Once again, the people at the wonderful Classic Albums
series by Eagle Rock Entertainment have featured a record
that effectively moved a band into international superstardom.
The album was “A Night at the Opera,” and the band was Queen.
“A Night at the Opera” was Queen’s fourth album and
released during 1975, thereby setting new compositional and
technical standards for Rock music. The band’s guitarist, Brian May,
mentioned that he always loved using the full potential of the
recording studio. On this Classic Albums DVD, he and
producer Roy Thomas Baker discussed and illustrated how the
tracks of “A Night at the Opera” were laid down. In particular,
this album used the multi-tracking technique to the fullest possible
extent, resulting in what the other contributors on this DVD refer
to as “a true Rock masterpiece.” In addition to the aforementioned
participants, others that enthusiastically weighed in were Jac
Holzman, the founder of Elektra Records, Joe Perry of Aerosmith
and Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople.
It’s too bad that Queen’s bassist, John Deacon, couldn’t be
enlisted for this DVD. He contributed some significant hits for
the band including, “You’re My Best Friend,” and “Another One
Bites the Dust.” At any rate, the band’s drummer and sometime
vocalist, Roger Taylor, was prominently featured. He even
strummed an acoustic guitar in one instance, while illustrating
a song he wrote. Freddie Mercury, Queen’s main frontman/vocalist
and sometime piano player, died of AIDS in 1991. Mercury was
featured in older interview footage, which added to the
importance of this disc. Vintage concert footage from the
1970’s was also included.
As is typical for the Classic Albums series, the running time
of the main film was 48 minutes. There were an additional
49 minutes of “extras,” which I believe were essential viewing.
Of particular note was Roger Taylor’s brief explanation and
demonstration of his drum setup. Brian May also performed
a couple of songs on an acoustic 12-string guitar, and
discussed some of his musical influences.
With regard to the actual songs, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
received the lion’s share of “deconstructive” treatment, in both
the main feature and the bonus extras. One thing that was
apparent during the course of this disc was how solid the
musicianship was in this band. However, despite all of the
virtuosity and sophistication of the project, the band
members didn’t appear to take themselves too seriously,
and truly enjoyed being able to work under near-ideal
This 2005 release is a generous offering in many ways and
highly recommended for those wishing to delve into the process
of recording a truly “Classic Album.”