This was much more of an accomplishment than might be apparent, given that Brian May was absent from many sessions due to contracting Hepatitis while on tour in America in May and only being available to record his guitar and vocal parts relatively late in the proceedings. It was far from ideal, but none of this is evident on the final work, and more than three decades on the album remains a firm favorite among Queen devotees. It has consistently been voted in the top 5 favorite albums in fan poles.
Sheer Heart Attack is a more ‘pop’ orientated work than its two predecessors, and indeed "Killer Queen" was the song that provided the band with the international hit, and acclaim, that "Seven Seas Of Rhye" never quite achieved. The Mercury track – for which he would later be awarded his first Ivor Novello award - is the best known song on the album of course, but the opening track "Brighton Rock," from Brian, is archetypical early Queen and would soon become a favorite and firm fixture of the live show of the day. "Now I’m Here," written by Brian in the hospital after again being taken ill in the middle of recording, the song was inspired by the English rock band, and Queen friends, Mott The Hoople, with a rather dejected Brian reflecting on life on the road with Mott the previous year, and upon his uncertain future.
Other lesser known but equally accomplished tracks are Freddie’s piano ballad "Lily Of The Valley," "In The Lap Of The Gods," "In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited" and the jovial "Bring Back That Leroy Brown." John Deacon’s first ever composition for Queen, the charming "Misfire," on which he plays almost all guitars, appears on this album too, as does Roger Taylor’s intriguing "Tenement Funster" with Roger providing the lead vocal. Brian’s often overlooked "She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilletoes)," complete with authentic New York nightmare sounds and the sublime "Dear Friends" with Brian on piano and a heart rending vocal delivered by Freddie, also highlight the album.
The Sheer Heart Attack album was released on November 8th 1974 and reached No 2 in the UK, achieving gold status. It would be the first Queen album to reach the Top 20 in the US, achieving a very impressive number 12 position (also earning gold status), and attaining high positions in other international charts too.