Queen have their first concerts in Australia planned for early that year and therefore undergo the usual set of preparations, including injections. Brian's goes wrong though with his arm swelling up and developing a high fever, caused by a dirty needle.
The Australian experience though was a complete disaster. The band had taken their own lights and road crew with them - so things would be just right, which didn't please the local roadies very much. A lot of their equipment was sabotaged. Also, many people couldn't understand how a group of British unknowns could headline over established Australian acts. The MC particularly was of this nature, introducing them as a bunch of "Stuck-up Pommy bastards".
The crowd didn't warm to them either. However as Queen got into their set they began to win them over. When Queen left they were being asked back for an encore - however the MC had other plans. He asked the crowd if they wanted more of the "stuck-up pommies" or a good old "Aussie band". His powers of persuasion one over and they called for an Australian band.
The next day the papers didn't treat Queen very kindly. Brian's arm was still hurting quite a lot and Freddie had developed an ear infection. It was decided that they pack up and return home. When they got of the plane they were greeted by the paparazzi all waiting for Her Majesty The Queen, not the band Queen.
Even though they had had a less than brilliant start to the, 1974 was going to be the year Queen really began to take off.
The head of the promotional department at EMI, Ronnie Fowler, had taken a special liking for Queen. He had spent 20 000 pounds in expenses to promote Queen to everyone he could think of. All this attention meant that his friends were becoming a bit thin on the ground... However it paid of when Robin Nash the producer of Top Of The Pops (a very influential music show) approached him to ask him if he new anyone who could appear on the show.
On 21 February 1974 Queen appeared for the first time on Top Of The Pops and performed "Seven Seas of Rhye". The day after the appearance Jack Nelson was in full promotion mode rushing out the single to all the radio stations. EMI rushed released the single on 23 February. It was backed with a non-album b-side called "See What A Fool I've Bee". The single made it to a solid number 10 in the UK chart.
The album, "Queen II" was ready for release also - but the band spotted a spelling error on the sleave that they insisted was fixed. Britain was also hard hit by the oil crisis, which meant that there was in place a three day week - which held up the album release further. Unlike other albums having a side one and a side two, this album had a black and a white side.
It's very difficult to choose one album I prefer out of all of them. But I do like a lot of the work on the second album, second side. It all runs into one, very epic. Musically it's quite daring because we did lots of counter seven part harmonies and things.
With the success of the single and the growing popularity of the album, Queen embarked on their first headlining tour of the UK. Freddie was very much in his Sandra Rhodes period and really did love dressing up.
When I look back on all that black nail varnish and stuff, I think, 'God, what did I do?'. I used to feel a need for all that on stage. It made me feel more secure.
The tour goes terrifically well, with the band facing hysteria at every venue. At Stirling University the Scottish audience refuses to let them go after three encores. In the ensuing riots, two people are stabbed and two of Queen's road crew are carted off to hospital.
During the tour, Queen are notified that "Queen II" had reached number 5 in the UK chart.
Late in the year they embark on their first North American tour as support to Mott The Hoople. This tour though