(Yeah, still on a ‘classic’ rock (hate that term) kick, but I need it…man!

Title: Keep Yourself Alive

Artist: Queen

Album: Queen

Year Released: 1973

What It Is: It’s the first single and leadoff track from the first album by Queen. It’s basically the template for most everything they’ve done, including the Brian May guitar army (with its 421 overdubs or so). What’s missing is the Freddy Mercury chorus (featuring May and Roger Taylor). However, that’s not missing from the album (“Liar” is definitely in that mode). This didn’t chart, and the album stiffed in the UK (but broke the top 100 in the US thanks to some FM radio play). They hit it big in the UK with “Seven Seas of Rhye” in 1974, and then and only then did this album chart.

Riffage / Hookage: Well, think about it. What early to mid Queen single didn’t feature a guitar riff of power and majesty at some point. This one is a bit different since it’s phased (or flanged or some other doo-hickeyed) at the beginning. The chorus hook is pretty OK too!

Cowbell?: Nah, but Taylor’s got a drum solo, not bad for a drummer on a debut single!

Words Of Wisdom: “Do you think you’re better ev’ry day?
No I just think I’m two steps nearer to my grave”

This is what Taylor and May sing in their little bridge there, in case you couldn’t understand May’s part. May’s actually a decent singer (see “39” for instance).

Mixology Report: For sure, because most casual users of Queen will not know the song, but KNOW the song, if you get it. It’ll make ’em warm and fuzzy yet it will be new.

Top Five Genius Results: Uriah Heep – Easy Livin’
Alice Cooper – Under My Wheels
Cheap Trick – California Man (studio)
Montrose – Rock Candy
Pat Travers Band – Boom Boom! (Out Go The Lights) (now THAT’S stuck in my head)

For The Good Of The Order: Going back to the fact that it’s their debut, it is odd for a group to emerge (without any known players) fully formed and basically sounding like themselves on their first record. They never really deviated from this album’s formula until “Hot Space” (which was pretty ghastly). I guess Queen II was a bit of a departure, but it sounds similar.

Here’s a young but still recognizable Queen in a promo vid:

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