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Music / Sheer Heart Attack

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The third studio album from Queen. Notable for the band drifting away from the Heavy Mithril material of their first two albums and settling into the sound they became more known for.

Side One

  1. "Brighton Rock" (5:08)
  2. "Killer Queen" (3:01)
  3. "Tenement Funster" (2:48)
  4. "Flick of the Wrist" (3:19)
  5. "Lily of the Valley" (1:43)
  6. "Now I'm Here" (4:10)

Side Two

  1. "In the Lap of the Gods" (3:20)
  2. "Stone Cold Crazy" (2:12)
  3. "Dear Friends" (1:07)
  4. "Misfire" (1:50)
  5. "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" (2:13)
  6. "She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettos)" (4:08)
  7. "In the Lap of the Gods... Revisited" (3:42)



  • Audience Participation Song: "In the Lap of the Gods... Revisited" is Freddie's first written number for the audience to sing along to.
  • Artifact Title: The song "Sheer Heart Attack" was meant to be the title track for this album, but was dropped before its release. It would later find its way onto News of the World instead.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: In-Universe. Marie Antoinette almost certainly didn't say "Let them eat cake", as she is quoted as saying in "Killer Queen"; she would have been literally nine years old when the phrase was first attested, and would in fact have been horrified by the sentiment, as she was deeply involved with charity work for the poor, giving more of her income to feed the poor than the rest of the French royal family combined. The attribution has stuck to her anyway.
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  • Bookends: Side Two begins and ends with "In the Lap of the Gods". The two songs are completely different except for sharing the title lyric.
  • Continuity Nod: During the carnival music intro of "Brighton Rock", one can hear whistling of "I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside", which was on the ending of "Seven Seas of Rhye" from their previous album.
  • Credits Gag: The liner notes credit Roger Taylor's "screams", Freddie Mercury's "vocal extravaganzas", John Deacon performing "almost all guitars on 'Misfire'", and Brian May's "genuine George Formby ukelele-banjo".
  • Epic Instrumental Opener / Limited Lyrics Song: "Brighton Rock", which showcases the power of a Brian May guitar solo.
  • Epic Rocking: The "Tenement Funster"/"Flick of the Wrist"/"Lily of the Valley" suite sort of qualifies, as it runs for 7:49 and has often been covered as if it were a single track (notably by Dream Theater).
  • Face on the Cover: Like their second album, this one has a Mick Rock photo of the four band members on the cover, accompanied only by the band name and album title. It's not quite as iconic as the Queen II cover, but it's still pretty recognisable.
  • Fading into the Next Song: "Tenement Funster", "Flick of the Wrist", and "Lily of the Valley" form a seamless, three-song medley. They border on Siamese Twin Songs, although they were originally written and recorded separately and stitched together in the studio.
  • High-Class Call Girl: "Killer Queen" is about one of these, with Freddie in fact mentioning the trope by name to describe the song.
    Freddie Mercury: It's about a high-class call girl. I'm trying to say that classy people can be whores, too.
  • Metal Scream: Roger Taylor opens "In the Lap of the Gods" this way.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "Lily of the Valley" (1:43), "Dear Friends" (1:07), "Misfire" (1:50). "Lily of the Valley" is part of a three-song suite that runs for 7:49, though.
  • New Sound Album: The album cover kind of gives it away, as this album sees the band moving (somewhat) away from the Prog Rock sound of their first two albums and more towards a more straightforward Glam Rock/Hard Rock sound. The fantasy themes that had dominated the lyrics of their first two albums are also less prevalent here, although they still do show up on some songs ("In the Lap of the Gods", "Lily of the Valley").
  • No Ending: To an extent, "Tenement Funster". The song builds up to something akin to a Grand Finale near the end, but when it actually happens, the song technically just segues into "Flick of the Wrist". Even on most versions of Queen's First EP (which also has the song), the song fades out during the transition without a proper ending. Of course, many people argue that the song's ending can be heard beneath said transition, but it's still jarring nonetheless.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: "Killer Queen" has "an invitation you can't decline".
  • Product Placement: An accidental one. "Killer Queen" opens with the line "she keeps Moët & Chandon in her pretty cabinet", which was a mere comment on how classy the fictional girl was. The winery benefited when the song became a big hit, and as a reward, they sent the band and producer vats of champagne as well as passes for Wimbledon and Grand Prix.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" is entirely Freddie, including the highest and lowest notes.
  • Shout-Out: "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" is a homage to Jim Croce, who had died the previous year.
  • Solo Duet: Freddie sings the parts of the two lovers in "Brighton Rock", shifting from falsetto to chest voice.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Flick of the Wrist", believed to be directed at the band's former manager (also the subject of "Death on Two Legs" from the next album), whom Mercury also described as "a motherfucker of a gentleman"; however, in the case of "Flick of the Wrist", Mercury never confirmed whether the song was based on anyone in particular.
  • Thrash Metal: "Stone Cold Crazy" is often cited as one of the earliest examples of what would become thrash.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Half of the band members appear shirtless on the album cover. Note that they were also covered in Vaseline and had had cold water thrown on them shortly before the shoot, because, according to photographer Mick Rock, they wanted to look "wasted and abandoned, like we've been marooned on a desert island". Brian May commented, "it was agony, this session, but it was worth it. I think we wanted to explode our own myth. We didn't want to be pretty any more."
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Killer Queen": "Dynamite with a laser beam". It doesn't even make any sense in context! But it is guaranteed to blow your mind.


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