On this day
  • 1973: Queen live at Leciester University JCR Hall, Leicester, UK. John\'s...
  • 1975: Queen live on A Night At The Opera Tour at Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland.

Read all 6 events for 15 December at diary.QueenSongs.info

A Night At The Opera

Documented Timeline:

  • 1974:
    • Sunday 27th October: Brian and Roger cover the 'National Anthem' at Trident.
  • 1975:
    • June: 'Keep Yourself Alive' is re-issued in America, with 'God Save the Queen' as the B-Side.
    • July:
      • The band return from a brief holiday in Hawaii (after the Sheer Heart Attack tour ended with a successful visit to Japan) and go to the Ridge Farm in Dorking (Surrey) for rehearsals. Japanese journalists visit them and photograph them extensively. A special report, listing their equipment at the time, is published shortly afterwards.
      • John writes a letter to the Fan Club, announcing they'd be recording soon.
    • August: Recording sessions begin at Rockfield in Wales (not England). According to Roger (Beat Instrumental, October 1975), all of their backing tracks were done there.
      • Monday 18th: Queen work on three tracks:
        • 'You're My Best Friend'.
        • 'Freddie's Piano Bits' (working title for 'Bohemian Rhapsody').
        • 'Wreck of the 39'.
      • Friday 22nd: At The Roundhouse in London, a rough mix of what would become 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is completed. The song's still under construction, but it's been progressed to the point that it's taken some shape. Witnesses include English actress Adrienne Post and Frederick's boyfriend David Minns.
      • Late (Unspecified): Queen are photographed and interviewed at both Scorpio and Olympic Studios in London. An interview takes place at The Roundhouse as well.
    • September:
      • Early (Unspecified): As they're doing the final mix of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' at Sarm in London, Jill Sinclair (one of the studio executives) switches off the fuse box to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Frederick, which dates this on or around Friday the 5th.
      • Unspecified Date(s): Queen officially begin working with John Reid as their manager and incorporate three new equipment supervisors - Richard Anderson, Philip John and Peter Hince.
    • October:
      • Unspecified Dates:
        • Beat Instrumental magazine No 149 is published including an in-depth article documenting their visit to Olympic and The Roundhouse.
        • The Fan Club Newsletter informs 'Bohemian Rhapsody' would be released on the 28th of October. There's also a letter from Roger revealing the album title and claiming it to sound better than anything up until then, and confirming their partnership with John Reid.
      • Saturday 11th: Kenny Everett plays the yet unreleased 'Bohemian Rhapsody' twice on his radio programme.
      • Saturday 12th: Kenny Everett plays the yet unreleased 'Bohemian Rhapsody' twice on his radio programme, adding up to four times in total over the weekend (not four-teen).
      • Friday 31st: The lead single, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' / 'I'm in Love with My Car', is released in Britain.
    • November:
      • Early: While rehearsing for the tour, Queen shoot a video for 'Bohemian Rhapsody' at Elstree in Hertfordshire (England).
      • Friday 14th: The tour kicks off in Liverpool, a week before the release of the album, treating audiences to a couple of songs which hadn't hit the shops yet.
      • Friday 21st: Album released in Britain.
      • Saturday 29th: The British Market Research Bureau reveals 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was the best-selling single of the week, therefore making it to the top of the charts.
    • December:
      • Monday 1st: The 'Bohemian Rhapsody' single is certified Silver and Gold in Britain, for having sold 250,000 and 500,000 copies throughout the UK. That same day, A Night at the Opera is also simultaneously certified Silver and Gold in Britain, for having reached the £100,000 and £250,000 thresholds.
      • Unspecified Date: Frederick writes a letter to the Fan Club thanking them for having given them a No 1 single (the album hadn't topped the charts at that point yet) and announcing they'd be in America and Japan in the New Year.
      • Saturday 27thA Night at the Opera is revealed to have been the best-selling album of the week in Britain, therefore making it to the top of the charts and becoming their Christmas No 1.
  • 1976:
    • Thursday 1st January: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is certified Platinum in Britain for having sold a million copies there. The same thing happens to the A Night at the Opera album, for having met the necessary threshold of £1,000,000 in copies sold locally.
    • Saturday 31st January: ABBA's Mamma Mia' overtakes 'Bohemian Rhapsody' on top of the British charts.
    • Tuesday 9th March: The A Night at the Opera album is certified Gold in the USA for having sold a million dollars worth of copies there.
    • Tuesday 18th May: 'You're My Best Friend' / ''39' is released as the sophomore single in the UK.
    • Tuesday 1st June: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is certified Gold in the USA, after having sold a million dollars worth of copies there.
  • 2002:
    • Thursday 14th NovemberA Night at the Opera is certified Triple-Platinum in the USA for having sold three million copies there.

Documented Recording Venues:

  • Lansdowne Studio on Lansdowne Road, Holland Park, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, London W11 3LP, England.
  • Olympic Sound Studios on 117 Church Road, Barnes, Richmond upon Thames, Greater London SW13, England.
  • Rockfield Quadrangle and Rockfield Coach on Rockfield Road, Monmouth, Monmouthshire NP25 5ST, Wales (not England).
  • Roundhouse Studio on 100 Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town, Camden, Greater London NW1 8EH, England.
  • Scorpio Sound Studio on 286 Euston Road, Kings Cross, Camden, Greater London NW1 3DP, England.
  • Sound and Recording Mobiles (aka Sarm Studios) on 9 - 13 Osborne Street, Aldgate, London E1 6TD, England.
  • Trident Studios on 17 St Anne's Court, Soho, City of Westminster, London W1F 0BQ, England. Only used for 'God Save the Queen'.

Documented Personnel:

  • Performers:
    • John Deacon: Electric bass, double-bass, electric piano.
    • Brian May: Lead and backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic piano, pedal harp, acoustic ukelele, acoustic koto.
    • Frederick Mercury: Lead and backing vocals, acoustic piano, jangle piano.
      Roger Taylor: Lead and backing vocals, acoustic drums, additional percussion (gong, tambourine, timpani), electric guitar.
  • Studio Crew:
    • Roy Baker: Head producer.
    • Neil Kernon: Assistant engineer ('God Save the Queen').
    • Gary Langan: Assistant engineer (Sarm).
    • Gary Lyons: Assistant engineer (Sarm).
    • Michael Stone: Chief engineer.
    • Dennis Weinreich: Assistant engineer (Scorpio Studio).
  • Technical Crew:
    • Richard Anderson: Equipment supervision.
    • Jonathan Harris: Equipment supervision/coordination.
    • Peter Hince: Equipment supervision.
    • Philip John: Equipment supervision.

Documented Instruments:

  • Acoustic Grand Pianos:
    • Bechstein IV 7' 2": Presumably, all or most of the actual recordings.
    • Bechstein III 7' 8": 'God Save the Queen'.
    • Bösendorfer 200 6' 6": Possibly at Lansdowne... also possibly at the Quadrangle.
    • Steinway (possibly B 6' 10.5"): Olympic, Roundhouse and Sarm... also, possibly, Lansdowne.
    • Yamaha C-7 7' 5": Possibly at the Coach Studio.
  • Acoustic Strings:
    • Aloha Baritone Ukelele: 'Good Company'.
    • Hallfredh Guitar: Seen on rehearsals, unlikely to be on the actual record.
    • Martin D-18 Guitar: ''39', presumably.
    • Tokai Hummingbird F-120 Guitar: 'The Prophet's Song' and 'Love of My Life'.
    • Unknown Double-Bass: 'Death on Two Legs' and ''39'.
    • Unknown Harp: 'Love of My Life'.
    • Unknown Koto: 'The Prophet's Song'.
  • Additional Keyboards:
    • Schiedmayer Celeste: 'You're My Best Friend'.
    • Wurlitzer EP-200 Electric Piano: 'You're My Best Friend'.
    • Unknown Jangle Piano: 'Seaside Rendezvous'.
  • Electric Strings:
    • Baldwin Bison Guitar: Used on rehearsals, but unlikely to be on the record.
    • Baldwin Double-Six Guitar: 'I'm in Love with My Car'.
    • BHM Bespoke Guitar: Main one.
    • Birch Bespoke Guitar: Possibly used somewhere, but mostly a spare.
    • Fender Precision Basses: John had two of them - one natural, one sunburst - and may have used either or both for the album.
    • Fender Stratocaster Guitar: Possibly 'I'm in Love with My Car'.
  •  Percussion:
    • Ludwig Bespoke Drums.
    • Ludwig Ringer Timpani: 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'God Save the Queen'.
    • Paiste Symphonic 60" Gong: 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.
    • Premier New Era Tambourine: ''39'.
    • Premier New Era Triangle: 'Seaside Rendezvous'.

Documented Studio Equipment:

  • Analogue Tape Recorders:
    • 3M M-56 16-Track: Olympic and Trident.
    • 3M M-79 24-Track: Sarm.
    • Ampex MM-1100 16-Track: Scorpio.
    • Studer A-80 16-Track: Lansdowne.
    • Studer A-80 24-Track: Roundhouse.
  • Mixing Consoles:
    • Cadac 2416: Scorpio.
    • Cadac 2824: Lansdowne.
    • Cadac 3624: Roundhouse.
    • Olympic 0604: Olympic Studio 3.
    • Olympic 1816: Olympic Studio 2.
    • Olympic 2408: Olympic Studio 1.
    • Sound Techniques 2408: Trident Studio 2.
    • Trident A 3224: Trident Studio 1.
    • Trident B 2824: Sarm.
  • Monitors:
    • Altec Speakers in Cadac Cabinets driven by Crown DC-300 Amplifiers: Lansdowne.
    • JBL 4350 Speakers in Lockwood Cabinets driven by HH Amplifiers: Trident Studio 1.
    • Quad 11-L2 Speakers at Roundhouse.
    • Tannoy Gold Speakers in Lockwood Major Cabinets driven by Leak TL50+ Amplifiers: Olympic Studio 3.
    • Tannoy HPD Speakers in Cadac Cabinets, amplification unknown: Scorpio.
    • Tannoy Red Speakers in Lockwood Cabinets driven by Radford Amplifiers: Trident Studio 2, and Sarm.
    • Tannoy Red Speakers in Olympic Cabinets driven by Radford Amplifiers: Olympic Studio 1.
    • Tannoy Silver Speakers in Lockwood Cabinets driven by Avantic Amplifiers: Olympic Studio 2.
  • Microphones:
    • AKG:
      • C-12C-12A & C-24: Possibly used at Olympic for different instruments and also perhaps for bass overdubs.
      • C-28: Electric guitars ('God Save the Queen').
      • C-451: Possibly used at Olympic and Trident for drum overheads, piano, additional strings, and acoustic guitar.
      • D-12: Main bass-drum mic at Trident, used for additional percussion at Olympic and Lansdowne.
      • D-20 & D-25: Possibly used for bass-drum at Olympic.
      • D-30: Main bass-drum mic at Olympic.
      • D-202: Percussion ('God Save the Queen').
      • D-224: All-purpose mic at Olympic.
    • Beyerdynamic M-160: Multi-purpose mic at Olympic and Scorpio.
    • Electrovoice RE-20: Bass-drum and electric guitar at Scorpio and Trident.
    • Neumann:
      • KM-54: Possibly used for snare at Trident and drum overheads at Lansdowne, Olympic and Roundhouse.
      • KM-56: Possibly used for snare ('God Save the Queen').
      • KM-84: Possibly used for drum overheads at Olympic and Scorpio.
      • KM-86: Possibly used for backing vocals at Olympic.
      • SM-69: Stereo multi-purpose mic at Olympic.
      • U-47: Multi-purpose mic at Lansdowne, Olympic and Scorpio.
      • U-48: Multi-purpose mic at Scorpio.
      • U-67: Main multi-purpose mics at Olympic, Roundhouse and Trident, also used at Lansdowne and Scorpio.
      • U-87: Multi-purpose mic at Olympic, main one at Lansdowne and Scorpio.
    • RCA 44: Possibly used at Scorpio for backing vocals.
    • Sennheiser MD-421: Possibly used at Roundhouse for bass, drum and vocal overdubs.
    • Shure (Various Models): Used at Roundhouse and Scorpio, possibly to get the signal from electric guitar amplifiers.
    • Sony C-38B: Possibly snare drums ('God Save the Queen').
    • STC Coles 4021 & 4038: Possibly used occasionally for percussion and vocal overdubs at Lansdowne and Scorpio.
    • Telefunken ELA M-250: Occasionally used at Olympic for vocals.
    • Telefunken ELA M-251: Occasionally used at Olympic and Scorpio for vocals.
  • Compressors / Limiters:
    • ADR F-600: Olympic.
    • ADR Vocal Stressor: Lansdowne.
    • Akai A&D: Scorpio.
    • Allison Gain Brain: Scorpio.
    • Altec 436-C: Lansdowne and Olympic.
    • Altec 1591-A: Scorpio.
    • Cadac: Scorpio.
    • dbx 160: Lansdowne, Roundhouse and Sarm.
    • dbx 165: Lansdowne and Sarm.
    • dbx 266-XL: Scorpio and Sarm.
    • Eventide Omnipressor: Sarm and Scorpio.
    • Fairchild 670: Lansdowne, Roundhouse and Scorpio.
    • Marconi: Lansdowne and Sarm.
    • Pye: Olympic.
    • Teletronix LA-2A: Roundhouse, Sarm, Scorpio and Trident.
    • UREI 1176: Lansdowne, Olympic, Roundhouse, Sarm, Scorpio and Trident.
    • UREI LA-3A: Trident.
    • Valley People Gain Brain: Scorpio.
    • Westrex: Sarm.
  • Delay Units:
    • Delta T Digital: Roundhouse.
    • Eventide DDL-1745: Lansdowne, Sarm and Scorpio.
    • UREI Cooper Time Cube: Scorpio.
  • Equalisers:
    • Aengus Graphic: Sarm.
    • Akai A&D Graphic: Scorpio.
    • Astronics A-1671 Graphic: Scorpio and Trident.
    • Orban 622-B Parametric: Sarm and Scorpio.
    • Pultec EQP-1A Tube: Olympic and Trident.
    • Pultec H-2 Graphic: Scorpio.
    • Trident CB-9066 Parametric: Sarm.
    • UREI 533 Graphic: Sarm and Scorpio.
    • UREI Little Dipper: Sarm.
  • Noise Reduction:
    • Allison Kepex 516: Olympic, Sarm and Scorpio.
    • dbx 128: Sarm.
    • Dolby 65K: Lansdowne, Roundhouse, Sarm, Scorpio and Trident.
  • Reverb Units:
    • AKG BX-20: Olympic.
    • EMT 140 Plate: Lansdowne, Olympic, Roundhouse, Sarm, Scorpio and Trident.
    • EMT 240 Plate: Lansdowne, Olympic and Scorpio.
  • Other Outboard Signal Processors:
    • Eventide FL-201 Flanger: Lansdowne, Roundhouse and Sarm.
    • Eventide H-910 Harmoniser/Pitch-Shift: Roundhouse and Scorpio.
    • MXR Phaser/Flanger: Lansdowne.
  • Sundry:
    • Alfa Romeo Automovile: 'I'm in Love with My Car'.
    • Allison 64K Automation: Sarm.

Myths, Legends & Ongoing Debates:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody
    • 138/150/180/200 vocal overdubs: Not even close...
    • Edited down from a seven-minute-long version: It was always meant to be 5:55.
    • First video ever: Not even close...
    • Played 14 times by Kenny Everett: It was four times, not four-teen.
    • Recorded on sixteen-track: Twenty-four, actually.
  • Recordings Having Begun on the 24th of August 1975: By the 18th of August they'd already worked on three tracks at least, and by the 22nd a rough mix of 'Bo Rhap' had already been played.
  • Wessex Studios Having Been Used: The band used Wessex for the previous record (Sheer Heart Attack) and for both of which came afterwards (A Day at the Races and News of the World), but not for A Night at the Opera since it was undergoing refurbishment  after having changed owners.