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PD: Queen and the Beatles17 Jan 2003 20:41
It's an old plan of me to write down my thoughts and observations regarding this two bands.
I'm going to do it step by step, mostly in essay form in this thread. Beside some harmless general points (eg. cross references) I'm going to compare apples and oranges pointing out similarities and differences. It's a topic I feel one has to be very careful and trying not too deep consequences, but I will try my best.
1.PD 07 Apr 2003 20:25
Her is the chapter about cross-references.


Freddie Mercury was definitely influenced by the Beatles. In the late sixties his two favourites were the Beatles and Hendrix as an old mate of his recalls. Another friend recalls "We’d all sit around and have amazing vocal sessions singing Bee Gees, Beach Boys and Beatles songs". Freddie's pre-Queen band covered "Rain" (recording exists). Chris Thompson suggested that Freddie's interest of linking very different sections together was (probably just partly) influenced by "A Day In The Life". Brian May talks about Beatles records were Freddie's "Bible". May made this remark concerning the double-tracked lead vocals in Bohemian Rhapsody. Unfortunately we don't know how direct exactly Freddie's Beatles-influence was, as we don't know how in-depth he studied Beatles records, for example the key changes. Beatles surely were a band you can learn some types of changing the key, but even the earliest Mercury songs show elements that are not represented in the Beatles canon. Others are. For example the compressed vocals in "... Sunday Afternoon". Another connection is the vaudeville style songs that were popularized by the Beatles (not exclusively though). Freddie mentions in an early interview his primary influence for doing this sort of songs were the Pointer Sisters (another possible influence is the film "Cabaret" which Mercury admired). Freddie Mercury mentions the Beatles in interviews in different contexts. For example Lennon as a contrasting example against his "message-free" approach of lyrics. He talked about the fortcoming "A Night At The Opera" album as their own "Sgt Pepper". When was Lennon was assasined, Freddie wrote Life Is Real as a "song for Lennon".

Brian May in interviews often talks about his early favourites and influences with deep respect. He mentions a lot of bands including Beatles. He describes them as his "heroes". Brian May's school band "1984" among many other songs covered some Beatles songs too: Eight Days A Week, I'm A Loser, I Feel Fine, Chains (covered by Beatles as well), I Want To Hold Your Hand, I Should Have Known Better. In the Killer Queen video (ca. 1981) his profile includes Beatles as his favourite band. Preparing for his "Another World" album he talked about being inspired by Lennon's "Jealous Guy". Early 2000 in his personal top-10 he lists I Want To Hold Your Hand and Hey Jude (and also Jealous Guy). In his solo song "Rollin Over" he quotes the opening riff of "Day Tripper".


Excerpts from Brian interviews:
------------------
What is the song you wish you had written?
BM: I guess that would be Jealous Guy by John Lennon. The perfect song. Totally revealing and honest, and it makes me cry.

--------------
"I mean I'm the biggest Beatles fan on the Earth, I'd have voted for all the Beatles songs you know".

-----------
Richard Madeley: Who would you have voted for?

Brian May: Probably John Lennon.

Richard Madeley: What Imagine?

Brian May: My favourite song was actually Jealous Guy but that wasn't actually a single so I'm not allowed to vote for it am I?"

--------------------------
Did you like the Beatles?

Brian: I was crazy about the Beatles. And Cliff Richard and the Shadows. They were big in England.
--------------------------------------------

I know you're a huge George Harrison fan and I'm sure his illness must have saddened you, as it has us. A friend of mine lives near his house and told me that helicopters regularly fly over it, trying to get pictures...
BM: It's obscene. I've been thinking about George a lot recently and I really wish him well. And just before you came I was thinking about how the press treated Freddie when he was ill. You know, he literally couldn't step outside his door for photographers. They were even trying to get in the windows and there's absolutely nothing you can do; you have no protection.
But I've only met George once. We played together at a Water Rats do, when Bert Weedon was King Rat. There was George, Joe Brown, Bert and me... what a precious moment. I had a blinding migraine, but the moment overcame the pain. I wish I'd had the balls to say what I really wanted to at the time. I hold George in such reverence and I think he's so underrated by the guitar community; everyone raves about people who play fast, but if you look at the catalogue of stuff he's produced, it's colossal.



Roger Taylor too had been asked about Beatles:

RS: Did the Beatles have a significant impact on you as a kid?
RT: No, not at all. When they first broke, you just couldn't get around them. Everything was Beatles. But I was never crazy about their music until the release of "Revolver". Then they got me. That album was just brilliant and it really affected me rather strongly. But before that I preferred the Who and the Yardbirds - real seminal British bands.

Another RT quote:
"I'm not a Paul McCartney who gets up and writes a song before breakfast. He's trying to break the world record for writing songs!" (1982).


Roger covered the Lennon song "Working Class Hero" on his Electric Fire album. Rogertalks about it in an interview:
"I am a big John Lennon fan, I could go on about him forever. I think the Plastic Ono Band album wasn't a big hit when it was first released by really it is entirely seminal. This song is probably not so well known by a whole generation so we decided to do a different kind of rock band variation on it."

- "Who who were your influences at the time?
"RT: Oh I would definitely say and I could. the band felt pretty much the same on on this I would definitely say Hendrix, Lennon, and for me, probably more than the others. Dylan as well, cause I I just love Bob Dylan's er mid period and er early period."

Another qute: "He (John Lennon) was a great hero of mine. A major, major hero."

Later he would cover "With A Little Help From My Friends" on stage.


John Deacon
- Who inspired you to be a musician?
JD: the Beatles and other 60's groups.


The band:
Late 1968 when Smile sent a demo tape (contents unknown) to the Beatles' new Apple label, the only feedback they received was that Paul McCartney liked their logo.

RT: We got a call from Paul McCartney saying Wings were playing there next week and they'd need a hole in the rood, so could he pay for one of them? Just think - we became the first group to sell Paul McCartney a hole.

JD: "The other day we met Paul McCartney and that was great. He even said hello to Roger and said he was doing fine. McCartney has been Brian's hero since teen days. I must say though Juniors Farm was rather a disappointing single. McCartney has done so much good work. Band On The Run was very good. Getting back to my earlier remark, I suppose I could be in some laboratory or something now. I don't know really but what I'm doing at present is so rewarding."
 
Late 1980 Queen performed "Imagine" on stage.


Unfortunately ex-Beatles members were hardly ever asked about Queen.
There is a "legend", (mentioned by Roger in an interview) that "Crazy Little Thing" partly inspired John Lennon returning to the music scene. I could not find any trace of this remark by Lennon on the internet, so it must be just a legend, nothing more.
Lennon does mention Queen in his Playboy interview (1980):
...the kids who keep writing me saying, "I'm only fourteen now and I missed it." I mean,  listen to the Beatles records, but, forget that, dig 'Queen' or 'Clash' or whatever is going on now!

Not confirmed short Paul McCartney quotes:
"Queen is a a band with musical skills" or something like this.
"the meister has gone away" or something like this
"King Mercury" - this is confirmed, Paul reffered Freddie with these words.

Ringo Starr, as "Thomas the Tank Engine" narrator:
"What a great gang of guys!"


See full interviews at www.queen-interviews.com
2.PD 11 Apr 2003 20:00
Queen and The Beatles

To compare these two four-piece bands is like comparing apples and oranges. Can we compare apples with oranges? Of course we can, there are similarities and differences between them. I wish I could write about this topic without bias, but I'm afraid I can't. I'm definitely a bigger fan of Queen than the Beatles. Well, I'm trying to do my best an trying not to be unfair. Alarm me if I was.
Let's start with the major similarities:

- Both Beatles and Queen were Brittish band with four members.
- Their output covered pop and rock music (and more than just these two), with exceptional talent.
- Exceptional diversity, combined with great sense of melody.
- Accumulation of interesting songwriting details.
- The summarized playing time of their studio songs is in the same range. The Beatles wrote more songs, while Queen released two more studio albums (counting Magical Mystery Tour EP as an album) and their songs were averagely longer.



The major differences regarding their carrier and musical evolution


Beatles started as a pop/rock band with commercial albums where every song was radio-friendly ("not A Second Time" being maybe the first exception). They gradualy built in more and more non-radio-friendly element into their music. Less than the half of late period songs were radio-friendly.
Queen went on a different path: the first two Queen albums had only 1-2 radio-friendly songs, the rest was too heavy or too progressive, or not catchy or repetitive enough. Later Queen albums became more radio-oriented especially from the Game album onwards. About half (or tad more) of the late-period Queen songs are more or less radiofriendly.
The difference between the two bands is nicely reflected in their long/short hair periodes.


The way they broke through was rather different. Beatles' debut album (Please Please Me) was commercial and melodic, and remarkably well-promoted in the UK (courtesy of Brian Epstein). Their breakthrough in the US was supported extreme intense campaign. Retrospectively the situation may seem to be plain and clear: good songs result in big succes. Queen songs (the classics, that charted poorly) and the way that before the US campaign Beatles albums and singles did not chart show that music business often refuse to follow that logic.
 Financially Queen's debut was also well promoted, but with a weak efficiency. They were not particularly satisfied with their management (Beatles would have never written a song like Death On Two Legs dedicated to Epstein) Hardly 1-2 songs on the first Queen album were radio-friendly, and their fan basis could not be fanatized the maniac way Beatles fans were. Think of the Beatles movies. Can you imagine this "maniac" marketing approach used for Queen? Different times, different approaches. There were some screaming girls among Queen fans too, far not as much as among Beatles fans, and they got less emphasys in Queen-related films.
 Queen could not break through properly until 1980. The No4 charting of Bohemian Rhapsody or No3 of We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You in the US cannot be considered to be a breakthrough at all. The US market wanted repetitive or dance oriented tracks,like Another One Bites The Dust and Crazy Little Thing. The Hot Space album became black music oriented, which was a risky step, too much soo. Body Language majorly damaged the respect and the established "rock" image of the band. Critics started saying things like "euro-pop" and "gay-pop", and buyers started to belive this crap talk. For the US rockers Queen sold out, the stations refused to play their songs including the early ones, especially when The video of "I Want To Break Free" came out. Beatles have never really got in the situation to be considered commonly "sold out". They managed to stay on top until the end. Their albums were well-marketed well produced, and of course well-written. Their better singles and albums became routinly No1. Queen achived only in the eighties that their albums became No1 routinly in the UK (the singles not!), OTOH they lost the US market almost completly. This had a lasting effect: according to profile and guestbook analysis 60 percent of the on-line fans are US-based, only 25-30 percent of Queen fans live in the US.
www.petebest.com
queen.musichall.cz
forums.queenonline.com

certified album salas in the US:
www.riaa.com

Between the forming and the debut of the two bands roughly ten years passed. Beatles's recording carrier lasted about 7-8 years (1962-1969), Queen's about 20 years (1971-1991 not counting later projects). Considering the similar volume of their output one can see Beatles had to work with a much busier recording shedule: averagely two albums a year while Queen produced one album per year in the seventies and roughly two years per album after Hot Space. The reason behind this difference: recording of Queen songs/albums usually took more time, Queen concert tours lasted longer, it was usual to release one album per year/two years.

For different reasons both band retired from giving concerts in their late years. Between the last concert of the two bands passed twenty years (august 1966, august 1986).


Members as songwriters

The Beatles' output was dominated by two of them: John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Later on George Harrison also became a major songwriter, while Ringo Starr's contribution as songwriter was limited to a three-chord song and a four-chord skecth of a song that the others had completed (Octopus's Garden).
Queen was a more balanced and democratic songwriting team. While definitely Mercury and May were the most prolific members, nobody speaks about "Mercury/May songwriting team" without the other two. Taylor and Deacon too became major songwriters with more songs per album and also a couple of chart hits, while Mercury wrote less songs and singles in his late period. This was partly due to his solo carrier, partly due to his declining health. In spite the shared credits Lennon and McCartney were writing song more or less separately with ususally just minor contribution from the other in the late period. Queen in their late period started to write songs more frequently with shared credits and they used full band credits on the last albums. In fact just a few of the songs were real balanced teamworks, most of them had a dominant songwriter.


The members as musicians

The major difference between the basic line-up of the two band was that Beatles had not a preferred singer (a frontman), and they had two guitarist (rhythm and lead) and no pianist (in their BASIC line-up).
Queen had a frontman, a main singer who also played the piano, and there was only one guitarist. Both band had multinstrumentalist members.


In both band the bass-player also wrote songs, played the guitar (sometimes in fingerpicking style), played piano/keyboard occassionally Paul probably tad more accomplished. I mean his most difficoult to play piano accompaniment (Martha My Dear) requires more trained skills than Deacon's "You'Re My Best Friend". Paul McCartney also was one of the main singers of his band and also played drums a couple of times, while John Deacon have never played the drums nor has he sung on any records. As bassplayers technically and melodically they were in the same league. As Paul was there earlier and played in a more famous band his playing could influence more people (including Deacon), so Pual is far more respected. Technically John was maybe tad more trained. McCartney played bass with pick, Deacon with fingers most of the time. Both of them tried out double bass.

In both band the drummer has sung on a couple of times, Roger more frequently. Roger also played the guitar (occassionally also in the studio), bass. On a very basic level both Ringo and Roger could play on piano/keyboard. Roger was a more prominent songwriter in Queen than Ringo in the Beatles. Roger (as nearly every major drummer of his generation) was technically more trained than Ringo. Ringo was not bad drummer at all, in his own non-virtuoso way he was a very fine and artistic drummer, who happened to not like playing solos.

Freddie Mercury was more definitely more trained on the piano than any Beatle. As singer he had a more trained voice as well, which does not necessarly mean he was a "better" singer. Beatles songs work very well with somewhat less powerfull voices (in terms of decibels) and with less vibrato. Queen songs too work very well with Freddie's strong and exceptionally expressive voice (with lots of "special effects" used), and also Roger and Brian were decent singers ("passable" as Brian said about himself).

Brian May was technically one of the most trained guitarist of his generation. He was quite speedy compared to the standard of the early seventies, he had very nice vibrato (both lef hand and tremolo-bar). Harrison made limited use of left hand vibrato. Both Harrison and May were stylistically diverse guitarist mostly because their bands were diverse. A plus for Brian is the craftmanship he developed in the field orchestration and harmony arrangements, and he also had a more distinct guitar sound. A plus for Harrison was his sitar playing, and he would play more frequently with slide (especially during his solo period). After listening some Brian slide-solos one can't say Brian was less good at that. Brian's special instrument were the harp, koto and ukulele. George (and Paul) also could play ukulele, but he would not play it on records. By the way Brian May must have been the more trained ukulele player of the two. Harrison had a nice sense for phrasing but he made limited use of vibrato and also of the blues scale. George Harrison on a couple of sessions played violin, at least tried it out with not much artistic result. Harrison also played bass occassionally, which Brian did not do until his 1998 solo album. (For a trained guitar player it no problem to play bass on a basic level).
Brian as pianist was about as trained as Paul who was the most trained of all the Beatles. Both Freddie and Brian had formal training, but only for a couple of years in their distant childhood. Distant enough to lose most of their playing skills by the time they decided to practice again. Beatles members had no fromal training, except Paul who has taken a couple of piano lessons during his Beatle-years.

Lennon could play the harmonica and piano on a basic level. His guitar playing in the early years was dominated by strumming chords. Later on he developed a more riff-oriented rhythm guitar style, also a basic(+) level lead guitar playing and a nice fingerpicking technique, the latter he learned in 1968 from Donovan. He could compose nice riffs, which was not Harrison's special skill.

 Mercury could play the guitar on a basic level: mostly just strumming simple chords. His fingerpicking skill was probably non-existing, his single note playing technique was probably weak, but still strong enough to allow him composing guitar riffs.


to be continued...
3.Sebastian 27 Apr 2003 15:56
again, I didn't know that this section was so interesting. Here's my point of view. I do consider Queen a better band, but I prefer the Beatle's, I mean I like them the best, but I know they're not such a strong band, they were just a band with catchy songs, that had the privilege of an outstanding producer, I mean, that's what pop is about, the band doesn't know what they're doing, the producers arrange, play and put orchestras to play and those songs become great. Queen is much more the rock band, they arrange by themselves and in a lot of albums they do the mixes and production.

I'm not going to compare Paul with John or things like that, I'm more a "global" philosopher, so that's my opinion:

We find Beatles as the way George took to improve his skills. On late 50s he was hired as guitarist just because Paul (who IMHO was by far the best guitarist in the band until 1966-67) was very nervous at the time of playing solos. George wasn't so good, in any way (he also was still a kid), but he used his experience on concerts and recordings fed him to learn a lot, and on the time of the White Album I personally find his singing, writing, arranging and guitar playing much better than John's and Paul's. He also had learned to play more instruments, like piano, harmonica, violin, cello, sitar, bass and others in a very nice way.

That's quite the opposite of Queen, a band on which its four members were already "experts" on their main functions (piano, guitar, bass and drums). Anyway, that phenomenon was presented on this band as well. John learnt to play piano from Freddie, and eventually was improving his level a lot. Roger also had also a keyboard frustration, which is demonstrated by himself owning the first synth the band used, and now owning Freddie's Steinway Piano.

George at the end of Beatle's life and on his solo career shows he's a wonderful player, without getting too complicated. Paul had a "weird" style, based mostly on pentatonic scales, and John was very much an instintive musician. We find the three of them below Brian's level (by far), above Freddie's and Roger's. John Lennon is more or less at the same level as John Deacon, who is beated by George and Paul but not with so much difference.

As bass players, I'm sure Freddie, Brian and Roger were all very simple, if they took a bass they'd do quite the same as a rhythm guitar, not so much into arpeggios or special techniques. That's the same level John Lennon and George had on bass. Paul was a bit more accomplished, mostly because of the practice, and John Deacon had more technique by him.

As for drums, I think the members of both bands knew how the thing had to be played, but we find George and John Lennon in a simple level, in both arranging and playing. Brian and Freddie were so keen in their drum arrangements, which doesn't mean they played very good, but as Brian had a more extensive solo career we can find one song with himself drumming ('FBI'), which he did quite good, but we can't find any sounding proofs of Freddie's qualities. John Deacon was in very simple patterns which were probably so fine (as he was a bass player and had more rhythm sense), I'm saying that he could be easily be a "Ringo". I find Paul as the better drummer of they seven ('Back In The USSR' is a proof), but Roger is by far much better (even though I don't consider him a virtuoso, like Peter Criss, Cozy Powell or John Bonham)

Then we come to piano playing. I think the 80% of rock pianists are equalled by John (Deacon and Lennon) on quality, and beated by Brian. It's very hard to find a good rock pianist like Billy Joel. Paul was fairly good indeed, but I find Brian much better. In terms of virtuosism, my favourite piano player of rock is Freddie, in such a proper style, on some songs I find it like a multiple orgasm, like Made In Heaven, without being very complex, but perfectly played. Mike Moran is also a beloved player of mine, and I find Rick Wakeman as the Steve Vai of the piano, i.e. he had good technique, was very fast, all the times does impressive things, but that doesn't mean he's better than others more "quiet". Roger, George and Ringo always wrote at their best on the piano, specially because they were not really players. It's like Axl Rose (even though he had some classical training), he was OK for writing and playing in a couple of songs, but not for being a pianist in a piano band like Queen or Beatles. I think Beatle's more complex piano songs ('Obladi Oblada', 'Martha My Dear', 'You Never Give Me Your Money', 'Lady Madonna') could have been easily played by John, Brian or Freddie.

Beatles probably experimented with more kinds of keyboards, being George their official synthesiser player, and using organs here and there, also claviolines and stuff. Queen also experimented with organs, e-pianos, synths and harpsichords, but of course with more technique. As they tried to be very different and not compared, Freddie didn't record organ epic solos in a Deep Purple - Iron Butterfly kind of way, which is a shame.

As for sitar, we find Brian doing a couple of sitarised guitars in Queen, which is clearly a Beatles influence. On Beatles they had a string player, George, although he was not very accomplished, but he could play some cello and violin, while on Queen they had the benefit of the keyboards and it was not neccesary to have a "violinist"

As for singers, we find Ringo with a very limited range (like John Deacon). Brian had a very nice voice indeed, although he was not in good technique in the first 20 years, he would have damaged himself so deeply if he had been the lead singer. On his solo career I find him as better vocalist than the three Beatles. Roger and Freddie are two of the best singers of all time in my opinion, and John, Paul and George had the benefit of fairly good ranges and mixture between them. Brian always dreamed about having a good rocker voice, which he couldn't, but John and Paul certainly did.
4.Sebastian 27 Apr 2003 16:04
and now the longest thing (lol): songwriting and arrangements

Paul was the most creative, always full of ideas, even though he had not very complex musical knowledge. Roger would be his "mirror" on Queen, he always knew things to add the song. Paul's arrangements were limited to using his imagination (e.g. the orchestra of 'A Day In The Life') and give strange ideas. Freddie also had strange ideas, with the difference he had a lot more knowledge and he could easily put them in the way he liked it.

George Harrison was a great arranger on the late 60s, Piggies is a good proof. He tends to be oriented to the use of strings and acoustic guitar, in a similar way to Bee Gees' Maurice Gibb (rip). Early Brian is also into clever acoustic stuff, and on the keyboard-era they all added strings to their songs. I find myself very influenced by that tendency (someday I'll send you my own versions of a lot of songs and you can tell)

John Lennon was a dreamer. Always the most pretencious efforts were his ideas, like 'Because' or 'A Day In The Life'. The difference between him and Freddie was that again Freddie had the tools to make his dreams and nightmares true (like 'Bo Rhap' or 'Innuendo'). John trided to make progressive music on 'Walrus', sadly the rhythm change is very abrupt. If it wasn't a Beatles song I would throw it away.

We find a McCartney influence on Queen's affection to the medleys as well. John Deacon's writing is very Beatle as well
5.PD 27 Apr 2003 23:05
Before reflecting the above posts, I write some thoughts.

Beatles is the most respected and most discussed/researched band. No wonder other top bands' fans frequently compare those bands bands to the Beatles because they think if they manage to explain "on paper" that your band is better than or equal to the Beatles, it's a shortcut to prove that your band is the best band ever. I admit for some extent this applies for me too. Based on my experience I strongly suspect that the huge difference between the respect of the two bands can't be explained with the difference between their compositional skills. it relies on mostly just non-musical factors. Many rock bands have devoted fans thinking similar way about their favorized band perse.

Some examples:
Beatles Vs. Led Zeppelin
groups.google.com

Beatles Vs. Pink Floyd
groups.google.com

Beatles Vs Rolling Stones
groups.google.com

and finally Beatles vs. Queen
groups.google.com
groups.google.com

 
two extreme opinions:

groups.google.com
groups.google.com

Another "extreme" opinion - even though it was intended to be "objective": Queen album reviews and band rating (2/5) through Beatles colored glass:
starling.rinet.ru


This whole song analysis project was intended to be an "eye-opener" for the readers. Close look makes things look bigger, which is always unfair with the bands that are out of the scope. That's a major motivation for me to discuss other bands' music time to time (I hope you read that tread, and someday you'll contribute to it). To date the whole world seem to look at the Beatles way more closely than they look at Queen. This page attempts to bring Queen (and maybe also a few other bands - for much just limited extent though) closer to the music understanding people. I'm sure some Beatles fans also read this page, because the search engines direct Beatles fans here due keywords like "Beatles", "chord progression", "songwriting" abound on this page. I wonder how they think of it all. Some of them surely just shake their head, especially the ones from US where it is unheard that someone even mentions Queen in context of the top songwriters. Being a Beatles fan myself I don't want to talk anybody out of Beatles, but those (ten)thousands who felt their fanatism justified when they read Beatles music analysis references, may be convinced for some extent, that Queen songs are no less interesting piece of work in context of pop/rock.


To date of all bands probably Beatles fans are the most convinced that their favourized band were the most talented songwriters. Reading some books one really has to feel ashamed to criticize this great band. On the other hand critics and reviewers too frequently don't feel ashamed to put down Queen. When they do, too few negative feedback they get.
This is a trend that has to be changed drastically as soon as possible. People should credit for their achivement, for example exporting progressive songwriting elements the most effectively into pop/rock (or accesible) music. This was a major achivement of Beatles during their time with singles like Strawberry Fields Forever and Eleanor Rigby, and that's why Queen can be seen as the Beatles of their era and vica versa: the Beatles were the Queen of the sixties.
The Beatles knowledge material is spreaded far more effectively and intensity, while the best books on Queen have not been written yet IMO. Beatles fans are exporting their opinion devotedly (writing books, articles, reviews, forum posts, covering songs, writing forum posts, doing Beatles realted TV/radio programs). Such activities are rare features among Queen fans. I wish fans would feel generally more proud and "protective" about Queen, and would be more selfsure when it's about naming Queen among the "best" pop/rock songwriters ever. Beatles don't have such problem.

to be continued
6.PD 06 May 2003 21:05
> I do consider Queen a better band,
While Queen were writing (IMO) averagely more complex music and were more crafted arrangers, I would not say Queen were definitely better or more talented songwriters. It's a too close contest to decide. (For most pop experts it's no contest: Beatles deserves the title).
 In the sixties Queen could not have written more original music than the Beatles, and vica versa Beatles in the seventies could not have combine interesting and melodic songwriting better than Queen. What about other bands:
the "catchy" bands were not interested in clever and diverse songwriting as intensely as Beatles and Queen, the progressive and metal bands were not into writing catchy (accessible) tunes as effectively as Queen were IMO.


> but I prefer the Beatles, I mean I like them the best,
I wish average Beatles fans would pay as much respect for Queen as you do.


> they were just a band with catchy songs, that had the privilege of an
> outstanding producer,
I have my philosophy about this. I think they were very creative songwriters, compared to their time, for a higher extent than Queen in their era, partly because Queen had much stronger contest, the progressive rock genre.
I tend to overlook the studio achivements of the Beatles because most of those should be credited to the studio crew, other achivements are overpraised. I mean the artificial double tracking was not something revolutionary, and lasting achivement.
I look at Beatles as songwriters who penned nice tunes with nice chord progressions and harmonies. Their MUSICAL innovations I respect far over the sounds and recording techniques they worked with. I respect the catchy melodies of Obladi Oblada more than the experimental noises in Tomorrow Never Knows.



>  I mean, that's what pop is about, the band doesn't know what
> they're doing, the producers arrange, play and put orchestras
> to play and those songs become great.
This statement is a bit oversimplifying what Beatles were about I think. While they were reluctant to admit it, they knew what is changing key and what is chromatic voice leading, they heard what is non-diatonic chord, and they were able to put together simple (but great sounding) harmonies.
Compared to many other bands and performing artist of the early sixties they had relatively much controll over their music. Compared to Beatles Queen (and nearly any major band of their generation) had even more.


> George wasn't so good, in any way (he also was still a kid),
While he was kid he picked up the guitar very young, and by the time they went into studio he was "not bad". The pop-rock music of those years hadn't required virtuosos. Check out the solo of Jailhouse Rock, it's plain simple.


> and on the time of the White Album I personally find his singing,
> writing, arranging and guitar playing much better than John's and Paul's.
As a singer he had a style, a pretty soft voice. John and Paul also did a distinctive and also stronger (when needed) voice than George.


> He also had learned to play more instruments, like piano,
> harmonica, violin, cello, sitar, bass and others in a very nice way.
With bow instruments I think he didn't went much further as Brian did with harp. I guess he could not play a single note with vibrato (it's quite difficult to learn). Playing a major scale on a bow instrument is much easier.


> That's quite the opposite of Queen, a band on which its four members were
> already "experts" on their main functions (piano, guitar, bass and drums).
Queen members had to practice too. They must have forgotten most of their skills on piano by the late sixties when they started to restart practicing as I guess.
Freddie's playing shows development until "Opera" in terms of composing accompaniments. Composing is usually the more difficult thing, I mean I could probably learn Freddie's most difficult piano accompaniment within a month if I wanted to, but probably I could not compose equally interesting things.


> John learnt to play piano from Freddie, and eventually was improving
> his level a lot.
Somehow I can't picture Freddie teaching John to play the piano more than just giving some tips quickly.


> Paul had a "weird" style, based mostly on pentatonic scales,
I have not noticed this yet.


> We find the three of them below Brian's level (by far),
The piano accompaniment of Martha My Dear is not far below Brian's level.

Both John's playing skills I would describe as being close to mine.


> As bass players, I'm sure Freddie, Brian and Roger were all very simple,
I doubt that Freddie would play the bass more than just trying it out.


> Paul was a bit more accomplished, mostly because of the practice, and John Deacon
> had more technique by him.
You have to get into microscopic details to see how their skills compared to eachother. Paul was surprisingly good and creative, John Deacon "non-surprisingly" but no less good and versatile.


> we find George and John Lennon in a simple level,
Since they were not recording drumlines, it's not very relevant. Many rock guitarist (even on garage band level) can play the drums on at least a basic level.


> Brian and Freddie were so keen in their drum arrangements,
Ringo also was told sometimes by others what and how to play.


>can find one song with himself drumming ('FBI'),
That was new for me.

> I'm saying that he could be easily be a "Ringo".
In my opinion Ringo was not a natural born talent, and most drummers in his position would have achived a deeper respect. Some people say he was superb drumer compared to his limited skills, more biased fans go to say he revolutionized rock drumming. I think he was a fine drummer and played what the songs needed - like nearly any drummer.


> even though I don't consider him a virtuoso, like Peter Criss, Cozy Powell
> or John Bonham
What Roger's drumming on Brighton Rock and Let Me Entertain You is second to nothing Bohnam played in terms of challenge, in my opinion.


> Beatles probably experimented with more kinds of keyboards,
...
> Queen also experimented with organs, e-pianos, synths and harpsichords,
I don't like using the "experimented" word here. For example I don't think Brian "experimented" with koto even though he might have been the first to use it in a rock song. He used it because he had one and thought that that type of noise fits the song.
The ones who really "experimented" with keyboards were not using commercially available keyboards.
Beatles used keyboards for the same purpose as anybody else: to enrich their sound palette. Without new sounds the songs may sound "all the same". That's a rule that also motivated Queen to use special instruments, and synths afterwards.


> As they tried to be very different and not compared, Freddie didn't
> record organ epic solos in a Deep Purple - Iron Butterfly kind of
> way, which is a shame.
Jon Lord had a completly different approach to Freddie's on keyboards. His style was more lead oriented, more "fancy". A generation of keyboard players were practicing his licks, while many could not even hear properly what Freddie played in Master-Stroke.


> As for sitar, we find Brian doing a couple of sitarised guitars in Queen, which is
> clearly a Beatles influence.
Maybe yes. By the time Queen appeared, George's sitar influence became more or less indirect due others also uing it. Consider Brian had a very wide influental background.



> Paul was the most creative, always full of ideas, even though he had not very
> complex musical knowledge.
Lennon was no less creative in my opinion.

> Paul's arrangements were limited to using his imagination
> (e.g. the orchestra of 'A Day In The Life') and give strange ideas.
The ADITL orchestration were based on Lennon's instruction.


> John Lennon was a dreamer.
Lennon during the late period was more interested in the formal freedom. But he never forget how to write simple-formed songs.


> Always the most pretencious efforts were his ideas, like
> 'Because'
"Because" was a very un-charateristic effort from him. He took the chords from a Beethoven sonata which resulted in chord progressions that he normally never would have came up with.


> 'A Day In The Life'.
This song is based on two different kind of section: Lennon's Verses and McCartney's Bridges plus some other non-lyrical sections. Original song but not particluarly melodic IMO.
 

> The difference between him and Freddie was
I think the difference was that Freddie's influencial basis was incorporated progressive rock (and classical music behind it) which helped him writing more complex music while he had an equally strong natural born talent for good melodies. Without that influental basis he probably could not have written much more complex music than Beatles wrote.


> John trided to make progressive music on 'Walrus', sadly the rhythm change
> is very abrupt. If it wasn't a Beatles song I would throw it away.
Walrus is not bad, complex to their standard. Martin added many weird ideas, which Freddie would not have enabled.


> We find a McCartney influence on Queen's affection to the medleys as well.
John Lennon was more keen on formal freedom. By the time Abbey Road came out with Macca's medley, Doing All Right was recorded and it had a more novel form IMO than any Beatles song prior to it. Freddie definitely was at least partly influenced by Beatles medleys.

7.PD 22 May 2003 19:12

Here is database of the release dates of Queen and Beatles singles and albums. It may help you to get one step closer to understand why a Queen song was usually less succesfull on the single chart than a similar melodic Beatles song. As I said: just one step closer, and not more, it's a too complex problem to solve that simply.
The main thing to consider: a single that is expected to be included on an album to be released a couple of months later or not released on album at all motivates people to buy it more than a single that is already included on an album that was released months before and the fans already have it.


DNC: Did not chart
PPM, AHDN... : these are acronyms of album titles. The non-album releases are marked with *. Note that later these songs were included on compilation albums (eg. Past Masters).  
a: simultainous single/album release
b: B-side not included on the current album
c: single released after the album


Beatles singles in the UK (I'm afraid it's an incomplete list)
Title / date of release    Chart position / date of album release

My Bonnie/The Saints 15 January 1962                       DNC *
Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You 5 October 1962                  No17 PPM 22 march 1963
Please, Please Me/Ask Me Why 12 January 1963               No1  PPM
From Me To You/Thank You, Girl 11 April 1963               No1 *
She Loves You/I'll Get You 23 August 1963                  No1 WTB 22 november 1963
I Want To Hold Your Hand/This Boy 29 November 1963         No1 *
Can't Buy Me Love/You Can't Do That 20 March 1964          No1 AHDN 10 july 1964
A Hard Day's Night/Things We Said Today 10 July 1964     a No1 AHDN
I Feel Fine/She's A Woman 27 November 1964                 No1 *
Ticket To Ride/Yes It Is 9 April 1965                    b No1 Help 6 august
Help!/I'm Down 23 June 1965                              b No1 Help
Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out 3 December 1965             No1 *
Paperback Writer/Rain 10 June 1966                         No1 *
Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine 5 August 1966             a No1 Rev august 5 1966
Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever 17 February 1967      No2 *
All You Need Is Love/Baby, You're A Rich Man 7 July 1967   No1 * (1969)
Hello, Goodbye/I Am The Walrus 24 November 1967            No? MMT December 8 1967
Lady Madonna/The Inner Light 15 March 1968                 No1 *
Hey Jude/Revolution 30 August 1968                         No1 *
Get Back/Don't Let Me Down 15 April 1969                 b No1 LIB May 1970
The Ballad Of John And Yoko/Old Brown Shoe 30 May 1969     No1 *
Something/Come Together 31 October 1969                  c No4 AR 26 September 1969
Let It Be/You Know My Name 29 November 1969              b No2 LIB 1970 May 8

Queen sinles in the UK
Keep Yourself Alive/Son And Daughter 6 July 1973           DNC  Q1 13 July 1973
Seven Seas Of Rhye/See What A Fool... 23 February 1974   b No10 Q2 8 March
Killer Queen/Flick Of The Wrist 11 October 1974            No2  SHA 1 Nov 1974
Now I'm Here/Lily Of The Walley 18 June 1975             c No11 SHA
Bohemian Rhapsody/I'm In Love With My Car 31 October 1975  No1  ANATO 21 Nov 1975
You're My Best Friend/'39  18 June 1976                  c No7  ANATO
Somebody To Love/White Man 12 November 1976                NO2  DATR 10 Dec 1976
TIE YOUR MOTHER DOWN/You & I 4 March 1976                c No31 DATR
Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy EP 20 May 1977              c No7  DATR
We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You 7 October 1977       No2  NOTW 28 Oct 1977
Spread Your Wings/Sheer Heart Attack 10 February 1978    c No34 NOTW
Fat Bottomed Girls/Bicycle Race 13 October 1978            No11 Jazz 10 Nov 1978
Don't Stop Me Now/In Only Seven Days 26 January 1979     c No9  Jazz
LOVE OF MY LIFE(live)/Now I'm Here(Live) 29 June 1979    c No63 LK 22 June 1979
Crazy Little Thing Called Love 5 October 1979              No2  Game 30 June 1980
                                /We Will Rock You (Live)        LK
Save Me/Let Me Entertain You (Live)  8 January 1980        No11 Game
Play The Game/A Human Body 30 May 1980                   b No14 Game
Another One Bites The Dust/Dragon Attack 22 August 1980  c No7  Game
Flash/Football Fight 24 November 1980                      No10 Flash 8 Dec 1980
Under Pressure/Soul Brother 26 October 1981              b No1  GH 2 November 1981
Body Language/Life Is Real 19 April 1982                   No25 HS 21 May 1982
Las Palabras De Amore/Cool Cat 1 June 1982               c No17 HS
BACK CHAT/Staying Power 9 August 1982                    c No40 HS
Radio Gaga/I Go Crazy 23 January 1984                    b No2  Works 27 Feb 1984
I Want To Break Free/Machines 2 April 1984               c No3  Works
It's A Hard Life/Is This The World... 16 Jul 1984        c No6  Works
Hammer To Fall/Tear It Up 10 September 1984              c No13 Works
Thank God, It's Christmas november 26 1984                 No21 *
One Vision 4 November 1985                               b No7  AKOM 2 June 1986
A Kind Of Magic 17 March 1986                            b No3  AKOM
Friends Will Be Friends 9 June 1986                      c No14 AKOM
Who Wants To Live Forever 15 September                   c No24 AKOM
I Want It All/Hang On In There 2 May 1989                  No3  Mir 22 May 1989
Breakthru/Steeling 19 June 1989                         bc No7  Mir
The Invisible Man/Hijack My Heart 7 Aug 1989            bc No12 Mir
Scandal/My Heart Has Been Saved 9 Oct 1989              bc No25 Mir
The Miracle 27 November 1989                            bc No21 Mir
Innuendo/Bijou 14 January 1991                             No1  Inn 4 February 1991
I'M GOING SLIGHTLY MAD/The Hitman 4 March 1991           c No22 Inn
HEADLONG/All Gods People 13 May 1991                     c No14 Inn
THE SHOW MUST GO ON 14 October 1991                      c No16 Inn
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY/THESE ARE THE DAYS...  9 December 1991   No1 (Inn)
HEAVEN FOR EVERYONE/It's A Beautiful Day 23 October 1995   No2  MIH 6 November 1995
A WINTERS TALE  11 December 1995                         c No6  MIH
TOO MUCH LOVE WILL KILL YOU 26 February 1996             c No15 MIH
Let Me Live 17 June 1996                                 c No9  MIH
You Don't Fool Me 18 November 1996                       c No17 MIH
No One But You 5 January 1998                            c No13 QR 3 Nov 1997


To provide a wider basis for the comparison, here is a database of ABBA releases.

Abba
Waterloo 20 April 1974                                    No1  Wat 8 June 1974  
Ring Ring 13 July 1974                                    No32 *RR
I Do, I Do, I Do 12 July 1975                             No38 Abba 31 January 1976
SOS 20 September 1975                                     No6  Abba
Mamma Mia 13 December 1975                                No1  Abba
Fernando 27 March 1976                                    No1  GH 10 April 1976
Dancing Queen 21 August 1976                              No1  * (1979 GHV2)
Money Money Money 20 November 1976                        No3  Arr 27 November 1976
Knowing Me, Knowing You 26 February 1977                c No1  Arr
The Name Of The Game 22 October 1977                      No1  TA 4 February 1978
Take A Chance On Me 4 February 1978                     a No1  TA
Summer In The City 16 September 1978                      No5  * (GHV2 1979)
Chiquitita 3 February 1979                                No2  VV 19 May 1979
Does Your Mother Know 5 May 1979                          No4  VV
Angeleyes/Voulez-Vous 14 July 1979                      c No3  VV
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! 20 October 1979                      No3  GHV2 10 Nov 1979
I Have A Dream 15 December 1979                         c No2  VV
The Winner Takes It All 2 August 1980                     No1  ST 22 November 1980
Super Trouper 15 November 1980                            No1  ST
Lay All Your Love On Me 18 July 1981                    c No7  ST
One Of Us 12 December 1981                                No3  Vis 19 Decmber 1981
Head Over Heels 20 February 1982                        c No25 Vis
The Day Before You Came 23 October 1982                 c No32 TS 20 October 1982
Under Attack 11 December 1982                             No26 TS
Thank Your For The Music 12 November 1983               c No33 GHV2

8.Sebastian 29 Jun 2004 15:23
Interestingly enough, The Name Of The Game is perhaps the least well-known hit from the `Gold` compilation. Similar to `Goold Old Fashioned Lover Boy`. Now, to re-open this thread, right from the beginning:

> Freddie Mercury was definitely influenced by the Beatles. In the late sixties his two favourites were the Beatles and Hendrix as an old mate of his recalls.

Also one of them commented Fred was so heavily into Led Zeppelin. In fact his influential background is huge, and continued being huge in later days. Or more than that, the kind of music he listened to was very varied. From Elton John to George Michael to Liza, and I wouldn`t be surprised if he even had Megadeth records or something like that...

> Another friend recalls "We’d all sit around and have amazing vocal sessions singing Bee Gees, Beach Boys and Beatles songs".

The vocal harmony approach of the three bands is very similar. I don`t see much similitude with Fred except for the intro of Bo Rhap, which can be easily conceived as a Bee Gees track. More on that later...

> Brian May talks about Beatles records were Freddie's "Bible".

He talked to them as the band`s Bible, not just Fred. Masterstroke is very much a Beatles mix, only that with more technology. Same as John`s 70s tracks.

> Beatles surely were a band you can learn some types of changing the key, but even the earliest
Mercury songs show elements that are not represented in the Beatles canon.

Freddie was very much a man whose main influence was himself. Not so much in the very early period, but apparently in the pre-Queen era he wrote a lot of songs. I guess none of them would make it to the albums (except for some riffs or licks that he probably recycled for `Jesus` or `Green` or his early material). Mack reported that Fred claiemd to have written Bo Rhap and his mmarvelous pieces in the first two albums by the method of re-writing them several times, adding and taking off stuff, until they were as he wanted them. So perhaps `My Fairy King` is actually `My Fairy King, Opus X`, and its main influences are the `I` to `IX` versions. That would contradict the theory that the song was conceived in the studio though. So perhaps the re-writing method was for the others (Great King Rat and Liar).

> For example the compressed vocals in "... Sunday Afternoon".

Probably. But Bee Gees also used those kinds of stuff at the same time, and not by Beatles influence precisely. Siblings are more similar to each other than to their parents. Killer Queen also has got some compressed vocals. Fred said that this song was a mixture of Beach Boys, early Beatles and oldies music.

> Freddie mentions in an early interview his primary influence for doing this sort of songs were the Pointer Sisters

He ment `Leroy Brown`, but not neccesarily the others. `Leroy Brown` was however the main influence of the others imo.

> For example Lennon as a contrasting example against his "message-free" approach of lyrics.

His "message-free approach" was more a way to avoid being asked about that. His lyrics are very clever and use a very wise litherature, they`re more than rhymes, but of course, "knowing" him, it`s reasonable that he felt uncomfortable if people kept asking meaning of the songs. I`d also hate that.

> He talked about the fortcoming "A Night At The Opera" album as their own "Sgt Pepper".

Brian mentioned that too

> Brian May in interviews often talks about his early favourites and influences with deep respect. He mentions a lot of bands including Beatles.

Brian was probably more influenced by John`s solo career. Roger too. That`s why `Electric Fire` is my favourite album ever. It`s like John Lennon with technology and production. I guess if he was still alive he would do albums like that one (although the Travolta point is also reasonable imo). Roger kept the legacy so awesomely. I love his lyrics too.

> In the Killer Queen video (ca. 1981) his profile includes Beatles as his favourite band.

Yes but as you said, it could be a global phenomenon because of John`s murder

> In his solo song "Rollin Over" he quotes the opening riff of "Day Tripper".

`Rollin` Over` was a cover. But yeah the original doesn`t quote `Day Tripper` as far as I know

Some more quotes about the fab four:

- 1976 John filled a questionarie about his favourite movies and stuff like that. As favourite songwriters he put "The Beatles". Favourite singer "Mercury" and favourite instrumentist "May". Biggest influence on his career "Queen". Favourite band "Tower Of Power"

- Fred in 1984 "Nobody can be bigger than the Beatles"

> "Queen is a a band with musical skills" or something like this.

It is confirmed since he said it in Magic Years video. He speaks about Brian and says he had good musical skills, then he said they all had. Then he said something about the first thing you recognise in Queen is Freddie`s voice

> Hardly 1-2 songs on the first Queen album were radio-friendly

The first album was intended more as an album than as a collection of singles. In that sense they wanted to follow Zeppelin`s legacy. Unfortunately that played against them. The similitudes were so many (Queen `I` and Led Zeppelin `I`, the riff driven tracks, Rock N` Roll clear influence in Modern Times Rock N` Roll, Brian`s Hendrix-esque soloing, Son And Daughter, fairy tale imagery) that they were just considered a copy of Led Zeppelin. And that got worsened in the second album due to the title. And those aspects really do count. If Queen I had been called `Deary Me` or `Top Fax Pix & Info` the story would be very very very different. Same as if Bo Rhap had been titled `Nothing Really Matters To Me`

> and their fan basis could not be fanatized the maniac way Beatles fans were.

It`s rather obvious considering that it wasn`t something "fresh" anymore. When Star Wars came it caused a huge fanatism. Now, Episodes I and II are much better photographed and produced and directed (though they`re still technically mediocre movies) but they didn`t attract even a 20% of the "adepts" of 20 years before. Think of the Exorcist as well, or, in other camps of science, art & entertainment: modern chemical innovations (the creation of new elements) vs the first rough periodic tables, modern clonation advances vs Dolly, Owairan`s goal against Belgium vs Maradona`s against England, Zinedine Zidane vs Michel Platini, Marc McGuire vs Babe Ruth, Futurama vs The Simpsons, Contemporary Classical Music (`Concert For Chains and Timpani`...) vs Classical Classical Music (Mozart, Schubert...), Tina Arena vs Celine Dion, etc, etc. For some extent earlier but not so well promoted or perhaps too ahead of their time "stuff" is also under-rated: Masterstroke vs Bo Rhap, Wilt Chamberlain vs Michael Jordan, Leonidas Da Silva vs Pele, Sparks vs David Bowie...

> There were some screaming girls among Queen fans too, far not as much as among Beatles fans, and they got less emphasys in Queen-related films.

Japanese receivement for Queen was just as big as Beatles in the States. But consider both countries are over-populated (you can`t expect that kind of welcome in Canada, which doesn`t have that quantity of people, or New Zeland, even if 98% were Queen fans, that wouldn`t be such a big crowd as 15% of Tokyo)

> Queen could not break through properly until 1980. The No4 charting of Bohemian Rhapsody or No3 of We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You in the US cannot be considered to be a breakthrough at all.

In my opinion, it can, and it was. The band was very popular (in a good way) in the 70s. They were probably jealous of Zeppelin and the others though. Note Fred mentioned they were so spoiled and they wanted so badly that `Somebody To Love` had to top the charts. They were dissapointed about `Bo Rhap` getting as runner up. `Crazy Little thing` was an accident in that sense, that wasn`t released as a desperate attempt to win the States, but it worked. Unfortunately the big fan base they won with `Another One Bites` was lost after `Hot Space`, and, more to the point, after `The Works` (specially because there wasn`t a Works tour there). `Ga Ga` and `Break Free` did damage their image.

> The reason behind this difference: recording of Queen songs/albums usually took more time, Queen concert tours lasted longer, it was usual to release one album per year/two years.

Also consider that Queen wrote and performed the arrangements by themselves. The era they lived in also compromised bigger and grand scale tours, which Beatles didn`t need because they could easily stay 3 years without a concert and then go on top of the roof and play for half an hour and they already had the world on the palm of their hands. Talk about "the one who hits first, hits twice". Moreover the era Queen lived on was more global so they were also asked for do session work (which is also caused by their more accomplished instrumental abilities) and they took time for solo projects. When Beatles decided to do solo stuff they just dissolved. Queen avoided that by dedicating 50-50 to their personal and band`s goals. It was an intelligent solution, which was partly caused too by the fact that they had the benefit of The Fab Four`s experience

> While definitely Mercury and May were the most prolific members

The difference between them was bigger than John and Paul. A rough count from the topp of my head concludes that Fred wrote about 20 songs more than Brian (not counting Made In Heaven and B-Sides). Rawly it`d be like 75 vs 55 (i.e. a 100-73 relation, or 136-100). In Beatles John wrote about 3 or 4 songs more than Paul, and they wrote about 140-150 each one. So the relationship is like 100-99.5 or 101.5-100, which is much different. So in Beatles we can talk about Lennon/McCartney - Harrison - Starkey, in order of (numerical) songwriting input. In Queen it`s Mercury - May - Taylor - Deacon, not Mercury/May - Taylor/Deacon. A big cause for May being considered as prolific as Mercury is the guesses about the last albums. Several Fred`s songs were thought as being from Brian, Roger or John, or the whole band (in the case of `The Miracle`), so it seemed that the late period had Fred as the one who wrote the least, when he was the one who wrote the most.

> while Mercury wrote less songs and singles in his late period.

That goes with the point I mentioned. The only album in which he "slept" was `News`. 3 songs against 4 by Brian. In `Hot Space` he was the most prolific of the four (considering he had more input in `Under Pressure` than Brian, Roger and John, and that he also wrote the B-Side). The songwriting input in `The Works` is 3 1/2 by Freddie, 2 2/2 by Brian, 1 1/2 by Roger, 1 by John. Fred was again the main songwriter. In `Flash` Brian "wins" if we count each reprise of Flash and Battle theme (aka The Hero) separately. If we count them together, Fred wrote one or two more tunes than Brian. In `Magic` we`ve got, credit-wise, 1 2/2 by Freddie, 2 by Brian, 2 by Roger, 1 2/2 by John, plus a group effort, so it`s a concrete tie. Anyway, `One Vision` is, imo, Roger & Brian, with Fred`s input more related to the arrangements than the actual songwriting. Fred was by far the most prolific in `The Miracle`, `Innuendo` and the short post-Innuendo sessions. So, to sum up, `News` (with one more song by Brian than Fred) is like a separate point. `Races` is equal (4-4). Besides those, all the 70s albums have Fred as the main songwriter. The middle band period (Game - Magic) is more equalised, but still note Fred is the main writer in two/three of the five, and shared the first position in the others. The late period is again dominated by Mercury. Single-wise it was more equal in the later days too.

> A plus for Brian is the craftmanship he developed in the field orchestration and harmony arrangements, and he also had a more distinct guitar sound.

The guitar sound is a combination of many causes - the mix, the amp, the guitar itself - and the guitarist is just one of the causes. George`s licks and solos are just as memorable as Brian`s. But again for the solo many stuff depends - the backing track behind it, the melody of the solo (which depends on the one who wrote it), the sound of the guitar, the mix, the song itself (Bo Rhap`s solo wouldn`t be so famous if it was in `She Makes Me`), etc - and it doesn`t neccesarily imply a plus for the guitar player who "had the luck" of being the one who recorded it at first. Not always, but there are cases

> Brian's special instrument were the harp, koto and ukulele.

Ukelele I agree. The others not, at all. To record an harp chord by chord and a short koto part is not enough to consider he "played them". Ukelele is ok since he played it live and in a couple of records. Jon Anderson did play harp a couple of times.

> George (and Paul) also could play ukulele, but he would not play it on records.

George was apparently "not bad". I`d never call Paul an ukelele player just for that lame `Something` rendition he did. That`s "a guitarist who plays one song in ukelele", not a "guitarist who plays ukelele"

> George Harrison on a couple of sessions played violin, at least tried it out with not much artistic result.

Yes, still he doesn`t classify as a man who "played" violin, unlike the guy in Kansas. But he definitely went further than Brian in harp or koto

> Harrison also played bass occassionally, which Brian did not do until his 1998 solo album.

George`s sense of rhythm was better anyway

> Brian as pianist was about as trained as Paul who was the most trained of all the Beatles.

Brian`s performance was more advanced, or more proper. Paul`s rhythm was beyond Brian`s limits.

> Lennon could play the harmonica and piano on a basic level.

In that case we can in fact speak about a "guitarist who played piano and harmonica". Because he in fact did that several times and on stage too. Much much further than thirteen seconds of koto in `Prophet`s Song` or 2 minutes of ukelele

> to be continued...

Yeah, same here :)
9.BrianMay 01 Jul 2004 20:38
"Harrison also played bass occassionally, which Brian did not do until his 1998
solo album"

He played bass on a few concerts with his band 1984

So that means, If we use the same qualifications as Sebastian did for John Lennon, Brian is a guitarist who played bass (as he played it on stage a couple of times, and in the studios aswell)
10.Bruno 16 Jul 2004 13:39
It's a well known fact that the drugs had a lot of influence on Beatles' music. Queen were also familiar with drugs (especially Freddie, not so sure about the others). But it doesn't seem to have any effect on their music. Just the lyrics (Let Me Entertain You, Bicycle Race...). So, there another difference beetween the two bands.
11.BrianMay 18 Jul 2004 16:02
I don't think the lyrics of those songs are very drugs influenced. I don't think it's fair to say, since non of us were there. If you hear lyrics like "Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dogs eye" You may say they smoked something else then tobacco
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