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Template:Use British English

Unknown
Released 28 October 1977
Recorded July – September 1977
Length 39:30
Label Template:Hlist
Producer Template:Hlist

News of the World is the sixth studio album by the British rock band Queen, released on 28 October 1977 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. News of the World was the band's second album to be recorded at Sarm West and Wessex Studios, London, and engineered by Mike Stone, and was co-produced by the band and Stone. Recording took place at the same time the Sex Pistols were busy recording Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, which led to several meetings between band members.

In 1977, punk rock acts, most notably the Sex Pistols, sparked massive backlash against progressive rock artists such as Queen, to which the band responded by simplifying their symphonic rock sound and gearing towards a more spontaneous hard rock sound.[1][2] The album subsequently went 4x platinum in the United States, reaching number 3 on the US Billboard 200, number 4 on the UK Albums Chart and achieving high certifications around the world. It has sold over 10 million copies and remains one of the band's best-selling studio albums.[3] Its lead single, "We Are the Champions"/"We Will Rock You", reached number two on the UK Singles Chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 100. Critical reaction to News of the World was initially mixed, with many reviewers commenting on the band's change in musical style. However, it has since come to be regarded as one of Queen's greatest albums, while "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You" are rock anthems.

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Background and recordingEdit

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After completing the "A Day at the Races Tour", the quartet re-entered the studio to begin work on their sixth studio offering in July 1977, enlisting Mike Stone as assistant producer at the Basing Street and Wessex Studios in London. They scaled down their complex arrangements and focused on a "rootsier" sound (as Brian May put it). However, the staple of the Queen sound - multi-tracked harmonies and guitar orchestrations - still exist on this album, albeit more subtly than previously. Having received some criticism that their first completely self-produced album, "A Day at the Races", was a "boring" album,[4] Queen decided to shift their musical focus towards the mainstream but remain as the producers of the next album. Races garnered criticism as many critics felt that it was too similar to A Night at the Opera, something which the band members themselves acknowledged.[5] In addition, the arrival of punk rock, led by the Sex Pistols, saw the mainstream shift away from progressive rock and more towards simpler rock music. Queen were seen as the antithesis of punk, particularly in their camp influences and elaborate production.[6]

Brian May stated in an interview that “We'd already made a decision that...[after] A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races, we wanted to go back to basics for News of the World. But it was very timely because the world was looking at punk and things being very stripped down. So in a sense we were conscious, but it was part of our evolution anyway.”[7]

In contrast to "Races", which had taken five months to record, only two months were booked to record at Sarm West Studios and Wessex Studios.[6] Most of the recording sessions took place in Wessex Studios, which was also where the Sex Pistols were busy recording "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols". As such, the two groups had several interactions, including the famous meeting between Mercury and Sid Vicious. Vicious, upon stumbling into Queen's recording studio, asked "Have you succeeded in bringing ballet to the masses yet?" in response to a comment the singer had made in an interview with NME, to which Mercury called him "Simon Ferocious" and replied "We're doing our best, dear."[1][8] Johnny Rotten also expressed a desire to meet with Mercury. According to Bill Price, who engineered "Never Mind the Bollocks", Rotten crawled on all fours across Queen's studio to Mercury, who was playing piano, and said "Hello Freddie" before leaving.[7] May also recalled bumping into John Lydon in the corridors and having several conversations about music.[2] Queen's history with the Sex Pistols dated back to December 1976, in which Queen were set to appear on Bill Grundy's Today show. However, Mercury had a toothache, and was forced to schedule a dentist appointment on the same day, his first one in 15 years. As a replacement, EMI offered the Sex Pistols instead, which lead to their now famous appearance on the Today show.[9]

The group completed recording and production of the album two months later in September, and released the album on 28 October 1977.

SongsEdit

OverviewEdit

News of the World shows Queen's songwriting less dominated by Mercury and May than previously, with Roger Taylor and John Deacon composing two songs each. It has been classified as hard rock[1] and arena rock,[1][10] and has been regarded as a transitional album due to its shift towards a more minimalist production.[2] Its songs are notable for their eclectic themes which would crystallise on future albums Jazz and The Game: "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" are arena rock, "Who Needs You" features a Latin influence, "Sheer Heart Attack" is punk rock, "Sleeping on the Sidewalk" is based upon blues rock, "Get Down, Make Love" features funk overtones, "My Melancholy Blues" imitates jazz and "Fight from the Inside" was the group's first disco related song.[11][2]

Side oneEdit

"We Will Rock You"Edit

Main article: We Will Rock You

"We Will Rock You" (Template:Audio-nohelp) was released as the B-side of "We Are the Champions", and became one of Queen's biggest songs worldwide as a staple of arena and stadium sports. It was a conscious decision by Brian May to make the song simple and anthemic (‘stomp, stomp, clap, pause’ per 4/4 measure), so that their live audience could be more directly involved in the show. In the video for ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘Spread Your Wings’, May used a copy of his guitar. He supposedly did not want to submit his Red Special to the weather, as the videos for these songs featured the band performing in the snow in Roger Taylor's garden.

On 7 October 2017, Queen released a Raw Sessions version of the track to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of News of the World. It features a radically different approach to the guitar solo and includes May's count-in immediately prior to the recording.[12]

"We Are the Champions"Edit

Main article: We Are the Champions

According to Freddie Mercury, "We Are the Champions" had already been written in 1975 but was not recorded until 1977.[13] Released as a single with "We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions" reached number two in the UK and number four in the US. "We Are the Champions" was the first promotional video for which fan club members were invited to participate in the filming. The video was filmed at the New London Theatre on 6 October 1977. Everyone received a free single of "We Are the Champions", a day before the single was released. To thank the audience for their attendance and role in making the video, Queen performed a short free concert after the shoot.

On 7 October 2017, Queen released a Raw Sessions version of the track to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of News of the World. It was made from previously unheard vocal and instrumental takes from the original multi-track tapes. It also presents for the first time the original recorded length of the track, which is two choruses more than the 1977 edited single.[12]

"Sheer Heart Attack"Edit

Main article: Sheer Heart Attack (song)

"Sheer Heart Attack" was half-finished at the time of the 1974 album of the same name. Taylor sang lead on the demo, but for the definitive version the band decided Mercury should sing lead vocals, with Taylor singing the chorus. Rhythm guitar and bass were played by Taylor, apart from some guitar "screams" by May during the instrumental section.[14]

"All Dead, All Dead"Edit

"All Dead, All Dead" was written and sung by May, and features Mercury on piano and backing vocals. In an episode of In the Studio with Redbeard, May confirmed rumours that the song is partly inspired by the death of his boyhood pet cat. The music video also shows a cat moving through the lyrics.[15]

On 27 October 2017, in celebration of the album's 40th Anniversary, Queen released a specially created "hybrid version" of the track featuring previously unheard lead vocals by Mercury. It was accompanied with an animated lyric video of a cat exploring a place that is later revealed to be the robot of the album cover ─ the cat being a tribute to Brian's original inspiration for the song as well as to Mercury, who was a devoted cat lover himself.[16]

"Spread Your Wings"Edit

Main article: Spread Your Wings

"Spread Your Wings" was written by bassist John Deacon. The piano is played by Mercury, although Deacon mimes it in the music video. The video was filmed at the back garden of Taylor's then house, when the weather was freezing, and the band performed in the snow. Mercury can be seen wearing star-shaped sunglasses in the video. May is seen playing a copy of his Red Special, owing to the cold weather conditions. Also, Taylor can be seen singing in the video despite the fact that there are no backing vocals in the song. It was the first Queen single without backing vocals.

"Fight from the Inside"Edit

"Fight from the Inside" was written and sung by Taylor. In addition to the drums, he also plays rhythm guitar and bass guitar; for the latter he borrowed Deacon's instrument.

The track is built around a jangly guitar riff and is amongst the first in the Queen catalogue to focus predominantly on the drums and bass, as opposed to the lead guitars.[17] It is also one of the few songs in the band's discography recorded almost entirely by one member, another being "Sheer Heart Attack".

Guitarist Slash has cited the guitar riff to this song as one of his favourite riffs of all time.[18]

Side two Edit

"Get Down, Make Love" Edit

"Get Down, Make Love", written by Mercury, is among the most sexually oriented songs in the Queen catalogue.

The song was introduced into the band's live show immediately after its release, and remained a staple of their "medley" until the end of the Hot Space Tour of 1982. On the Hot Space tour, the song was reduced to the first verse/chorus only as a way to lead into May's guitar solo. Live, this song featured Taylor's use of Latin-influenced percussion with timbales on the News of the World Tour, and tightly tuned Remo Roto-Toms on the Jazz Tour, Crazy Tour, The Game and Hot Space tours.

The distinctive 'psychedelic' sound effects heard in the song were not produced on a synthesiser, but on May's Red Special and an Electroharmonix Frequency Analyzer pedal, which he would often do live. The studio cut featured an Eventide Harmonizer. These sound effects, together with Mercury's moans and groans, were expanded upon during live renditions of the song, the band taking an opportunity to show off the full potential of their stage lights and effects.

A more aggressive version of this song was covered by Trent Reznor's industrial rock project Nine Inch Nails as a B-side for the 1990 single, "Sin". It was later added as a bonus track to the 2010 remastered edition of Pretty Hate Machine.

"Sleeping on the Sidewalk"Edit

"Sleeping on the Sidewalk", a blues excursion, was written and sung by May. It is the only song in their discography to be recorded (except for the vocals) in one take.[1] Lyrically, it deals with an aspiring trumpet player's career, delivered in a "rags-to-riches" fashion. May sings with an American accent and measures the aforementioned trumpet player's success by "bucks" (as opposed to pounds). On a close inspection, Deacon can be heard playing the wrong notes in some bass parts, and May can also be heard laughing at the end of the song. It is also one of the few Queen songs that does not feature Mercury, however, he did perform the lead vocals in live performances.

The band's web site states they were unaware that they were being recorded,[19] but May has cast doubt on the authenticity of this, though has confirmed the first take of the backing track was used.[20]

"Who Needs You"Edit

"Who Needs You" was a song written by Deacon, who, along with May, plays Spanish guitar. Mercury's lead vocal is entirely panned on the right audio channel while the lead guitar is on the left channel. May also plays maracas and Mercury plays a cowbell.

"It's Late"Edit

Main article: It's Late

"It's Late", written by May, was his idea of treating a song as a three-act theatrical play. It makes use of the tapping technique.

"My Melancholy Blues"Edit

"My Melancholy Blues" was composed by Mercury. There are no backing vocals or guitars. Despite the title, the track is more related to jazz. Deacon played fretless bass on stage during this song but used a regular fretted bass on the record.

Artwork and packagingEdit

File:AstoundingOct53.jpg

The album's cover was a painting by American sci-fi artist Frank Kelly Freas. Taylor had an issue of Astounding Science Fiction (October 1953) whose cover art depicted a giant intelligent robot holding the dead body of a man. The caption read: "Please... fix it, Daddy?" to illustrate the story "The Gulf Between" by Tom Godwin.[21] The painting inspired the band to contact Freas, who agreed to alter the painting for their album cover, by replacing the single dead man with the four "dead" band members (with Taylor and Deacon falling to the ground, and Taylor only visible on the back cover).

The inner cover (gatefold) has the robot extending its hand to snatch up the petrified fleeing audience in the shattered auditorium where the corpses were removed.[22] Freas said he was a classical music fan and did not know Queen, and only listened to the band after doing the cover "because I thought I might just hate them, and it would ruin my ideas", but eventually liked their music.[21] "Killer Queen", a 2012 episode of Family Guy, featured the character Stewie Griffin being terrified by the album cover.[23][24][25]

ReleaseEdit

SinglesEdit

  • "We Are the Champions" was released as the first single from the album on 7 October 1977 in the UK, where it reached number 2. In the US it reached number 4.
  • "Spread Your Wings" followed as the second single. Released in the UK on 10 February 1978, it reached number 34.
  • "It's Late" is the last single from the album; it was released in 1978, and only in the US, Canada, Japan and New Zealand. It only reached number 74 in the US, failing to chart everywhere else.

TourEdit

The News of the World Tour was a concert tour by Queen, supporting their successful 1977 album News of the World. Queen played 26 shows in North America and 21 in Europe. It was the tour first to feature 'We Will Rock You', 'We Are the Champions' and 'Love of My Life'.

Re-issuesEdit

On 8 November 2010, record company Universal Music announced a remastered and expanded reissue of the album set for release in May 2011. This was part of a new record deal between Queen and Universal Music, which meant Queen's association with EMI Records would come to an end after almost 40 years. According to Universal Music, all Queen albums would be remastered and reissued in 2011. This reissue included a deluxe edition which contains five additional tracks. The second batch of albums (the band's middle five albums) was released in June 2011.

On 4 September 2017, Queen announced it would release a multi-format deluxe boxset marking the 40th anniversary of the album's original issue by the Virgin EMI label. The set contains previously unreleased outtakes and rarities from the band's archives, in the form of a newly created "alternative" version of the entire album, dubbed Raw Sessions. The boxset also includes a pure analogue vinyl LP, cut from the original analogue master mix tapes, and a brand new one-hour DVD documentary created from backstage material filmed during the North American leg of Queen's 1977 News of the World Tour.[26]

In promotion of the anniversary release, on 6 October Queen released the previously unheard Raw Sessions of "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You".[12] On 27 October, the band published on their official YouTube channel a new version of "All Dead, All Dead" which features previously unheard lead vocals by Mercury, and was accompanied with an animated lyric video.[16] The box set was officially released on 17 November 2017.

ReceptionEdit

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News of the World initially received mixed reviews, mostly reflecting on the album's shift towards a more minimalist sound, and away from the band's previous predominantly progressive rock sound.[27] The Washington Post commended the band's experimentation within a range of hard rock to soft rock,[4] while Rolling Stone magazine's Bart Testa noted, "Most of the songs on News of the World either challenge Queen's artistic enemies or endeavor to establish a vision of the new order." He further dismissed the album as "the salient fictions of which todays' Top Ten albums are made."[28] For The Village Voice in 1977, Robert Christgau said that one side of the album is devoted to "the futile rebelliousness of the doomed-to-life losers (those saps!) (you saps!) who buy and listen", while the other is devoted to songs about indecent women.[29] The Valley News criticised it as being "tamer" than the band's first four albums, but concluded that "Queen still pulls off top honors," particularly praising the production, Mercury's vocals and May's guitar work.[27]

Retrospective reviews of the album have been generally positive. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic noted the eclecticism and difference in style to "A Day at the Races", describing it as "an explosion of styles that didn't seem to hold to any particular center." He praised May's contributions for giving the album "some lightness", and concluded that "when it works, it's massive, earth-shaking rock & roll, the sound of a band beginning to revel in its superstardom."[11] In Creem magazine's annual poll, readers voted News of the World as the 19th best album of 1977.[30] BBC Music's Daryl Easlea said that the album is an exceptional showcase of "Queen's unerring ability to sound absolutely like no-other group – even when parodying other musical styles".[31] Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune observed that Queen had "ventured deeper into stadium rock",[32] while Brendan Schroer of Sputnikmusic also noted the relation to stadium rock, calling it "the great arena rock wonder" with very few flaws.[33]

The 40th anniversary release prompted several more reviews, with David Chiu of The Quietus calling it "a work that had swagger and attitude,"[7] while Loudersound wrote that "Despite damping down their instincts so punks wouldn’t spit at them, they still sound like flamboyance has burst through the wall, riding a Harley and wearing a tiara."[2] Several publications have hailed it as the one of the band's greatest albums. NME ranked it as the best Queen album, describing it as "their sharpest, surest set",[34] while Christopher Thelen of the Daily Vault praised it for being "the best mixture of musical styles they had ever achieved" and Queen's "creative peak."[35]

In popular cultureEdit

The album as a whole has been released on Super Audio CD.[36]

The TV show Family Guy dedicated an episode plot line to the album cover, in which Stewie is frightened of the robot. Creator Seth MacFarlane stated that it was based on his own fear of the cover when he was a child.

Marvel paid tribute to News of the World on the cover of X-Men Gold #11.[37] The cover, by artist Mike del Mindo, depicts a Sentinel holding Old Man Logan and Kitty Pride as Colossus plummets to the ground.

The giant robot from the album cover, also known as "Frank", was used as a special effect[38] during the songs "We Will Rock You" and "Killer Queen" for the 2017–18 Queen + Adam Lambert Tour, which was in celebration of the album's 40th anniversary.[39][40]

Track listingEdit

Original releaseEdit

Information is based on the album's Liner Notes[41]
All lead vocals by Freddie Mercury unless noted. Template:Track listing Template:Track listing

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40th anniversary editionEdit

The multi-format deluxe box set features previously unreleased outtakes and rarities from the band's archives, as well as a newly created "alternative" version of the entire album, dubbed Raw Sessions. The boxset includes a pure analogue vinyl LP, cut from the original analogue master mix tapes, and a brand new one-hour DVD documentary created from backstage material filmed during the North American leg of Queen's 1977 News of the World Tour.

Template:Track listing

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PersonnelEdit

Information is based on the album's Liner Notes[41]
Track numbering refers to CD and digital releases of the album.

ChartsEdit

Chart (1977) Peak
position
Austrian Albums Chart[42] 9
Canadian Albums Chart[43] 2
Dutch Albums Chart[44] 1
French Albums ChartTemplate:Citation needed 1
German Albums Chart[45] 7
New Zealand Albums Chart[46] 15
Norwegian Albums Chart[47] 4
Swedish Albums Chart[48] 9
UK Albums Chart[49] 4
US Billboard 200[50] 3

CertificationsEdit

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ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Kids
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Kids
  3. Kids
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kids
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NME
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kids
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Template:Cite magazine
  8. Kids
  9. Kids
  10. Template:Cite magazine
  11. 11.0 11.1 [[[:Template:Allmusic]] Allmusic Review]
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Kids
  13. A Night at the Opera DVD commentary.
  14. Template:Cite book
  15. Purvis 2007, p. 108.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Kids
  17. [1]
  18. Template:Cite book
  19. Kids
  20. Kids
  21. 21.0 21.1 As the Symphony gets ready to rock, we remember a local artist, The Virginian-Pilot
  22. Kids
  23. Kids
  24. Kids
  25. Kids
  26. Kids
  27. 27.0 27.1 Kids
  28. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named RS
  29. Kids
  30. Kids
  31. Kids
  32. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Chicago
  33. Kids
  34. Kids
  35. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named vault
  36. Kids
  37. Kids
  38. Kids
  39. Kids
  40. Kids
  41. 41.0 41.1 Queen. “News of the World” (Album Notes). EMI. 1977.
  42. Kids
  43. Kids
  44. Kids
  45. Kids
  46. Kids
  47. Kids
  48. Kids
  49. Kids
  50. Kids

External linksEdit

Kids Kids

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