This is the debut studio album by Queen, released on 13 July 1973 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. It was recorded at Trident Studios and De Lane Lea Music Centre, London, with production by Roy Thomas Baker, John Anthony and Queen. The album was influenced by the hard rock, progressive rock and heavy metal of the time and covers subjects such as folklore ("My Fairy King") and religion ("Jesus").
Queen had been playing the club and college circuit in and around London for almost two years when the band had a chance opportunity to test out the new recording facilities of De Lane Lea Studios. Taking advantage of the opportunity, they put together a polished demo tape of five songs: "Keep Yourself Alive", "The Night Comes Down", "Great King Rat", "Jesus", and "Liar". Despite the demo tape's quality, the band received only one offer from a record company – a low bid from Chrysalis Records, which they used to try to entice other companies.
They were finally given a break and signed in 1972 by Barry and Norman Sheffield, who ran the successful Trident Studios; however, because the studio was very popular, Queen mainly recorded during the studio's downtime but were given free use of everything after the paying artists had left; including the latest technologies and production team.
The arrangement of recording only during downtime lasted from June to November 1972. The limitations this imposed on them led the band to focus on completing one track at a time, but problems arose almost immediately. The band had thought highly of their De Lane Lea demo tracks, but producer Roy Thomas Baker asked them to re-record the songs with better equipment. "Keep Yourself Alive" was the first song to be re-recorded, and Queen did not like the result. They recorded it once again, but during the mixing sessions, no mix met their standards until engineer Mike Stone stepped in. After seven or eight failed attempts, Stone's first try met with Queen's approval. Stone would stay on to engineer and eventually co-produce their next five albums. Another track that proved problematic was "Mad the Swine", which was recorded for the album but then derailed by Baker and Queen disagreeing on the quality of the percussion. The song was meant be the fourth track on the album between "Great King Rat" and "My Fairy King". With the issue unresolved, the track was left off the album. It re-surfaced in 1991 as both the B-side to the "Headlong" CD single in the UK, and on the Hollywood Records re-release of the album. The version of "The Night Comes Down" which appears on the album is, in fact, the De Lane Lea demo recording, as the band were unsatisfied with any attempt at rerecording it.
Though the album was completed and fully mixed by November 1972, Trident spent months trying to get a record company to release it. After eight months of failing that, they took the initiative and released it themselves in 1973. During this time, Queen had begun writing material for their next album, but they were disheartened by the current album's delay, feeling they had grown past that stage, even though the record-buying public was just getting wind of them.
The debut and the next 3 albums are among my Queen's favorites also with The Game, but specially Queen I is fantastic. There are many interesting ideas and great compositions. My favorites “Great King Rat”, vocally, melodically, and lyrically, it is killer, and the change of rhythm at the middle of the song is awesome! “Liar” is another great piece of early hard rock with a heavy guitar riff! And what can I say about “Son & Daughter”, It’s heavy and to the point with great hooks, a mix of Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and many more hard and heavy bands, all in one song! They got some heavy groove going on there!