Sheer Heart Attack

Song Review by

When Queen was recording their 1977 classic News of the World, their homeland of the U.K. was in the midst of a punk revolution. And Queen happened to be one of the bands that the new order of rock deemed to be old and out of touch. But instead of completely ignoring the new style like many other established rock acts did -- the band decided that it was time to streamline their sound for their 1977 album. They did away with the sonic extravagances that served as a major ingredient on such past releases as A Night at the Opera ("Bohemian Rhapsody," anyone?), and recorded their most direct-sounding album yet. In fact, they even recorded a little "tribute" to the punk movement, entitled "Sheer Heart Attack." As many longtime Queen fans know, their third album (released three years previously), was also called Sheer Heart Attack, but the song of the same name was not written or recorded until News of the World. Penned entirely by drummer Roger Taylor, the song's based on several distorted guitar chords being bashed out, while lyrically it seems to be about a bad acid trip or something along those lines (although the repeated line "I feel so inarticulate" is probably a slight jab at punk bands). Instead of featuring a guitar solo like many Queen songs had up until this point, a stretch of whining noise was inserted toward the end of the song (the track's ending is quite abrupt, almost as if someone switched off the power switch). The song would become a longtime concert standard for the band -- played toward the end of the show and leaving the crowd with a shot of adrenaline.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
News of the World 1977 Island 3:34
Rocks, Vol. 1 1997 Hollywood 3:24
The Crown Jewels 1998 Hollywood 3:27
Jewels, Vol. 2 2005 Toshiba EMI
The Singles Collection [13 CD] 2008 Parlophone 3:25
Deep Cuts, Vol. 2 [1977-1982] 2011 Island 3:27
Queen 40: Limited Edition Collector's Box Set, Vol. 2 2012 Hollywood / Hollywood Records (UK) / Universal Distribution 3:35