"We argued about everything": The stories behind the making of The Works, the album that returned Queen to rock: Only in the regal new issue of Classic Rock

Classic Rock 325 - front cover
(Image credit: Future)

"Let’s give ’em the works!” That was the rallying cry when Queen returned to the studio in 1983. And that’s exactly what they did. After a couple of years indulging some pop and disco whims, they decided that what they really needed to do was to return to rock. But it wasn’t all plain sailing. As The Works celebrates its 40th birthday, we take a look back at how Queen got back to basics and delivered a bit of a belter. 

This issue we also subject The Black Crowes’ Robinson brothers Chris and Rich to the Classic Rock Interview as the band return with their first album of new material in 15 years, catch up with Judas Priest as they release a new album and prepare to hit the road with Saxon and Uriah Heep, explore the genesis of heavy blues and rock with a cast of thousands, and much more. 

In what is becoming something of a horribly heartbreaking tradition, shortly before we were due to go to press with this issue we heard the very sad news of the passing of the MC5’s Wayne Kramer. We look back at his life and music and pay tribute. 

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Features

Queen
Banned from MTV. Band members buggering off. After a stylistic detour with previous album Hot Space, with The Works Queen got back to basics, and returned to their rock roots and to the ‘real Queen’ sound. 

Wayne Kramer
We look back at the life and times of a guitarist who, during his years with the legendary MC5 and beyond, kicked out the jams more than most

The Pineapple Thief
They almost called it a day in 2016, but these days they’re feeling rejuvenated and regenerated.

Judas Priest
With the new Invincible Shield, their late-career purple patch continues. Rob Halford and Richie Faulkner tell us all about it. 

The Birth Of Heavy Blues
When Jimi Hendrix arrived in London in 1966, he blew the minds of the British rock elite including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Soon they would follow his lead and develop an explosive new form of electric blues.


The cover of Classic Rock 325, featuring a picture of Queen in 1983

(Image credit: Future)

Regulars

The Dirt
AC/DC announce European dates, including two at Wembley Stadium; Joni Mitchell wows the Grammys; Metallica, Paramore and Larkin Poe among other winners. Welcome back Medicine Head and Modern English. Say hello to The Gems and Taylor McCall. Say goodbye to Annie Nightingale, James Kottak and Melanie.

The Stories Behind The Songs: Led Zeppelin
Moby Dick may have begun its life as a modest instrumental showcase for drummer John Bonham on Led Zep II, but when he played it live the song took on an epic life of its own.

Q&A: Scott Stapp
Returning with a new solo album, the Creed frontman reflects on his darkest times, and why music keeps pulling him through

The Classic Rock Interview: The Black Crowes
The Robinson brothers talk about growing up, breaking out, breaking up, making up, love, hate, the pros and cons of success, Snakes, Money Makers and Harmony, dizzying highs (both kinds), heartbreaking lows, lost friends, recriminations, reunions… music and much more.

Ever Meet Lemmy?: Bush
Frontman Gavin Rossdale has been bitten by Shirley Manson, sung on stage with Alice In Chains, played Bush records to Bono, spent 15 hours a day for months with Tom Jones, lunched with Mr & Mrs David Bowie, been to Robert Downey Jr’s island, Carlos Santana said he reminded him of Jim Morrison. These are just some of his celebrity stories.

The Hot List
We look at some of the essential new tracks you need to hear and the artists to have on your radar. This month they include Royal Republic, Moon City Masters, Troy Redfern, Sierra Ferrell, Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts and more.

Reviews
New albums from The Black Crowes, Judas Priest, Bruce Dickinson, Thunder, Mick Mars, Ministry, Steve Hackett, Von Hertzen Brothers, Ace Frehley, Scott Stapp, The Pineapple Thief. Reissues from Paul McCartney & Wings, Hellacopters, Evanescence, Can, Mama’s Boys, Colosseum, Omen, The Waterboys. DVDs, films and books on Queen, The Who, Screaming Trees, Jah Wobble, Sniffin’ Glue. Live reviews of Luke Morley, British Lion, The Skids, Depeche Mode. 

Buyers' Guide: Green Day
The American pop-punks might irk ‘real punks’, but their catalogue has generated sales that spell ‘huge success’.

Lives
We preview tours by Buzzcocks, Feeder and BulletBoys. Plus gig listings – who’s playing where and when.

The Soundtrack Of My Life: Jean-Jaques Burnel
Stranglers bassist/vocalist Jean-Jacques Burnel picks his records, artists and gigs of lasting significance.

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Sian Llewellyn

Classic Rock editor Siân has been an obsessive music nerd for as long as she can remember. Has a pathological hatred of people turning the rock canon into jukebox musicals.