 hit in the UK.
Upon their return, however, they realise that a hundred years have passed, because of the time dilation effect in Einstein 's theory of relativity , and the loved ones they left behind are now all dead or aged. May sings the song on the album, with backing vocals by Mercury and Taylor. During live performances, Mercury sang the lead vocal. The section is performed entirely by Mercury and Taylor using their voices alone. Mercury imitates woodwind instruments including a clarinet and Taylor mostly brass instruments, including tubas and trumpets, and even a kazoo ; during this section Taylor hits the highest note on the album, C6.
The "tap dance" segment is performed by Mercury and Taylor on the mixing desk with thimbles on their fingers. Mercury plays both grand piano and jangle honky-tonk. On the show In the Studio with Redbeard , which spotlighted A Night at the Opera , May explained that he wrote the song after a dream he'd had about a great flood while he was recovering from being ill while recording the Sheer Heart Attack album, and is the source of some of the lyrics.
The vocal, and later instrumental canon was produced by early tape delay devices. It is a heavy and dark number with a strong progressive rock influence and challenging lead vocals. At over eight minutes in length, it's also Queen's longest studio song not counting the untitled instrumental track on " Made in Heaven ". As detailed by May in a documentary about the album, the speed-up effect that happens in the middle of the guitar solo was achieved by starting a reel-to-reel player with the tape on it, as the original tape player was stopped.
Mercury played piano including a classical solo and did all of the vocals with startling multi-tracking precision. May played harp doing it chord by chord and pasting the takes to form the entire part , Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar which he'd bought in Japan and his Red Special. May eventually arranged the song so it could be played on an acoustic 12 string for live performances. It was especially well received during concerts in South America, and the band released the song as a single there.
When Queen and Paul Rodgers performed the song specifically Brian solo he sang almost none of the words and let the audience sing it all, continuing the tradition. When they performed with Paul Rodgers during , Mercury was also projected during the show, but not in a round display as they use with Adam Lambert. May composed the song on a Banjo ukelele , but recorded the song with a regular ukulele instead. Mercury was not involved with the song's recording, making it one of the few Queen songs not to feature their lead singer.
All piano, bass and drum parts, as well as the vocal arrangements, were thought up by Mercury on a daily basis and written down "in blocks" using note names instead of sheets on a phonebook. During the recording, the song became affectionately known as "Fred's Thing" to the band, and the title only emerged during the final sessions. The other members recorded their respective instruments with no concept of how their tracks would be utilised in the final mix. The famous operatic section was originally intended to be only a short interlude of "Galileos" that connected the ballad and hard rock portions of the song.
Also in Arabic the word Bismillah', which is a noun from a phrase in the Qur'an; "Bismi-llahi r-rahmani r-rahiim", meaning "In the name of God, most gracious, most merciful".
Despite being twice as long as the average single in and garnering mixed critical reviews initially, the song became immensely popular, topping charts worldwide where it remained for an unprecedented nine weeks in the UK and is widely regarded as one of the most significant rock songs in history.
He played a guide piano which was edited out later and added several layers of guitars. When recording the track May played a rough version on piano for Roy Thomas Baker, producer, and Mike Stone, engineer. He called his own skills on the piano sub-par at the time. Call On Me Can I See You Tonight Can't Run From Yourself Chokin' Kind Christmas To Christmas Come In Out Of the World Come On Honey Complicated Daddy And Home Dancing the Night Away Danger Ahead Cheeeek that out dude. Lead RIFFs:.
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