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PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS FORUM IS TAKEN FROM PREVIOUS VERSION OF QUEEN SONGS SITE.
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Sebastian: Debatable lines from this site articles07 Feb 2004 17:14
That's something I wanted to do from a long time. I'm not only discussing the statements here, in some cases I try to complement them and/or ask some questions (there are many things I don't understand). So here it goes:

---------

'39

> John plays double bass

Perhaps it'd be interesting to point out that Brian asked John to play it as a joke, he never imagined that a couple of days later Deaky would appear in the studio with the thing, and that he already had picked up the technique. I think that (as in many Brian's songs), John must have had free hand to arrange and improvise his (double) bass part. That's a very nice feature of Brian's songs (also used in the drums I guess) that increases the "live" and "band" feel, as opposed to many Freddie's tracks, more "mechanical" (with bass doubling left hand piano).

> Arranged and sung mostly by Brian May

I still support the theory that harmonies are most of times sung by the person who arranged them (Bo Rhap is an exception but note most of harmonies are Freddie, or there's a 7 - 3 portion between Freddie and the rest).

If we apply that here that'd mean they all (well, all John's discussion aside) contributed here. The harmony in the intro is six-part (which, for a start, would be very weird in a Brian track), and note that the inner voices (2,3,4 and 5) are all a Freddie's "angel choir" (check 'White Queen'). Roger sang the bottom voice, doing a nice counterpoint with his falsetto. I think if Brian or Fred had came up with that low voice part they'd sung it themselves, and if John did he had chosen Freddie (I might be wrong about that).

The contrapunctual harmonies in the chorus, by one side, can be an accident (as the modulation of Bo Rhap after the 'Galileos'). I can't picture Brian writing the score for each vocal, I more or less think he "improvised" the lines going up and down. But that's not what I was going to mention: the sung mostly by Brian is debatable, it depends in the case since the arrangement and the singers are changed in each one of the three choruses.

The first "don't you hear my call" and "don't you hear me calling you" are more block than contrapuntual, and only have Brian in the middle voice. With surround channels you can easily prove that top voice is a falsetto Roger (front left), middle voice is Freddie in front left and Brian in front right. I do think John is the low part, since the voice timbre doesn't match anyone else. "Write your letters... children knew" is two-part, I again think John (or Freddie with flu) is in the low part, in the high you can note it's Brian in surround left, Freddie in surround right.

Next chorus "don't you hear my call .... calling you" is more contrapunctual. In surround right, Brian singing all three-parts (top in falsetto). In surround left it's only the two lower parts but still they're sung by Brian. In front right there's only the two higher voices, being Roger in the falsetto and Freddie in the other. That's repeated in front left (probably John is with Fred but it could also be just Freddie).

"Write your letters ... children knew" is Brian's lead in the middle. One lower harmony line is in surround left and is Brian. The higher is in surround right and is also Brian. Very difficult parts to sing. In front channels you can note that Fred added in "knew" a small "oh", three-part, it's really hard to notice.

The final chorus has "don't you hear my call .. calling you", in surround parts is Roger - Freddie. Front channels demonstrate that it's also Freddie in the low part. The answer is again Brian's lead, joined by a lower voice (surround left) and a higher falsetto (surround right) also made by him.

Maybe they tried different approaches an ideas (e.g. Brian gave Freddie free hand to arrange deteminate lines, Roger some others, some by himself and some discussed by everyone, or they tried out everyone's ideas and Roy mixed the different "versions").
> There are no drums
> The live version dropped Intro I. It featured John on fretless bass and Roger on bass drum as well as tambourine

DTS centre channel proves there's also bass drum in the studio version

-------

A Kind Of Magic:

> the catchy bass motif (that is absent in the Highlander-version).

The bass motif is Freddie's creation. You shall add that Freddie contributed so much in this song and 'Radio Ga Ga', perhaps even more than in John's 'Pain Is So Close To Pleasure', but John asked Fred's contribution to be recognised. In a similar way John contributed more in pieces like 'Sail Away Sweet Sister' than in 'One Vision'

About the bass riff itself, note that it's a typical Freddie approach for a motif: it moves around just one chord, and it's transposed (check Masterstroke, My Fairy King, Bo Rhap or even The Hitman, although it's a little more sophisticated than that, perhaps because Brian, as he said, changed some of the notes). I was pretty certain that Mercury invented the 'Magic' riff, and fortunately Brian confirmed it in the GVHII commentary.

> Unusual details in the song form

Note that Freddie's arrangements in other people's songs are so subtle, because you don't think Fred had a hand there unless you hear crazy chords or ridiculously big harmony blocks. But Freddie knew very much how to respect the author's framework and use his knowledge in a more pop way, or in a more classical way... depending on the track itself. Eddie's 'Man From Manhattan' doesn't sound like a Freddie arrangement (except for the vocal in the break) unless you check many subtle details. Roger's 'Killing Time' is another example

----------

Action This Day:

> How much this song was influenced by the New Wave genre can be a target of further analysis

Very much, at least in the technical aspects of things (synth arpeggiator, synth solo, drum pads and machines, synth bass), although it conservates the human feel (acoustic piano, electric guitars instead of e-piano and synth guitars) much more than any new wave track.

> The arrangement features new-to-Queen saxophones

As I said before, it's a synth, not a sax. More accurately: it's two synths, not two saxophones. Synths have a quality problem becoming bigger through the years. With modern synths you can recreate nearly any instrument with a fairly good accuracy (70-80%, because it's still possible to recognise a synth violin from a real one, no matter if the synth is from 2004 and costs more than a house). With very old analog synthesisers you could recreate anything with 99.999% accuracy (from trumpets to animal sounds), but it was very very very difficult. Note the string sound of 'Sail Away Sweet Sister': much better than any modern string sound you can get of a keyboard, but I doubt any rock musician could get it out. That's why keyboard companies started releasing synths with less "full" accuracy but much more preset quality and very easy to programme (those series started with the Jupiter 8, which the band used in most of their records, but the sounds weren't rich or human at all).

Those old synth types (finishing with the DX7 Brian used in 'Show Must Go On' and 'Who Wants To Live Forever') were, as I said, so damn hard to programme (or recreate a sound there). Mack was probably the world's most expert person in that matter, and both Queen and ELO were endlessly fortunate to have him by their side.

It's something sure that Mack played that part then. Mack and Freddie were the official arrangers of Roger's tracks, this one must be from the first one only but it can also be co-arranged by both.

--------------

Bicycle Race:

> Although Brian was usually given free hand composing solos, Freddie might also be credited for composing this one

Brian kind of credited himself this solo last year. Not exactly like "I wrote it", he just said that he was given very freedom to fool around.

----------

Bohemian Rhapsody:

> The song went through major changes until the final cut, especially the "opera" section.

There are two different versions that contradict themselves. Roy mentioned Freddie each day came up with new lines and parts, while the rest said that he "already had everything in his head ('mine' in the case of a quote by Freddie)".

> Nothing extra except the special percussion gong and the bell-tree ("...down my spine")

It's guitar harmonics, I think you did mention it later in your article. There's another additional percussion instrument: Timpani. Better to be heard in DTS centre channel. In fact Roger did a little mistake in the second "Bismilah", playing the Timpani a little before he was supposed to (less than a second though, but you can note the mistake in DTS centre channel, where the bass is right on time)

> The album version is preceded with a short mysterious multitrack guitar-trill with similar function to the trademark-shots that start big movies and computer games. This trill oscillates between Bm and C#m chords in their first inversion. One possibility is that it comes from the outro of "Good Company".

As we discussed earlier, it must be some mistake in your cd's edition or "burning" process. All the rest of 'Opera' albums have Bo Rhap starting in the a capella intro and GC finishing with the guitar trill.

> The Bismillah's are unisono

They're parallel octaves, as you can note easier in DTS

> Roger hits the high Bb note, in close contest it is the highest sung note in the Queen-catalog

'Seaside Rendezvous', from the same album, has Roger in a C5. 'It's Late' had a very weird scream from Freddie going to an E5. I very much doubt it's speeded up.

> The fanfare-like ascending guitar fills go into a (two-part) harmony...

After the "trumpet" part we find a four part guitar harmony (while vocal harmonies are in "oh yeah oh yeah"), which is very interesting because all four guitars start off in a different note but they all four end up doing the same one (D4). I don't remember further Freddie's arrangements with that feature, although he did a similar approach in 'Somebody To Love' and 'Bicycle Race' (changing from six to two parts). There's additionally a two-part of treble guitars creating the climax.

--------------

Brighton Rock:

Just some overall comments:

- As in most Brian's pieces, he must have given free hand to Roger and John to arrange their lines after his general instructions. Freddie on the other hand perhaps didn't do anything for the creating process of this track, he just received the lyric manuscript and learnt to sing it

- This is very probably an exception of the "live" backing tracks. Note there are two basses (one starts off the fast fills while the other is sustaining a note)

- It was originally planned for the second album, revisited for the third. No idea if anything from the demo version survived in the final mix. Some working names were  Happy Little Fuck was the working title of this song. It was further referred to as Happy Little Day, Blackpool Rock, Bognor Ballad, Southend Sea Scout, Skiffle Rock and Herne Bay.

------------

Crazy Little Thing Called Love:

> There are hints that Freddie wrote the song on piano (an upright one)

I think you got confused by the comment in the album info section. Fred mentioned having written 'CLTCL' in the bathroom and then he mentioned he once dragged an upright piano to his bedroom but he was talking about a completely different experience. On the other hand there are several comments by Freddie (and one by John) mentioning he did write the song in guitar.

Additional comments: The outro adds a second electric guitar. There's only one acoustic but two signals were recorded simoultaneously (one from the amp and one from a mike placed in front of the guitar) and panned stereo. The acoustic is six string in the record, twelve string on stage.

-------------

Death On Two Legs:

> Preludium-like piano arpeggios are fading in

This is one of those parts Freddie would improve through the years. According to Greg Brooks Fred had many problems recording it ("Freddie tried endless times to put on the piano track before finally getting it right. He swore, apologised, tried, gave the piano frustrated thrashings, and finally nailed it"). Perhaps that's a reason why the band didn't perform it before 1977 (except some references during Fred's cannon in Prophet's Song), when he did it every night. Note that in early 80s he did it perfectly and faster than on the record. More songs in which he was improving the piano parts were 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Somebody To Love' and 'White Queen'

---------------

Dreamer's Ball

> In the live version the solo was performed by Roger and Brian on "vocal brasses" (shades of "Seaside Rendezvous"). They did it with remarkable talent.

Are you sure Brian is there too? In the video I have only Roger has his mouth in the mic during that part (and Freddie who is making some comments), but Brian is just in the guitar. Live Killers version has - if I remember correctly - two kazoo voices overlapping, but I'm pretty sure it's a studio overdub (as many others, check
www.geocities.com

-----------

Drowse

Additional comments: Strummed acoustic guitar is perhaps a glam rock legacy, and more to the point, a Bowie influence. Note that every fourth beat a Timpani is hit. How was the song syncronised is beyond me (since Roger played timpani, drums and rhythm guitar)

------------

Fat Bottomed Girls

The album version has Brian singing lead vocal in the choruses and Freddie passes to sing the harmony. The intro is that way too, so technically, the studio version is a duet between Brian and Freddie

--------------

Friends Will Be Friends:

> Towards the end of the Eighties the piano got almost banned from Queen records

If I remember correctly, this one was one of the very first debates we had. I still think "banned" is too strong. Note that Party, Hang On In There, The Miracle, Delilah, Slightly Mad, Falling Out, Too Much Love, All God's People and My Life Has Been Saved have piano (even if it's digital). What you could say is that piano was shot from it's lead or main instrument position. 'Made In Heaven' is a more piano album but note that the post 88 songs of it ('Mother Love', 'You Don't Fool Me' and 'Winter's Tale') don't have piano (although ML has some backing chords in the second verse).

----------------

Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy:

> The second subsection breaks the sentimental tone of the first. The first phrase (with AA' sub-phrasing) has unisono "Greek tragedy" choir (starring John Harris).

If what you mean is "hey boy where you get it from..." it's Mike Stone, not John Harris.

Add Com: There's additional percussion (woodblocks and triangle)

----------

Is This The World We Created:

> Except the intro motif, we don't know what other ideas and tunes came from Brian and what from Freddie

Freddie (1984): "We were looking at all the songs we had and we just thought the one thing we didn't have was one of those little thing type, the Love Of My Life type of things. One of us said "ok I'm gonna go back and do it... go back and think about it", but Brian... I just said Brian "why don't we just think of something right here?", and that song just evolved in about two days, he just got on acoustic and I just sat next to him, we just worked it together. I came up with the lyrical side and then he came up with the chords, and something just happened and it's the first time that... we never had ... see if I actually thought before this that Brian and I should sit down and write a song together, I don't think it would happen, because then all kinds of egos ... and who does what... this way we didn't have to think about it, we just sort of went in there, and it seemed to work, it was sort of quite strong, it worked very well as a tail end of the album. I  wouldn't like to said I wrote all the lyrics, Brian helped, but I remember most of the lyrics of that long are mine, Brian probably did help with a line here and there"
1.PD 07 Feb 2004 21:01
> That's something I wanted to do from a long time.
me too. :)

------------
'39

> Brian asked John to play it as a joke,
Yeah, I know the story. I thought it's not very relevant in songwriting pointof view.

> and that he already had picked up the technique.
I expect it's not extremly challenging for an accomplished player as our Deaky.

> John must have had free hand to arrange and improvise his
> (double) bass part.
Brian may have suggested the alternate 1-5-1-5 bassline. I don't know.

> more "mechanical" (with bass doubling left hand piano).
On the downbeats there are not too much inverted bass notes in '39 either.

> The harmony in the intro is six-part (which, for a start, would be very
> weird in a Brian track),
According to my transcription the backing harmonies in the intro have three
parts. It's not that weird in a Brian track. I may be wrong though.

> Roger sang the bottom voice, doing a nice counterpoint
> with his falsetto.
The bottom voice in the intro sound like it was sung by more of them.

> The contrapunctual harmonies in the chorus, by one side,
> can be an accident (as the modulation of Bo Rhap after the
> 'Galileos').
?

> I can't picture Brian writing the score for each vocal,
As for me, I can. But in this case he may have arranged it
one by one while singing along with the guide vocal.

> I more or less think he "improvised" the lines going up and down.
This arrangement in terms of sophistication and "selective"
approach went far beyond mere improvisation.

> The first "don't you hear my call" and "don't you hear me calling you"
> are more block than contrapuntual,
yes.

> With surround channels you can easily prove that top
> voice is a falsetto Roger (front left), middle voice is
> Freddie in front left and Brian in front right.
I should check this out...

> DTS centre channel proves there's also bass drum in the studio version
You're probably right.


-----------------
A Kind Of Magic:

> The bass motif is Freddie's creation.
There are two leit-motifs in the bass-line. Maybe only these are
Freddie's creation.

> You shall add that Freddie contributed so much in this song
I didn't know how much it affected the musical framework.


> About the bass riff itself, note that it's a typical Freddie
> approach for a motif: it moves around just one chord, and
> it's transposed
For some extent '39 also falls in this case.
The lead vocal in "You Really Got Me" (Kinks 1964) also
follows similar approach.

> Fred had a hand there unless you hear crazy chords
For example diminished chords in Ga-Ga were not very Roger-esque,
but I can't prove it was Freddie's idea.


> Eddie's 'Man From Manhattan' doesn't sound like a Freddie
> arrangement (except for the vocal in the break)
Formy ears it soungds Freddiesque. Not the framework -
only the arrangement with those anthiphonal harmonies.



----------
Action This Day:

>> The arrangement features new-to-Queen saxophones
>As I said before, it's a synth, not a sax.
Yeah. It should be fixed one day. I'm still surprised by that.
It sounds so extremly sax-like with microsopic nuances.
Why didn't they used real saxophones. Remember Brian using
a real Telecaster instead of imitating its tone with his
fireplace guitar.


---------

Bohemian Rhapsody:

>> Nothing extra except the special percussion gong and the bell-tree
>It's guitar harmonics, I think you did mention it later in your article.
yeah. Should be fixed too.
It was one of the finest surprises to hear those bell-tree-esque guitar
noises clear and find it also in Killer Queen.


> There's another additional percussion instrument: Timpani.
Yes.

> Better to be heard in DTS centre channel.
or in the Rhapsody-documentary.


> In fact Roger did a little mistake in the second "Bismilah",
Perhaps the mixers made that mistake.

> As we discussed earlier, it must be some mistake in your cd's
yeah. I wonder how rare this CD-version is.


>> The Bismillah's are unisono
> They're parallel octaves, as you can note easier in DTS
yep.


> It's Late' had a very weird scream from Freddie
> going to an E5. I very much doubt it's speeded up.
That's suspiciously weird.

--------------

Brighton Rock:

Just some overall comments:

> This is very probably an exception of the "live" backing tracks.
> Note there are two basses (one starts off the fast fills while
> the other is sustaining a note)
Another point that I should check... one day.

> Some working names were Happy Little Fuck was the working
> title of this song.
Within a couple of years we may hear these tracks, at
least I hope so.

-----------

Crazy Little Thing Called Love:

> Fred mentioned having written 'CLTCL' in the bathroom
> and then he mentioned he once dragged an upright piano
> to his bedroom but he was talking about a completely
> different experience.
In this case I have misunderstood it badly.


-------------

Death On Two Legs:

> Preludium-like piano arpeggios are fading in
>"Freddie tried endless times to put
> on the piano track before finally getting it right.
No wonder. As Brian told Freddie didn't have the chops of
concert-pianists, but this arpeggio stuff sounded "choppy".
On concerts he played it OK.


> except some references during Fred's cannon in Prophet's Song
What references?

---------------
Dreamer's Ball

>> In the live version the solo was performed by Roger and Brian on "vocal brasses"
>Are you sure Brian is there too?
To be honest: no.

www.geocities.com


----------
Drowse

Additional comments: Strummed acoustic guitar is perhaps a glam rock legacy,
you mean: this kind of strummed acoustic guitars.
Strummed acoustic guitars are not primarly associated with glam rock.


-----------
Friends Will Be Friends:

>> Towards the end of the Eighties the piano got almost banned
>> from Queen records
>I still think "banned" is too strong.
This particular word was Ognyan's choice, and retrospectively
I share your opinion.

----------------
Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy:

> If what you mean is "hey boy where you get it from..."
> it's Mike Stone, not John Harris.
yeah, should be corrected.

-------------------


I don't know when the related articles will be revised. In
fact I should correct all the early articles as I did with
"Bicyle Race".
2.Sebastian 07 Feb 2004 21:42
before answering your answers, I'll finish up:

Killer Queen:

> This time he directed his talent to produce this camp kind of musichall song

It's interesting again to analyse the "progression" Freddie had in this style. His first effort ('Leroy Brown') used many imported features and some subtle Freddie-esque details. He'd write more songs each time with less generic aspects and then you can see 'Good Old Fashioned' has many camp elements but still it's a completely authentic Mercury piece (note the descending bass, the cliches, the arrangements, etc).

Of course the only way to incorpore a new style in someone's songwriting is with practice and experience. Elvis wouldn't write a symphony from the air. Of course what most artists do is to use the experience of one song in the other (so they'd have more songs and the album would be filled easier). Note Lady Madonna is very a-typical for Paul in some ways (although the Dm G C Am progression was already used in 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'), while 'Get Back' was a much more straightforward Beatles piece, and the Lady Madonna details were more subtle

Freddie was already an expert in hard rock pieces when the band recorded the first album. That was because Freddie already had composed a vast number of heavy songs, so he kind of already learnt to make it his own way. I guess his first heavy compositions must have been very similar to Led Zeppelin or other band's songs.

With 'Rhapsody' Freddie must have re-written the whole thing many times incorporing more and more personal elements each time until he could have an interlude which was operatic and at the same time very Freddie-esque. No wonder why he said he "had to work like crazy". He wanted the song to stablish the band with a distinctive sound and style, so he had to do it, otherwise he could have "copied" or quoted some parts of operatic compositions and mix them in the song (as he did in 'It's A Hard Life').

'Killer Queen' was influenced by 'Leroy Brown' (which was recorded before this one since 'Killer Queen', 'Brighton Rock', 'She Makes Me' and 'Now I'm Here' were the last recordings of the album). It's important to point that Freddie played the jangle piano here too.

An interesting Freddie-esque arrangement is found in the harmony vocals in the chorus ("pa pa pa pa", which can also be a link to 'Ogre Battle' by the way): top voice (Roger) does the same note in all the words, while middle part (Freddie) is ascending all the time. Freddie used that trick also in 'Don't Stop Me' and 'Leroy Brown' ("we want leroy for president")

Except that "pa pa pa pa" and the "drive you wild" line, all the harmonies are done exclusively by Freddie. Additional percussion includes triangle and windchimes.

-------------

Mustapha:

> Roger uses bell-clusters (or  something like that).

They're actually hawk-bells. But not neccesarily Roger played them

------------

Play The Game:

> Synthesizers' public debut on a Queen song ("Save Me" was recorded earlier, though).

And released before too. 'Coming Soon' and 'Sail Away Sweet Sister' were also recorded before, but those were released after PTG

> Toward the end of the intro the glissando gets continuous, and the noises get more intense, and just before the glissando reaches G again, enter Freddie and the piano

The intro was recorded separately to the rest of the track. Otherwise it'd been so hard to create that effect.

----------

Princes Of The Universe:

> Unfortunately (and partly predictably), this single could not become a chart hit.

Depends on the circumstances. It wasn't released in Europe, and in the US it failed to chart maybe because it was too complicated for what the audience expected at the time. Moreover neither the motion picture or the band were extremely famous in America and the absence of a tour didn't help very much. Nevertheless 'Princes' is incredibly famous in South America (compared to other places and compared to other songs), since there are lots of 'Highlander' fans here.

----------

Scandal:

> Freddie on the lead vocal uses many rubato rhythms in the Verses as a touch of passion.

Perhaps it's because Fred's vocals - and Brian's solo - are apparently a first take

---------

The Kiss:

> The last phase only prolongs the closing Am chord, and a short electric piano figure is played in the very last measure with the 9-8 appoggiatura

It's actually a synth

-------

The Show Must Go On:

> All four Queen members share the writing credit. Deacon and Taylor created the intro sequence - a really unusual contribution inside the band

That's according to one version of the story. Brian told two different versions too: that the sequence was Freddie, Roger and John, and that it was Roger and himself.

--------

You're My Best Friend:

> We know that John used a drum-machine in the composing process, too

I always wondered about that. Where did you hear that? I don't think drum machines even existed in 1975

> ...and electric piano. The latter seems to be a strange choice for a "no-synth" album.

Yeah, it's a little cheat in fact. Wurlitzer electric pianos have a synthetic sound (note John emulated bells with it too, years later Freddie would do the same in 'Sail Away Sweet Sister'), but since you can't create sounds with them, they're not technically "synths". But in the context of how the guys used synths, it's exactly the same
3.Sebastian 07 Feb 2004 23:15
> I expect it's not extremly challenging for an accomplished player as our Deaky.

His double bass miming in 'Who Wants To Live Forever' seems somehow "amateur" or "against the rules", but there can be many causes for that apart than the possibility that he simply forgot how to play it in all those years.

> Brian may have suggested the alternate 1-5-1-5 bassline. I don't know.

The bass line sounds very "generic" or imported from skiffle or country music. Note that `Long Away' is much more Deaky/Queennie

> This arrangement in terms of sophistication and "selective" approach went far beyond mere improvisation.

I should ask Brian about this.

> For example diminished chords in Ga-Ga were not very Roger-esque, but I can't prove it was Freddie's idea.

I doubt it. Freddie's contribution was more affecting the arrangement and the structure (in both this and 'Magic' and virtually all or most of Roger's and John's tracks in the 80s), but I don't think he changed the chords (perhaps not even the inversions). Roger did mention he wrote in the piano some chords for 'Ga Ga' that he didn't even know how they were called. Talking about that Roger said he composed on piano in 1982. I wonder if he meant 'Action', 'Calling' or both or perhaps the songs he was writing for 'Strange Frontier'...

> It sounds so extremly sax-like with microsopic nuances.

Those microscopic details are what differences a sax from a modern synth doing sax sounds. And Mack's expertise consisted in putting all those details using the analog synth pads and vibratos and stuff.

> Why didn't they used real saxophones. Remember Brian using a real Telecaster instead of imitating its tone with his fireplace guitar.

Those are very different cases IMO. None of them were trained enough in wind instruments to play that sax part, so they'd have to hire an auxiliar musician, which by one side was against the "rules" (although later on John did hire one), and perhaps people could think that the arrangement was "too much for them", as the case you said in 'Seaside Rendezvous', I think. The synth sax wasn't played by Freddie or Roger anyway, it was Mack (and I'm pretty sure of that), but part of the producer's job is to give away credits. If there was an 'Action' video it's possible that one of them would have mimed the sax parts in an actual sax (as Björn and Benny did in the video of 'I Do').

The CLTCL thing was still something inside the band, and didn't make much difference in question of "ethics" and credits. On the other side, hiring an operatic choir for 'Bo Rhap' or a gospel choir for 'Somebody To Love' would have diminished the achievement so much.

> What references?

During '75 and '76 concerts Freddie sang an extended version of the 'Prophet's Song' canon. In all versions I heard he suddenly added a "Death on two legs, is tearing me apart" line. I think it was before the "and now I know" part.

> you mean: this kind of strummed acoustic guitars.

Yes I mean that.

> This particular word was Ognyan's choice, and retrospectively I share your opinion.

If Ognyan means the role of the piano as a main instrument, I agree.
4.Sebastian 09 Feb 2004 13:04
What is weird though is that Fred hired a brass orchestra for 'Stsying Power' in the same album. But that could be for commercial reasons: the Arif Mardin credit could have been a very good promotion because he was very famous at the time. But it got the opposite effect, pissing off most Queen fans. A single release of SP could have been either a huge success (like AOBTD) or the biggest flop in the band's story. We'll never know.

Anyway the sax thing is a special case. I guess Roger wanted that sound and they have some options: hiring an additional musician, which would diminish the achievement (it'd be like playing 'Procession' in organ or mellotron instrad of the guitar "orchestra"), or trying to put Brian to emulate the sound with a guitar, which was very difficult or perhaps impossible, or putting one of them to play the sax (which is a different case to LOVM, because there Brian played chord by chord the harp and they added delay effects at the end os it sounded like he could play it, but you can't construct a solo playing note by note, you need a performance), or doing it in the synth. The last option was of course the best
5.Sebastian 12 Feb 2004 15:08
I think it'd be fair to upload the Good Company and other articles, even if you won't write more after Coming Soon. I'd of course love if you continue but since you say you're way too busy and your decision is too strong I feel like there's nothing I can do. Nevertheless I can give you a small advice: why don't you change the order of your analyses and take some 8-10 very easy or short ones to take a break? (e.g. Misfire, Bijou, Delilah, Beautiful Day...). 'Sail Away Sweet Sister' would be a complete joy to analyse.

Anyway, about the new articles, I have some comments too:

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The Miracle:

> Interesting chord progression that was co-written by Deacon and Mercury.

Freddie's quote can be misunderstood. He said that the song started off with he and John making soe chords and deciding how the melody should go. But those chords weren't neccesarily the verse progression, they could be the chorus or coda progression, or a different circle that Freddie (or both) later worked on and polish to finish off with the (definitive) chords.

Some quotes about the song:

Freddie (1989): "John and me made some chords and we two decided how the lyrics goes. I think you know what we mean when you listen to it but it's not the declaration that we are the miracle. It's a more straight song. We sing about the miracle we are waiting for...about the peace of the world. I have mentioned about this matter for a long time but it's the first time to write a song about it. I really like the progression of the song. I thought about the age of Killer Queen. There is a natural and unexpected way. A delicate song with a heavy theme and everyone of the band contributed to the lyrics, too".

Freddie (1989): "The lyrics... actually I think that was one of the songs where we all contributed."

Brian (1989): "We got pasted to the wall for this in England. Everybody hated it, for some reason. It's very un-cool to be idealistic in Britain, I suppose, at the moment, and they said "How can they talk about peace", and all that sort of stuff, then of course, China happened and everything. It seems very relevant to us"

Brian (1994): "The Miracle track, which is mainly Freddie, is a small masterpiece in its own way"

Brian (1998): "His (Freddie's) songs say it all: Lily Of The Valley, Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, The March Of The Black Queen, We Are The Champions, The Miracle, Play The Game and many others all have the finest shades of emotion among the bold strokes."

Brian (2003): "Always a favourite track of mine. Of course we were deeply into multiple slave tapes by this time, each with dozens of tracks on them - mixes were fully computer assisted (which really just means the computer remembers every human move of the faders, etc.) and between the four of us Queenies and David Richards there was still a huge amount of experimentation going on, along the way. For instance, every time a new synthesizer came through the door we would go through its settings eagerly looking for interesting sounds to lead us in new directions! (There's a whole bunch on The Miracle). And musically we were constantly “flying by the seat of our pants” - constantly rearranging in the studio, and trying out new bits. Of course I made sure the guitars were kept in there !!! ha ha! - with some difficulty sometimes - but luckily Freddie in particular (ever since his early obsession with Jimi Hendrix) never lost sight of his excitement over the 'voice' of the guitar, and was always a huge supporter of my playing, plus I was one of the main culprits for writing parts on synths by now anyway"

Brian (2003): "I've always loved this track, The Miracle, I think it's one of Freddie's most magical compositions, and I remember the joy we had in the studio, we really did work together, all the four of us in the ideas, building it up, painting the picture. But it was Freddie's concept, and a very brave concept, cause you're talking about a man who knows his death is coming and he's writing about The Miracle, I think it's part of Freddie's genius, it's always one of my favourites of his creations. It used dozens of tracks, it was very carefully built up"

Roger (1989): "In England 'idealism' is 'naivety', which is wrong, it's not. There's nothing wrong with idealism. Nick Lowe wrote that great song, great title - "What's so bad about peace, love and understanding", yeah, and what is so bad about it?"

Roger (2003): "It was an incredibly complex song and I know Freddie was particularly fond of this song, it's not my favourite, but it's very clever and sounded very nice, very naive lyric in an optimistic way. Not cynical."

David Richards (2001): "Both the lyrics and the chords came to Freddie."

David Richards (2002): "Freddie played the keyboards on The Miracle, Was It All Worth It and Innuendo (Korg M1). He played a strong role in the writing of these songs"

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Innuendo:

> ...nicely reflected in the synth-orchestration (probably done by Dave Richards)

That's again a story of varied stories. David said that he played keyboards in the orchestral section, but about three days later he said Freddie played the keyboards. My personal opinion is that nobody did: keyboards were programmed in midi (by Freddie, possibly with help from Dave), and then run in the M1 so the computer was playing with perfect syncronisation.

The song melody is apparently by Freddie, who started to sing along, then Roger put the lyrics. I don't think it includes the interlude though

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Save Me:

> The second Verse has richer ensemble: drums, bass, acoustic and eletric guitars
(tone setting is similar to "... Seven Days"). Piano is buried, hardly audible.

I disagree. Piano is more than clear, and electric guitars only appear at the very end, introducing the second bridge

> The first half of the section is arranged for acoustic guitars (mostly arpeggios), the second half has harmonized (4 parts) lead guitar with a tone setting similar to what we heard in "... Seven Days".

Note the very interesting descending diatonic scale Brian played before the electric choir enters. There are also synths in that part.

> The arrangement is joined by doubletracked acoustic guitars and bass guitar

Listening closely to the surround channels, the so called bass in the first bridge is an acoustic guitar IMO. Either that or an acoustic bass, which would be an interesting an extremely rare feature in the band

> The third Bridge is represented by only its second half. The acoustic guitars are
back, no vocal harmonies.

Are you sure about the acoustic guitars? I personally don't remember them there, although they do enter again in the last chorus

> The third Chorus is reserved for the guitar solo. It drops the lead vocal but keeps the backing vocals. The solo lasts until the last phrase, where the lead vocal returns (overlapped with the lead guitar). The solo is very passionately performed.

It'd be interesting to note the nice counterpoint that appears at the end of the chorus (three-part harmony of "save me save me ohhh" at the same time a double tracked Freddie sings a descending "save me"). Lead vocal isn't lost at all, it just doesn't sing lyrics in the first part. Freddie did some wild screams instead (shades of 'It's Late'). Second chorus adds synth (better to notice in surround left channel).

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Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon: Additional percussion - cowbell - only hit once during the solo

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Under Pressure:

John (1982): "Freddie and David had been friends for a long time, and he just came in to the studio we were in and we did a jam session. The song itself is mainly David's and Freddie's idea. But we were all included in the credits. It was an interesting experience, because David wrote the bass-line, he owes the responsibility for it. He's a talented man, and that song is one of those that I really like"
6.PD 12 Feb 2004 19:25
> I think it'd be fair to upload the Good Company and other articles,
see in the ever-delaying next updates.

> I'd of course love if you continue
I too would if I had much more time.

> why don't you change the order of your analyses and take
> some 8-10 very easy or short ones to take a break?
The articles took me averagely 7-8 hours to complete.
Easier ones would take 4-6 hours. A brief analysis
reduced to only functional and formal analysis would take
even less time (see the Blonde On Blonde type of analysis).
But it still requires time. Even this mere reply of mine
takes time, but I decided to keep this joy for myself until
I can. But even right this moment I feel I should care for
my other businesses.
I'll be happy if I can correct the to be corrected articles.

> Sail Away Sweet Sister' would be a complete joy to analyse.
You're right. But it would be a complete joy for anyone
who is able to do it.


----
The Miracle:

thanks for the quotes. You may have a point regarding those chords.

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Innuendo:

> ...nicely reflected in the synth-orchestration (probably done by Dave
Richards)

> David said that he played keyboards in the orchestral section,
> but about three days later he said Freddie played the keyboards.
There is no contradiction here. Freddie played synths probably in
the Verses. The middle-section arrangement is not very Mercury-esque.

--------
Save Me chorus:

> Piano is buried, hardly audible.

> I disagree. Piano is more than clear, and electric guitars
> only appear at the very end, introducing the second bridge
I talked about the chorus not about the second verse which
precedes the second bridge.


> Note the very interesting descending diatonic scale
> Brian played before the electric choir enters.
IMO it's just nice, but not particularly interesting.

> There are also synths in that part.
I had a vague suspect that those psychadelic flanged backing chords
behind the acoustic guitar arpeggios are heavily effected
guitars.

> Listening closely to the surround channels, the so called
> bass in the first bridge is an acoustic guitar IMO.
You don't have to listen to the surround channels to hear clearly
the bassline with those characteristic for John 1-5-8-5-1 arpeggios.
The center track would be fine to listen to.

>> The third Bridge
> Are you sure about the acoustic guitars?
absolutely.

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> Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon: Additional percussion
> - cowbell - only hit once during the solo
listening to the CD cut I havent noticed it.

7.Sebastian 12 Feb 2004 20:14
> But it would be a complete joy for anyone who is able to do it.

So far I don't know more people than you with that ability. Queen world is still in a musical childhood in most aspects. I was tempted many times to write a couple of articles but I feel my knowledge is too weak yet. I am doing a couple of GnR analyses though, hopefully I'll post them here very soon

> The middle-section arrangement is not very Mercury-esque.

The orchestra is more or less arranged for double bass and two full string sections. The "main" part (chords) must have been the first, and I guess Freddie played it when he wrote that section. The other part doesn't sound so Freddie-esque (echoing the melody, then doing small overdubs, then doing parallel fifths and thirds to the medloy), although the bass does very much (compare it with Was It All Worth It or Don't Try So Hard). Anyway a good solution would be asking David. I'll do it if I can't think of better questions.

> I had a vague suspect that those psychadelic flanged backing chords behind the acoustic guitar arpeggios are heavily effected guitars.

Before the instrumental part - maybe yes, I think that too in fact. But in the second chorus you can notice in one of the surround channels that there's a hard to hear synth pad doing some chords. It's very hard to detect (as Freddie's screams in the last chorus)

> You don't have to listen to the surround channels to hear clearly the bassline with those characteristic for John 1-5-8-5-1 arpeggios.

You're right, I had forgot about the arpeggios.

> listening to the CD cut I havent noticed it.

To be more exact, it's at the end of the second measure of the solo, Roger plays a small fill including one hit in the cowbell.
8.PD 12 Feb 2004 21:49
> So far I don't know more people than you with that ability.
Oh, come on! :)

Let's see what knowledge and skills that these articles require to write:
- transcribing chords: many of us can transcribe chords.
- functional analysis: you can learn it. There are definitely hard to interpret harmonic situations. Those are hard nut to crack for me too.
- transcribing songforms: that's easy with occassional difficulties.
- sense of rhythm (with syncopation)
- overall knowledge of Queen music: if you only read the done articles you'll learn the 95% of what I know.
- overall knowldge of other bands' music. That's required in order not to over-praise a particular musical gambits.


A week before I started my first article (Bicycle Race) I thought I would never be able to do it. But step by step I wrote it.
9.Sebastian 12 Feb 2004 23:13
It's like writing a song, you just need to write some chords, make some lyrics, make the arrangements (in the case the songwriter is the same arranger as often happens). But for some reason it's not the same a song by Tom Delonge than a song by Andrew Lloyd Webber
10.Sebastian 25 Jun 2006 20:33
After a year and a half, a new wave of points (especially if you're writing a book):

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'39:

> For a Queen number from 1975/76, this song was surprising both lyrically (sci-fi) and musically (folk).

What about 'Someday One Day'? It contained sci-fi lyrics (for some extent) and the arrangement of strumming acoustic patterns with overdubbed electric guitar choirs was present as well.

> a strange modulation

As Brian said recently, he deliberately put the strange chords in the bridge to illustrate the trip itself.

> It's a quite unusual modulation (bV of e, then back to G = bVI of Bb).

Actually Bb>G isn't I>bVI, but I>VI, a much less unusual key-change. Earlier songs by Brian excluding iii chord are Polar Bear and She Makes Me. The III function was somewhat common for him already although not the dimminished chords, probably the only previous case is Procession.

Chord progression at the end of the chorus reminds me a lot of JC Superstar's Last Supper:

'39: G B/F# Em G C G Am
LS (1st iteration): G D/F# Em G C G Am
LS (2nd iteration): G B/F# Em G C D G
Save Me (verse): G D/F# Em G C G Am

Interestingly enough (and worth mentioning imo) there are several passing chords, especially in the instrumental parts, for instance F#m, Cmaj7... that foreshadows my other favourite Queen song, Dreamer's Ball

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Action This Day:

The D to F modulation is done rather cleverly, similarly to Modern Times Rock N' Roll (E to G). In both cases there are several bluesy chords.

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Bo Rhap:

> The Bismillah's are unisono.

They're octaves actually.

I remember that in one of the scores of interviews mentioning the song, somebody said that the "never never never" bit was the last one added: Fred came up with it when they had already finished, and it was a nice form to connect the second cascade with the choir vs choir bit of before.

> Roger hits the high Bb note, in close contest it is the highest sung note in the Queen-catalog.

Technically there's a higher note in Seaside Rendezvous (high C), even if it was a trumpet imitation instead of a regular vocal.

The ending of the rock section can be interpreted as a series of interrupted IV > V > I cadences in different keys (Bb, Db, E and Eb). I seem to remember a similar trick used in opera, either by Wagner or Mozart. I've gotta check it out.

Wagner and Mozart references could be a nice essay project btw :)

During the reprise there's one pattern done unisono by bass and left-hand piano that is almost exactly identical to one used in Lap Of the Gods one year earlier.

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Friends Will Be Friends:

The break sounds like Fred wanted to flirt a little bit with the parallel key. A similar case is the ending of Play The Game chorus.

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Good Old Fashioned:

Interestingly, Fred now had learnt to do that weird modulation without relying on dimminished chords (like he did earlier with Black Queen). V-of-IV sounds McCartney-esque to my ears (although Paul wasn't the only one to use that extensively), and it's another similitude with 'Don't Stop Me Now'.

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I'm In Love With My Car:

Interesting contrast in the entire album concerning the first chord of every song: Two Legs doesn't begin on the tonic, Lazing does, Car doesn't, Best Friend does, '39 doesn't, Sweet Lady does (if I remember correctly), Seaside doesn't, Prophet's does (so-so), Love Of My Life doesn't, Good Company doesn't, Bo Rhap doesn't (unless we consider Gm/D to be a form of Bb6, which I do).

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Keep Yourself Alive:

The second part of the verse can be interpreted in Fm. Btw the last chord of the verse variant (the one done before the chorus) is A, not C. Nice way to go to the next key, and a very intelligent resolution.

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To be continued...
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