Queen – Queen II (1974)
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About the Album
Queen II is the second studio album by the British rock band Queen. It was released on 8 March 1974 by EMI Records at midnight in the UK and by Elektra Records in the US. It was recorded at Trident Studios and Langham 1 Studios, London from February to August 1973 with co-producers Roy Thomas Baker and Robin Cable, and engineered by Mike Stone. The album is notable for its combination of a heavy rock sound with an art rock sensibility. It has been called “a pillar of grandiose, assaultive hard rock” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Queen II is not a concept album but a collection of songs with a loose theme running throughout. The two sides of the original LP were labelled “Side White” and “Side Black” (instead of the conventional sides “A” and “B”), with corresponding photos of the band dressed in white or in black on either side of the record’s label face. The white side has songs with a more emotional theme and the black side is almost entirely about fantasy, often with quite dark themes. Mick Rock’s album cover photograph was frequently re-used by the band throughout its career, including the music videos for the songs “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975), and “One Vision” (1985).
Released to an initially mixed critical reception, Queen II remains one of the band’s lesser-known albums. Nonetheless, the album has retained a cult following since its release, garnered praise from critics, fans, and fellow musicians alike, and is significant in being the first album to contain elements of the band’s signature sound of multi-layered overdubs, vocal harmonies, and varied musical styles.