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B sides/album songs

Queen Song of the Day (May 21)

Singles A special edition of my little series of B-sides and album songs by Queen, this time not on the anniversary of a release, but of the contents of a song from their first album (1973), “Great King Rat”:

Great King Rat died today
Born on the twenty first of May
Died syphillis forty four on his birthday
Every second word he swore
Yes he was the son of a whore
Always wanted by the law

As the English Wikipedia puts it, this song (written by Freddie) is an example of Queen’s earliest sound, with lengthy, heavy compositions with long guitar solos and sudden tempo changes. The German says (translated):

The idiosyncratic beat of drummer Roger Taylor seems to imitate a galopping horse, while May and Mercury are duelling with guitar and vocal melodies.

Nice description. :) So enjoy:

» Album version
» BBC version from the Langham studios (Dec 1973)
» 1971 demo from the De Lane Lea Studios
» Live version from Japan, 1975
» Lyric
(All videos only show still images.)

Photo: clix/sxc

Projekt 52/20: Music / Silver

Another “crossover” of Project “Show Colors” and Sari’s Projekt 52, and the picture also (almost) fits my series about Queen B-sides and album songs because the song I’m referring to is from the album Hot Space from 1982 – released on 21 or 24. May, depending on where you look1; it was on the B-side of the “Body Language” single from 19/4/82, however – and there’ll be another special song I’ll write about a little later:

20: Music

Projekt 52/20: Music / Show Colors 21: Silver

A silver CD isn’t that far-fetched here… this arrangement was created along the following lines (especially the first one) from “Life Is Real (Song for Lennon)” by Queen:

Music will be my mistress
Loving like a whore
Lennon is a genius
Living in ev’ry pore

  1. Monday 24 being more plausible []

B-Side of the Day (May 18)

Singles Another edition of this little series about the B-sides of Queen singles, this time “'39” on the single “You’re My Best Friend” from 18 May 1976 from the A Night At The Opera album.

The A-side is a soft song written by bassist John Deacon for his wife (they’re still married) on which he plays a Wurlitzer electrical piano.

The B-side, too, is a quiet piece, featuring acoustic guitars and Brian May, who wrote this little science fiction story, singing himself – and it happens to be the 39th song on Queen albums. Brian describes it like this:

It’s a science fiction story. It’s the story about someone who goes away and leaves his family and… because of the time dilation effect, when you go away, the people on Earth have aged a lot more than he has when he comes home. He’s aged a year and they’ve aged 100 years. So, instead of coming back to his wife, he comes back to his daughter and he can see his wife in his daughter… a strange story.

» “You’re My Best Friend” – official video
» lyrics
» “'39” – album version
» “'39” – live version Houston, 1977 (Freddie singing)
» lyrics

Photo: clix/sxc

B-Side of the Day (May 2)

Singles Time for the next part of this little series about Queen singles’ B-sides, this time “Hang On In There” from the “I Want It All” single from May 2, 1989 from the The Miracle album.

The A side is a nice hard rock song with a bearded Freddie in the performance video – Wikipedia writes:

It was purposely shot using strong halogen lighting and in black and white in order to ‘mask’ Freddie’s increasingly gaunt appearance as his tragic battle with AIDS started to show some two years before he lost to it. If observed closely at Freddie in the previous Queen single-video, it is noticeable that there was a marked difference in his appearance from his appearance in the video for this single.

For the single version, the album version’s guitar intro was replaced with a chorus intro, and Brian’s solo in the middle (before the fast part) removed.

The B side starts as a quiet pop-rock song with acoustic guitar, but Queen had not been Queen if they hadn’t added something special, and this little change starts at about 2½ minutes… so enjoy:

» “I Want It All” – Video (HQ)
» “I Want It All” – longer album version
» lyrics
» “Hang On In There” – lyrics video
» lyrics

Photo: clix/sxc

B-Side of the Day (22.4.)

Singles Time for the next part of this little series about Queen singles’ B-sides, this time “Machines (or ‘Back To Humans’)” on the “I Want To Break Free” single from 22 April 1984 from the album The Works.

The pop song on the A side is probably best known for its video with the four Queen guys wearing drag, imitating a British sitcom – Freddie once said he’s always asked in interviews how he convinced the others to do that, but it wasn’t his idea at all, but Roger’s instead, if I remember correctly… The video wasn’t good for Queen’s success in America, though:

According to Brian May in an interview about Queen’s Greatest Hits, the video ruined the band in America, which – like many in the UK – failed to see the soap-opera connection & interpreted the video as an open declaration of transvestitism and Mercury’s homosexuality.

The B side about the topic “rather humans than machines” aptly contains relatively much electronics, and the (near-)instrumental version also a few samples from older Queen songs – so enjoy:

» “I Want To Break Free” – video
» lyrics
» “Machines (or ‘Back To Humans’)” – fan video
» “Machines (or ‘Back To Humans’)” Instrumental Version – fan photo video
» lyrics