Available to special order only, this exclusive BMG collectors item pays tribute to Queen's magnum opus, "News Of The World", with the album's iconic gatefold sleeve reproduced in all its glory across the body and pickguard of a very limited edition instrument.
NOTW's famed artwork, painted by American artist Frank Kelly Freas, was a reimagining of his cover for the October 1953 issue of pulp sci-fi magazine Astounding Science Fiction, a favourite of Queen dummer, Roger Taylor's. Used to illustrate the short story “The Gulf Between" by Tom Godwin, the original work depicted a giant robot, a man’s lifeless body help limply in one hand, its finger dripping with blood and eyes pleading "Please... fix it, Daddy?”.
At the band’s request, Freas altered the haunting imagery, replacing the fatally wounded figure with the apparently dead likenesses of all four band members; Brian May and Freddie Mercury lying in the automaton’s monstrous metal hand, with John Deacon and Roger Taylor falling to earth. The visionary illustrator was also commissioned to create a new work for the album’s inner gatefold, with the cooly emotionless robot extending its hand through the shattered roof of a vast auditorium to grasp at a panicked, fleeing crowd.
A classical music fan, Freas admitted to not knowing of Queen in advance, and avoided their music until after the cover was completed "because I thought I might just hate them, and it would ruin my ideas”. Thankfully, upon listening to the album after submitting his contribution to what would eventually become part of rock history, the artist approved of what he heard - “They are firmly grounded in classical music, but they are inventive,” he raved. “It’s like these guys have absorbed all the quality music they can and then put it all in a bucket and stirred it up.”
Released on October 28th 1977 (the same day as the Sex Pistols unleashed "Never Mind the Bollocks..."), Queen’s sixth studio platter saw the band respond to the threat of punk rock by delivering the most stripped-down and straightforward collection of their career, focusing on a leaner, more spontaneous sound and feel, while still retaining the multi-layered flamboyance and hard-rock heft of their earlier work. Opening in epic fashion with the almighty one-two punch of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”, the album celebrates the quartet’s astonishing creative diversity, deftly genre-hopping between proto-punk (“Sheer Heart Attack”), salacious psych-funk (“Get Down, Make Love”), lush calypso-pop (“Who Needs You”), acoustic balladry (“Spread Your Wings”), blues (""Sleeping on the Sidewalk"), theatrical rock and roll (“It’s Late”) and jazzy romanticism (“My Melancholy Blues”).
Despite receiving mixed reviews upon its release, with many critics commenting negatively on the band's stylistic change, "News Of The World" has subsequently been certified double platinum in the UK and 4 x platinum in the United States and remains the band’s most successful long player to sate, with over 10 million copies sold worldwide. Album openers "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You" have also of course become enduring arena-rock anthems that are a staple of Queen live shows, as well as sporting events around the world, to this day.
Christened in honour of his creator, the album's cover star, Frank the robot, has assumed iconic status in his own right, brought spectacularly to life for Queen + Adam Lambert's 2017 + 2018 concert performances, both as an animated visual and an animatronic character, and immortalised in his very own BMG's Art Series model.
The striking artwork that adorns this wonderful instrument was adapted from Frank Kelly Freas' original painting by the Brian May Guitars art department exclusively for this project and will be rendered to order in full-frontal splendour by world-renowned British custom paint specialist Martin Sims of Sims Guitar Works.