When Queen Became Live Killers

July 14, 2017

On 14 July 1979, the first live album by Queen made the UK top ten, peaking that week at No. 3 and officially making them Live KillersThe band’s already famous reputation as one of the world’s greatest live rock bands was finally on record for all to hear.

Live Killers debuted at No. 22 on the 7 July UK chart, rising to No. 3 a week later. On the Billboard 200 that week, it raced 98-35, peaking a few weeks later at No. 16. The album went gold in the UK, Germany and other European countries, and was eventually certified double platinum in the US.

Queen 1979 poster

The live record was recorded in the first three months of 1979, while Queen were on tour to support the Jazz album, released the previous November. Many of the recordings come from the German leg of the tour, in cities including Cologne and Munich.

In John Tobler and Stuart Grundy’s book The Guitar Greats, published in 1983, Brian May spoke candidly about the Live Killers album and concert recordings in general. "Live albums are inescapable, really,” he mused. “Everyone tells you you have to do them, and when you do, you find that they're very often not of mass appeal, and in the absence of a fluke condition, you sell your live album to the converted, the people who already know your stuff and come to the concerts.

“So if you add up the number of people who've seen you over the last few years, that's very roughly the number who'll buy your live album, unless you have a hit single on it, which we didn't – maybe we chose the wrong one, which was 'Love Of My Life' in England and America."

Purchase Live Killers.

Follow the official Queen Best Of playlist.

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  1. Cathy Gallagher

    My younger brother was playing Live Killers when his friend (who didn’t like Queen) came round. He was converted after hearing the live version of Brighton Rock. A Queen fan was born!

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