Opera would propel Queen on to the world stage on a mammoth scale and establish them as a major international force. Though it was never in any doubt within the band, it proved that "Seven Seas Of Rhye" and "Killer Queen" were not fleeting hits from another glam-type British wannabe band; Queen were here to stay and "Bohemian Rhapsody" and The Opera would confirm it conclusively for those in any doubt. Referred to by May as “Queen’s Sgt Peppers,” A Night At The Opera is a wonderfully rich and diverse gathering of carefully constructed and, some might say, unlikely compositions from all four band members. Every track is strong and, let’s not overlook the obvious, every moment from beginning to end is beautifully recorded. Opera spans all kinds of musical styles and genres and veers off at tangents as unlikely the album title itself.
Aside from the well known material, also on this album is to be found Mercury’s exquisite "Love Of My Life," which, it is rumored, was inspired by his long time girlfriend of the time Mary Austin. The vocal Freddie delivers on Brian’s epic "The Prophet’s Song," is just awesome and also on his own songs "Seaside Rendezvous" and the delicate "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon." Brian’s other contributions, "Sweet Lady," "39" and "Good Company" could not be more different, and show their author as a more than competent singer. Brian sings the lead for "Good Company" and "39," but leaves "Sweet Lady" and "The Prophet’s Song," very wisely, to the powerhouse that is Freddie Mercury...clearly at the very pinnacle of his vocal prowess. Roger Taylor sings his own "I’m In Love With My Car," and does so impeccably, making it a highlight of this album, while John too leaves Freddie to take on "Best Friend." The album kicks off in dramatic fashion with Freddie’s acerbic "Death On Two Legs," and ends, rather more sedately with a new mix of "God Save The Queen."
A Night At The Opera very quickly became Queen’s first No. 1 album, and also their first to achieve platinum sales status. The album went top 5 in the US, and achieved gold status there, helped in no small part by extensive and equally exhausting tours around the world. On December 31 1975, three weeks prior to the release of A Night At The Opera, Mercury’s most celebrated composition of all, the gigantic, mesmerizing, spellbinding, ground breaking, epic masterpiece magnum opus – "Bohemian Rhapsody" was released, and took the world, and fellow artists, it must be said, completely by storm.
The single became a colossal global hit. Spending nine consecutive weeks at No 1 in the UK, and No 1 in many other territories too, it soon established itself as a one of the most revered and beloved six minutes in the history of rock music. It won Freddie his second Ivor Novello award in January 1976, and thereafter went on to win every conceivable award the world of music has to offer a song. An internationally acclaimed work of genius, "Rhapsody" has repeatedly been voted the No. 1 song of all time in British polls, it was also named as The Song of The Millennium, and the Guinness Book of Records’ Number One Song Of All Time.