Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Recording A Night At The Opera

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MusicFan15 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 15 Apr 18, 15:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As it’s said, A Night At The Opera was the most expensive album ever made in 1975 costing a whooping £40,000 back then. In today’s money more than £330,000. The reason is because of the number of studios used to record the album. I’ve been trying to put together all the studios and places which they used to write and record probably their signature album.

In early August 1975, Queen move from London after they all had holidays to Herefordshire. Specifically, they rented Penrhos Court just outside the town of Kington. They stay there for three weeks write and play new material for ANATO.

Then on the 24th August 1975, Queen make the 40-odd mile journey to Rockfield Studios just outside the town of Monmouth. At Rockfield they mainly work on Bohemian Rhapsody. One night while at Rockfield, the band watched the Marx Brothers movie A Night At The Opera. They hadn’t come up with a name for the album and so ended up nicking the title to name the album.

They went back to London and Surrey to finish recording the album. They used four London studios; Roundhouse, Sarm East Studios, Scorpion and Wessex Sound Studios and Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey. Just a few days before they started their UK Tour the finally finished mixing the album as it took longer than expected to complete.

So, it took them from the start of August to mid-November to write and record one of their greatest albums. It’s interesting to know how I live just a couple of miles from where Queen wrote one of their greatest albums…

Have I got all the information above correct?

dysan user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 15 Apr 18, 16:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Was GSTQ done at Trident? I seem to recall BM did that and Procession in his own in a little demo studio?

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Posted: 15 Apr 18, 16:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

40k well spent. Such an Amazing Record.

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Posted: 15 Apr 18, 18:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

MusicFan15 wrote:

As it’s said, A Night At The Opera was the most expensive album ever made in 1975 costing a whooping £40,000 back then.


That's just spiel. There were probably several albums which had been more expensive before that one. Keep in mind that Queen saved fortunes in not hiring session musicians, being their own composers and arrangers, not getting any big-name producers and not having to fly anywhere as they'd just drive between England and Wales.

MusicFan15 wrote:

The reason is because of the number of studios used to record the album.


While they did use quite a few, they weren't by any means the most expensive studios back then. They didn't go to Abbey Road or to the Record Plant in NY or LA (which would've also added flying and taking their equipment there, etc).

MusicFan15 wrote:

Then on the 24th August 1975, Queen make the 40-odd mile journey to Rockfield Studios just outside the town of Monmouth.


Not true. By the 18th of August, they'd already started off three tracks at Rockfield ('Best Friend', 'Fred's Piano Thing' and 'Wreck of the 39'). By the 22nd, they'd already got a rough mix of 'Bo Rhap' (probably under a working title) at The Roundhouse.

So, the whole 24th August date as the beginning of the sessions is completely false.

MusicFan15 wrote:

At Rockfield they mainly work on Bohemian Rhapsody.


Not true. They also worked on ''39', 'Best Friend' and probably many other numbers from the album.

MusicFan15 wrote:

They went back to London and Surrey to finish recording the album.


Just London, not Surrey. But according to the book about Rockfield Studios, they'd be driving back and forth, it wasn't that clear-cut anyway.

MusicFan15 wrote:

They used four London studios


No: they used five.

MusicFan15 wrote:

Sarm East Studios


Back then, they were simply called 'Sarm'.

MusicFan15 wrote:

Scorpion


That's not the name. It was called 'Scorpio'. No 'n'.

MusicFan15 wrote:

Wessex Sound Studios


No. Wessex had been bought by the Chrysalis group and they were undergoing refurbishment. They'd been used in 1974 and would be used again in 1976 and 1977, but not in 1975 as they were temporarily closed for renovations.

MusicFan15 wrote:

Ridge Farm Studios in Surrey.


Back in 1975, the Ridge Farm was just a farm, not a recording studio. It became a recording studio in 1976. Queen used them to rehearse (before the August sessions in Wales), but not to record. All of that has been confirmed to me directly by the CEO of the studios, a decade or so ago.

MusicFan15 wrote:

Have I got all the information above correct?


No, but you're on the right track about some of it.


John hated Hot Space. Frederick's favourite singer was not Paul Rodgers. Rog didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Wales is not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 vox.
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Posted: 15 Apr 18, 19:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Excellent knowledge as always Sebasterick :)

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Posted: 15 Apr 18, 19:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks!


John hated Hot Space. Frederick's favourite singer was not Paul Rodgers. Rog didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Wales is not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 vox.
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Posted: 15 Apr 18, 21:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great info mate!

Golden Salmon user is on Queenzone.com
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Posted: 15 Apr 18, 22:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian, are you doing research to write a book?

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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 03:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Who would buy that?


John hated Hot Space. Frederick's favourite singer was not Paul Rodgers. Rog didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Wales is not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 vox.
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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 07:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yes Seb, I would for sure buy your book!

Tom

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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 08:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

^ Yes indeed. Me too.

Golden Salmon user is on Queenzone.com
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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 08:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I would exchange earnings for your electronically or physically available writings :-P

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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 08:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Only if it had been checked over by QPL and appropriate mistakes added in.

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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 08:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I would surely buy your book.


Black Queen marches
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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 10:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Me too!

If I can add anything, rehearsals began not later than the 1st August, look at the date here (from the photo sessions at Ridge Farm) - http://photofeatures.photoshelter.com/image/I00000Fb.Tnq4ejE

Also, I was doing some research lately and more than 200 photos can be found from rehearsing/recording the album (this can be more than 250 photos overall, including Brian's stereos shared in his book, or maybe over 300, who knows?):

- at least 6 photos of the band going from London to rehearsal e.g. http://www.photofeatures.com/queen/ppages/ppage28.html , http://cs419924.vk.me/v419924507/744c/aYa7Yzrqpl4.jpg
- at least 16 photos of Queen receiving Music Life gifts at Ridge Farm e.g. http://cs419924.vk.me/v419924507/7474/L9O48JKtVoE.jpg
- at least 173 photos of the band rehearing/relaxing at Ridge Farm (including playing snooker, posing at the entrance gate?, drinking tea probably, sitting on the grass, sitting at the swimming pool, playing tennis, rehearsal itself and more). No need of examples I think.
- at least 14 photos of the session at Sarm studio with Eddie Howell, probably in August as well e.g. http://i.pinimg.com/originals/6c/9b/a7/6c9ba74ac5a6e22a60c7ad3f34195cb3.jpg
- at least 8 photos of the proper recording session at Scorpio (late august/early septemer) e.g. http://i.pinimg.com/736x/29/2c/8d/292c8d2c3c056edb6fa1e7932f9a18fd.jpg
- and more e.g. Brian playing harp at Sarm studio

Worth noting that similar photos were taken during SHA recording session a year before AND similar photos were taken during Queen's first visit to Japan in 1975. They are sometimes mixed up with each other.

Is that all right?

Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 13:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great research. The 'Man from Manhattan' sessions were in January 1976, though.

Regarding the book idea: I wasn't phishing for compliments - though I obviously appreciate the nice words some of you have said -, it was an honest question - the best I could come up with would be the printed version of a website, in which case you could simply browse through the website for free instead of paying. I love books (digital and physical) but there's nothing I could offer that you wouldn't find out on your own.

Unlike Mark Blake or even the oft-vilified Laura Jackson, I've no agents or publishers or any verifiable journalistic or serious writing experience (a few thousand posts on an internet forum wouldn't count) and, unlike Peter Hince or Dr Brian May, CBE, I wasn't there and I haven't got anything exclusive or rare.

Everything, and I do mean absolutely everything, of what I've learnt about Queen and music in general (which is not much to begin with), comes from searching stuff on the internet and listening to the songs. And, chiefly, it comes from making loads and loads of mistakes and then correcting them. But I haven't got a single primary source, a single demo or multi-track or manuscript or photograph that hasn't already made the rounds online.

In that sense, there's nothing that'd make a book written by me in any way special or worthy of your dough.


John hated Hot Space. Frederick's favourite singer was not Paul Rodgers. Rog didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Wales is not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 vox.
Vocal harmony user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 14:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian, plenty of historians were not present at the events they research and sometimes write about, so I don't think you need to worry about not being part of the events.

The secret of good historical writing is for the subject to be well researched and where possible written in an open informative and unbiased way that gets the facts over in a logical, educational, informative and maybe entertaining way.

Through your posts on here I've learned huge amounts about a subject I thought I already knew a fare-amount about. Is there a book about Queen that's written from a different prospective and subject than those that have gone before? Yes why not.



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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 15:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sure, historians, people who are bona fide professionals at what they do. People who've been published. People who've had peer-reviewed articles in journals with some sort of credibility, people who've been part of seminars or who've been to lectures and conferences (sometimes as key-note speakers).

All I have is a defunct website which was an utter failure and six thousand messages on an online forum, many of which have been pointless bickering with people who've called me all sorts of names and who've been, how shall I put it, not too welcoming of my feeble attempts at learning a little bit more about these great musicians. That also includes a number of people who used to praise my so-called research but then turned against me completely. Imagine how many of those would sabotage the book and give it poor reviews without even reading it.


John hated Hot Space. Frederick's favourite singer was not Paul Rodgers. Rog didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Wales is not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 vox.
MusicFan15 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 17:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So, I think I’ve got the picture now. Queen went to Ridge Farm and Penhros Court to write songs and record demos before heading to Rockfield Studios. In Mark Blake’s fantastic biography of the group it states how Freddie wrote music for Bohemian Rhapsody while staying at Penhros.

If it’s true about the picture of Freddie taken on the 1st August at Ridge Farm, it would mean that the group would’ve left there not long after the picture was taken because they had three weeks in Herefordshire before heading to Rockfield on the 24th August. I went to a display about the history of Rockfield and it had a sheet with the date and the singings which the group did too. There’s nothing going against the fact that might’ve recorded certain things at Ridge Farm and Penhros.

At Rockfield they concentrated on Bohemian Rhapsody as that song alone took three weeks to record. They might’ve done other things but most of the time they did Bohemian Rhapsody. The London studios used would’ve been to finish of the album and do the final mixes of other songs. Presumably they spend about a month at Rockfield before moving back to London?

Golden Salmon user is on Queenzone.com
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Posted: 16 Apr 18, 17:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian wrote:

In that sense, there's nothing that'd make a book written by me in any way special or worthy of your dough.

You're very rigorous, which is the ideal quality for the kind of book we'd love to read. You're ahead of many who have already published inaccurate depictions of the band and their history.

That also includes a number of people who used to praise my so-called research but then turned against me completely. Imagine how many of those would sabotage the book and give it poor reviews without even reading it.

Just use a pseudonym :-P Don't let your encyclopedic knowledge go to waste!