Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Queen - News of the World

I don't about any of you Gen X'ers or seventies crew, but this album cover scared the living shit out of me as a child. It's cathartic if not ironic that "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions" was literally my lullaby for most of 1977 as I used to have the radio on and tuned to the local rock station that did a top 5 at 9:00 pm and I'd force my 7-year-old body to stay awake until Queen finished the final note, then drift off.

When I saw the cover of News of the World and that cold, emotionless robot dipping his metallic finger into a gored planet and holding the dead bodies of Queen with blood dripping from his steel finger, Jesus wept... I couldn't keep it together when I saw it in the stores. I was so petrified of that murdering automaton, and I laugh now, since at the same time I thought that Gene Simmons with blood curling out of his mouth was the coolest thing ever!

Even more unnerving is when you extend the gatefold to see the rest of the artwork. Obviously the robot served as metaphor, which is sheer genius, but for a child of the seventies, what a stark visual of hell if there ever was one. Of course, my cousins laughed at me when I didn't want to look at their cassette copy. This, as the 8 track was dying out and cassettes were a brand new technology, yikes. News of the world indeed...


Blogger bob_vinyl said...

The thing that scares me about News of the World is that Queen actually paid someone to design it! Great album, terrible cover. Still, it's a great story about your childhood!

May 22, 2007 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

It is creepy. I remember seeing the album in a Nichols store years ago and staring at the cover. I think it's far better than the next few covers that would come after it.

May 23, 2007 at 5:58 AM  
Blogger taotechuck said...

Any chance you could get a scan of the gatefold up there? You've made me curious about the rest of the cover.

May 23, 2007 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

I like the cover--it's so bad it's good. Creepy doesn't bother me ... boring does. And this isn't boring.

-- david

May 23, 2007 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

What's it say about me that the first thing I noticed about that album cover is how big the robot's ears are? I had to look back at it to see the blood....

May 23, 2007 at 7:55 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Bob seems the only legit contender for a gatefold scan that I know of. The rest of the artwork shows the robot kneeling and the earth gored out and bloody with screaming people in it, if I recall right. You're right, David, it's not boring!

And Bob, yeah, this album definitely holds some weird background for me personally, lol...

Nichols! I remember that store. And yeah, Mark, Queen didn't put as much effort into their album covers afterwards.

Those are pretty funny ears, Curare, good catch. I remember thinking that when I was younger, but kinda forgot over the years.

May 24, 2007 at 6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you hit the nail on the head. I remember as a kid just staring at the cover and the art inside. It was a scary weird feeling. I am glad it wasnt just me! Well, off to find the pics of the inside.

November 11, 2007 at 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everyone! I had a fear of the cover AND gatefold up until a year ago. I too, didnt like it when i was younger and even being 25 i was still freaked by it. I decided to gain knowledge about (usually the more you know about something the less you are afraid of it) anyhoo, I learned about the history of the cover (it is a sad robot) If you look in its eyes you can tell (something i didnt pay attention to when i was younger. Frank Kelly Freas was the artist. He is one of the best sci fi painters in the world. anyway back to the paintings. Im sure you all know that the robot originally appeared on a sci fi cover in 1953 with the caption, "please daddy, wont you fix it." (meaning the robot had broken its toy and was sad) and later in years Brian May and Roger Taylor wanted it as their cover. Roger and Brian wanted the original cover but Kelly asked them if they would like it updated. So they were jus going to have all of them in the hand but kelly told them they wouldnt be recognizable. So Kelly made it with 2 in hand and 2 fallen out meaning they had a double cover THEN called for an inside painting. I had the great honor of emailing Frank Kelly Freas wife, Laura Brodian Freas. She is a very nice woman who answered all the questions i had. Also about the gatefold, she told me that the robot is breaking through the roof of a rock concert hall and that kelly made it as it is up to YOU the viewer to decide if the robot is attacking or saving them from a caving in roof. basically he made it to be both meanings. I, myself, after learning about him, his art, and other things choose to see it as the robot is curious/saving them. Thats all I can see now anyway. and if you look at Frank Kelly's paintings you would see alot of them resemble the people (the way they are drawn) He was a very nice man who was truly gifted. I would suggest to ANYONE who fears this to look him up and go to kellyfreas.com and email his wife. I promise, you will see it in a different way :)

June 26, 2008 at 12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also let me add, its NOT a bloody hole.. Its supposed to be a rock concert hall and the red that you see in the inside gatefold and the outside hole is supposed to be the concert lights illuminating. that hole is the concert hall roof. See what i mean about knowing about it, makes it less scary.. everyone automatically assumes the worst :)

July 22, 2008 at 2:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weird thing is the only one that is bleeding is the figure of Freddy, the only one that has died, of a terrible decease. (aids)

March 15, 2009 at 2:11 PM  
Anonymous scarlyjones said...

This cover didnt have a whole lot put into it, as one might think....that cover,...as creepy AND COOL as it was,...was actually a rip off (almost exact) of a comic book cover from 1953 called "Astounding Science Fiction" The only difference made on the Queen Cover, was a single dead man, was removed and replaced with the bodies of the members of QUEEN. I did not know it was a rip off as a child and I, too, was pretty creeped out by this cover. I remember sleeping over at my friends house and his older brother had this album laying out. It was the first time I had ever seen it. A certain uneasy terror struck me and I had nightmares for a few days. I will never forget that.

June 21, 2009 at 6:09 PM  

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