I have a vivid memory of hearing Queen's "A Night At The Opera" for the first time. Well, Side Two, at least.
I was hanging out at my uncle's "bachelor pad," a studio apartment on Sullivan Street in lower Manhattan. He had a great stereo system, but I had better records and I also had a key to his place, so I would bring a few of my records over when I knew he was at work, and have a solo listening session on his Bose speakers.
One particular day, I turned on his Pioneer receiver and it was set to WNEW-FM. I don't recall what was playing, but it was enough to not touch the dial for awhile. I sunk deep into his bean bag chair and didn't move for some time. That is when I heard Alison Steele, who I believe was subbing for Scott Muni that afternoon, play Side Two of the Queen record, in its entirety. (How great was radio in the 70's?)
I was already a fan, having seen the band at the Beacon Theatre. February, 1975, I believe. But the only record I owned was "Sheer Heart Attack." The rest, as they say, is history. Queen remains a favorite band. I still maintain that their stretch of records from "Queen II" through "News Of The World" are some of the greatest achievements in rock music.
That said, I pulled out "A Night At The Opera" for the first time in a while yesterday and gave it a spin. Still a winner, but almost 45 years later, I still feel now what I have felt all along. "Sweet Lady," the second to last track on Side One, is a mood-killer. It's a basic rock riff, with a boring melody that goes nowhere, then shifts into a lame tempo change, that also goes nowhere. It's a speed bump on an otherwise perfect album.
Some of you Queen fans may love "Sweet Lady," but I don't. I don't mind "Rainy Day Women" opening up Dylan's "Blonde On Blonde." For me, "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands" is the one that gets skipped over. I am sure many will disagree with that, as well.
Favorite or near-perfect albums that have one clinker.