Biography > Queen Biography for 1973

Last updated: March 04, 2009
In February Trident arranged for Queen to do a special recording session for the BBC program "Sounds of the Seventies". It was a good opportunity for the band. As the end product would be broadcast on Radio One the national radio station. Potentially millions of people would have the chance to hear Queen.

Jack Nelson attended the annual MIDEM Festival - the event for the music industry, held in the South of France. Roy Fetherstone, an EMI record company executive is there. He had spent all day listening to demo's, with nothing really catching his ear. Then jack passes him a tape of Queen. Which immediately gets his attention. Using a bit of bluff, Jack told Roy that a few other companies are interested in Queen. Roy sends a telegram to Queen via Trident to hold of signing anything with anyone else.

When Roy got back, the wheels were in motion to sign Queen. An initial contract was sent to Trident - which they rejected because they wanted more money. Negotiations continued like this for a while. A major sticking point was the fact that Trident wanted to sign all three acts to EMI - whereas EMI only want Queen.

Finally in March, Queen went to the EMI offices to sign a contract. They now had a recording deal.

Jack Nelson arranges for Queen to play a showcase gig at the Marquee for visiting Elektra managing director Jack Holsten. From this Queen get signed to Elektra in North America.

The songs that Brian, Freddie and Roger had recorded with Robin Cable were now released. They were released by EMI. The name Queen couldn't be use due to the imminent release of their own album and instead the name "Larry Lurex" was used - a play on the then popular "Gary Glitter". The single though was a complete flop in the UK.

Queen were involved in every aspect of the album. The back cover features a collage of photos. The band invited their friends around to Freddie's flat to pick out the best photo's from the one they had. After picking out the best ones, Freddie and Brian spent weeks gluing them all together.

A photographer friend of theirs, Doug Puddifoot who had taken many on their early shots helped them with the collage as well as the album cover. The cover consisted of a picture of Freddie on stage, backed with two spotlights. The purple effect was given by covering the camera lens with some plastic.

After a seemingly unnecessary wait, the first single, "Keep Yourself Alive", and the first album, "Queen" are released. The single is rejected by Radio one play-list five times. It doesn't get any airplay anywhere else - except Radio Luxembourg.

A white label copy of the album (one which doesn't have a cover) was sent to the BBC program "The Old Grey Whistle Test". Mike Appleton, the producer loved the album, particularly the song "Keep Yourself Alive" and asked his friend to make up a film with some footage that would go well with the song. It was broadcast on 24th July 1973.

The album was released on 13th July. It was simply titled "Queen". Roger had wanted to call it "Top Fax, Pix and Info" but this wasn't accepted. Another title name that was discussed was "Deary Me". The album notes also contained the immortal phrase "No-one played Synthesisers" - no doubt in anticipation of what people were likely to think. All of Queen special sounds though were coming from Brian's guitar something that took some people a while to understand.

So called 'music critics' dismiss the album and Queen, "Britain’s answer to the New York Dolls". This 'hostile' relationship with the press was to remain throughout Queen's career - it has little effect though, Queen are to become one of the biggest bands on the planet, no matter what the inadequate people at NME or the like have to say.

August sees the band spend some time on their next album. This time they are booked in as the main act and don't have to fit in between everyone else's schedule. They used this time to experiment with new sounds and techn