‘Killer’ Queen Reissues Worth The Wait
With British rock legends Queen celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, it's appropriate that they've decided to give their catalog a healthy overhaul by reissuing each of their individual albums with new liner notes and a bonus CD containing rare and unreleased tracks.
Legendary producer Bob Ludwig handled the remastering of the catalog, working from the original source material to produce new masters of each album. The first five albums in the reissue series landed in stores Tuesday, starting with 'Queen' (1973) and culminating with 'A Day at the Races' (1976).
Queen guitarist Brian May commented on the reissues, “A huge amount of work has already been put in behind the scenes to unleash a completely newly mastered set of the original Queen LPs and CDs. I know our fans will appreciate the attention to detail, bringing the early albums closer than ever to the magic of the vinyl originals, but with the benefit of up-to-the-minute quality technology.”
Fans will be especially excited about the bonus material on each disc, a good portion of which hasn't been released or bootlegged prior to now. Of special note are the five first album demos included as bonus material on the 'Queen' reissue, including an early version of 'Keep Yourself Alive.'
New liner notes by Greg Brooks and Gary Taylor reveal that "the only known original source of these recordings is a 12" acetate belonging to Brian, and that's what is digitally reproduced here, surface noise and all." Expanding further, Brooks and Taylor note that all of the songs were eventually re-recorded with the exception of 'The Night Comes Down,' which the band felt could not be improved upon, so Roy Thomas Baker and Brian May later secretly remixed the track for inclusion on the album.
These reissues are a real breath of musical fresh air after what has seemed like an eternity of needless greatest hits albums and live releases from Queen. It's worth noting that there's even more bonus content available via the iTunes editions of these albums, with each title supplemented with three bonus videos, many of which are live clips.
The next wave of Queen reissues, covering 'Jazz' to 'Hot Space,' are already on deck. They will be released in the UK next month, but won't land on U.S. shores until September. Until then, there's plenty to enjoy here from the rock legends. They also continue to inspire a multitude of today's musicians, from Lady GaGa, who as you might have guessed, took part of her name from Queen's 'Radio Ga Ga,' to the Foo Fighters, who have paid their proper homage to the Queen boys many times, even performing 'Tie Your Mother Down' with May and Taylor at Hyde Park.
Watch Queen perform 'Keep Yourself Alive,' live in Montreal