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Classic Album covers : News Of The World - Queen

News of the World is the sixth studio album by Queen and was released on 28 October 1977. Containing the hits  We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions and Spread Your Wings, it went 4x platinum in the US and twice platinum in the UK

The album’s cover was a painting by award winning American sci-fi artist Frank Kelly Freas. Drummer Roger Taylor had an issue of ‘Astounding Science Fiction’ from October 1953 whose cover-art depicted a giant intelligent robot holding the dead body of a man. The caption read: “Please… fix it, Daddy?” to illustrate the story The Gulf Between by Tom Godwin. The robot killing the man was likened to a child injuring a bug and looking up at his parents saying “what have I done?”

Frank Kelly Freas was involved in the science fiction field from 1950 until his death in 2005. He painted everything from pieces for NASA, to book covers, to magazine covers, to buxom beauties as nose art on fighter planes to Mad Magazine, and even the covers for the GURPS books for Lensman and Planet Krishna. He won numerous awards, and was often hailed as ‘The Dean of Science Fiction Artists’

The painting inspired the band to contact Freas, who agreed to alter the painting for their album cover, by replacing the single dead man with the four ‘dead’ band members (Taylor and Deacon falling to the ground)

The inner cover has the robot extending its hand to snatch up the petrified fleeing audience in the shattered auditorium where the corpses were removed. The cover gained some controversy to some fans claiming that the robot killed the members and also, retailer Kmart refused to sell it. Freas said he was a classical music fan and did not know Queen, and only listened to the band after doing the cover “because I thought I might just hate them, and it would ruin my ideas”, but eventually liked their music

The cover features in the television cartoon series Family Guy (season 10, episode 16, Killer Queen), where Brian uses it to terrorise toddler Stewie. The storyline is based on series creator Seth MacFarlane’s fear of the cover as a child

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