Read all 4 events for 17 October at diary.QueenSongs.info
Released on 28th October 1977
Recorded between July and September 1977 in Sarm West and Wessex Studios, London
Produced by Queen
Engineered by Mike Stone
Music, Lyrics & Arrangements by Brian May, Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor & John Deacon
Brian May: Vocals, Percussion, Guitar, Piano
Freddie Mercury: Percussion, Vocals, Piano
John Deacon: Percussion, Bass, Guitar
Roger Taylor: Percussion, Guitar, Bass, Vocals
First album with bass from Roger
First album with a song Brian sung lead and played piano on (he'd done either one or the other before, but not both)
After the general disappointment over 'Races' not equalling the success 'Opera' had had, the band decided to change direction and release a much simpler recording. 'News Of The World' features much simpler songs, notably less overdubs and more "quotidian" lyrics than any previous release. When listening to something like Sidewalk or Sheer Heart Attack it's difficult to believe that those were the same lads who did 'Queen II'.
Loads of fans felt rather betrated by this, since they were more into fairy-tale imagery and progressive productions. Otoh, 'News' brought Queen a new public, more stadium-oriented, who enjoyed the growing status of Queen as a mainstream act instead of a rebellious or "alternative" one. Keep in mind too that the band didn't drop their experimental side at all, they just directed it somewhere else: we've got some jazzy influences here, some rather bluesy ones and, of course, punk.
Statement in present tense: We Are The Champions, Sheer Heart Attack, Who Needs You, It's Late, Sleeping On The Sidewalk,
Statement in future tense: We Will Rock You
Tragedy: All Dead All Dead
Request/Advice: Spread Your Wings, Fight From The Inside, My Melancholy Blues, Get Down Make Love
Note how May's four songs have a similar structure in that department: Rock You describes three stages of a person's life ("buddy you're a boy ... young man ... old man"); All Dead starts in past but moves to present, as does Sleeping On The Sidewalk, and last but not least It's Late is programmed as a three-act play. Interesting cohesion between his compositions, something that hadn't happened before...
About John, he kept with his use of second person in the title: Spread Your Wings and Who Needs You go on with the tradition of You're My Best Friend and You And I, and the series would be eventually continued with If You Can't Beat Them and Need Your Loving Tonight.
Genres & Styles:
Brian's four songs are all very different from each other musically: one is a piano-ballad with some classical influences, another is blues, another is an epic (yet relatively simple) rock (shades of Father To Son and Now I'm Here) and the other is a chant-along thing. People have suggested a competition theory for Rock You and Champions, although the latter had been already written at the time of 'A Night At The Opera' but for some unknown reason, hadn't seen the light of day yet. Another famous "recycling" is Sheer Heart Attack, coming from the eponymous album.
John was largely influenced by Latin rhythms for both of his tracks, and both pieces were minimalistic in certain ways: Spread Your Wings was Queen's first single without harmony vocals, and Who Needs You doesn't have bass (John plays Spanish guitar there). Roger's input was related to mainstream music of the moment, and Freddie's two new pieces were Get Down Make Love, slightly progressive in nature, and My Melancholy Blues, which is as jazzy as they could get and where the most bluesy feature is the title ;)