After releasing a handful of ignored albums, the band began to break into the mainstream with the acclaimed 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime. Its follow-up, Empire, was the group's biggest success, selling over two million copies due to the hit single "Silent Lucidity." Queensrÿche never sustained that widespread popularity -- like most late-'80s metal bands, their audience disappeared after the emergence of grunge. Nevertheless, they retained a large cult following well into the ensuing decades.
Guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton formed Queensrÿche in 1981 in the Seattle, WA, suburb of Bellevue. Both guitarists had been playing in heavy metal cover bands and had decided to form a group that would play original material. The duo recruited high-school friends Geoff Tate (vocals) and bassist Eddie Jackson (bass), as well as drummer Scott Rockenfield.