Seven Seas of Rhye
|"Seven Seas of Rhye"|
Cover art (Germany)
|Single by Queen|
|from the album Queen and Queen II|
|Released||23 February 1974|
|Recorded||1972-73 at Trident Studios|
|Label||EMI (UK), Elektra (US)|
|Producer(s)||Roy Thomas Baker, Queen|
|Queen singles chronology|
"Seven Seas of Rhye" is a song by the British rock band Queen. It was primarily written by Freddie Mercury, with Brian May contributing the second middle-eight. The song is officially credited to Mercury only. A rudimentary instrumental version appears as the final track on the group's debut album Queen (1973), with the final version on the follow-up Queen II (1974).
The completed version served as the band's third single, and after performing the song on the BBC’s Top of the Pops in February 1974 it became their first hit, reaching number 10 on the UK Singles Chart. It is the earliest-released song to appear on their Greatest Hits album, with the exception of some versions where their first single, "Keep Yourself Alive", is included.
Initially "Seven Seas of Rhye" was simply an "instrumental musical sketch closing their first album". An expanded rendition, planned for inclusion on the album Queen II, was publicly premiered when Queen was offered a sudden chance to appear on the BBC’s Top of the Pops in February 1974, and was rushed to vinyl two days later on 23 February. It became their first chart entry after gaining airtime on BBC Radio 1, peaking at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, which in turn persuaded Freddie Mercury to take up Queen as his full-time career.
Style, construction and interpretation
The version on Queen II ends with a cross fade, instruments blending into the band singing "I Do Like To be Beside the Seaside", accompanied by a stylophone played by Roy Thomas Baker, which was a sole exception to their "no synths" statement. Its inclusion here on the final track of Queen II is briefly mirrored via whistling during the first few seconds of "Brighton Rock", which opens their next album, Sheer Heart Attack.
In a 1977 radio interview, Freddie Mercury described the subject of the song as a "figment of his imagination". In the Queen musical We Will Rock You, the Seven Seas of Rhye is a place where the Bohemians are taken after they are brain-drained by Khashoggi.
- Freddie Mercury - lead and backing vocals, piano
- Brian May - electric guitar, backing vocals
- Roger Taylor - drums, gong, percussion, backing vocals
- John Deacon - bass guitar
- Roy Thomas Baker - stylophone
- These piano runs were later sampled in "It's a Beautiful Day (reprise)", on the album Made in Heaven.
- Fowles, Paul (2009). A Concise History of Rock Music. Mel Bay Publications, Inc. p. 244. ISBN 978-0786666430.
the intricately-woven hard rock single Seven Seas of Rhye from the Queen II album
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