So why is Queen’s A Night at the Opera on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
In revisiting A Night at the Opera, what impresses me most is how good and rangy it is at the same time.
I mean, if you’d never heard Queen before and then listened to the first two tracks – “Death On Two Legs (Dedicated To…)” and “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon” – you’d likely be astonished that they were produced by the same band, and included on the same album at that.
But with this album, I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with the oddball-operatic epic, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
I’ll admit that when the first Wayne’s World movie came out in 1992, I was plenty familiar with Queen but only vaguely aware of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Side note that if you grew up in the U.S. in the 1980s, your ears were pounded constantly with the likes of “We Will Rock You,” “We Are The Champions,” and “Another One Bites the Dust,” be it at sports arenas or any rink – ice and/or roller – that one might frequent as a young ‘un.
Anyway, Wayne’s World and its iconic scene ensured that “Bohemian Rhapsody” would hold its rightful place as one of the best songs to come out of the 1970s.
Wayne’s World does this ingenious thing of fusing the strange greatness of “Bohemian Rhapsody” with the ritual that most American teens go through where you drive around with your friends without any kind of agenda except to see what happens, really.
* Who knows if this stuff still goes on in the age of endless entertainment options, the Internet, social media, VR, and so on, but let’s say probably?
In terms of the song itself, I’ve listened to “Bohemian Rhapsody” a million times and won’t pretend to venture a guess about what it’s about. Instead, I find it best to simply experience it: it’s pretty and rocking and operatic and glam and dramatic and thoroughly satisfying. All in less than six minutes.
And as noted, the variety that “Bohemian Rhapsody” offers within one song exists throughout A Night at the Opera.
As unconventional as “Bohemian Rhapsody” is, “You’re My Best Friend” is a straight ahead mid-1970s pop/rock number that’s simply exceptional in its execution, with gorgeous crooning vocals from Freddie Mercury and the band.
Just as The Beatles would occasionally delve back into British music history and play with different styles, Queen creates a lovely, nostalgic music hall vibe with a side of kitsch on “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon.”
Pop cultures stuff that has something to do with Queen’s A Night at the Opera
I really enjoyed the Bohemian Rhapsody movie that came out in 2018 (which Mike Myers has a small role in!). Rami Malek is spectacular in portraying Freddie Mercury and showcasing the immense talent and passion he had for music, while not shying away from some the struggles he went through in his life (that tragically ended at the age of 45 due to an AIDS-related illness).
Some stats & info about Queen – A Night at the Opera
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Hard Rock, Glam Rock, Arena Rock, Heavy Metal
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #128
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was A Night at the Opera released? 1975
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #355 out of 1,000
Queen’s A Night at the Opera on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Queen’s A Night at the Opera that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.