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Baker's Dozen

The Fabulous, Most Groovy: Director Edgar Wright's Favourite Albums
Mark Andrews , June 23rd, 2017 09:39

With 'Baby Driver' all set to be one of the Summer's biggest hits, director Edgar Wright sits down with the Quietus to choose his 13 favourite albums


Queen – Sheer Heart Attack

This is from 1974 as well. I think Queen II and this came out that year as well, which is crazy: two huge sounding records in one year! I work a lot in Soho and Trident Studios is right there in St Anne’s Court and you look at the albums like Sheer Heart Attack and Hunky Dory that were recorded there. It’s just extraordinary.

My initial music listening was through my parents’ record collection which featured most of The Beatles albums, one Stones album, Simon & Garfunkel, some Classical music, some Motown and some Genesis. And I think through that, when I was in my early teens I ended working through other older bands’ discographies, especially Queen, David Bowie and Roxy Music.

Queen were a fascinating band for me. Sheer Heart Attack is the first album where you see the band they are going to become. It’s very diverse. All four of them are writers and there’s especially that push and pull between Freddie Mercury, who could be writing the world’s greatest show tunes, and Brian May who, despite his somewhat nerdy appearance is shredding on ‘Stone Cold Crazy’ - which is like a proper Heavy Metal hit single - and on ‘Brighton Rock’. To open with that song with a five minute guitar solo in it is quite extraordinary. It’s another song which is in Baby Driver.

Whatever you think of them, Queen are utterly unique and Sheer Heart Attack is performed to absolute perfection. It’s basically at the point where this band were a cross between Led Zeppelin and Rogers and Hammerstein, a mix of West End musical tunes and Black Sabbath. I remember reading that Brian May was bemused by the amount of effort Freddie Mercury was putting into perfecting jazzy 1920s flapper music with ‘Bring Back That Leroy Brown’.

Sheer Heart Attack is my favourite Queen album because it does have a bit of everything. It’s bonkers in its diversity; an amazing grab bag made by these four great talents fighting against each other. I find it a really compelling album because of that.