Brian May Wonders if Queen Invented Thrash Metal
Notably covered by Metallica, the original version of "Stone Cold Crazy" appeared on Queen’s third album, Sheer Heart Attack, in 1974. In a recent interview with Guitar World, May explained that the song was around for a while by that point.
“It was one of the first songs we ever played together, so it’s interesting that it never made it onto a record until the third album,” he said. “That’s quite unusual, isn’t it? I think we were playing ‘Stone Cold Crazy’ in our very first gigs.”
You can hear the track below.
He added that the “original version … sounded like a lot of other things which were around at the time, with quite an easygoing riff. It didn’t have much pace to it. But I thought, ‘These lyrics are kind of frenetic, so the music should be frenetic as well.’ So I put this riff on it, which people are telling me is the birth of thrash metal or something! I don’t know about that. But was unusual at the time to play at that pace.”
May described the track as “a bit of fun,” noting, “I don’t think we regarded it as that serious, which is perhaps why it never made it onto an album until number three. But it’s nice and heavy. I still remember going in to do the definitive version of it, and it was faster than ever – we just went for it! There’s a lot of adrenaline: ‘Let’s go for it!’ It really does burn. And I liked the sounds that we had in place by that time.”
Listen to Metallica's 'Stone Cold Crazy' Cover
The guitarist said the song was also notable for capturing a live atmosphere in the studio. “We started to have it down by that point,” he explained.
“Once you get a grip on that kind of stuff, you can fool yourself into thinking it’s live when you’re in the studio. So it doesn’t sound calculated – it sounds real and spontaneous. And we captured it. I think that’s all one take. It’s not like messing around doing take after take. We just did it. I’d say that’s when we started to master the studio.”
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