News > Chapter opens on studio legends

Added on 15-Sep-2007

The story of how a Welsh farm became a not-so-quiet corner of rock'n'roll has been told in a history of a Monmouthshire recording studios. Rockfield was started by brothers Charles and Kingsley Ward in 1965.

Over four decades it has produced hits from artists such as Queen, Motorhead, Oasis, Stereophonics and the former Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant.

"I'm amazed no-one had written about it before," said the book's author, journalist Jeff Collins.

Among stories told in Rock Legends At Rockfield is the recording of Queen's masterpiece A Night at the Opera, part of which was recorded at Rockfield in 1975 and is reputed to be one of the most expensive albums of all time.

Roadie Peter Hince, known as Ratty, claims in the book that record label executives were sweating as the costs of classic tracks, including operatic Bohemian Rhapsody, mounted.

He said: "If it hadn't sold as many millions as it eventually did...EMI might have had second thoughts."

The album topped the charts in Britain and reached number four in America.

Freddie Mercury wrote his piano part for Bohemian Rhapsody in a former feed store at the farm while the rest of the band played Frisbee in a nearby field.

Mercury's six-minute epic may have gone into rock legend, but the record executives who were paying the bills needed to see a return on the investment, according to Hince.

He said: "Overall it was a pretty hectic time. There was a lot of pressure, so you got a feeling it was a real "make or break" time for the band.

"At the time, A Night At The Opera was one of the most expensive albums ever made. The cost in terms of studio time was phenomenal.

"If it hadn't sold as many millions as it eventually did...EMI might have had second thoughts after spending all that money and might have dropped Queen."

Submitted by: mickyparise

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