Wednesday 9pm: Feature LP: Queen – A Night At The Opera (1975)

A Night at the Opera is the fourth studio album by the British rock band Queen, released on 21 November 1975 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, it was the most expensive album ever recorded at the time of its release. The album takes its name from the Marx Brothers film of the same name, which the band watched one night at the studio complex when recording. A Night at the Opera incorporates a wide range of styles, including ballads, songs in a music hall style, hard rock tracks and progressive rock influences.

The album topped the UK Albums Chart for four non-consecutive weeks. It peaked at number four on the US Billboard 200 chart and became the band’s first Platinum-selling album in the US. The worldwide sales for the album are over six million copies. It also produced the band’s most successful single in the UK, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which became their first UK number one and one of the best-selling singles in both the UK and the world.

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Tuesday 9pm: Feature LP: Elton John – Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975)

Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is a 1975 album by Elton John. It is John’s ninth studio album.

The album is an autobiographical account of the early musical careers of Elton John (Captain Fantastic) and Bernie Taupin (the Brown Dirt Cowboy). It was released in May 1975 by MCA in America and DJM in the UK. It debuted at number 1 on the US Billboard 200, the first album to do so, and stayed in that position for seven weeks.

It was certified gold in May 1975 and was certified platinum and 3x platinum in March 1993 by the RIAA. In Canada, it also debuted at number 1 on the RPM national Top Albums chart and only broke a run of what would have been fifteen consecutive weeks at the top by falling one position to number 2 in the ninth week (31 May–6 September). On the UK Albums Chart, it peaked at number 2. In 2003, the album was ranked number 158 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. This was the last album until Too Low for Zero that Elton John and his classic band would play on together.

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Monday 9pm: Feature LP: Wings – Wings At The Speed Of Sound (1976)

Wings at the Speed of Sound is the fifth studio album by Wings, released on 25 March 1976 as a follow-up to their previous album Venus and Mars. Issued at the height of the band’s popularity, it reached the top spot on the US album chart and peaked at number 2 on the UK album chart. Both singles from the album also reached the top 5 of the UK and US singles charts, with ‘Silly Love Songs’ reaching number 1 in the US.

The album was recorded and released in the midst of Wings’ highly successful Wings Over the World tour, with songs from the album performed on the tour after its release. Subsequently, performances of ‘Let ‘Em In’, ‘Silly Love Songs’ and ‘Beware My Love’ were included on the live album Wings over America, released in December 1976.

As a reaction to critics who believed Wings was merely a vehicle for Paul McCartney, the album featured every member of the band taking lead vocals on at least one song, and two songs from the album are written or co-written by band members other than the McCartneys.

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Wednesday 10pm: Feature LP: Tom Petty – Wildflowers (1994)

Wildflowers is the second solo studio album by American musician Tom Petty, released on November 1, 1994. The album was the first released by Petty after signing a contract with Warner Bros. Records (where he had recorded as part of the Traveling Wilburys) and the first of three albums produced by Rick Rubin. The album was certified 3x platinum in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Three singles were released from the album between 1994 and 1995, the most successful of which, “You Don’t Know How It Feels”, reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Album Rock Tracks chart for one week.

The album features all members of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with the exception of drummer Stan Lynch. Steve Ferrone plays drums on Wildflowers and would join the band officially the following year. However, the album was not credited to the Heartbreakers because, in Petty’s words, “Rick (Rubin) and I both wanted more freedom than to be strapped into five guys.” Freedom notwithstanding, Petty chose to use most of his regular band as session players, demonstrating his comfort with that format. Rolling Stone placed Wildflowers at number 12 on their list of the best albums of the 1990s. Guitar World placed the album at number 49 in their “Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994” list.

In April 2015, when Petty’s back catalog was released in High-resolution audio, this was one of only two albums not included in the series (Songs and Music from “She’s the One” was the other one), but a hi-res version is available on Pono Music.

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Wednesday 9pm: Feature LP: Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever (1989)

Full Moon Fever is the debut solo studio album by Tom Petty, released on April 24, 1989 by MCA Records. It features contributions from members of his backing band the Heartbreakers, notably Mike Campbell, along with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison (who died prior to its release), and George Harrison of the Traveling Wilburys. The record shows Petty exploring his musical roots with nods to his influences. The songwriting is mainly collaborations between Petty and Lynne, who was also a producer on the album. The album became a commercial and critical success peaking at No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and being certified 5× platinum in the United States and 6× platinum in Canada.

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Wednesday 8pm: Feature LP: Tom Petty – Into The Great Wide Open (1991)

Into the Great Wide Open is the eighth studio album by American rock band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, first released in 1991. The album was the band’s last with MCA Records. The album was the second Petty produced with Jeff Lynne after the success of Full Moon Fever.

The first single, “Learning to Fly”, became the band’s joint longest-running No. 1 single (along with “The Waiting” from 1981’s Hard Promises) on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, spending six weeks at the top spot. The second single, “Out in the Cold”, also made No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, albeit for two weeks.

The music video for the title song starred Johnny Depp, who had moved to Los Angeles as a teenager to seek rock stardom, along with Gabrielle Anwar, Faye Dunaway, Matt LeBlanc, Terence Trent D’Arby and Chynna Phillips.

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Tuesday 9:20pm: Feature LP: Tom Petty – Southern Accents (1985)

Southern Accents is the sixth album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released on March 26, 1985, through MCA Records.

The album’s lead single, “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, co-written by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its music video featured Alice in Wonderland imagery. “Southern Accents” was later covered by Johnny Cash for his Unchained album in 1996, on which members of the Heartbreakers play.

The recording sessions saw some tension between the band members, as each had a different vision for the album. Originally conceived as a concept album, the theme of “Southern Accents” became somewhat murky with the inclusion of three songs co-written by Stewart, and three other songs originally planned for the album left off. Songs cut from the track list include “Trailer”, “Big Boss Man”, “Crackin’ Up”, “The Image of Me” and “The Apartment Song”. These can be found on Playback, a box set released 10 years later that included familiar songs with outtakes, B-sides and other rarities. “Trailer” was released in May 2016 by another band led by Petty, Mudcrutch, on their album 2.

While mixing the opening track “Rebels” Petty became frustrated and punched a wall, severely breaking his left hand. Subsequent surgery on his hand left him with several pins, wires and screws to hold his hand together.

The album cover features an 1865 painting by Winslow Homer titled The Veteran in a New Field.

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