Queen Faced Split If ‘A Night at the Opera’ Flopped
Brian May said Queen faced being forced to break up if their 1975 album, A Night at the Opera, flopped.
Their fourth LP proved to be their breakthrough, going on to sell more than 6 million copies globally, powered by the hit singles “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “You’re My Best Friend.” It’s reputed to have been the most expensive album of the era – which put even more pressure on the band.
“We were not only poor, but we were in debt,” guitarist May said in the latest episode of Queen: The Greatest. “All the sound and lighting companies and the people that we worked with hadn’t been paid. So we were at a really crucial point. We might have had to break up if that album hadn’t done well.”
You can watch the episode below.
Along with being an ambitious album financially, the LP was also venturous in terms of its creativity and technicality. "Enormous complexity on there,” May observed. “Even looking at it now, I wonder how we did some of that stuff.”
Drummer Roger Taylor said: “I remember when we went into the studio to make A Night at the Opera, it felt like make or break.”
Queen announced the video series last month, calling it “a chance to revisit some of the band’s most iconic moments and discover some aspects of the story you might not know. … We get to explore the stories behind the songs, hits and album tracks, drawn from the extensive footage that exists in the official archive, while also uncovering and sharing rare and previously unseen gems.”