A Night at the Opera is the fourth studio album by the British rock band Queen. The album was released on November 21, 1975, by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. It was the most expensive album ever recorded at the time of its release. Take a look below for 24 more fun and fascinating facts about Queen’s A Night at the Opera album.
1. The album got its name from the Marx Brothers film of the same name, which the band watched one night at the studio complex when recording.
2. A Night at the Opera has a wide range of styles, including ballads, songs in a music hall, hard rock tracks and progressive rock influences.
3. The album produced the band’s most successful single in the United Kingdom, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which became their first U.K. number one and one of the best selling singles in both the U.K. and the world.
4. On its release, the album was a commercial success, debuting at number 1 in the U.K. and topping the charts for 4 non-consecutive weeks. In the United States, it reached number 4, which was the band’s strongest showing at the time.
5. Queen was known to be big in terms of sound and scale which is shown in their A Night at the Opera album.
6. All four members of Queen contributed to the album, showing their depth as a band.
7. According to Rhapsody’s Mike McGuirk, A Night at the Opera is often viewed as one of the greatest rock albums of all time. McGuirk felt that the album’s combination of heavy metal, recording effects, theatrical sophistication and British grandeur still make for an engaging listen.
8. The song “Death on Two Legs” from the album can be seen as Freddie Mercury’s hate letter to Queen’s first manager, Norman Sheffield, who was reputed to have mistreated the band and abused his role as their manager from 1972 to 1975.
9. Sheffield denied all allegation in his 2013 autobiography titled “Life on Two Legs: Set The Record Straight,” and referred to copies of the original 1972 management contracts between Sheffield and Queen.
10. During live performances, Mercury would start the song of by dedicating the song to, “a real motherfucker of a gentleman.”
11. In the Classic Albums documentary, which shows the making of A Night at the Opera, Brian May said that the band was surprised at the bitterness of Mercury’s lyrics.
12. The song “I’m in Love with My Car” was among Roger Taylor’s most famous songs in the entire Queen catalogue. The song was initially thought to be a joke by May.
13. The revving sounds at the end of the song were recorded by Taylor’s then current car, an Alfa Romeo.
14. The lyrics of the song were inspired by one of the band’s roadies, Johnathan Harris, whose Triumph TR4 was the “love of his life.” The song is dedicated to him as it stated on the album, “Dedicated to Johnathan Harris, boy racer to the end.”
15. When it came down to releasing the album’s first single, Taylor was so fond of the “I’m in Love with My Car” song that he urged Mercury to allow it to be on the B-side and reportedly locked himself in a cupboard until Mercury agreed.
16. “You’re My Best Friend” was Queen’s first single from the album and it was written by John Deacon.
17. Deacon composed the song while he was learning to play piano. The song was written for his wife, Veronica Tetzlaff and it was a top 10 hit.
18. The song “39” was May’s attempt to do a “sci-fi skiffle.” The song talks about a group of space explorers who go on a year long journey but, upon their return, find that a hundred years have passed because of time dilation; meaning that their loved ones have all either aged or died.
19. George Michael performed “39” at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on April 20, 1992. Michael stated that it was his favorite Queen song, claiming that he used to busk it on the London Underground.
20. The song “The Prophet’s Song” was composed by May. May stated that he wrote the song after a dream he had about a great flood while he was recovering from being sick while recording the Sheer Heart Attack album.
21. The song is over 8 minutes in length, which makes it Queen’s longest studio song.
22. The dream that May had was about The Great Flood, and the lyrics have references from the Bible and Noah’s Ark.
23. The song “Love of My Life” was written for Mercury’s girlfriend at the time, Mary Austin, and is one of his most covered songs.
24. “Love of My Life” was such a concert favorite that Mercury would often stop singing and allow the audience to take over.