Jul 27

Queen – On Air (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:41:04 minutes | 2,09 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Hollywood Records

Queen’s meteoric ascendancy during the 1970s has been well documented. From their gloriously ambitious self-titled debut album of 1973 through to the album that put them in the superstar bracket, 1975’s A Night At The Opera, and beyond, this unique group carved out a singular path as the most visionary, inventive and charismatic band of that epic decade.

But there is another side to Queen’s rise that has been largely overlooked. Between February 1973 and October 1977, the band recorded six radio sessions exclusively for the BBC. The twenty four recordings these landmark sessions produced include alternate versions of the debut single, unique takes of classic album tracks and even a radically reworked reimagining of one of their best known anthems that has never previously appeared on any Queen studio release.

Now, for the very first time, all six Queen BBC sessions – meticulously restored by Queen engineer Kris Fredriksson and mastered by Grammy Award winner Adam Ayan – have been brought together on Queen On Air

Back in 1989 — or 1995, if you’re an American — Queen released a collection called At the Beeb, which featured two BBC sessions recorded in February and December, 1973. The 2016 compilation Queen on Air trumps this by adding a July 1973 session along with two sessions from 1974 and one from 1977, all adding up to the band’s complete appearances on the BBC. Comprehensiveness is a feather in the cap for Queen on Air for collectors, but the additional material reveals that Queen got better as they stuck around. Those early 1973 performances have a couple of classic songs — namely, two different versions of “Keep Yourself Alive,” and maybe “Great King Rat” — but these sound thin and tentative compared to the recordings from 1974 and 1977 on disc two, where the band feels bigger and bolder, recognizing the value in space. Queen can still wander into amorphous territory — “It’s Late” descends into echoing mush — but their muscle seems defined, as does their camp: by ending the set with “My Melancholy Blues,” there’s no question that Queen is arch, delivering each of their tunes with a wink. Such revelations are interesting, but the relatively limpness of Queen on Air does mean it’s an archival release designed only for fans. ~~ AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Tracklist:

CD 1

1 My Fairy King (BBC Session / February 5th 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:04:08
2 Keep Yourself Alive (BBC Session / February 5th 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:03:50
3 Doing All Right (BBC Session / February 5th 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:04:13
4 Liar (BBC Session / February 5th 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:06:30
5 See What A Fool I’ve Been (BBC Session / July 25th 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:04:21
6 Keep Yourself Alive (BBC Session / July 25th 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:03:51
7 Liar (BBC Session / July 25th 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:06:30
8 Son And Daughter (BBC Session / July 25th 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:06:04
9 Ogre Battle (BBC Session / December 3rd 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:04:41
10 Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll (BBC Session / December 3rd 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:02:03
11 Great King Rat (BBC Session / December 3rd 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:05:57
12 Son And Daughter (BBC Session / December 3rd 1973, Langham 1 Studio) 00:07:09

CD 2

1 Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll (BBC Session / April 3rd 1974, Langham 1 Studio) 00:02:47
2 Nevermore (BBC Session / April 3rd 1974, Langham 1 Studio) 00:01:29
3 White Queen (As It Began) (BBC Session / April 3rd 1974, Langham 1 Studio) 00:04:54
4 Now I’m Here (BBC Session / October 16th 1974, Maida Vale 4 Studio) 00:04:19
5 Stone Cold Crazy (BBC Session / October 16th 1974, Maida Vale 4 Studio) 00:02:17
6 Flick Of The Wrist (BBC Session / October 16th 1974, Maida Vale 4 Studio) 00:03:27
7 Tenement Funster (BBC Session / October 16th 1974, Maida Vale 4 Studio) 00:03:00
8 We Will Rock You (BBC Session / October 28th 1977, Maida Vale 4 Studio) 00:01:35
9 We Will Rock You (Fast) (BBC Session / October 28th 1977, Maida Vale 4 Studio) 00:02:47
10 Spread Your Wings (BBC Session / October 28th 1977, Maida Vale 4 Studio) 00:05:24
11 It’s Late (BBC Session / October 28th 1977, Maida Vale 4 Studio) 00:06:37
12 My Melancholy Blues (BBC Session / October 28th 1977, Maida Vale 4 Studio) 00:03:11

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Jul 27

Queen – Greatest Hits II (1991) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2013 # UIGY-9533]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 79:52 minutes | Scans included | 2,63 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,67 GB
based on Digital Remaster 2011

The second volume of Queen’s Greatest Hits appeared a decade after the first; a decade after the group started its slow shift from international superstars toward ruling the world that existed outside of the United States. Apart from “Under Pressure” and “Radio Ga Ga,” all of the 17 singles here did not crack the American Top 40, but they’re well-known throughout the world, particularly the operatic anthems “A Kind of Magic,” “I Want It All,” “I Want to Break Free,” and “Who Wants to Live Forever.” Generally, the songs here favor melodrama to untrammeled rock & roll, which means while there’s nothing here that hits as hard as “Tie Your Mother Down”; there’s also nothing as light on its feet as “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” either. This is not necessarily a bad thing: nobody scaled the dramatic heights like Queen, and this captures their pomp & circumstance at its most polished.

Tracklist:
01. A Kind Of Magic
02. Under Pressure
03. Radio Ga Ga
04. I Want It All (Single Version)
05. I Want To Break Free (Single Version)
06. Innuendo
07. It’s A Hard Life
08. Breakthru
09. Who Wants To Live Forever
10. Headlong
11. The Miracle
12. I’m Going Slightly Mad
13. The Invisible Man
14. Hammer To Fall (Single Version)
15. Friends Will Be Friends
16. The Show Must Go On
17. One Vision (Single Version)
18. I Was Born To Love You

This 2011 version has been meticulously re-created using the finest modern analogue and digital technology from the original first-generation master mixes.
All the Digital processing was carried out at PCM 24bit/96kHz and then converted to DSD for SACD.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME. SA-CD Authoring: Gus Skinas.

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Jul 27

Queen – A Kind Of Magic (1986) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2012 # UIGY-9526]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 40:25 minutes | Scans included | 1,65 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 807 MB
based on Digital Remaster 2011 | Genre: Rock

By the release of 1986’s A Kind of Magic, Queen’s stature as a prominent rock band in the U.S. had slipped considerably, while in all other parts of the world (especially Europe), they remained superstar hitmakers. A Kind of Magic was their biggest album yet in England, where it reached number one, remained on the charts for 63 weeks, and spawned several hit singles – the epic title track, the tuneful pop/rocker “Friends Will Be Friends,” and one of their most haunting ballads, “Who Wants to Live Forever” (also included was the Live Aid-inspired hit anthem “One Vision,” which was originally released as a single in 1985). Most of the songs were written for the movie Highlander – “Gimme the Prize (Kurgan’s Theme),” “Princes of the Universe,” the aforementioned “Who Wants to Live Forever,” etc. – but instead of issuing just a movie soundtrack, the band added a few non-movie tracks and made an official Queen release out of it. It may not have been as cohesive as some of their other albums, but A Kind of Magic was their best work in some time. Queen would embark on a sold-out tour of outdoor stadiums in Europe upon the album’s release, which would sadly turn out to be their final tour.

Tracklist:
01. One Vision
02. A Kind Of Magic
03. One Year Of Love
04. Pain Is So Close To Pleasure
05. Friends Will Be Friends
06. Who Wants To Live Forever
07. Gimme The Prize
08. Don’t Lose Your Head
09. Princes Of The Universe

This 2011 version has been meticulously re-created using the finest modern analogue and digital technology from the original first-generation master mixes.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME. SA-CD Authoring: Gus Skinas.

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Jul 27

Queen – Hot Space (1982) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2012 # UIGY-9524]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 43:20 minutes | Scans included | 1,76 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 864 MB
based on Digital Remaster 2011 | Genre: Rock

Anybody who was a little dismayed by the pop inclinations of The Game would have been totally distressed by Queen’s 1982 follow-up, Hot Space, an unabashed pop and dance album. The band that once proudly proclaimed not to use synthesizers on their albums has suddenly, dramatically reversed course, devoting the entire first side of the album to robotic, new wave dance-pop, all driven by drum machines and colored by keyboards, with Brian May’s guitar coming in as flavor only on occasion. The second side is better, as it finds the group rocking, but there are still electronic drums. But the Beatlesque “Life Is Real (Song for Lennon)” is a sweet, if a bit too literal, tribute and with “Calling All Girls” Queen finally gets synth-driven new wave rock right, resulting in a sharp piece of pop. But the album’s undeniable saving grace is the concluding “Under Pressure,” an utterly majestic, otherworldly duet with David Bowie that recaptures the effortless grace of Queen’s mid-’70s peak, but is underscored with a truly affecting melancholy heart that gives it a genuine human warmth unheard in much of their music. Frankly, “Under Pressure” is the only reason most listeners remember this album, which is as much a testament to the song’s strength as it is to the rather desultory nature of the rest of Hot Space.

Tracklist:
01. Staying Power
02. Dancer
03. Back Chat
04. Body Language
05. Action This Day
06. Put Out The Fire
07. Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)
08. Calling All Girls
09. Las Palabras De Amor (The Words Of Love)
10. Cool Cat
11. Under Pressure

This 2011 version has been meticulously re-created using the finest modern analogue and digital technology from the original first-generation master mixes.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME. SA-CD Authoring: Gus Skinas.

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Jul 27

Queen – The Works (1984) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2012 # UIGY-9525]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 37:15 minutes | Scans included | 1,52 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 753 MB
based on Digital Remaster 2011 | Genre: Rock

Following the disappointing commercial performance of the dance-oriented Hot Space in 1982, Queen took 1983 off to get refocused and work on a follow-up that would put the band back on track. While the songwriting had definitely improved on the resulting The Works in 1984, the album sonically lacked the punch of such earlier releases as News of the World and The Game (strangely, Hot Space even had a better overall sound). Although the album only peaked at number 23 on the U.S. album charts, it was a Top Ten hit in just about every other area of the world, producing the huge single “Radio Ga Ga.” Three other tracks were hits in Queen’s native England – the uplifting “I Want to Break Free,” the love song “It’s a Hard Life,” and the politically conscious rocker “Hammer to Fall,” which dealt with the danger of nuclear weapons. Other highlights included the ’50s-sounding “Man on the Prowl,” the electronic experiment “Machines,” the thunderous “Tear It Up,” and a touching acoustic ballad, “Is This the World We Created…?” Perhaps with a more straight-ahead production (and a U.S. tour), The Works would have landed Queen back on the top of the charts stateside.

Tracklist:
01. Radio Ga Ga
02. Tear It Up
03. It’s A Hard Life
04. Man On The Prowl
05. Machines (Or ‘Back To Humans’)
06. I Want To Break Free
07. Keep Passing The Open Windows
08. Hammer To Fall
09. Is This The World We Created …?

This 2011 version has been meticulously re-created using the finest modern analogue and digital technology from the original first-generation master mixes.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME. SA-CD Authoring: Gus Skinas.

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Jul 27

Queen – Greatest Hits (1981/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 58:09 minutes | 1,17 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: ProStudioMasters | Front Cover | © Hollywood Records

This record-breaking 1981 greatest hits package from Queen has sold over 25 million copies worldwide, ranking it among the most successful albums in music history. It has also become the biggest selling album of all time in the UK with sales exceeding six million copies, now owned by an estimated one in three families. While the song selection varied from country to country upon initial release, this version corresponds to the original 17 track British edition.

They may not have started out that way, but by 1981 Queen definitely was perceived as a singles act. This record gathers their biggest US/UK hits, 1973-1981, including the collaboration with David Bowie, “Under Pressure,” which was not on the reissue from EMI. Not to be confused with the 1992 Hollywood Records (61625) release also called Greatest Hits. ~~AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

Tracklist:

1 Bohemian Rhapsody (from A Night at the Opera, 1975) 5:57
2 Another One Bites the Dust (from The Game, 1980) 3:36
3 Killer Queen (from Sheer Heart Attack, 1974) 2:57
4 Fat Bottomed Girls (single version, from Jazz, 1978) 3:22
5 Bicycle Race (from Jazz, 1978) 3:01
6 You’re My Best Friend (from A Night at the Opera, 1975) 2:52
7 Don’t Stop Me Now (from Jazz, 1978) 3:29
8 Save Me (single version on 1981 release only, from The Game, 1980) 3:48
9 Crazy Little Thing Called Love (from The Game, 1980) 2:42
10 Somebody to Love (from A Day at the Races, 1976) 4:56
11 Now I’m Here (from Sheer Heart Attack, 1974) 4:10
12 Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy (from A Day at the Races, 1976) 2:54
13 Play the Game (from The Game, 1980) 3:33
14 Flash (single version, from Flash Gordon, 1980) 2:48
15 Seven Seas of Rhye (from Queen II, 1974) 2:47
16 We Will Rock You (from News of the World, 1977) 2:01
17 We Are the Champions (from News of the World, 1977) 3:00

Personnel:
Brian May – lead and rhythm guitars, backing and lead vocals
Freddie Mercury – lead and backing vocals, piano
Roger Taylor – drums, percussion, backing and lead vocals
John Deacon – bass guitar

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Jul 27

Queen – Greatest Hits (1981) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2013 # UIGY-9532]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 63:18 minutes | Scans included | 2,14 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,31 GB
based on Digital Remaster 2011

They may not have started out that way, but by 1981 Queen definitely was perceived as a singles act. This record gathers their biggest US/UK hits, 1973-1981, including the collaboration with David Bowie, “Under Pressure,” which was not on the reissue from EMI. Not to be confused with the 1992 Hollywood Records (61625) release also called Greatest Hits.

Tracklist:
01. Bohemian Rhapsody
02. Another One Bites The Dust
03. Killer Queen
04. Fat Bottomed Girls [Single Version]05. Bicycle Race
06. You’re My Best Friend
07. Don’t Stop Me Now
08. Save Me
09. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
10. Somebody To Love
11. Now I’m Here
12. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
13. Play The Game
14. Flash [Single Version]15. Seven Seas Of Rhye
16. We Will Rock You
17. We Are The Champions
18. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) [HD Mix]

This 2011 version has been meticulously re-created using the finest modern analogue and digital technology from the original first-generation master mixes.
All the Digital processing was carried out at PCM 24bit/96kHz and then converted to DSD for SACD.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME. SA-CD Authoring: Gus Skinas.

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Jul 27

Queen – The Game (1980) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2012 # UIGY-9517]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 35:42 minutes | Scans included | 1,44 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 733 MB
based on Digital Remaster 2011 | Gerne: Rock

Queen had long been one of the biggest bands in the world by 1980’s The Game, but this album was the first time they made a glossy, unabashed pop album, one that was designed to sound exactly like its time. They might be posed in leather jackets on the cover, but they hardly sound tough or menacing – they rarely rock, at least not in the gonzo fashion that’s long been their trademark. Gone are the bombastic orchestras of guitars and with them the charging, relentless rhythms that kept Queen grounded even at their grandest moments. Now, when they rock, they’ll haul out a clever rockabilly pastiche, as they do on the tremendous “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” a sly revival of old-time rock & roll that never sounds moldy, thanks in large part to Freddie Mercury’s panache. But even that is an exception to the rule on The Game. Usually, when they want to rock here, they wind up sounding like Boston, as they do on John Deacon’s “Need Your Loving Tonight,” or they sound a bit like a new wave-conscious rocker like Billy Squier, as they do on the propulsive “Coming Soon.” But even those are exceptions to the overall rule on The Game, since most of the album is devoted to disco-rock blends – best heard on the globe-conquering “Another One Bites the Dust,” but also present in the unintentionally kitschy positivity anthem “Don’t Try Suicide” – and the majestic power ballads that became their calling card in the ’80s, as they reworked the surging “Save Me” and the elegant “Play the Game” numerous times, often with lesser results. So, The Game winds up as a mixed bag, as many Queen albums often do, but again the striking difference with this album is that it finds Queen turning decidedly, decisively pop, and it’s a grand, state-of-the-art circa 1980 pop album that still stands as one of the band’s most enjoyable records. But the very fact that it does showcase a band that’s turned away from rock and toward pop means that for some Queen fans, it marks the end of the road, and despite the album’s charms, it’s easy to see why.

Tracklist:
01. Play The Game
02. Dragon Attack
03. Another One Bites The Dust
04. Need Your Loving Tonight
05. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
06. Rock It (Prime Jive)
07. Don’t Try Suicide
08. Sail Away Sweet Sister
09. Coming Soon
10. Save Me

This 2011 version has been meticulously re-created using the finest modern analogue and digital technology from the original first-generation master mixes.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME. SA-CD Authoring: Gus Skinas.

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Jul 26

Queen – Queen (1973) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2011 # UIGY-9510]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 38:43 minutes | Scans included | 1,59 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 806 MB
based on Digital Remaster 2011 | Genre: Rock

Like any patchy but promising debut from a classic rock group, it’s often easy to underrate Queen’s eponymous 1973 debut, since it has no more than one well-known anthem and plays more like a collection of ideas than a cohesive album. But what ideas! Almost every one of Queen’s signatures are already present, from Freddie Mercury’s operatic harmonies to Brian May’s rich, orchestral guitar overdubs and the suite-like structures of “Great King Rat.” That rich, florid feel could be characterized as glam, but even in these early days that appellation didn’t quite fit Queen, since they were at once too heavy and arty to be glam and – ironically enough, considering their legendary excess – they were hardly trashy enough to be glam. But that only speaks to the originality of Queen: they may have traded in mystical sword ‘n’ sorcerers themes like so many ’70s prog bands, and they may have hit as hard as Led Zeppelin (and Jimmy Page’s guitar army certainly was a forefather to May’s overdubs), but they didn’t sound like anybody else, they were too odd in their theatricality to be mistaken for another band. That much was apparent on this debut, but one thing was crucially missing: songs that could coalesce their sound and present it in a memorable fashion. There is an exception to that rule – the wild, rampaging opener “Keep Yourself Alive,” one of their very best songs – but too often the album plays like a succession of ideas instead of succinct songs, and the group’s predilection for suites only highlights this, despite the occasional blast of fury like “Modern Times Rock & Roll.” This can be quite appealing as sheer, visceral sound and, in that regard, Queen is kind of irresistible. It showcases the band in all their ornate splendor yet it’s strangely lean and hard, revealing just how good the band was in their early days as a hard rock band. That might not quite make it an overlooked gem – it remains patchy on a song for song basis – but it sure makes for an interesting debut that provides a rough road map to their later work.

Tracklist:
01. Keep Yourself Alive
02. Doing All Right
03. Great King Rat
04. My Fairy King
05. Liar
06. The Night Comes Down
07. Modern Times Rock ‘N’ Roll
08. Son And Daughter
09. Jesus
10. Seven Seas Of Rhye…

This 2011 version has been meticulously re-created using the finest modern analogue and digital technology from the original first-generation master mixes.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME. SA-CD Authoring: Gus Skinas.

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Jul 26

Queen – News Of The World (1977) [Japanese Limited SHM-SACD 2011 # UIGY-9515]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 39:15 minutes | Scans included | 1,6 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 821 MB
based on Digital Remaster 2011 | Genre: Rock

If Day at the Races was a sleek, streamlined album, its 1977 successor, News of the World, was its polar opposite, an explosion of styles that didn’t seem to hold to any particular center. It’s front-loaded with two of Queen’s biggest anthems – the stomping, stadium-filling chant “We Will Rock You” and its triumphant companion, “We Are the Champions” – which are quickly followed by the ferocious “Sheer Heart Attack,” a frenzied rocker that hits harder than anything on the album that shares its name (a remarkable achievement in itself). Three songs, three quick shifts in mood, but that’s hardly the end of it. As the News rolls on, you’re treated to the arch, campy crooning of “My Melancholy Blues,” a shticky blues shuffle in “Sleeping on the Sidewalk,” and breezy Latin rhythms on “Who Needs You.” Then there’s the neo-disco of “Fight from the Inside,” which is eclipsed by the mechanical funk of “Get Down, Make Love,” a dirty grind that’s stripped of sensuality. That cold streak on “Get Down, Make Love” runs through the album as a whole. Despite the explosion of sounds and rhythms, this album doesn’t add up to party thanks to that slightly distancing chilly vibe that hangs over the album. Nevertheless, many of these songs work well on their own as entities, so there is plenty to savor here, especially from Brian May. Whether he’s doing the strangely subdued eccentric English pop “All Dead, All Dead” or especially the majestic yet nimble rocker “It’s Late,” he turns in work that gives this album some lightness, which it needs. And that’s the reason News of the World was a monster hit despite its coldness – when it works, it’s massive, earth-shaking rock & roll, the sound of a band beginning to revel in its superstardom.

Tracklist:
01. We Will Rock You
02. We Are The Champions
03. Sheer Heart Attack
04. All Dead, All Dead
05. Spread Your Wings
06. Fight From The Inside
07. Get Down, Make Love
08. Sleeping On The Sidewalk
09. Who Needs You
10. It’s Late
11. My Melancholy Blues

This 2011 version has been meticulously re-created using the finest modern analogue and digital technology from the original first-generation master mixes.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME. SA-CD Authoring: Gus Skinas.

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