Brian May Suggests This Queen Song Might Have Birthed Thrash Metal

By Katrina Nattress

February 19, 2023

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee 2022 - Platinum Party At The Palace
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Queen and thrash metal are two phrases you wouldn't think to hear in the same sentence, but during an interview with Guitar World, Brian May noted how people have told him the band's 1974 song "Stone Cold Crazy" may have been "the birth of thrash metal."

The track was notably covered by Metallica, and May revealed that although it didn't make it on an album until their third (Sheer Heart Attack), it had been in their repertoire for quite some time.

“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.”

The guitarist went on to say 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.”

“I don’t think we regarded it as that serious, which is perhaps why it never made it onto an album until number three," May admitted. "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.”

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