Sunday, August 19, 2012
Queen: Seven Seas of Rhye
Success can be bad for some bands - in particular the need to have music that sounds good when played in stadiums. Even REM suffered from that after Automatic for the People.
This was certainly true of Queen. When they first appeared they looked as they came from the heavy metal scene (at least to this innocent 14-year-old), but they had a wit and a musicality that made them stand out from the glam dross around them. For me, that period lasted up to and including the massive success of "Bohemian Rhapsody".
After that, I liked them far less. There was a bombast about them and it was expertly skewered by the Slovenian band Laibach when they turned "One Vision" into a totalitarian anthem - "Geburt Einer Nation" - with worrying ease.
"Seven Seas of Rhye" is the first Queen track I ever heard. It was played on a Friday evening programme on Radio 1 that reviewed the week's new releases - was it "Rosko's Round Table"? The general view was that it was a good single, but that their first release ("Keep Yourself Alive") had been better.
And thanks to Sound Destruction Device for telling me that it had already appeared on Queen's first LP as an instrumental track.