Queen‘s fourth record, A Night at the Opera, was a go-for-broke rock moment, the most expensive album ever recorded at the time, a theatrical sojourn in the name of rock and unconventional pop. Silver-throated Freddie Mercury and the rest of their fab four-esque creative songwriting force pulled it off, topping UK charts for four non-consecutive weeks surrounding the Christmas of 1975.
Though it certainly wasn’t perfect. “Seaside Rendezvous” and “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon” are pretty kooky, “Piggies” throwaways. And Roger Taylor’s slick homage to the “feel” for his “automobile,” “I’m in Love with My Car,” didn’t really supersede its cheese-factor across the bends of time. But its collective 12 songs do fit an over-the-top baroque concept no one has really been able to oust since.
Chiefly because no one will write a ballad so uniquely diverse and genius, “Galileo” quirks and all, as “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The defining moment of the record — Broadway wish it could rock as hard as Queen — Mercury opening the near-6:00 opus with a now age-old entertainment decry:
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?