With the cheers of the ecstatic Jubilee crowd at Earls Court in June 1977 still ringing in their ears, Queen prepared to create their sixth studio album. Returning to Sarm West Studios and Wessex Studios in July, with Mike Stone as their assistant producer, a decision was made to return to the “rootsier” sound of their first three recordings for what would become News of the World. Even so, the album would still be embellished with rich multi-tracked arrangements, and all the molasses and razor blade textures that guitarist Brian May could muster.
With Freddie Mercury as the main conduit, the Queen approach was now as singular as anything in classic rock. There’s the glamour of David Bowie, the pyrotechnics and outrageous ambition of Jimi Hendrix, the sonic brute force of Led Zeppelin, along with the audacious harmonic élan of The Beatles and The Beach Boys; it was topped off with Mercury’s extraordinary charisma, whether in front of a microphone or sat at the piano. While it was at odds with his everyday modesty and reticence, it gave Queen a sonic palette quite unlike anyone else.