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Queen 40, Volume 1 Box set, Original recording remastered

4.3 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, May 17, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Exclusive to Amazon Customers: Queen's first five studio albums remastered in deluxe reissue editions with rare bonus material all in one collectible box with a 24 panel Poster for the ultimate Queen fan.

Albums included in the box:
Queen II
Sheer Heart Attack
A Night At the Opera
A Day At the Races

Queen's 40th anniversary is now upon us, and the band plans to pull out all the stops to celebrate this historic occasion. This yearlong event will be marked by a series of releases, re-releases, special limited-edition items and events around the world. As the centerpiece in the 40th anniversary celebration, Queen's studio catalog is being reissued in a series of deluxe editions. Every note is being tweaked, every piece of artwork is being cleaned, freshened up and resourced, wherever necessary, with the legendary Bob Ludwig doing the remastering, working from the original source material.

Each studio album will be released in a new two-CD edition, the first containing the updated, remastered original LP, the second disc packed with rarities--and we don't use the term lightly. Some of these gems have never before seen the light of day, even in crappy bootleg form. To cite a particularly fascinating example, five first-album demos recorded at London's De Lane Lea Studios in December 1971 were pulled from the only existing copy on the planet--an acetate from May's personal archives. Not even his bandmates had a copy. And now they can be yours in this fan centric box set only available at Amazon.

From the Artist

"A huge amount of work has already been put in behind the scenes to unleash a completely newly mastered set of the original Queen LPs and CDs," Brian May noted. "I know our fans will appreciate the attention to detail, bringing the early albums closer than ever to the magic of the vinyl originals, but with the benefit of up-to-the-minute quality technology."

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Keep Yourself Alive
  2. Doing Allright
  3. Great King Rat
  4. My Fairy King
  5. Liar
  6. The Night Comes Down
  7. Modern Times Rock `n' Roll
  8. Son And Daughter
  9. Jesus
  10. Seven Seas of Rhye

Disc: 2

  1. Keep Yourself Alive (The De Lane Lea Demos)
  2. The Night Comes Down (The De Lane Lea Demos)
  3. Great King Rat (The De Lane Lea Demos)
  4. Jesus (The De Lane Lea Demos)
  5. Liar (The De Lane Lea Demos)
  6. Mad the Swine (1972)(The De Lane Lea Demos)

Disc: 3

  1. Procession
  2. Father To Son
  3. White Queen (As It Began)
  4. Some Day One Day
  5. The Loser In The End
  6. Ogre Battle
  7. The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke
  8. Nevermore
  9. The March of The Black Queen
  10. Funny How Love Is
  11. Seven Seas of Rhye

Disc: 4

  1. See What A Fool I've Been (1973 BBC Session)
  2. White Queen (As It Began) (Live At Hammersmith Odeon 1975)
  3. Seven Seas of Rhye (Instrumental Mix)
  4. Nevermore (BBC Session 1974)
  5. See What A Fool I've Been (Alt B-Side Version)

Disc: 5

  1. Brighton Rock
  2. Killer Queen
  3. Tenement Funster
  4. Lily of the Valley
  5. Now I'm Here
  6. In The Lap Of The Gods
  7. Stone Cold Crazy
  8. Dear Friends
  9. Misfire
  10. Bring Back That Leroy Brown
  11. She Makes Me (Stormtroopers in stilettos)
  12. In The Lap Of The Gods ....revisited

Disc: 6

  1. Now I'm Here (Live at Hammersmith Odeon)
  2. Flick of the Wrist (BBC Session, 1974)
  3. Tenement Funster (BBC Session 1974)
  4. Bring Back That Leroy Brown (2011 A Capella Mix)
  5. In The Lap Of The Gods (Live at Wembley Stadium, 1986)

Disc: 7

  1. Death On Two Legs/Dedicated to...
  2. Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon
  3. I'm In Love With My Car
  4. You're My Best Friend
  5. `39
  6. Sweet Lady
  7. Seaside Rendezvous
  8. The Prophet's Song
  9. Love Of My Life
  10. Good Company
  11. Bohemian Rhapsody
  12. God Save The Queen

Disc: 8

  1. Keep Yourself Alive (Long Lost 1975 Retake)
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody (Operatic A Capella Mix 2011)
  3. You're My Best Friend (2011 Backing Track Mix)
  4. I'm in Love With My Car (Guitar and Vocal Mix)
  5. '39 (Live At Earl's Court 1977)
  6. Love Of My Life (Acoustic Live, South American single version)

Disc: 9

  1. Tie Your Mother Down
  2. You Take My Breath Away
  3. Long Away
  4. The Millionaire Waltz
  5. You And I
  6. Somebody To Love
  7. White Man
  8. Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy
  9. Drowse
  10. Teo Torriarte (Let Us Cling Together)

Disc: 10

  1. Tie Your Mother Down (Backing Track Mix 2011)
  2. Somebody To Love (Live at Milton Keynes 1982)
  3. You Take My Breath Away (Live, Hyde Park 1976)
  4. Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy (Top Of The Pops, July 1977)
  5. Teo Torriarte (Let Us Cling Together) (HD Mix)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 17, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 10
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Hollywood Records
  • ASIN: B004SBB0LU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,742 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Queen Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I recieved my Box Set Yesterday and spent most of the night listening to everything. Today, I listened to all 3 versions of Queen II that I have. The '91 Hollywood Records release, the Crown Jewels release, and the 2011 Remastered release. There is a slight increase in volume, but not overly done. I felt that the '91 version was slightly flat compared to the 2011 release. I can only compare the versions that have been officially released here by Hollywood Records. With that being said, I found that the changes made by Bob Ludwig to be very subtle and unobtrusive.

After reading one review, I was a little concerned about the audio compression. So, I compared several songs throughout this box set with their '91 counterparts through audacity. The "Loudness" of the 2011 releases have been raised, but not as much as I would have expected. There appears to be plenty of dynamic range left with these releases. The sound quality is impeccable and have never sounded any better on a U.S. release.

Unfortunately, I feel that the bonus E.P.'s are lacking. There is so much unreleased material that could have been used to fill out the rest of these discs. For this reason, and the fact that the albums were not released in surround sound, I did not give this set 5 stars.
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If you've been listening to the original late-1980s EMI imports of the first five Queen albums on cd, this is the ultimate remaster or reissue to get.

It's obvious the band & the label have gone all out on this edition of these classic Queen albums. The audio is crisp and deep - the quiet passages are actually QUIET instead of being filled with hiss and digital noise like on the original EMI imports. More to their credit, they didn't mess with the mixes, song lengths, or do any of the other shenanigans that bands/labes often do when they do this kind of comprehensive update of their back catalog.

Each album comes with a second disc of extras - this is where the real gold is once you get used to how phenomenal these new remastered albums sound. "Queen" includes the ORIGINAL Queen demo songs - all of which made the first album (one of them more so that you ever imagined); it's very interesting to hear the subtle differences between the first demo of "Keep Yourself Alive" and the vast change made between the demo of "Jesus" and the final album version (it's easily sped up 10 bpm or more).

The other albums' extra discs contain gems culled from BBC sessions and concerts throughout Queen's halcyon days in the 1970s & 80s. One of the definite highlights is the a capella version of the operatic section in their hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" - no auto-tuning here, and the vocal abilities of Freddie, Brian & Roger shine right through. John gets his own spotlight, too, with a stripped-down version of "You're My Best Friend" that highlights his musical skills.

All in all, if you're still listening to very old Queen cd's, this is the set to upgrade to. Simply amazing audio quality.
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Being the 2nd reviewer for this set, and having read T. Fleming's enthusiastic post, I will now ministrate to my respective side of the hydrant.

Ten years ago, I opted for the Queen catalog in Japan mini-sleeves, which I believe had Japan-dedicated remasters. I never heard any of the artifacting in the Toshiba discs that Mr. Fleming speaks of in the European releases. So, please remember as you are reading this, I do not have the domestic Hollywood or European releases, only the Japan discs: If you do not own those, you will probably not reach the same conclusions as I did.

On the heels of those recent, terrible Rolling Stones "remasters", Universal has applied the same odious loudness compression method to another high profile catalog: Queen. If you're not familiar with term, the technical explanation is the application of an increasingly high ratio of compression to the dynamic range of a particular recording, and then increasing the gain of the recording, until the peaks have reached maximum.

In layman's terms: There are no longer any quiet or loud passages in the recording, EVERYTHING is at the same volume. Go to Wikipedia and search "loudness wars". In that article, there is also a link to an excellent You Tube audio/video demonstration.

Basically, the ubiquity of the iPod is the culprit in this plague: When music is played back thru earbuds in any environment with ambient noise present, by having the volume artificially jacked across the entire music spectrum, you can hear the content more clearly.

When you listen to these new Queen editions in a home system, however, it's just a sheer wall of high volume sound; there is no dynamic range remaining.
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First off - it must be said that Queen is one of my all time favorite bands. While there were some less than stellar albums along the way, on the whole, this band managed to transcend time and continue to release top shelf material right to the unfortunate end.

Per the title, I will not focus on the remastering/overall sound of these reissues. (I think they sound fabulous). There are others here who are far more qualified than I to tackle that. I am solely going to focus on the bonus material.

Overall, I am extremely disappointed in the selection, (or perhaps better said - lack thereof).

The total running times on the 5 bonus discs are as follows:

Queen I - 31 minutes
Queen II - 19 minutes
Sheer Heart Attack - 15 minutes
Night at the Opera - 19 minutes
Day At the Races - 22 minutues

So all in we get 106 minutes worth of music on five discs that could hold approximately 400 minutes worth of music.


So what about the material that is on there?

For me Queen I is by far and away the best of the bunch. Hearing the raw demos of 5 of the album tracks with Roger's drums higher and rougher in the mix than usual Queen productions was beyond fantastic. But where are the BBC sessions? Where is the song Hangman (constantly played at early shows)?

Queen II has a KILLER version of White Queen from the Odeon concert and a very cool instrumental mix of Seven Seas of Rhye where we get to hear the original natural ending. There are also two versions of See What I've Fool I've Been. A song that I've never been super crazy about, but it's cool to hear Freddie's different approaches.
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