After nearly two years honing their ambitious sound (part embryonic heavy metal, part grandiose opera) through constant rehearsals, Queen was given their first lucky break in mid-1972, when newly founded Trident Studios offered them free recording time in exchange for testing their equipment. Such unusual access to top-notch recording equipment (even if during studio down-time) allowed the band ample time to craft their eponymous debut, an album which, thanks to this rare privilege, was technically superior to most first efforts. And no track better represented Queen's studio savvy and facility with technology than eventual album opener and first single "Keep Yourself Alive." Coined by guitarist Brian May, whose uncanny talent for manipulating his instrument's tone and texture were already remarkably well developed at this early stage, the song's lyrics would seem, on the surface, to describe a complacent band satisfied with their current lot. But even if his performance is not quite as commanding as on subsequent albums, just one listen to Freddie Mercury's spitting, rapid-fire delivery reveals that the song is, in truth, an irrepressible ode to sheer ambition, and reveals all of Queen's desire to achieve rock stardom no matter the cost. Still, when it was released as a single in July 1973 (backed with another May composition, "Son & Daughter"), "Keep Yourself Alive" was given mixed reviews and received little to no radio airplay. In fact, like the first album, it failed to chart on either side of the Atlantic and was considered quite a disappointment, leaving the band facing an uncertain future for the six months which preceded their successful third single "Seven Seas of Rhye," after which their fortunes finally began to rise.