Queen has been in the news a lot lately, with the release and success of the film Bohemian Rhapsody. The movie title is a cut from the group’s fourth studio album, A Night at the Opera, released in 1975 and remastered in 2011. It was the album that established Queen as superstars, with its multiple styles that incorporated ballads, the music hall, Dixieland, hard rock and progressive rock. The album received two Grammy nominations and in 2003, Rolling Stone put it at 231 on the list of the Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2008, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
When the album was remastered and re-released in 2011, a reviewer for PopMatters said that the album “was the realization of such a unique sonic vision that pushed the album into the realm of true excellence. ‘A Night at the Opera’ stands as a breathtaking, involving creation and unequivocally, Queen’s finest album.”
Since 2003, Classic Albums Live has taken the greatest albums of all time and recreated them, live, on stage, note for note, cut for cut, using only the best musicians available. Craig Martin, founder of Classic Albums Live, spelled out his goals for each performance. “The audience should think of them as recitals,” he said. “These albums are historic and stand the test of time. We don’t dress up or wear any sort of costume. We just stand there and play. All of our energy is put into the music. We want this performance to sound exactly like the album.”
Classic Albums Live puts on more than 100 shows a year across North America. Martin has his own theory about the reason for the program’s success. “We created something that endures and connects,” he said. “These albums are sacred to people. We deliver exactly what we promote: note for note and cut for cut accuracy. It’s this type of accountability that works for the series.”
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