QUEEN Greatest Hits I and II to be re-released on vinyl November 18 through Virgin EMI First time available worldwide as gatefold-sleeve double vinyl albums
Reissued on vinyl on November 18 on Virgin EMI (world excluding North America), Queen’s best-selling compilations Greatest Hits and Greatest Hits II throw fresh light on an unrivalled track record of chart-topping, award-winning, record-breaking rock and pop classics. With four songwriters in the band – Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon – Queen created a glorious legacy of all-time anthems that still ring out across the ages. For past and future fans alike, they will rock you.
In the U.S., where release is through Hollywood Records, fans will have to wait a little longer for GH II. While Greatest Hits receives same day and date release, GH II on vinyl will arrive in the U.S. only in the New Year.
First released in 1981, Greatest Hits is the best-selling album of all time in Britain, standing alone as the first and only album to have sold over 6 million copies in the UK (6.1 million sales to date) with global sales in excess of 25 million. According to the Official Charts Company who earlier this year crowned it ‘Britain’s most popular album of the past 60 years’, one in four British households already own a copy of the album. Newly re-mastered as a gatefold-sleeve double vinyl album for the first time worldwide, these 17 tracks are now spread across four sides of 180 gram heavyweight vinyl, enriching the audio quality of a band rightly celebrated for their multi-tracked studio perfectionism. Deep, warm and luxuriant, this is exactly how Queen should sound.
Spanning Queen’s triumphant first act, from 1974 to 1980, Greatest Hits includes some of the world’s most beloved rock standards, including the stadium-sized symphonic chart-topper Bohemian Rhapsody and the roof-raising We Are The Champions, which was named the most catchy song of all time by a team of scientists in 2011. But this album also dazzles with its stylistically promiscuous range, from the crowd rousing We Will Rock You, the tongue in cheek Fat Bottomed Girls, the stomp-stomp-stomp late 70’s disco inspired Another One Bites the Dust, to the finger-snapping jukebox retro-rock homage Crazy Little Thing Called Love and the soaring, impassioned, gospel-fired Aretha-isms of Somebody To Love. Sublime songwriting genius.
Originally released shortly before Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991, Greatest Hits II has sold over 19 million copies worldwide. It spans 1981 to 1991, the period which followed Queen having dropped their famous no synthesizers rule elevating them to new heights of creativity. Opening up their guitar-heavy sound to embrace funk, disco and electronics resulted in rich rewards, transforming these former Seventies glam rockers into a glossy, streamlined, emphatically contemporary super-group.
Rebooted and rewired, Queen produced some of their most immortal hits during this imperial Eighties phase. Built around an improvised studio jam, their infectious David Bowie collaboration Under Pressure became a global chart-topping smash. The retro-futurist epic Radio Ga Ga and the humorously romantic I Want To Break Free stand as testaments to their early mastery of synthesizers, while the muscular ripcord riffs of Hammer To Fall and octave-vaulting grand-piano acrobatics of It’s a Hard Life are vintage Queen both sonically and lyrically.
Greatest Hits II, officially the tenth best selling album of all time in the UK, is steeped in warmth and optimism, from the tender sentiments and sumptuous harmonies of Friends Will Be Friends to the planet-sized synth-rock fanfares of One Vision, a Live Aid-inspired hymn to humankind’s better angels. Mercury even chronicles his failing health with stoic humour, notably on the heroically defiant swan song The Show Must Go On, not going gently into that good night but still burning bright, and still playing shamelessly to the gallery.
Undimmed by time or fashion, Greatest Hits and Greatest Hits II are welcome reminders that Queen were always colourful, always dynamic, always ablaze with passion and pride. They filled the heavens with a musical rainbow.
s2xLP gatefold – 180 gram heavyweight vinyl – includes MP3 download voucher
World ex North America (USA Hollywood Records)
SIDE A1. Bohemian Rhapsody2 Another One Bites The Dust3. Killer Queen4. Fat Bottomed Girls
SIDE C1. Crazy Little Thing Called Love2. Somebody To Love3. Now I’m Here4. Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy
SIDE B1. Bicycle Race2. You’re My Best Friend3. Don’t Stop Me Now4. Save Me
SIDE D1. Play The Game2. Flash3. Seven Seas Of Rhye4. We Will Rock You5. We Are The Champions
Greatest Hits II
2xLP gatefold – 180 gram heavyweight vinyl – includes MP3 download voucherVirgin EMIWorld ex North America (USA Hollywood Records)
1. A Kind Of Magic
2. Under Pressure
3. Radio Ga Ga
4. I Want It All
5. I Want To Break Free
2. It’s A Hard Life
4. Who Wants To Live Forever
2. The Miracle
3. I’m Going Slightly Mad
4. The Invisible Man
1. Hammer To Fall
2. Friends Will Be Friends
3. The Show Must Go On
4. One Vision