The Epic 2017 Project #243: 170831
Queen – The Works (1984)
Queen’s eleventh studio album was released on 27 February 1984 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Capitol Records in the United States. After the synth-heavy Hot Space, The Works saw the re-emergence of Brian May and Roger Taylor’s rock sound, while still incorporating the early 80s retro futuristic electro pop of the German electronic underground and New York funk scenes. Recorded at the Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles, California and Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany from August 1983 to January 1984, the album’s title comes from a comment Taylor made as recording began – “Let’s give them the works!”.
During the decade, after a conservative reaction against and ban of the music video for “I Want to Break Free” in the United States, the band decided not to tour in North America and lost the top spot in US sales, but sales around the world (especially Europe) would be even better; to date to the tune of over five million.
The Epic 2017 Project #242: 170830
Queen – Hot Space (1981)
Hot Space – Queen’s tenth studio album – was released on 21 May 1982 by EMI Records in the UK and by Elektra Records in the United States. Marking a notable shift in direction from their earlier work, they employed many elements of disco, funk, rhythm and blues, dance and pop music for this one. This made the album less popular with fans who preferred the traditional rock style they had come to associate with the band. Queen’s decision to record a dance-oriented album germinated with the massive success of their 1980 hit “Another One Bites the Dust”.
“Under Pressure”, Queen’s collaboration with David Bowie, was released in 1981 and became the band’s second No.1 hit in the UK. Though included on Hot Space, the song was a separate project and was recorded ahead of the album, before the controversy over Queen’s new disco-influenced rock sound. The album’s second single, “Body Language”, peaked at No.11 on the US charts.
In July 2004, Q magazine listed Hot Space as one of the top fifteen albums where great rock acts lost the plot. Most of the album was recorded in Munich during the most turbulent period in the band’s history, and Roger Taylor and Brian May despised the new sound, with both being very critical of the influence Freddie Mercury’s manager Paul Prenter had on the singer.
Having said all that, I still really like the album – and for all the right reasons. Here’s ‘Back Chat’
The Epic 2017 Project #241: 170829
Queen – A day at the races (1976)
Queen followed up ‘A night at the opera‘ with this, their fifth studio album on 10 December 1976 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. It was the band’s first completely self-produced album, and the first not to feature producer Roy Thomas Baker. Recorded at Sarm East, The Manor and Wessex Studios in England, A Day at the Races was engineered by Mike Stone. The title of the album followed suit with its predecessor A Night at the Opera, taking its name from the subsequent film by the Marx Brothers.
The album peaked at No.1 in the UK, Japan and the Netherlands, reached No.5 on the US Billboard 200 and was Queen’s fifth album to ship gold in the US, and subsequently reached platinum status in the same country. A Day at the Races was voted the 67th greatest album of all time in a national 2006 BBC poll.
The Epic 2017 Project #240: 170828
Queen – A night at the opera (1975)
Queen’s fourth studio album was released on 21 November 1975 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, it was the most expensive album ever recorded at the time of its release. It takes its name from the Marx Brothers film of the same name, which the band watched one night at the studio complex when recording. The album incorporates a wide range of styles, from ballads and songs in a music hall style, to hard rock tracks and progressive rock influences.
‘A night at the opera’ topped the UK Albums Chart for four non-consecutive weeks, peaked at No. 4 on the US Billboard 200 chart and became the band’s first Platinum selling album in the US. The worldwide sales for the album are over 6 million copies. It also produced the band’s most successful single in the UK, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which became their first UK number one and one of the best-selling singles in both the UK and the world.
However, here’s The Prophet’s Song.
The Epic 2017 Project #239: 170827
Queen is the eponymous debut studio album from Queen, released on 13 July 1973 by EMI Records in the UK and by Elektra Records in the US. It was recorded at Trident Studios and De Lane Lea Music Centre, London, with production by Roy Thomas Baker (as Roy Baker), John Anthony and Queen.
The album was influenced by the hard rock, progressive rock and heavy metal of the time and covers subjects such as folklore (“My Fairy King”) and religion (“Jesus”). Lead singer Freddie Mercury composed five of the ten tracks, guitarist Brian May composed four songs, (including “Doing All Right”, which was co-written by then Smile band-mate Tim Staffell), and drummer Roger Taylor composed and sang “Modern Times Rock and Roll”. The final song on the album is a short instrumental version of “Seven Seas of Rhye”.
But here’s the opener – ‘Keep yourself alive’
The Epic 2017 Project #238: 170826
Quantic Soul Orchestra – Stampede (2003)
Always nice to feature some local flavour on JemTunes. So here’s a bit of Quantic from Brighton.
The Quantic Soul Orchestra is a live band project of musician and DJ, Will Holland. Holland has recorded under several names, but the most notable is Quantic. The Should Orchestra was his first collaborative project, and ‘Stampede, the first studio album, released on Tru Thoughts in 2003.
The band’s line-up changes from album to album, with sometime members including Holland’s sister, saxophonist Lucy Holland, his Limp Twins collaborator Russ Porter and former Hardkandy member Simon Little. Will Holland plays guitar and bass, and performs some of the percussion.
Their music focuses on reviving a dusty funk and jazz sound. They are signed to the Tru Thoughts label and have released four albums to date as well as a collaborative album with renowned funk and soul artist Spanky Wilson.
Holland is now based in Columbia.
The Epic 2017 project #237: 170825
Primal Scream – Screamsdelica (1991)
The third studio album from Primal Scream was released on 23 September 1991 in the UK by Creation Records,and 8 October 1991 in North America by Sire Records.
It was the group’s first album to be a commercial success, peaking at number 8 on the UK Albums Chart upon its initial release. The album received positive reviews and has been frequently named one of the best albums of the 1990s in critics’ polls. Screamadelica also won the first Mercury Music Prize in 1992.It has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
The Epic 2017 Project #236: 170824
The Pretty Reckless – Who you selling for (2016)
Who You Selling For is the third studio album from The Pretty Reckless, released on October 21, 2016 by Razor & Tie. The album reached number 13 on the US Billboard 200 and number 23 on the UK Albums Chart. Its lead single, “Take Me Down”, topped the Billboard US Mainstream Rock chart in October 2016. The album also spawned the singles “Oh My God” and “Back to the River”.
Here’s ‘Oh my God’ – my personal album favourite
The Epic 2017 Project #235: 170823
The Pretenders self-titled debut was released on 7 January 1980 under Real Records in the UK and Sire Records in the United States. It made the band famous and included the singles “Stop Your Sobbing”, “Kid” and “Brass in Pocket”.
Nick Lowe produced the Pretenders’ first single, “Stop Your Sobbing”, but decided not to work with them again as he thought the band was “not going anywhere”. Chris Thomas took over on the subsequent recording sessions.
Pretenders debuted at number 1 on the UK Albums Chart in the week of its release and stayed there for four consecutive weeks. It also made the top 10 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum during 1982 by the RIAA. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album number 155 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and, in 1989, ranked it the 20th best album of the 1980s.
Pretenders was remastered and re-released in 2006 and included a bonus disc of demos, B-sides and live cuts, many previously unreleased. “Cuban Slide” and “Porcelain” originally appeared as B-sides to “Talk of the Town” and “Message of Love”, while “Swinging London” and “Nervous But Shy” both appeared on the flip side of “Brass in Pocket”. The Regents Park demo of “Stop Your Sobbing” was included initially as a flexi-single in the May 1981 edition of Flexipop magazine. The tracks “Message of Love”, “Talk of the Town”, “Porcelain” and “Cuban Slide” alongside a live version of the album’s opening track, “Precious”, were released on a follow-up EP entitled Extended Play soon after.
Pretenders was also reissued in 2009 by Audio Fidelity as a limited-edition audiophile gold CD, using the original master tapes. However, this remaster suffered from unauthorized, heavy limiting supposedly applied after engineer Steve Hoffman’s digital master was created and approved for CD manufacturing. The song “The Phone Call” is missing some of the telephone effects on this release because the effects were “flown in” after the master was completed for the song and, as a result, weren’t on the original master tape.
The Epic 2017 Project #234: 170822
The Police – Outlandos D’Amour (1978)
Outlandos d’Amour is the debut studio album by The Police, released in November 1978 by A&M Records. Elevated by the success of its lead single, “Roxanne”, Outlandos d’Amour peaked at No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart and at No. 23 in the US. It has since been certified platinum by the RIAA for sales of over one million units in the US. The album spawned two additional hit singles: “Can’t Stand Losing You” and “So Lonely”.
Although Outlandos d’Amour received mixed reviews upon its release, it has since been regarded as one of the strongest debut albums by any band or artist. It ranked No. 38 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “100 Best Debut Albums of All Time”. In 2012, the magazine ranked it No. 428 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time