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fm1: Bicycle Race27 May 2009 21:58

Can anyone tell me how many overdubs Queen used in the studio version of Bicycle Race? What about just vocal overdubs? I know they say BoRhap had at least 180...wow! Thanks.

1.Sebastian 28 May 2009 15:35

Yes, they (whoever you mean by they) say Bo Rhap had 180 vocals... they (world's greatest scientists at one point) also said the earth was flat. So...?

Roughly calculating, I guess Bicycle Race had, at most, 13 or 14 vocal overdubs (considering the bottom voice was Freddie alone, the others could've been done by everybody). Bo Rhap's last 'for me' (which is it's 'fattest' bit) has:

Track 1: Roger hitting a soprano F, Fred hitting a low Bb (both single-tracked), then there's a tenor Bb (double-tracked Fred) and a countertenor D (double-tracked Rog). Even if the double-tracked bits were actually triple-tracked, we'd have 'only' eight voices here.

Track 2: Two more tenor+alto bounces (i.e. 6 voices tops) and a double- or triple-tracked baritone Fred doing a D (below middle C). Nine voices tops. Roger's soprano F could be double-tracked here.

Track 12: Fred + Roger doing a light-baritone D together. Obviously single-tracked (if they doubled it they put it somewhere else).

Track 17: Double-tracked Fred (definitely not triple'd) doing the bass-voice.

Track 18: Roger's single-tracked soprano Bb.

Track 19: Roger's double-tracked (not triple'd) soprano F.

Track 20: Double-tracked Fred (definitely not triple'd) doing the bass-voice.

Track 22: Double-tracked Fred (definitely not triple'd) doing the bass-voice.

Track 23: Double-tracked Fred (definitely not triple'd) doing the bass-voice.

Track 24: Double-tracked Fred (definitely not triple'd) doing the bass-voice.

Which means...:

- Brian didn't sing on that part (he may have contributed to other bits of the opera section, but not the climax anyway).

- You'd have, even if they'd used all the takes (which they didn't), the following choir:

Bass (Bb): Ten voices, all by Freddie, two of which were used for the bounce in track 1.

Baritone (D): Five voices (tops), by Fred and Roger, tracks 2 and 12.

Tenor (Bb): For the sake of argument, let's say Brian *is* here, just to add the voice count. They appear on tracks 1 & 2, and let's say, also for the sake of argument, that each bit is triple'd. That'd mean 18 voices.

Male Alto (D): Only Roger, and he's quadruple-tracked (2+2)

Second Sopranist (F): Roger: once on track 1, twice on 2, twice on 19 (which could be the same as 2), but five voices tops anyway.

First Sopranist (Bb): Single-tracked Roger.

So, at the very most, the last 'for me' has 10 + 5 + 18 + 4 + 5 + 1 = 43 voices. Not 200 (as Fred said), not 180 (as the official legend states), not 138 (as Roger said), not even 50. Just 43.

Is the song still a masterpiece? Of course!

Is that part still perfect? Of course!

But... it's not even close to the myth...

Post was edited on 18 Jul 2009 16:11
2.FriedChicken 18 Jul 2009 02:10

Maybe the 200 or 180 is just symbolism.. ;-)


Like 1001 Nights, or Abraham being 175 years old.

Or like how people use to say   "This Rolling Stones Song is like a million years old ! "



3.Sebastian 18 Jul 2009 16:09


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