Queen II

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Queen II
Queen II, 1974
Released 8 March 1974 (UK),
9 April 1974 (US)
Recorded August 1973 at Trident Studios, London
Length 40:44
Label EMI
Producer(s) Queen, Roy Thomas Baker, and Robin Geoffrey Cable
Queen chronology
Queen II
Sheer Heart Attack


As soon as sessions for Queen finished in March 1973, the band took a brief break before jumping back into the studios to work on their follow-up. The creatively fertile band, bursting with ideas, entered Trident Studios in August to lay down songs that would become their second album, unimaginatively titled Queen II. (Brian later admitted that the band considered calling it Over The Top, but this idea was discarded.) In addition to songs that had been written around the same time as those that appeared on the debut album (including Father To Son, Ogre Battle, and Seven Seas Of Rhye), as well as an older song written by Brian during his days in Smile (White Queen (As It Began)), songs were written that were far more adventurous than anything attempted before.

Part of this creativity was due to the need to distinguish themselves from other bands of the time. Glam rock was an ever-emerging form of rock 'n' roll, and with David Bowie and Roxy Music releasing albums that would define the genre (Aladdin Sane and For Your Pleasure, respectively), suddenly this style was becoming popular. Mott the Hoople became the ultimate glam rock band of the 1970s (second only to T. Rex); interestingly, Queen would support Mott on their winter 1973 UK tour, and again on their spring 1974 US tour. And it shouldn't go unmentioned that the band had approached Mr. Bowie to produce Queen II, but the chameleon rocker had to decline; their only collaboration wouldn't come until eight years later.

Concept albums were also a burgeoning fad, especially with the March 1973 release of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon; while Queen II isn't strictly conceptual, there's a definite theme running through the songs, which was confirmed, however indirectly, when it was decided to place all of Brian's songs – and Roger's sole contribution, The Loser In The End – on the first side (titled "Side White") and all of Freddie's songs on the second side (titled "Side Black"). The first side is introspective and introverted, as befits Brian's songwriting style; the multitracked Procession forms a dirge-like introduction to the album, leading into the piano arpeggios of Father To Son, influenced in various ways by The Who and Led Zeppelin. White Queen (As It Began) follows, and is probably one of Brian's most startling and poignant ballads ever, before leading into the self-sung Some Day, One Day, which makes mention of misty castles and potential queen-hood; this faerytale adventure would be further explored in Freddie's songs. The Loser In The End, which many fans consider to be ill-placed, rounds out the second side, and is another track heavily influenced by The Who.

Freddie's songs form a medley, with each song segueing in and out of each other effortlessly, each song more complex than the last: starting with the frenetic Ogre Battle and leading into the lighthearted The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke (inspired by Richard Dadd's painting of the same name), the plaintive ballad Nevermore blends into the magnum opus The March Of The Black Queen, which would be a harbringer of a particular mock opera two albums later. The decidedly Beach Boys-influenced Funny How Love Is is the oddly-placed conclusion of the suite, with Seven Seas Of Rhye added for good measure.

Instrumentally, the band were more keen on exploring and experimenting: apart from the standard line-up of drums, bass, and guitar, various keyboard instruments were used – Hammond organ and marimba on The Loser In The End, harpsichord on Father To Son and The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke – as well as percussion – tubular bells and castanets on The March Of The Black Queen. The sound, too, is more lush and expansive than the debut: acoustic guitars are used prominently to double up a rhythm, in a method first perfected by The Rolling Stones and The Who in the 1960s. Part of the sound has to do with the addition of Robin Geoffrey Cable as co-producer for a handful of tracks, though Roy Thomas Baker was also willing to push the envelope in ways that he hadn't been able to on the debut album.

Released in March 1974 (delayed significantly due to an oil shortage as well as a cover misprint) to expectedly mixed reviews, the album peaked at No. 5 in the UK and No. 49 in the US, while the sole single release, Seven Seas Of Rhye, reached No. 10 in the UK. The album was wrapped in an iconic sleeve by Mick Rock: with the band posed in a clockwork fashion, maximum use of light and shade was used to create a moody appearance. The band were so enamored with this image that it was used for the Bohemian Rhapsody promotional video the following year. Inside was a lighter photograph of a wide-eyed, young-looking band (mirroring the front cover), resplendent in white fineries. (Oh, and John Deacon's name had finally been reverted from the inside-jokey "Deacon John" to its normal way around.) By this time, the band had become experienced live musicians, and were just about to embark on their first US tour; yet that spring, Queen almost ceased to exist.

The album was rereleased by Hollywood Records in 1991, adding the non-album B-side single See What A Fool I've Been (based off a Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee song, 'That's How I Feel', and written by Brian during his days in Smile) as well as two remixes: a fairly straightforward one of Ogre Battle, and an insipid dance remix of Seven Seas Of Rhye (yet it was baffingly met with high approval from Freddie).


Vinyl version

  • Side 1:
  1. Procession
  2. Father To Son
  3. White Queen (As It Began)
  4. Some Day, One Day
  5. The Loser In The End
  • Side 2:
  1. Ogre Battle
  2. The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke
  3. Nevermore
  4. The March Of The Black Queen
  5. Funny How Love Is
  6. Seven Seas Of Rhye

1991 Hollywood Records CD

  1. Procession
  2. Father To Son
  3. White Queen (As It Began)
  4. Some Day, One Day
  5. The Loser In The End
  6. Ogre Battle
  7. The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke
  8. Nevermore
  9. The March Of The Black Queen
  10. Funny How Love Is
  11. Seven Seas Of Rhye
  12. See What A Fool I've Been
  13. Ogre Battle (remix)
  14. Seven Seas Of Rhye (remix)

2011 Universal Records CD

  • Disc 1:
  1. Procession
  2. Father To Son
  3. White Queen (As It Began)
  4. Some Day, One Day
  5. The Loser In The End
  6. Ogre Battle
  7. The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke
  8. Nevermore
  9. The March Of The Black Queen
  10. Funny How Love Is
  11. Seven Seas Of Rhye
  • Disc 2 – Bonus EP:
  1. See What A Fool I've Been (BBC version, July 1973; 2011 remix)
  2. White Queen (As It Began) (live version, Hammersmith Odeon, December 1975)
  3. Seven Seas Of Rhye (instrumental mix)
  4. Nevermore (BBC version, April 1974)
  5. See What A Fool I've Been
  • iTunes-exclusive bonus videos:
  1. White Queen (As It Began) (live version, Rainbow Theatre, November 1974)
  2. Seven Seas Of Rhye (live version, Wembley Stadium, July 1986)
  3. Ogre Battle (live version, Hammersmith Odeon, December 1975)


  • Musicians:
Freddie Mercury - vocals, piano, harpsichord on The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke
Brian May - guitars, vocals, piano on Father To Son, lead vocals on Some Day, One Day, bells on The March Of The Black Queen
John Deacon - bass guitar, acoustic guitar on Father To Son
Roger Meddows-Taylor - drums, percussion, vocals, marimba and lead vocals on The Loser In The End
Roy Thomas Baker - virtuoso castanets on The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke
  • Produced by:
Queen and Roy Thomas Baker. Nevermore and Funny How Love Is produced by Queen and Robin Geoffrey Cable. The March Of The Black Queen produced by Queen, Roy Thomas Baker, and Robin Geoffrey Cable.
  • Recorded:
August 1973 at Trident Studios, London.


Country Release date First appearance in charts Peak position Chart run Weeks in chart Additional comments
UK - 23 March 1974 5 35-7-5-10-8-11-13-13-36-28-26 11 4 weeks in Top Ten
UK - 9 November 1974 (1st re-entry) 30 45-0-30-48 3 14 weeks to date
UK - 22 February 1975 (2nd re-entry) 40 40-0-0-46 2 16 weeks to date
UK - 17 January 1976 (3rd re-entry) 23 50-48-58-34-25-23-36-37-30-26-44-51-59 13 29 weeks to date
USA - 11 May 1974 49 134-90-67-52-50-49-62-85-88-105-113-135-175 13 -
Italy - - DNC - - -
Netherlands - - DNC - - -

Information supplied by Fedepeti, 24 August 2004


Seven Seas Of Rhye, 1974

Queen Talks

John Deacon - August 1974, Music Star
"The most important thing to me was the Queen II album going into the charts -- especially satisfying that, since the first one didn't do so well. It's nice to see some recognition for your work though I don't usually worry too much. Roger tends to worry more about what's happening on that side."
Roger Taylor - May 1975, Record Mirror
"I hated the title of the second album, Queen II, it was so unimaginative."


Rolling Stone, 1974
Queen is a reasonably talented band who have chosen their models unwisely. On "Side Black," they venture into a lyrically muddled fairy-tale world with none of Genesis's wit or sophistication. They've also appropriated the most irritating elements of Yes's style — histrionic vocals, abrupt and pointless compositional complexity, and a dearth of melody. "Side White" is quite an improvement, containing many of the same muddled tendencies, but with the saving grace of timely and well-chosen power chords and some rather pretty tunes. But the album remains a floundering and sadly unoriginal affair.
Additional Reviews

LP Releases

Click thumbnails to enlarge

Format Release Date Catalog # Country Notes
LP 1974-03-08 EMA767 UK
LP 1974-xx-xx 8031 Argentina
LP 1974-xx-xx XEMC-8041 Brazil
LP 1974-xx-xx 1A062-95186 Holland
LP 1992-xx-xx Korea
LP 1974-xx-xx P-8456E Japan 1st Pressing
LP 1974-xx-xx P-10119E Japan 2nd Pressing
LP 1977-xx-xx P-6551E Japan 3rd Pressing
LP 1974-xx-xx P-8456E1 Japan Promo
LP 1974-xx-xx SLEM-531 Mexico
LP 1974-xx-xx TD-1821 Taiwan
LP 1974-xx-xx Uruguay
LP 1974-xx-xx EKS-75082 USA
LP 1975-xx-xx SHLP-9525 Venezuela

CD Releases

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Format Release Date Catalog # Country Notes
CD 1986-xx-xx CDP 7 46205 2 UK
CD 1994-xx-xx CDPCSD 140 UK Digital Master
CD 1986-xx-xx CDP7462052 Germany
CD 1988-xx-xx CP32-5377 Japan Remaster
CD 1998-xx-xx TOCP-65102 Japan Remaster
CD 2004-xx-xx TOCP-67342 Japan Remaster
CD 1994-xx-xx TOCP-8272 Japan Promo
CD 1988-xx-xx 077778927525 Taiwain
CD 1991-xx-xx HR-61232-2 USA

Cassette Releases

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Format Release Date Catalog # Country Notes
CAS 1974-xx-xx UK
CAS 19xx-xx-xx 4130994 UK Fame Release
CAS 19xx-xx-xx UK Digital Master
CAS 19xx-xx-xx Argentina
CAS 19xx-xx-xx Australia
CAS 19xx-xx-xx Brazil
CAS 1991-xx-xx Canada
CAS 19xx-xx-xx Holland
CAS 19xx-xx-xx Italy
CAS 19xx-xx-xx Korea
CAS 19xx-xx-xx Spain
CAS 19xx-xx-xx USA
CAS 1991-xx-xx HR-61232-4 USA

Promotional Material

USA magazine ad