Greatest Hits II
GREATEST HITS II By Gary Taylor The band's second Greatest Hits compilation album was released in the UK on 28 October 1991. Like the first Greatest Hits album issued a decade before, this one was another instant hit reaching the No 1 position at home (for 5 weeks) and in numerous other territories around the world including Holland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Italy, Spain and Hungary. Since its release in the UK it has reached at least 12x platinum, and combined with the first Greatest Hits, it presents the definitive Queen collection, jointly selling an incredible 40 million copies worldwide. The album cover design was based on a concept by Queen and Richard Gray, featuring an updated version of the Queen crest in gold on a royal blue background. The vinyl album was released as a 2 LP set, with a gatefold sleeve including a selection of photos taken from most of the singles videos and album covers, as well as promotional and live photos from over the last ten years. The front cover crest and titles were embossed, like the previous LP editions of A Night At The Opera, Jazz and the American Flash Gordon, and four individual photos from the video shoot of These Are The Days Of Our Lives were used for the back cover. The two inner sleeves each contain the original single covers with a write up on each. The CD version had a larger crest and title design on a lighter blue colour background to that of the LP cover. Like its predecessor, two similarly named sister products accompanied Greatest Hits II, in the form of a book, Greatest Pix II, showing the bands varying image changes with video and live photos from over the years, and also the band’s second video compilation, Greatest Flix II, incorporating most of the promo videos up to 1991. The 17 tracks assembled on the album remained unanimous around the world – no variations were offered based on the territory, like the previous Greatest Hits compilation. So there is the inclusion of non hit singles on some of the editions that were issued abroad, but nevertheless, still popular and radio play hits, if not released as a physical single. A promotional TV advert was made and shown on TV at the time. The album comprises Queen's best-selling hit singles from Under Pressure in 1981 to The Show Must Go On, a perfect career summation and the last single released in Freddie's lifetime in 1991, and every other single to make the top 30 and released over the last seven years. Curiously the singles Body Language, Las Palabras De Amor, Thank God It's Christmas and Scandal were omitted for this release, though all reaching the top 30 in the UK and some higher positions elsewhere in the world. On the vinyl version the tracks Under Pressure, Radio Ga Ga, Innuendo, Who Wants To Live Forever, Headlong, The Miracle, I'm Going Slightly Mad and Hammer To Fall were edited down to that of the original single and album versions or had early fade-outs, due to time constraints on the vinyl. The tracks I Want To Break Free, One Vision, Who Wants To LIve Forever and I Want It All were completely different mixes for the singles to that on the albums. The album was totally overlooked for the US market, where the new record company, Hollywood Records, who Queen had signed to the year before, instead released Classic Queen on 3 March 1992, with a different track listing but similar cover design. Tracks included were A Kind Of Magic, Bohemian Rhapsody, Under Pressure, Hammer To Fall, Stone Cold Crazy, One Year Of Love, Radio Ga Ga, I'm Going Slightly Mad, I Want It All, Tie Your Mother Down, The Miracle, These Are The Days Of Our Lives, One Vision, Keep Yourself Alive, Headlong, Who Wants To Live Forever and The Show Must Go On. The songs Under Pressure, The Miracle and One Vision were edited down due to time restraints on the CD. The album, also released as a VHS video accompaniment, reached No 4 in the US Billboard album charts and has reached at least 3x platinum sales award status. Prior to the album, the re-released single in the US of Bohemian Rhapsody, this time issued as a double A side with The Show Must Go On, propelled the band to the top 10 of the American singles charts in February 1992, and with the use of Bohemian Rhapsody in the movie Wayne's World, would eventually reach the No 2 position. Due to Queen's new high profile and an aggressive marketing campaign by Hollywood Records, America was finally starting to take notice of them again and Queen were suddenly big news. So much so, another compilation album and accompanying video were released in the USA on 15 September 1992 and titled Greatest Hits. This sister album to Classic Queen had a red cover with the crest and titles in gold, and the following tracks: We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Another One Bites The Dust, Killer Queen, Somebody To Love, Fat Bottomed Girls, Bicycle Race, You're My Best Friend, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Now I'm Here, Play The Game, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Body Language, Save Me, Don't Stop Me Now, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy and I Want To Break Free.The album would reach No 11 in the Billboard charts and reach platinum sales award status. On 17 August 2004, to promote the Las Vegas production of the musical We Will Rock You, Hollywood Records released Greatest Hits: We Will Rock You Edition, which has the UK Greatest Hits track listing, complete with an updated cover, with three bonus tracks of I'm In Love With My Car (as used in a TV ad at the time for car giants, Jaguar) and Under Pressure and Tie Your Mother Down from the forthcoming live album Queen On Fire Live At The Bowl. This version would go on to sell over 610,000 copies, and exceed the record companies expectations. A Best Buy exclusive included a bonus DVD featuring two never before commercially released live videos of Somebody To Love with George Michael and The Show Must Go On with Elton John. Producers Various inc. Queen, Mack, David Richards, Engineers Various inc. Mack, David Richards, Mike Beiriger, Croydon, John ‘Teddy Bear’ Brough, Andrew Bradfield, Angelique Cooper, Claude Frider, Andy Mason, Justin Shirely–Smith and Noel Harris Recording Studios Various inc Mountain, Musicland, Record Plant, Townhouse and Metropolis Artwork Concept Queen and Richard Gray Award Status 5 x Platinum (UK)
Did You Know?
1. WITH ‘GREATEST HITS II’ QUEEN BECAME THE FIRST BAND TO RELEASE TWO GENUINE GREATEST HITS COMPILATIONS WHICH CONTAINED NO FILLER TRACKS. 2. THE ALBUM WAS ORIGINALLY RELEASED AS A DOUBLE ALBUM WITH FULL VERSIONS OF ALL THE SONGS –THE CD WAS SLIGHTLY EDITED 3. THE 17 TRACKS HITS ALBUM THAT COVERED THE YEARS 1981 TO 1991 HAS TO DATE ACHIEVED A 5 X PLATINUM AWARD 4. THE ALBUM HAS BEEN REPACKAGED TWICE-ONCE WITH THE ORIGINAL GREATEST HITS AND AGAIN WITH BOTH ‘GH’ WITH THEIR THIRD HITS ALBUM ‘GREATEST HITS III TO FORM ‘THE PLATINUM COLLECTION’ 5. ‘GREATEST HITS II’ WAS QUEEN’S SECOND NO. 1 COMPILATION HIT ALBUM AROUND THE WORLD.
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