|On Air 2-CD – Order||On Air Box set – Order|
Delight in these deluxe treats: ADRIAN THRILLS picks some of the best box sets, greatest hits and reissues this Christmas
16 December 2016 byAdrian Thrills
With Christmas nigh, ’tis the season for box sets, greatest hits albums and deluxe reissues. Here, ADRIAN THRILLS picks some of the best. . .
QUEEN: Queen On Air (Virgin EMI)
When Queen were on the rise, Freddie Mercury astutely predicted they would one day become ‘the Cecil B. DeMille of rock’. Before the theatrical side took over, though, they were a different proposition — a hard-riffing guitar band and a product of the classic rock era.
Queen On Air celebrates those days with the six sessions Freddie and company cut for BBC radio between 1973 (before their first single) and 1977 (the brink of superstardom).
The songs cropped up in more polished form elsewhere, but there’s an urgency that makes this trawl through the vaults worthwhile.
Queen On Air celebrates those days with the six sessions Freddie Mercury
(pictured) and company cut for BBC radio between 1973
When Queen were on the rise, Freddie Mercury astutely predicted they would one day become ¿the Cecil B. DeMille of rock¿
Queen On Air celebrates those days with the six sessions Freddie Mercury (pictured) and company cut for BBC radio between 1973.
The band, from left to right, Brian May, Freddie Mercury, John Deacon and Roger Taylor
Freddie Mercury and Brian May play guitarin front of Roger Taylor’s drums during a Queen concert in the 1980s
The sessions, on two CDs (£10) or three vinyl LPs (£50), contain striking moments. My Fairy King was the first Queen song ever broadcast, yet it displayed many of the elements that would become trademarks: Mercury’s astonishing falsetto; Brian May’s distinctive guitar tone; the tempo changes that later fuelled Bohemian Rhapsody.
The music reiterates the band’s hard-rocking credentials. The final session, from 1977, contains a fast, frenetic We Will Rock You that would have given any of that year’s punk acts a run for their money.
No wonder host DJ John Peel described them as ‘a band who sound like nutters’. For diehards, there’s also a six-CD box (£85) with additional live material plus a spirit-sapping 220 minutes of radio interviews. That’s an awful lot of Freddie — much of it superfluous — but the original sessions are archive gold.