Queen II is the second studio album by British rock group Queen, released in March 1974. It was recorded at Trident Studios, London in August 1973 with co-producers Roy Thomas Baker and Robin Cable, and engineered by Mike Stone.
The two sides of the original LP were labelled "Side White" and "Side Black" (instead of the conventional sides "1" and "2"), with corresponding photos of the band dressed in white or in black on either side of the record's label face. It is also a concept album, with the white side having songs with a more emotional theme and the black side almost entirely about fantasy, often with quite dark themes.
Released to an initially mixed critical reception, Queen II remains one of the band's lesser-known albums. Nonetheless, the album has retained a cult following since its release, has garnered praise from musicians such as Axl Rose, Steve Vai and Billy Corgan, and is significant in being the first album to contain elements of the band's signature sound of multi layered overdubs, vocal harmonies, and varied musical styles.
After the album's completion in the end of August 1973, Queen added "Ogre Battle", "Procession" and "Father to Son" to their live setlists immediately and toured extensively. Once again, however, Trident delayed the record since Queen's first album had only just been released in the UK and had yet to be issued in the USA. Numerous other problems beset the album's release, as well. Its completion coincided with the 1973 oil crisis and consequently, government-enforced measures for energy conservation delayed its manufacture by several months. Once the long-overdue first pressing arrived in record shops, the band noticed a spelling error on the sleeve, and had to complain persistently to correct it.
Queen II entered UK stores on 8 March 1974. The album enjoyed chart success in the UK, peaking at number 5. It peaked at number 49 in the US, improving on their debut album Queen, which peaked at number 83. The only single taken from Queen II, "Seven Seas of Rhye" (released in February 1974) peaked at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, giving the band their first chart hit.