Flash Gordon is the ninth studio album, and first soundtrack album by the British rock band Queen. Released on 8 December 1980 in the UK, it is one of the two film soundtracks they produced, along with Highlander. It is the album to the science fiction film Flash Gordon, and features lyrics on only two tracks. "Flash's Theme" was the only single to be released from the album, under the title "Flash". The album reached #10 on the UK charts and #23 in the US.
There are two versions of the opening track. The album version ("Flash's Theme") is the start to the film, with part of the dialogue from the first scene. The single version ("Flash") features parts of the dialogue taken from various parts of the film, including Brian Blessed's (playing the character Prince Vultan) signature cry "Gordon's Alive!". This version was also included on the Greatest Hits compilation from 1981. The single reached #1 in Austria. The track is noted for its pounding, repetitive bassline and the camp humour of the snippets of dialogue from the film that it contains.
All but two of the tracks on the album ("Flash's Theme" and "The Hero") are instrumentals, although most feature dialogue sampled from the film. The album makes extensive use of synthesisers, which Queen had employed for the first time on their previous album, The Game, although to a much lesser extent.
Side A of the album, except for the opening track and Freddie Mercury's "Football Fight" (also chosen as a B-side for the "Flash" single), contains mostly synthesiser, vocal, guitar and drum soundscapes (accompanied by the movie dialogues), written and performed by Mercury, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. Side B, while starting with similar compositions by Deacon and Taylor, develops for the most part around the full-band rockier themes, mainly "Flash's Theme" and "Battle Theme", composed and arranged by Brian May. The last track, "The Hero", while an individual song, reprises both motifs. Different takes of the song were used for the end credits in the film and for the album finale.
The album contains mostly the score performed by Queen, and only two short, uncredited fragments of Howard Blake's orchestral score (appearing in "The Kiss" and "The Hero").
All tracks are recorded from October through November 1980 except two tracks ("Football Fight" and "The Kiss") which were recorded in February through March 1980 during some time as The Game sessions.
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen's earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, incorporating further diverse styles into their music.
Before joining Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing together in a band named Smile with bassist Tim Staffell. Freddie Mercury (then known as Farrokh/Freddie Bulsara) was a fan of Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques after Staffell's departure in 1970. Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the name of the band to "Queen", and adopted his familiar stage name. John Deacon was recruited prior to recording their eponymous debut album (1973). Queen enjoyed success in the UK with their debut and its follow-up, Queen II (1974), but it was the release of Sheer Heart Attack (1974) and A Night at the Opera (1975) that gained the band international success. The latter featured "Bohemian Rhapsody", which stayed at number one in the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks; it charted at number one in several other territories, and gave the band their first top ten hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. Their 1977 album, News of the World, contained two of rock's most recognisable anthems, "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions". By the early 1980s, Queen were one of the biggest stadium rock bands in the world, and their performance at 1985's Live Aid is widely regarded as one of the greatest in rock history. In 1991, Mercury died of bronchopneumonia, a complication of AIDS, and Deacon retired in 1997. Since then, May and Taylor have infrequently performed together, including a collaboration with Paul Rodgers under the name Queen + Paul Rodgers which ended in May 2009.
The band have released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles, and 10 number one DVDs. Estimates of their album sales generally range from 150 million to 300 million albums, making them one of the world's best-selling music artists. They received the Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1990, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
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