Not too long ago, there was the long-fought about, long-drawn out, 80’s bracket at the bookstore. This was something we did as March Madness was unfurling- our own form of it, I suppose. Anyway, there was some suppressed outrage at my voting over a Queen song (I honestly do not recall which one. I’m sure the boys will remind me) in favor of another song. I love Queen. I grew up with them. My mom was a huge fan, and had the 8-tracks to prove it. My dad had that shitty Dodge Aspen that he drove around for a couple of years, until, like a typical Dodge, it laid a giant turd. That Aspen had an 8-track player in it, believe it or not (this was early 80’s, when 8-tracks were losing credibility fast). This was one of the few 8-tracks that was always in there. I’m pretty sure my dad wishes he could have gouged his eyes out, so often was this album played in that car. It only brings joyous memories, and good vibes. And it is a fantastic album, to boot.
My mom owned this album on vinyl as well. Unfortunately, it was one of many albums that were in crates in that leaky closet in the Willow Springs cottage where we grew up. That leak kept getting worse and worse, and one day, upon discovering that some of her albums were ruined, my mom just threw all of them out. All of her vinyl. The ones that were left went with us to the other house, and were disposed of when we moved and my brother got rid of what was left. (I think it was my brother, there were a lot of us moving that house, so maybe it wasn’t). Regardless, her copy of this was long warped, due to that leak. I remember how upset she was, but not so much because she just ran out to the car, got the 8-track, and popped it into the player in the house. I liked the vinyl. My brother loved the cover because of the robot on it. I thought there were scary dudes on the cover, until I got old enough to recognize that it was the members of Queen. Still, a pretty great cover for an album released in 1977, year of disco and Roxy Music’s almost nude model album covers.
Obviously, you have the double barrel leadoff of “We Are The Champions” and “We Will Rock You”. Once you amble past that one-two punch, you have stand alone cuts “Get Down, Make Love” (a favorite even before the lyrics meant anything and before NIN’s excellent cover of it), “Spread Your Wings” (another favorite of mine), “It’s Late”, and “All Dead, All Dead”. As a whole, track to track, it’s solid. I was too young to form legitimate favorites until I was older, but I can play it all the way through, and enjoy the whole thing. There aren’t a lot of albums in my lifetime that I can make that claim about. How did I finally get my hands on my own vinyl copy of it? I was with Jen down at the Virgin Mobile store downtown (same place that I found the rare Culture Club box set), and they had it in a clearance bin. I remember saying “Are they mad?” before grabbing it and putting it in a killer midget clutch so no one else got it. Jen grimaced, as she’s not a huge Queen fan, and went trolling for Gary Numan albums. I got it for $4.00 and it’s brand new. I love the cover and the gatefold design is pretty sweet. Definitely an album that stands the test of time. So much that I realized I don’t own it on CD, so I had to order one online. Pretty sure that’s going to the bookstore. You’re welcome, coworkers.