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Sebastian: next ten04 Jun 2003 14:29
I worked really fast on those, but that's because they were so easy. I'm getting rid of them quickly so I can dedicate the rest of the time in the really complex ones (like 'I Want It All'). here they go:


One of the least favourite songs among fans is this one. John's musical trademarks are found here: asymmetric beat (like on In Only Seven Days and Who Needs You, and that funky rhythm on the guitar. As the song is credited to John and Freddie (for the first time in Queen catalogue), we can think the melody and lyrics were by Freddie.
The basic rhythm is John's bass and drum machines programmed by him. John also played the main guitar. The keyboards on the bridge are a mixture. There's a synth-generated e-piano and a proper piano that only played once octave bass. The only other instrument on the song is a synth percussive overdub that appears from time to time. The main keyboard could have been Freddie, and John the overdubs (including piano)
Vocals are by Freddie, including two-part harmonies. The shouted words "I knew that" could have been by John. David Bowie added backing vocals on the demo version.
Brian (1982): "David just did a backing track. I don't think anyone thought any more about it, except that it was a nice ornamentation. We just sent him a courtesy note telling him that we had used it and he said, 'I want it taken off, because I'm not satisfied with it.' Unfortunately he didn't tell us until about a day before the album was supposed to be released, so it really set us back. It delayed the album's release."

Written by Freddie probably before Queen, it's a very primitive song but still is so nice. As there are no recorded versions we must analyse the live renditions. The vocals change a bit from time to time.
Wonderful Brian solo, probably invented by Brian himself. The structure of the song is simple, and it does a nice change on the a capella part. It is one of the few songs were the three voices are easy to distinguish. Roger is on the top voice, Brian on the middle, and Freddie on the lowest, and also the lead melody of course.
It's written on guitar, riff-driven and based on power chords as other Freddie's early pieces (e.g. Jesus). It's worth saying that Brian sung the highest note (A3) after each chorus. Bass doubles rhythm guitar most of time.
Peter Hince (2001): "Hangman was written by Fred"


Brian's bluesy style was begun to be determined from the first album. The song is in essence a live piece, and a good show of early band's arrangements. Bass doubles rhythm guitar.
Apart from those two riff instruments we find a lead guitar, drums and two speeded up Red Specials which make organ-like sounds. Lead vocal is sung by Freddie, harmonies are Roger on the highest voice and Brian on the lowest.
Nothing else to say about the song. Well, the BBC version includes a very big solo which was a prototype of Brighton Rock.
Brian (2002): "I wrote the bass line"


The follow-up to the majestic Love Of My Life was the not less good You Take My Breath Away, also written and arranged by Freddie. Freddie's trademarks found on the track are apart of the vocals, the piano style and the fact he sang all the harmonies.
As opposite to the live versions, on the recordings the four of them participated. Brian played about three or four guitar tracks, Roger hit the cymbals on about five seconds and John gently played bass during Brian's solo. The rest was Freddie's lead vocal, piano and harmonies up to five-part. Awesome a capella intro and outro. The Rhapsody influence is so clear on that matter.
Freddie (1976): "This one I did myself, I multi tracked myself. So the others weren’t used on this for the voices. I played piano and basically, I don’t know how we managed to stay this simple you know, with all our over dubs and things. People seem to think that we’re over complexed, and it’s not true. It depends on the individual track really, if it needs it – we do it. So this is pretty sparse actually by Queen and our standards. The harmonies are nice, I’m very pleased with them"Freddie (1977): "You Take My Breath Away is a slow ballad with a new twist. That's another track I did at Hyde Park, with just me on the piano. It was very nerve-wracking playing all by myself in front of 200,000 people. I didn't think my voice would come through, it's a very emotional, laid-back number"
Roger (1976): "I think harmonies can be dangerous, they can get you into a rather middle of the road type feel, and we try to avoid that.  We try to be fairly extreme with the harmonies and not make them too cosy , you know.  And too sort-of bland and smooth.  Erm, we're lucky with the combination of voices, I think, 'coz the three of us who sing - who do most of the singing - have very different voices, but they do tend to blend quite well because of the differences.  I've got a lot of 'edge' in my voice, quite a lot of roughness, and can go high.  Brian has a good, soft, round voice, and Freddie has a very powerful voice with a good range at both ends.  I'm not so good in the low range, he's very good in the low range, he's also good in the high range.  And I think - I dunno - I mean we use harmonies in very different ways, I think.  For instance on You Take My Breath Away, that's mostly Freddie, and the beginning and end of that song are real harmony showpieces without any rhythm section at all. "
Brian (1983): "There's a particular pickup combination which I use for the violin things: the fingerboard pickup and the middle one. Those two working in phase make a very mellow sound. And there's a point on the amplifier where it's just about to get distorted, but not quite. Instead of using my pick, I tap the fingerboard with the right hand, and that just sets the thing moving. It sustain itself. you hardly need to even tap it any. If you even stand in exactly the right place, it feeds back in any position so I can just warble around and it's very smooth."


Really a great ballad by Brian, a son of Long Away, with lyrics on the same mood.  Brian's trademarks on the piece can be the chromatic bass scale (also found in Flash and Now I'm Here), and the falsetto bridge made as reprise of the intro (as on 39).
The arrangement is totally made by Brian. Roger and John play a basic role on the rhythm, being the double-tracked acoustic guitar by Brian the main instrument. Brian himself added three-part vocal and electric guitar harmonies. John probably had free hand to play the bass-line as he wanted.
The bridge is Brian speeded up, on the second half it's two-part. Lead vocal is also by Brian.
On the words "only way" he sung his lowest note on the album, a C2 (130,8 Hz), and on "way" he sung his highest, B3 (493,9 Hz).
Brian (1983): "There's a particular pickup combination which I use for the violin things: the fingerboard pickup and the middle one. Those two working in phase make a very mellow sound. And there's a point on the amplifier where it's just about to get distortioned, but not quite. Instead of using my pick, I tap the fingerboard with the right hand, and that just sets the thing moving. It sustain itself. you hardly need to even tap it any. If you even stand in exactly the right place, it feeds back in any position so I can just warble around and it's very smooth. I also used that tone for the beginning of Leaving Home Ain't Easy on Jazz. For that, I actually used the studio faders to fade them in, but that was the same sort of sound."
Brian (2001):: "The Lady's part? It's me, - we slowed down the tape to record it so it comes out speeded up (I think Wheetus just did the same thing on Dirtbag!)"

The first song Brian and Fred wrote together was this little piece, probably fed by the huge success Love Of My Life's acoustic version had on stage.
It's possible that Brian wrote the music and Freddie the lyrics, since the intro is more Brianesque.
About the instrumentation, there's just one acoustic guitar by Brian and one voice from Freddie.
Brian (1986): "About a year and a half ago; this is before Live Aid and all that stuff, we saw some stuff on television which disturbed us a lot, and very late one night in Munich, we sat down and wrote what we thought about it, and this is it"



Freddie was in an experimental time but still he composed classic Mercury numbers, like this one. We see all of his natural 70s trademarks: piano as lead instrument, him doing all the vocals, multi-tracked harmonies (sometimes up to six parts), descending bass chromatic scale (like on Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy), operatic influences, vocal harmonies during the solo, and no synths.
Bass is melodic, it's possible that John arranged it, but also that Freddie really had improved his bass-arranging skills. Drums are arranged in a similar way as Bohemian Rhapsody. On the second bridge Freddie added a second vocal. The harmonies on the choruses are three-part.
In my opinion, Freddie's (and Queen's) best arrangement of all the pre-'87 era was the guitar orchestra of this song. Six guitars with different sounds and colors are completely locked between themselves, each one of them is just perfect. Just like on the old times. Again it's possible that Freddie composed the solo on piano, because on keyboards it's so easy, while I doubt he would be able to do those things on guitar.
Brian (1984): "We were conscious it was very Bohemian Rhapsodyesque"
Brian (1984): "One of my favourite songs from Freddie"

Nice unreleased track. Since the only instrument is the piano and is played by Brian we can be almost absolutely sure that he wrote it.
Brian (1998): "I think it was a song called Butterfly, I never released it. It's somewhere in the vaults. I don't play piano very often but I was taught it. It's good for helping to write songs."



A very underrated song, but one of the best pieces on the entire album. It's a great piano ballad written by Freddie.
Backing track was Freddie on the piano, John on the bass and Roger on drums. John's bass is more melodic than it used to be on earlier Freddie's songs (like Bohemian Rhapsody). It shows that Freddie did evolve in his bass-arrangements.
Brian added an acoustic guitar, which does some sitar-like sounds. The rest was Freddie's lead vocal and a three-part choir also by him. 


A very beautiful ballad by Brian. We can see his piano skills progressing from what he recorded previously on Doin' All Right and Father To Son, and listen to him doing a proper accompaniment.
That's the only instrument of the song. Apart from that we find Freddie recording lead vocals and three-part harmonies. This is one of the few cases where Freddie did all the vocals of a Brian song (White Queen is another case)
Apart from the piano style (small arpeggios on the left hand and chords on the right, as he would do later on All Dead and Butterfly), it could be easily confused with a Freddie's piece (as Kenny Everett did).
Brian (2003): "For the record as far as I remember, I played piano on Doin' All Right, Father To Son, Dear Friends, Now I'm Here, Teo Torriate and All Dead All Dead"
Freddie (1976): "It’s written by Brian. I’ve done the vocals on it, but Brian wrote this lovely tune. He’s very versatile"
1.PD 04 Jun 2003 19:23
Cool cat can be quite enjoyable for the ones who don't dislike falsetto singing and reggae-esque combo. Many people don't fall in this category. BTW I like it, have just re-transcribed the chords for the next updates in the tabs section. As for the melody: I just suspect Freddie's dominance, but just vaguely.
The "knew that" line sounds absolutely Freddie for my ears. The vocal harmonies are four parted including the lead vocal.
The synth sounds to be "wah-like" effected. The sound reminds me of some Bob Marley songs.

Son And Daughter:
It sounds more heavy metal than bluesy. Unusually the bass is panned not in the centre.

You Take My Breath Away: it is free-tempo throughout. The intro has those Queen-trademark cascaded harmonies. Note it's a different meaning of the word from what we saw with the "magnifico" vocals. This kind of cascading is used in Long Away and I'm In Love With My Car,...

Leaving Home:
the chromatic line is not in the bass position. And there is another classic Brian trademark: the pedal bass. The chord progression is one of his most complex creations.

Hard Life:
In spite of the quoted opera-bit I would not dare to say it's really opera-influenced. Maybe yes, but I can't see why until me or someone makes the necessary analysis. IMO this song was rather traditional for Freddie than experimental.

Jealousy: according to my homemade transcription the "if only you could..." harmony has four voices.
2.BrianMay 05 Jun 2003 09:00
"The shouted words "I knew
that" could have been by John"

I'm 100% sure this is Freddie
This can only be John if he knows how to immitate Freddie's voice
3.Sebastian 05 Jun 2003 13:23
thanks about the corrections

as for 'Hard Life' that's what I meant, Freddie was in an experimental period but he took some time to write as he used to, maybe I didn't express myself correctly

as for 'Cool Cat', I wasn't listening the song when I wrote the article, so it's not surprising that I was wrong
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