Years later Brian May once declared: "I think 'Hyde Park' was one of the most important concerts in our career. There was a lot of confirmation at that time, because we had made it in many countries at that time. But in England we were still not really sure that we were accepted. So it was wonderful to come back, see this crowd and feel this reaction." Steve Hillage, who was on that memorable day in the lead-up to the event among others, confirms May's assessment: "The Hyde Park event has cemented Queen's status as a truly great star. They then reached a higher level." Richard Branson, organizer of the concert, also agrees: "For Queen, it was a turning point in her career."
When Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor left the stage on that evening of 18 September 1976, they had finally risen to superstars at home in the kingdom. The audience was furious. But the band didn't give an encore, contrary to their other habits.
Almost two years before Queen had been one of many rock bands. Although their debut hit - "Killer Queen" reached the English Top Ten in November '74 and reached 12th place in the USA - had given them great hopes, they were still among the second guards of UK Rock. Not for long.
Only twelve months later, Queen set out to ascend her throne. They owe this to one of the most unusual singles in rock history: "Bohemian Rhapsody" had been the sensation of 1975. The six-minute song offered a breathtaking collection of styles, moods and colours - the palette ranged from flawless hard rock, solemn madrigal singing and shrill pop to classical ballads. Staged with surgical precision and coolly calculated, "Bohemian Rhapsody" conquered the top of the charts in England in November 1975 and remained there - record! - for nine weeks. In the USA the song made it to ninth place, in Germany to seven. Also the accompanying album "A Night At The Opera" did not owe anything to what "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Queens had promised three predecessor works. In short: In the summer of 1976 at the latest, Queen knocked on the door of the executive floor of the English rock scene.