What I said back then:
Ah, my first proper obsession. 1975 – I was 13: perfect timing. I don’t remember the first time I heard it, but suddenly it was everywhere. It was the only topic of conversation in the classroom: “Have you heard it? Did they play it all the way through? How do you think they do that bit in the middle? Have you bought it yet?” It hardly needs saying that we’ve never heard anything like Bohemian Rhapsody. I sort of knew Queen before – I think my friend Neil may have had one of their early albums – but I wasn’t prepared for this. It seemed that everyone owned a copy of the single, but I already knew that I was an album buyer, and I waited for the album.
And I think I wore it out. I really did get obsessive about it. We forget, now, the glorious feast for the senses that a proper vinyl album was – the static crackle of the inner sleeve; the smell of the freshly cut card, and the black stuff itself. And then the sounds – warm and very quickly crackly; I do miss it sometimes. And when I think about vinyl albums, ‘A Night at the Opera’ is right up there – I played it, and learned it, and doodled it on my schoolbooks, and generally bored my friends to tears with it, and I bought the next album, and the previous one, and…
Then it stopped. The obsession passed as suddenly as it had started. But I think everyone should have temporary passions; they make life much more interesting.
What I think now:
Well, Queen never did come back to me. Of course, they were part of my musical landscape, and still are. My children know Queen songs, and none of the background to them. They will, should the curiosity take them. It’s interesting, living in Canada – I don’t think Queen are seen the way they are in Britain; there certainly doesn’t appear to be any of the baggage around Sun City or the general critical disinterest; in many ways, they appear to be just another British rock band, perhaps slightly better known than most. I think that’s not a bad place to be.
I looked – I have ‘Night at the Opera’ on iTunes; I couldn’t tell you the last time I listened to it.