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Sheer Heart Attack

Album Background

Alternate Versions

Brighton Rock

Live Version
Numerous live versions of this are available, and they are interesting because you can trace how this track evolved in them. It was obviously around for a long time! From a basic start in "Blag" by Smile, elements of the finished solo can be heard first in the De Lane Lea demo of "Liar". A series of alternate versions were then tried out in "Son and Daughter", several variations of which can be found in the BBC radio recordings from '73-'74. It gradually got longer before eventually finding a proper home on the "Sheer Heart Attack" LP, and has since been expanded to epic proportions in the live show (the extremely long version on "Live Killers" for instance, which also includes a much extended drum solo from Roger). In fact Brian still plays bits of this in his solo appearances, though its nice to see some different elements (e.g. "Chinese Torture") appearing at last!

"The Eye" Version
From "The Eye" computer game. Disc 4, track 2. The fairground music from the song intro (identical to usual, just brutally edited!). No actual music here, just crowd noises. Abrupbt and pointless from an audio perspective. Time 0:13

Killer Queen

Acetate Version
A test press acetate of this song exists, with a version slightly longer than the album mix. The difference is the introduction - the album version starts with a few seconds of "finger-clicking", which on the acetate actually lasts for nearly 12 seconds. The rest of the song is identical, which makes this a spectacularly pointless variation. Terribly overpriced for what you get. Time approx 3:10

Tenement Funster

BBC Radio Take, 1974
Very good, and different to normal; the guitar and vocals are a little more distorted than usual, and it has a proper ending (no piano). Listen out for Roger's "and my ROCK'N'ROLL!!" yell at the start. Recorded for Bob Harris in 1974, and some tapes of this session have surfaced complete with Bob's commentary about the band. Other tracks in the session are "Flick Of The Wrist", "Now I'm Here" and "Stone Cold Crazy". They occasionally appear individually on bootlegs (usually described as demos or alternate takes) but the complete session is very hard to find. This track can be found on "The Ultimate Collection" described as an "alternate take", and on "Golden Demos" described as a demo, amongst others.

Single Version
On "Queen's First EP", on 7" and Japan CD3 only (the version on the standard CD3 isn't quite the same, see later). As many of the early Queen albums feature songs that segue into one another, for release as B-sides etc. it was necessary to define a definite start and finish for some songs. (This effect can be clearly heard on some of the older CD's, particularly "Queen II" and "Sheer Heart Attack"; if you select certain tracks, you get the last few seconds of the preceding track as well.) To this end, the songs were prepared as "stand-alone" versions. In this case the song fades out on the last guitar chord, just before the piano at the end (introducing "Flick Of The Wrist") starts. Nice to have if you want to include it on compilations etc., but not radically different.

Usual CD3 Version
On the non-Japanese 1988 CD3 version of "Queen's First EP". Whilst the Japanese CD3 has the single mix, in remastered form, the standard issue CD3 outside Japan has a different mix. Although it does end in a fade, the piano intro for "Flick Of The Wrist" can be clearly heard for several seconds. This is in fact the album mix faded out, rather than the original single mix.

Flick Of The Wrist

BBC Radio Take, 1974
From the Bob Harris session mentioned earlier. A noticeably different ending and guitar solo, with some extra distortion on the last few notes of the solo. On "The Ultimate Collection" bootleg, although in poor sound quality, and also on "Golden Demos" described as a demo (but in considerably better condition). You need to listen closely, but it is rewarding. Available with or without Bob's original commentary.

Single Version
The middle track from the segue on "Sheer Heart Attack", and the one that got the best treatment for single release. The B-side to "Killer Queen", on 7" only. Not US (see later). This version has a distinct start, beginning with the piano intro. Though this intro is also on the album mix, on the album you can still hear the end of "Tenement Funster" throughout some of it. This mix also has a proper ending, not just a fade. Doesn't end on "Baby you've been had" as you may think, but with a very brief slice of guitar from Brian that positively drips from the speakers. This is present in the normal mix, but blended with the intro of "Lily Of The Valley". This single version is also on the Japanese CD3 from 1988, and is digitally remastered. The UK CD3 version is different again (see below). Time 3:16

UK CD3 Version
On the 1988 "Killer Queen" CD3. On the UK version, and every other version except Japan. This is a strange mix indeed. Starts very abruptly, partway through the last chord of "Tenement Funster". From there on it is the album mix, but it ends on the last "all this time, honey!", fading out completely on "honey!". Presumably they just used the album mix, with its incorrectly marked begining and end, for this, fading-out at the end. Pity they couldn't be bothered to at least fade-in the beginning though.

US-only Single Mix
Yet another track that appears in a different form in the US. The original US 7" of "Killer Queen" did not have the normal "single mix", but once again an incorrectly mastered edit of the album mix. There is no piano intro, and the end is a fade into the intro to "Lily Of The Valley". Isn't life complicated?!

Live Version, US 1975
Surprisingly rare live, this version is notable chiefly because of its ending. As the last "Baby you've been had" is heard, Brian makes his guitar hang onto the last note for ages, before the whole group launches into the finale from "Brighton Rock" to finish. The rest of the song is unremarkable, and actually sounds a bit clumsy compared with the album mix. Freddie's vocal seems a bit laboured too, and perhaps a touch slow. Its certainly not as clean a sound as that from the BBC take, and that's not entirely the fault of the bootleggers. Very rough round the edges. On "The Ultimate Collection 2" bootleg, although there's another passable version on "Opera Omnia" (albeit minus the different ending).

Lily Of The Valley

Single Version
B-side to "Now I'm Here" (usually), on 7" only. A very nice stand-alone version. Although not really any different to the album mix, as with "Tenement Funster" it is better than the album version for including on compilations etc., or if you just want to listen to the one track. Starts more abruptly than you may think though. Time 1:38

US-only Re-issued Single Version
One of the two B-sides to the 1975 US-only "Keep Yourself Alive" re-issue 7". This version starts fractionally earlier than the original single version, with the final guitar burst from "Flick Of The Wrist" edited out (the normal single mix version starts after this guitar). Technically, I suppose this makes it the only real stand-alone mix that has been released, although you really have to time the two to spot the difference. For those who are interested, in the normal mix Freddie starts to sing after about 9 or 10 seconds, in this version he starts after 12 or 13 seconds. Time 1:42

Digital Master Sampler Version
Specially prepared for inclusion on the "Digital Master Sampler" promo CD, this version is not the above-mentioned single mix, but a different one that fades in from the end of "Flick Of The Wrist". The fade starts on "Baby you've been had", which is unfortunate as it means the first thing you usually hear when you play it is "been had", which is a strange way to begin a song. If you listen very closely you find the previous track ("In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited") hasn't quite finished fading out yet either, making this almost a tiny segue. So once more we are denied a stand-alone mix on CD! Shame.

Now I'm Here

Live Version
(from "The Concert for the People of Kampuchea")

The only Queen track on the "Concert for Kampuchea" LP. Not particularly different to any other live version, it's distinction is being one of only a handful of officially released live tracks.

BBC Radio Take, 1974
Part of the Bob Harris session. On the CD "The Ultimate Rarities Collection", incorrectly described as an alternate take. A good version, with a great echo on Freddie's voice, but not as interesting as some of the other tracks from this session (i.e. "Tenement Funster", "Flick Of The Wrist").

In The Lap Of The Gods

Live Version, London Rainbow 1974
Not "In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited". This song seems to be quite rare live for some reason, but there is an excellent version on the "Live At The Rainbow" video. The distorted vocals and histrionics from the LP mix are gone, and Freddie sings it "straight". Roger amazingly hits all the high notes. A very gentle take with some nice extra guitar and piano, and a particularly quiet start. Time 3:18

Hollywood Records Error Version
On the US remastered "Sheer Heart Attack" CD. Due to a mastering error, a few seconds of the intro are missing from this version. Not recommended, although it was fixed some time ago and you probably can't even find it now.

Stone Cold Crazy

Live Version, London Rainbow 1974
B-side to "The Miracle" on 7", 12" and CD single. Not especially stunning or different, but nice to have on CD in good quality. Also on the "Live At The Rainbow" video from "Box Of Tricks".

Michael Wagener Mix
The Hollywood Records official remix. Appears on the remastered US CD "Sheer Heart Attack", a promo CD and the film soundtrack album "Encino Man" (though the film is better known outside the US as "California Man"). I have listened to this several times, and to be honest I still find it hard to spot any differences to the original. True, the drums do sound slightly different if you listen for it, but I'd really recommend you listen before you buy, and certainly don't expect anything major. Even the running time is precisely the same. Time 2:12

Version "Re-Produced By Trent Reznor"
This is what I call a remix! This is much faster and heavier (lots of extra percussion), and includes bits of Freddie talking in the studio (leading to this mistakenly being called an alternate take in some magazines). Includes guitar and drum samples from "Sheer Heart Attack" ('77) and "Dragon Attack" ('80), amongst others, so any claims this is a demo are obviously up the spout. However, it is impossible to rule out that there was some access to the original tapes (as with the Hollywood mix of "Fat Bottomed Girls"?). Unfortunately, any original material they did access appears to have been remixed anyway, and is not necessarily from the "Sheer Heart Attack" sessions to start with. Initially available on a 3-track promo CD, which includes the Michael Wagener Mix as well. Also on the Hollywood Records "Freakshow" promo sampler CD (together with the "Dave Ogilvie Alternative Mix" of "Another One Bites The Dust", also recommended). But most commonly found on the "Demories Please Majesties" bootleg, under the description "Trash Version, produced for a Walt Disney Production". Ahem. Time 3:49

BBC Radio Take, 1974
Again from the Bob Harris session. Extremely hard to get hold of, but not significantly different to usual. Has yet to be spotted on a bootleg, probably because it does sound so close to the usual version.


On several bootlegs, including "Made In Heaven", "Golden Demos" and even "The Ultimate Queen Back Catalogue Vol I". Some of Freddie's vocals are missing (well, very faint anyway) in the chorus. Not a genuine demo however. Someone's been playing with the stereo effects again, and if you alter your speaker balance you can do this at home.

Bring Back That Leroy Brown

Live Instrumental Version
This is included in many early concerts, the best version probably from the Hammersmith '75 Christmas concert. Just under two minutes long, there is a real sense of fun about this, and just listen to the crowd cheer Brian on the ukelele! Really nice and very different from the LP version. The Hammersmith concert has been very (very) heavily bootlegged, so you should be able to find a copy with excellent sound; try "Rhapsody In Red". The BBC have re-broadcast this a number of times, in quality stereo, and some Transcription Discs (complete with intro) may still be around. But it was included in many concerts, so you should be able to find a version quite easily.

"The Eye" Version
From "The Eye" computer game. Disc 3, track 7. A straight extract from the album version, up to "hit that lattitude". Short and sweet. Time 0:27

In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited

Digital Master Sampler Version
On the Digital Master Sampler CD, this has been trimmed slightly from 3:46 to 3:38. The final "explosion" noise doesn't quite fade out into silence, but gets nearly silent then the next track ("Lily Of The Valley") begins to fade in. I don't think this really counts as a segue, though it is something of a minor curiosity.

"The Eye" Version
From "The Eye" computer game. Disc 1, track 7. A very short edit of the original, which includes the original vocals. Starts at "I can see what you want me to be", and goes through to "wo wo la la la wo, wo wo la la, wo wo ooh..". The backing fades out before the vocal, leaving Freddie a capella for the last bit. Wonderful effect that. Time 0:27

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