Queen: The Beginning of a Legacy


Seth Chaffee

When you think of the band Queen, you may think of them rocking at Wembley Stadium. Or you may think of the ever so iconic Bohemian Rhapsody.

But before they achieved any of the success that they would amount to, we were given their self titled debut album in 1973. This might just be one of their most overlooked albums and yet, it was the one that started everything. It opens with the classic Keep Yourself Alive, which is probably the only song people will recognize. However, every track is worth listening to. 

This album really separates itself from the rest considering the fact that it’s one of, if not, their heaviest works. Which is a bit ironic since Queen isn’t known for being a heavy band. But what they were doing was establishing themselves as a rock band since they would go on to do different things in their later albums. 

Although you will hear some of their heaviest songs here, I always found it to be progressive rock than anything else. In a song like Doing Alright, we open with a slow piano and we hear Freddie’s young pure voice. The song transitions to hard rock when Brian May introduces his capabilities on the guitar. Even in Liar, Queen shows how they really know how to rock. But they explore how to  transition between different tempos and sounds midway through.

On Side Two, Modern Times Rock and Roll shows the band’s versatility by showing how Roger Taylor, the drummer of the group, could sing a song that could get people up on their feet. Even Son and Daughter can easily be seen as a Black Sabbath influenced song with the heavy distorted bass and guitar complimented with Freddie’s vocals. 

When you listen to this album, you can hear how young every member was. Freddie’s voice sounded very angelic and Brian May would explore different guitar tones. For instance, on Great King Rat he uses a Wah Pedal which gives the song more life. His tone was very different from what we would usually hear from him, and even Roger’s drums weren’t as loud and powerful. 

The group seems like they were discovering what they could do as a rock band since they were unknown and didn’t have the money to create the sounds they wanted.

In fact, when they finished recording the album they didn’t want to sound like that ever again. Not to say the album isn’t great, but they knew they could do better. 

After hearing everything that came after, this album feels as though it is hinting at what they had in store for Queen II. For instance, My Fairy King is a beautifully constructed song that explores the magical world that was in Freddie Mercury’s imaginative mind. It tells a sad story but is uplifting at the same time. Freddie would even change his last name to “Mercury” after writing one of the lyrics. 

Overall, many of the tracks would be ongoing songs that Queen would perform live in the early to mid seventies. Each one carries an old sound that represents the early days of Queen. If you enjoy the Queen songs that you hear on the radio or on TV, then I encourage you to listen to this album, especially on vinyl. Even if you are a fan of classic rock or unfamiliar to Queen, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed with what they have to offer in this exciting and thrilling ride.