Quotes related to 'Sheer Heart Attack' album

About the album

We thought on the next album, instead of having everything layered and happening at once like it was on Queen II, we would spell it out and one thing would happen it a time, so that everyone would know what was going on. So Sheer Heart Attack is quite simply structured really, and although there are a lot of different textures happening, they all happen one after the other.

Brian May; Sounds U.K., January, 1984

About 'Brighton Rock'

On coming up with a solo before having a song: Actually, that happen with the "Brighton Rock" thing, yeah. We used to do the song "Son and Daughter" onstage, and the solo section in the middle of that became what was in "Brighton Rock". After "Brighton Rock" was recorded [on Sheer Heart Attack], that solo evolved a lot more. One facet of it was the way it is on the live album, but it's dropped it because I felt I got stale. I don't like to do excatly the same thing two nights running. That should be a time when you can do something different. Now we don't do "Brighton Rock" anymore, so it's gone full circle. In the beginning, the solo was there and the song was around it. And now the song's gone and the solos' there.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

Particularly the solo bit in the middle, which I’d been doing on the ‘Mott The Hoople’ tour and sort of gradually expanded and has got more and more ever since. Although, I keep trying to throw it out it keeps creeping back in. That involves the repeat device actually using it in time, which I don’t think, had been done before up to that time. It’s a very nice device to work with because you can build up harmonies or cross rhythms and it’s not a multiple repeat like Hendrix used or even The Shadows used, which is fairly indiscriminate, sort of makes a nice noise. But this is a single repeat, which comes back, and sometimes I’ll add a second one too. So you can actually plan or else experiment and do a sort of “Phew” type effect. So that was at it’s very beginnings on ‘Brighton Rock’, and became more developed after that.

Brian May; Guitar Greats, BBC Radio One, 1983

A mammoth track with weird vocals.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, January 1975

[The solo] started off as an experiment, and I'd been doing that sort of solo in another number which is Son and Daughter, long before we put it on the album, but in a sense, with things like that - which are essentially a live thing - you just put a kind of taste on the album. Strangely enough, we didn't think we could do the main part of the song on stage, ‘cause it's got quite a lot on it in the album, a lot of overdubs and stuff, but strangely enough, it's just one of those things if you try hard enough it comes, and the excitement sort of makes up for the things which aren't there.

Brian May; Capital Radio, December 1976

It was a fairly hard one for me, ‘cause it was a very fast, fairly intricate backing track. We were gonna put it on the second album and then we found we had enough material for the second album so ended up on Sheer Heart Attack, the third album. I quite like it now.

Brian May; Capital Radio, December 1976

There's always a lot of songs that we all write which we don't stick on the album, ‘cause we don't feel that they fit it in or we don't feel that they've reached the right point in their development or something. So what normally happens is we have about, usually, three or four or five more songs than we need for the album and we choose the things which balance on the album, so it's just worked out that way really. On the next album we may well not write anything. Brighton Rock was possibly going to be on Queen II but it couldn't get on the album, ‘cause it didn't fit anywhere, really, and it went on Sheer Heart Attack. Stone Cold Crazy was gonna go on the first album, [then] on the second album, and ended up on the third album.

Brian May; unknown radio interview, 1977

The middle section of Brighton Rock came about from fiddling around with the Echoplex on the Mott the Hoople tour. I used to do that solo in Son and Daughter. Since we had already recorded that song, it became part of Brighton Rock, which had evolved from the same style of playing anyway.

Brian May; Guitar, December 1991

Originally, I discovered, some time sitting around in Rockfield, that if you put an Echoplex in your system and turn off all the regeneration, you can just get one delay out of it. Echoplexes are very crude devices with a piece of tape that goes round and I started playing around and found that you could play along with the repeat that came back and it would be a very controllable situation. These days we use digital delays because it's easier, but I don't think they actually sound as good, but Echoplexes are so unreliable when we're out… You can do several different things with it; it's the whole canon effect that Bach pursued so brilliantly. Then I thought, what if you could get two, so then you could get the three-part harmony thing, which was always my dream. There's something about three guitars in harmony that has always stirred my loins and I just wanted to be able to it.

Brian May; Guitarist, March 2000

We were signed to Jack Holzman's Elektra label in the USA at that time (along with the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Linda Ronstadt), and they had given us a bunch of sound effects albums - Which Jack Holtzman had apparently personally produced!!! I had noticed the fairground scene and pinched it wholesale for the beginning of the track !!! Of course, even if anyone from the record company had noticed (which I don't think they did ! - Jack was already long gone) - they wouldn't have stopped us because it was their own product.

Brian May; Official Website, 2003

About 'Bring Back That Leroy Brown'

I was never a professional musician; the only times I've ever played in public were in the school band and in the Air Force during the war when I used to take my ukelele down to the pub - that's the same old ukelele, a genuine “George Formby Uke”, that Brian still plays now when he uses a ukelele on stage with Queen. It's full of beer stains inside from the war days, but Brian still insists that it's got the best sound he's ever heard from a ukelele, although he also uses a little Japanese one which he was presented with there when they were touring Japan. It was on that ukelele that he learned to play and sing his first songs, old George Formby music hall numbers like Cleaning Windows, Leaning on the Lamp-Post, and Chinese Laundry Blues - I taught them all to him. Then he started developing techniques of his own which were remarkably like George Formby's… he also used to play the mouth organ and when he joined the school choir, he used to practise like mad for that.

Harold May [Brian May's father]; The Queen Story, spring 1976

It is a genuine George Formby ukelele, it says “George Formby,” there's a little picture of him at the top. I'm not saying the ukelele actually belonged to George Formby, it was made in that style.

Brian May; Capital Radio, December 1976

The ukelele was incidental to that because it that was Freddie's song. It had this kind of vaudeville atmosphere and I just thought the ukelele would go nicely on it and we worked beside it, so it could be done, and I managed to fiddle a little ukelele solo. That was the first instrument I played. My father had a genuine George Formby ukelele. George Formby was the originator of that style of playing, which is rhythmic and slightly melodic at the same time, because he played across the top and bottom strings to make little melodies. I'm a pretty poor imitator of that style, but I got interested in it.

Brian May; BBC Radio One, 24th of December 1977

[The low voice] was either Brian or Freddie. I think maybe we cheated it with a bit of I think we might have speeded the tape up a bit, so it sounded really deep.

Roger Taylor; BBC World Service, 16th of November 1997

We really got there on Sheer Heart Attack. It's still one of my favourites. It's got a lot of fire and it's slightly more streamlined - Queen II is a bit lumbering in places. We were working very hard in the studio by then. There's a song on Heart Attack called Bring Back That Leroy Brown that's incredibly complex in terms of instrumentation and arrangements - there were countless hours labouring over that.

Roger Taylor; Mojo, August 1999

At the beginning it was also accepted Freddie was the most prolific writer. Listen to something like Bring Back That Leroy Brown. I don't even know how you'd describe that music. Is it blackmusic? Vaudeville… What is it?

Roger Taylor; Mojo, July 2019

About 'Dear Friends'

It's written by Brian, and I've done the vocals on it, but Brian wrote this lovely little tune. People do associate me with the sort of little ballads, but Brian has written some lovely ones in his time. He's very versatile.

Freddie Mercury; Capital Radio, 5th of December 1976

For the record, as far as I remember, I played piano on: Doin' All Right, Father to Son, Now I'm Here, Dear Friends, Teo Toriatte, All Dead All Dead. Notably NOT on Sail Away Sweet Sister - I got Freddie to learn it and play it with Roger and John for the backing track - I wanted his marvellous rhythm and percussive feel on piano - but yes on Save Me, Las Palabras de Amor, Flash and The Hero (plus organ on the Wedding). But from here on in we began using synthesisers and there were many excursions from us all into keyboard territory… The only pure piece of piano from this era from me is Forever - which was a doodle done live in the studio which I rescued for a bonus track later on.

Brian May; Official Website, 23rd of April 2003

About 'Flick Of The Wrist'

There's backwards stuff on some other tracks, like "Flick Of The Wrist"

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

[being away from the band due to illness] It was very weird. I was able also to see the group from the outside, almost and I was very excited by what I saw. We’d done a few things before I’d got ill but, when I came out They’d done a load more things including a couple of backing tracks of songs that I hadn't heard from Freddie and I was really excited, ‘Flick of the Wrist’ was one. It gave me a lot of inspiration to get back in there and do what I wanted to do. I did sort of get them to change a few things which I didn't feel were right and I also asked for a couple of things to be changed which they said “No You’re Wrong” and they were probably right. It was good I wasn't negative at all I just went back in there with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and did my bits and the whole thing got finished off quite quickly then.

Brian May; Guitar Greats, BBC Radio One, 1983

I wrote it as a sort of tongue-in-cheek story about the con-men and rip-off artists we're always running into. Our manager would like to think it's about him, but it's not.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, January 1975

Back home, [the single] was a double-A side, so Flick of the Wrist was the A-Side as well, so we were sort of putting across a sort of a taste of what was to come on the album.

Freddie Mercury; WBZ Boston, 15th of February 1975

This is a little song about a man with dubious morals.

Brian May; Bacon Theater, 6th of February 1976

A particularly vicious song by Freddie Mercury.

Brian May; Himeji Ancient Hall, 24th of March 1976

A dirty little number.

Brian May; Fukuoka Gymnasium, 26th of March 1976

They are both about the same thing. But Flick of the Wrist is more generalised. I was aiming it at the music industry as a whole. Death on Two Legs is definitely more personal. It wasn't dedicated to an individual exactly, but I would rather not say precisely who it was pointed at. You know, a lot of people thought Killer Queen was about Jacquie [sic] Kennedy. It wasn't. The critics invented that.

Freddie Mercury; unknown newspaper, May 1976

This is a song slightly more in the vicious vein, written by Freddie in one of his most passionate moments, of which he has many.

Brian May; Hyde Park, 18th of September 1976

That's a good one.

Freddie Mercury; Bristol Hippodrome, 23rd of May 1977

About 'In The Lap Of The Gods'

[Roger] is quite good at piercing screams.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, January 1975

I was beginning to learn a lot on Sheer Heart Attack, we were doing a lot of things which was to come on future albums, was to be used on future albums. Songs like that, yes, I suppose: working out the harmonies and song structure did help on, say, something like Bo Rhap. Somebody said this sounds like Cecil B. De Mille meets Walt Disney or something.

Freddie Mercury; BBC Radio One, 24th of December 1977

About 'In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited'

[The chorus] sounds like a football crowd singing. It's quite moving.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, January 1975

The explosion's meant to break up. It's totally intentional. We said, “The explosion will be too big for the studio, so tape saturation will be a part of the sound.”

Brian May; Goldmine, 10th of August 2001

This has a great 6/8 swing and a cool kick drum pattern that feels really good. It's hard to pull off – even though it sounds simple - and Roger does it very well.

Taylor Hawkins; Rhythm, September 2002

In the Lap of the Gods was always one of my favourites, one of Freddie's great outgoing moments.

Brian May; Live at Wembley DVD commentary, 2003

About 'Killer Queen'

We were also very singles-minded about the songs. Killer Queen was a lighter song but we knew how we wanted to treat it. We wanted to state the song, have the harmonies, and the solo. That was a three part solo and one of the first solos I did where the three parts were actually starting in different places. It wasn't the first, but it was the ONE of the first where almost three different tunes going on.

Brian May; Sounds U.K., January, 1984

[thinking about the solo before recording it] Yes; I didn’t write it down, but I had it in my head – that bell-like effect. I just worked with it a little while. In the early days some people had put an echo on the guitar sound and I hated it, so I had this big thing about ‘Don’t you dare touch the guitar, don’t you dare put anything on it’ so everything in those days was totally dry.

Brian May; Sounds U.K., January, 1984

[which is the successful solo of Brian] "Killer Queen." I just like the riff. For me, what Nuno was saying about what you leave out is important, and Freddie was an expert at that. There's nothing cluttered about "Killer Queen." There's a fantastic amount going on, but nothing ever gets in the way of anything else. I was pleased that the solo went along with that. Everything is crystal clear. And when the three voices of guitars are all doing little tunes of their own, it feels almost accidental that they go together. I was pleased with how it came out.

Brian May; Guitar for the Practicing Musician magazine, September 1993

I had reservations about the song being a single at first. I was always worried. When we put out "Killer Queen" everybody thought it was the most commercial. I was worried that people would put us in a category where they thought we were doing something light. Sheer Heart Attack was, in my mind, quite heavy and dirty and "Killer Queen" was the lightest and cleanest track and I was worried about putting it out. But when I heard it on the radio I thought, "It's a well-made record and I'm proud of it so it doesn't really matter." Plus it was a hit so fuck it. A hit is a hit is a hit.

Brian May; Guitar for the Practicing Musician magazine, September 1993

The first time I heard Freddie playing that song, I was lying in my room in Rockfield [a residential recording studio in Wales], feeling very sick. After Queen's first American tour I had hepatitis, and then I had very bad stomach problems and I had to be operated on. So I remember Just lying there, hearing Freddie play this really great song and feeling sad, because I thought, 'I can't even get out of bed to participate in this. Maybe the group will have to go on without me.' No one could figure out what was wrong with me. But then I did go into the hospital and I got fixed up, thank God. And when I came out again, we were able to fin- ish off 'Killer Queen.' They left some space for me and I did the solo. I had strong feelings about one of the harmony bits in the chorus, so we had another go at that too.

Brian May; Brian's Song, Guitar World magazine, January 1993

People are used to hard rock, energy music from Queen, yet with this single you almost expect Noel Coward to sing it. It's one of those bowler hat, black suspender belt numbers - not that Coward would wear that. It's about a high class call girl. I'm trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That's what the song is about, though I'd prefer people to put their interpretation upon it - to read into it what they like.

Freddie Mercury; New Musical Express, 2nd of November 1974

It was one song which was really out of the format that I usually write in. Generally the music comes first, but this time it was the words, along with the sophisticated style that I wanted to put across in the song that came first. A lot of my songs are fantasy, I can dream up all kinds of things. Killer Queen I wrote in one night, it just fell into place as some songs do. I suppose I'm a sort of chameleon, success has taught me a lot of things and I've adapted. You have to learn to come up with decisions very quickly. There's no beating about the bush in this business. I never ever really sit down at the piano and say, “right, I've got to write a song now”. I feel a few things out and I get some ideas about them. It's hard to explain but there are always various ideas going through my head all the time. I scribbled down the words for Killer Queen in the dark on Saturday night and the next morning I got them all together and I worked all day Sunday and that was it, I'd got it. Certain things just come together, but others you have to work for. Now, March of the Black Queen, for instance, that was a song that took ages to complete, I wanted to give it everything, to be self-indulgent or whatever. But the whole band in particular, we don't go in for half measures and I'm pretty hard with myself. There are no compromises. If I think a song isn't quite right then I'll discard it.

Freddie Mercury; Melody Maker, 21st of December 1974

Very relaxed, with Noel Coward overtones.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, January 1975

I just wrote it in a couple of days, during the Sheer Heart Attack sort of batch where I was writing the songs for the album. It wasn't written or conceived as a single at all, it was just one of the songs, my contributions for the album. It so happened that when we sort of recorded it, we thought that it could make a good single, and we gave it a slightly sort of single's approach to it. But, basically, it's an album track. Back home, it was a double-A side, so Flick of the Wrist was the A-Side as well, so we were sort of putting across a sort of a taste of what was to come on the album.

Freddie Mercury; WBZ Boston, 15th of February 1975

We're very keen on not repeating ourselves and not playing two notes where one will do. You have an idea and you do it in the most concise way. There are a lot of different things on Killer Queen – you could almost say the same thing never happens twice, there's always different things going on.

Brian May; WBZ Boston, 15th of February 1975

Elton John was wonderful - one of those people you can instantly get on with. He said he liked Killer Queen and anyone who says that goes in my white book - my black book is bursting at the seams.

Freddie Mercury; New Musical Express, 27th of September 1975

We're very proud of that number. It's done me a lot of proud. It's just one of the tracks I wrote for the album to be honest. It wasn't written as a single. I just wrote a batch of songs for the Sheer Heart Attack album and when I finished writing it, and when we recorded it, we found it was a very, very strong single. It really was. At that time it was very, very unlike Queen. They all said: “Awwwwwww.” It was another risk that we took you know. Every risk we've taken so far has paid off.

Freddie Mercury; Record Mirror, 21st of May 1976

Robert Plant was always my favourite singer - and he's said nice things about me, you know. He actually said he liked Killer Queen.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, March 1977

I basically write the tune. I write the song around the melody most of the time. Sometimes a lyric will get me started. Life Is Real was one of those, because the words came first… Killer Queen was another one I wrote the words for first. But otherwise I have melodies in my head. I play them on the piano and I used to tape record them. Now I just store them in my head. I feel that if they're worth remembering, I will. If I lose them, I lose them. If they're still in my head, they're worth remember and putting down on tape.

Freddie Mercury; International Musician & Recording World, 21st of July 1982

I remember thinking at the time we were a group that was making its name as a heavy live act, and I thought this single was a little bit light at the time; but looking back on it, I think it's something to be proud of, I don't mind it at all.

Brian May; VH1, 7th of June 1991

I was always very happy with this song. The whole record was made in a very craftsman-like manner. I still enjoy listening to It because there's a lot to listen to, but it never gets cluttered. There's always space for all the little ideas to come through. And of course I like the solo, with that three-part section, where each part has its own voice. What can say? It's vintage Queen. The first time I heard Freddie playing that song, I was lying in my room in Rockfield, feeling very sick. After Queen's first American tour I had hepatitis, and then I had very bad stomach problems and I had to be operated on. So I remember just lying there, hearing Freddie play this really great song and feeling sad, because I thought, “I can't even get out of bed to participate in this. Maybe the group will have to go on without me.” No one could figure out what was wrong with me. But then I did go into the hospital and I got fixed up, thank God. And when I came out again, we were able to finish off Killer Queen. They left some space for me and I did the solo. I had strong feelings about one of the harmony bits in the chorus, so we had another go at that too.

Brian May; Guitar World, January 1993

That was a song which we spent ages literally sort of crafting, and I think it shows. I think it still sounds good today. It's well-played, it sounds good, it's well sung, harmonies are good and it's got a very original lyric. I think it stands up well.

Roger Taylor; BBC Radio Two, 6th of November 1999

I don't think many people have figured out that I do this “pre-bending” thing ... and I'm not aware of anyone doing it ... with the possible exception of Jeff Beck ... but he tends to achieve the same kind of thing but mainly with the whammy bar ... his Where Were You? must be the most incredibly piece of electric guitar recorded, ever. But as for me ... well, I also have to tell you I don't always get it right. It depends on a lot of things. As with any playing, but especially string bending, if you can't hear clearly what you are doing, you are sunk. So good monitoring is a vital requirement. We are fortunate in having a superb Monitor engineer, but of course there are still times when the acoustics of a hall or arena conspire to blur things, enough to make judgement of bends difficult. Secondly, it depends on knowing your instrument very well ... mine has been with me so long, that it is almost a part of me. I always use the same strings, and the guitar always gives me what I ask of it. So the “memory”, of how far a given bend will need to go to produce a bent note of a certain pitch, is at least partly in the muscles of the fingers. Its [sic] also, I think, updated by the few bends which you have just played, with “bio-feedback” allowing you to correct the pitch as you go along. But in the end, I think it has to be quite largely instinct. On a good day, everything is sweet and it's impossible to go wrong. On a bad day when you're not hearing stuff well, I find you can come off feeling that almost nothing was quite right!!! SO, like most things, you prepare, you plan, you think, you do everything to give yourself the best chance, but in the end, it's “In the Lap of the Gods” - and it helps to realise this .... “admitting powerlessness” is a powerful technique at the very least, and can become a whole way of life. I subscribe to that belief - and try to act on it when I can. By the way, thinking about it, my “pre-bends” go back a long way .... there are some (mutitracked!) on The Night Comes Down on the first Queen album ... and White Queen on Queen II ... and they are an essential part of the solo in Killer Queen. But Last Horizon has the hardest ones to pull off live!!

Brian May; Official Website, 1st of June 2008

Again, a radical departure. I think most people hearing this for the first time were shocked because it wasn't rock like they expected us to be: it's very sophisticated, very delicate, a beautifully crafted record, you know, and I don't claim much credit myself although we were all in there – but you know it's just… there's so much space in it and yet so much going on, which all works, and I love it as a pop record, I have to say.  It's a beautiful backing track: there's no clicks, of course, there's no machines whatsoever, there's no Pro Tools, this is just people playing. I think I was in hospital when [the rest of the band] did the backing track, I think, I'm not sure. I was very ill at that time and I came out and it was, sort of, almost finished and I remember being horrible to Fred about the backing vocals because I thought they were very abrasive so we sang them all again, and they had just a sort of sweeter touch, I suppose. Yeah, this is probably the guitar solo I would like to be remembered for. But it's so totally Freddie, I don't think anyone else would have dared to do anything like this and call themselves a rock star.

Brian May; Absolute Greatest, 2009

Shades of Noel Coward, Cole Porter all sorts of things, quite unique. The guitars are fantastic and their counterparts and it's brilliantly constructed. I remember we knew it's… something special about this song when we were doing it because we did it take after take after take. I don't ever remember doing as many takes as we did for this song on any other song. The feel had to be just right and it was just… you know, it had to be pitched exactly right. It had to have weight but it had to be light, as well, so it was a very difficult balancing act, this. [The backing track] is all live.

Roger Taylor; Absolute Greatest, 2009

There's a lot to say about Killer Queen. It was made at a time that I was almost dying of stomach problems, I was in the hospital in the middle of the recording that album, during which time, although we'd recorded together the beginnings of Killer Queen, the boys went in and did some harmonies and I remember they brought it in for me to hear in hospital and I went, “it's really good but it sounds very abrasive, you know, perhaps we make it sound more rounded in the vocal harmony department.” So Freddie said, “you're absolutely right, Brian, and we will do it again when you get better so you better damn well get better.”

Brian May; Absolute Radio, 17th of August 2011

We were all in bands, we're all playing, the music business is huge in the UK at that time, in the seventies and the eighties, so we were all very busy people, so it was difficult to pick something out. I was, of course, aware of Queen but in the early days they didn't chart, there weren't the big hits that there were in subsequent years, but I remember a great friend of mine, Kenny Everett, and Kenny phoned me up one day and said, “Look, I'm playing a new record at four o'clock this afternoon, just turn on and listen to it on the Capital Radio in London.” I happened to be driving back, I remember I was in Regents Park, and he said, “I've got this new record from Queen and it's called Killer Queen.” This came on and I actually stopped the car, which was very strange for me, and I listened, I thought, “that's really good.” I think that, for me, was a turning point for the band, like Please Please Me was for The Beatles: they went into a different kind of thing and it became a kind of factory of great harmonies and great melodies and rhythm and interesting arrangements, and I thought, “that's a really, really good record,” and I still think so to this day, actually. It's a really terrific piece, terrific production, and everything about it is inventive, and it was just different from the rest of the stuff that was around and, of course, then they went on and became what it is, but I remember that as being a really significant kind of musical moment in English pop history.

Michael Moran; Dutch Queen Day, 24th of September 2016

We looked up to Led Zeppelin, especially, because we were just coming up behind them. Queen II was good. Sheer Heart Attack was more of a piece, though. Killer Queen was incredibly well-crafted. God, the attention to detail Freddie put into that.

Roger Taylor; Mojo, July 2019

The idea of Queen III [sic] was, “let's just together, let's get some songs out there for once, real little short songs.” It was very successful on that level. Very few of the production techniques were used… they were used but they weren't used to such great extent. If Killer Queen would've been done a year earlier, on Queen II, it would've probably phased from beginning to end, but it was just used on one word, “laser-beam”, that's the thing it was used on.

Royston Baker; BBC Radio One, unknown date

About 'Lily Of The Valley'

I've become more piano orientated anyway. Ogre Battle was written on a guitar but I've given that up. I'm getting into Love of My Life- and Lily of the Valley-type things. I've always listened to that kind of music.

Freddie Mercury; Sounds, January 1976

I must confess that there was really nothing behind that lyric [“messenger from Seven Seas ... to tell the King of Rhye…”]. It was simply an easy way out for me, lyrically, to insert that into Lily of the Valley because it seemed to fit in nicely there. Sorry to disappoint anyone, but that's all it was really.

Freddie Mercury; unknown printed medium, May 1976

Freddie's stuff was so heavily cloaked, lyrically. But you could find out, just from little insights, that a lot of his private thoughts were in there, although a lot of the more meaningful stuff was not very accessible. Lily of the Valley was utterly heartfelt. It's about looking at his girlfriend and realising that his body needed to be somewhere else. It's a great piece of art, but it's the last song that would ever be a hit.

Brian May; Mojo, August 1999

About 'Misfire'

John actually used [his amp] himself, multi-tracked, on his song Misfire on Sheer Heart Attack, and it features heavily in much of the more intricate arrangements I did for the Queen albums. Let's see... The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke was all triple-tracked and gated by hand using the old push-push buttons in the now defunct Wessex studios [sic]; God Save the Queen, Dreamers Ball, all those trumpet, trombone and clarinet sounds from Good Company... the solo on A Winter's Tale; I love these sounds - no electronic box can make this noise!

Brian May; Guitarist, July 2013

About 'Now I'm Here'

Good old R&B, a funky beat with Queen overtones.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, January 1975

Now I'm Here, which is our last single over here [in Britain], was really directly inspired from American audiences. It looks like it won't be a single in America. It's on the Sheer Heart Attack album. That was really my experiences with audiences in America.

Brian May; Rock Around the World, summer 1975

There is always a case of a guitarist being influenced by another guitarist who he admires, and it is the same with drummers and singers as well. But I'm sure we have our own things to offer and definitely we certainly never try to sound like somebody else. It's rubbish that we sound like Led Zeppelin. If we wanted to rip off Led Zeppelin then we'd sound exactly like them.  We could sound like them or The Who if we wanted to, we have the capabilities. But what would be the point? And how anybody could say that Freddie Mercury sounds like Robert Plant or Roger Daltrey I do not know. Brian's got a completely different style of playing to either Pete Townsend or Jimmy Page. I mean I really admire those two guys and I think Townsend is the most articulate guy I've heard in years - but as for copying them! The only thing we've ever done that's consciously a bit of a rip off is Now I'm Here and that was because it was a sort of tribute to the Stones and Mott The Hoople with a bit of the Who as well. But it was a tribute rather than anything else and it's the only thing we've ever done to aim for a sound that we didn't popularise. As far as we are concerned ninety-eight per cent of our music is ours. We unashamedly like our own music what's more. If I go round to Freddie's he's playing it the same as I am. I've heard a lot of even really good people that we admire say that they never play their own albums - John Lennon, who we all admire a great deal. But I'm sure everybody plays their own albums and it's a load of shit if they say they never play them. Admittedly you can get fed up with them sometimes and usually just after we've made an album we don't play it, but after a while I play them unashamedly because I want to hear certain bits and enjoy them. There are always faults in an album or a single but at the same time there are some real high spots.

Roger Taylor; Queen: An Official Biography, 20th of May 1976

That was nice. That was a Brian May thing. We released it after Killer Queen. And it's a total contrast, just a total contrast. It was just to show people we can still do rock ‘n' roll - we haven't forgotten our rock ‘n' roll roots. It's nice to do on stage. I enjoyed doing that on stage.

Freddie Mercury; Record Mirror, 21st of May 1976

With Sheer Heart Attack, it was very weird, because I was able to see the group from the outside, and was pretty excited by what I saw. We'd done a few things before I was ill, but when I came back, they'd done a lot more, including a couple of backing tracks of songs by Freddie which I hadn't heard, like Flick of the Wrist, which excited me and gave me a lot of inspiration to get back in there and do what I wanted to do. I also managed to do some writing: Now I'm Here was done in that period, and came out quite easily, whereas I'd been wrestling with it before without getting anywhere. That song's sort of about experiences on the American tour, which really blew me away in more senses than one! I was bowled over, partly by the success we were having and partly by the amazing aura which surrounds rock music in America, which is hard to describe.

Brian May; BBC Radio One, January 1983

When I compose riffs or progressions that I want to become signature to a certain song, I prefer to use voicings near the nut. I feel that this area of the neck provides the most power, definition and clarity possible for chords as well as single-line riffs. In fact, many of Queen's signature riffs, like the ones in Tie Your Mother Down, Stone Cold Crazy and It's Late, are played in the open position. One of my favourites is the riff before the verse in Now I'm Here.

Brian May; Guitar World, May 1999

For the record, as far as I remember, I played piano on: Doin' All Right, Father to Son, Now I'm Here, Dear Friends, Teo Toriatte, All Dead All Dead. Notably NOT on Sail Away Sweet Sister - I got Freddie to learn it and play it with Roger and John for the backing track - I wanted his marvellous rhythm and percussive feel on piano - but yes on Save Me, Las Palabras de Amor, Flash and The Hero (plus organ on the Wedding). But from here on in we began using synthesisers and there were many excursions from us all into keyboard territory… The only pure piece of piano from this era from me is Forever - which was a doodle done live in the studio which I rescued for a bonus track later on.

Brian May; Official Website, 23rd of April 2003

It's musically a conscious tribute to Mott themselves - the All the Way from Memphis style. I imagine the Stones were an influence on Mott, but to me the Mott material had more colour and depth.

Brian May; Official Website, November 2003

About 'She Makes Me'

It's Brian's main number on the album and it's a real scorcher. Where Leroy is fast and jazzy, this is full of acoustics and slowed-down drums.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, January 1975

It was actually Roger's idea in the beginning to put this subtitle on because he said “look I really like this song it has a great beat and everything but I don't like this title.” This is in 1975 [sic] or something. He said, “You should call it Stormtroopers in Stilettoes if it has this big beat,” and I said, “OK, you can call it that as well if you want.” So we put She Makes Me and in brackets Stormtroopers in Stilettoes.

Brian May; Queen Online, 23rd of March 2011

About 'Stone Cold Crazy'

We used to think it was too blatant to ever be recorded. Now we play it better and we think that it will be accepted for what it is. Straight rock and roll at its utmost.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, January 1975

On stage that night [New Year's Eve 1971], they featured Stone Cold Crazy, which is the number with the very fast sequence which Freddie sings at high speed and which they later used on the third album, along with Liar, See What a Fool I've Been and their rock medley.

Timothy Staffell; The Queen Story, spring 1976

Now, regarding Stone Cold Crazy - yes, it is the same version [in the early days], although there was a very early attempt by Freddie with his previous group done with a different riff at a slower tempo. I think the truth is we weren't sure it was good enough for the first album and it didn't fit the format of the second album - Queen II. By the time Sheer Heart Attack was being made, we'd had a lot of practice at it!

Brian May; Official Website, 1998

When I compose riffs or progressions that I want to become signature to a certain song, I prefer to use voicings near the nut. I feel that this area of the neck provides the most power, definition and clarity possible for chords as well as single-line riffs. In fact, many of Queen's signature riffs, like the ones in Tie Your Mother Down, Stone Cold Crazy and It's Late, are played in the open position. One of my favourites is the riff before the verse in Now I'm Here.

Brian May; Guitar World, May 1999

I also remember rehearsing Stone Cold Crazy, definitely, from Sheer Heart Attack as well as others that ended up on Queen 1!

Michael Grose [Queen's first bassist]; Queen in Cornwall, 7th of July 2011

Freddie had this great idea called Stone Cold Crazy, I don't know what the hell was about, it was one of Freddie's frenetic ideas, but it wasn't a frenetic song, so when we got together I said, “Freddie, it would be really funny if we did it more frenetic, like the way you normally are,” so I did [the modified riff]. He liked that, and so the song instantly became [faster] and that was really something that gelled with us very quickly.

Brian May; ITV documentary, 2014

About 'Tenement Funster'

Well, it's just an expression that I just sort of made up. It was like the prankster on the block, the naughty boy; you know what I mean. It was the good-time guy in the area. I've never heard that term before of a “Tenement Funster,” so I sort of made it up.

Roger Taylor; Goldmine, 2015

Modern Times… was a bit of a thrash... I always thought Tenement Funster, which I wrote for Sheer Heart Attack, was better.

Roger Taylor; Mojo, July 2019