Freddie Mercury and Queen faced financial ruin and break up if one hit album had failed


This week’s Queen the Greatest mini-documentary explores a risky moment of make or break for the band. Despite their growing success in the early 1970s, Freddie Mercury and the group were facing financial ruin and really needed their fourth album to be huge. It all came down to Queen’s 1975 record A Night At The Opera, which at the time was the most expensive album ever made in the UK.

In this week’s video, Queen drummer Roger Taylor shared just how risky it was for the band.

He said: “I remember when we went into the studio to make A Night At The Opera. It felt like make or break.”

While Brian May shared: “We were not only poor, but we were in debt. 

“All the sound and lighting companies and the people that hadn’t been paid.”

READ MORE: Brian May: ‘Queen would have fallen apart without Freddie’

Brian added: “So we were at a really crucial point. We might have had to break up if that album hadn’t done well.

“It was an expensive album, enormous complexity on there. Even looking at it now I wonder how we did some of that stuff.”

Nevertheless, the risk paid off, with A Night At Opera seeing Queen at their absolute finest.

From John Deacon’s hit single You’re My Best Friend and Roger Taylor’s I’m In Love With My Car to Freddie Mercury’s Love Of My Life.

Brian said at the time: “This is incredible news. At times like this, I have to pinch myself to be sure it’s real.

“All those wild dreams we had – this is beyond any of them. Huge thanks to all who have believed in us over the years.”

While Roger added: “It’s a wonderful and gratifying thought to know the song has reached out and connected with so many people! We thank you all…onwards.”

As for A Night At The Opera, the 1975 album would go on to top the charts across the globe and went on to sell over 6 million copies in many countries around the world – even achieving multi-platinum status in the US.

In 2018, A Night At The Opera was even inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, next week’s episode of Queen The Greatest will further explore the success and legacy of Bohemian Rhapsody.

That will be episode 6 of 50 that are released every Friday at midday, marking Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Here’s hoping Brian and Roger have even more treats in store for fans to continue celebrating such a milestone.


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