Queen: Their Solo Careers

Source: Australian Record Collector (Michael Drew) January 1994

Submitted by: Richard Orchard


Unfortunately not many Australian Queen pressings have set the collecting world alight, and the same can be said about their solo recordings. As a Queen collector of fanatical proportions, I have tried to piece together an article on what Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor have released in Australia as solo performers, in a hope that it will help other collectors, like myself obtain all their Australian pressings.
To make things confusing, the majority of their CD's, although issued in Australia were not in fact manufactured here, but I have included them in the discography. However, unlike other bands, Queen managed to maintain the same line- up throughout their career which makes collecting a lot easier.

I've based this story on what I own and have collected over the years and have included most UK releases and other interesting foreign releases. Be aware that all Australian picture sleeves are identical to UK equivalents.

Brian May

Brian May's solo career was launched in the UK on 24 October 1983 under the name 'Brian May and Friends' with the release of the mini album 'Star Fleet Project'. It was recorded earlier that year with Eddie Van Halen, Alan Gratzer of 'REO Speedwagon', Phil Chen and Fred Mandel. The album consisted of just three songs, the first was the title track 'Starfleet', and an old Brian May song entitled 'Let Me Out' also with the epic "Blues Breaker". The album was issued in Australia on EMI in early 1984 along with a special single edit of the title track 'Starfleet/Son of Starfleet'. As far as I know they were only issued as promotional items and are quite hard to find, but worth seeking as it features the axe man at his best.

Brian May's first proper solo single however wasn't released until 25 November 1991 in the UK which was ironically released just one day after Freddie's death. The single entitled 'Driven By You' was originally recorded as a tune for a British Ford TV commercial but due to popular demand Brian re-recorded it and released it as a single. This was issued in the UK on 7",12" and CD single but don't go trying to find an Australian pressing as they don't exist. It was issued here on cassette and CD but the CD was imported from the UK. It was backed with a poignant track 'Just One Life' and a guitar version of that song. A British promo CD exists with four remixes on it.

Brian's next single, which was previewed at the 'Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert For Aids Awareness was 'Too Much Love Will Kill You', co-written with Frank Musker and Elizabeth Lamers. This track was apparently recorded by Queen with Freddie on vocals during 'The Miracle sessions', but left off the album. This was released in the UK on 7" (bw I'm Scared') 12", CD Single and a special limited CD single pill pack but again no Aussie pressings exist bar the cassette single. The limited CD single pill pack was released here, imported from the UK, and became a top 20 hit. The CD single also contained three tracks 'I'm Scared', 'Too Much Love' (guitar version) and a new version of Driven By You re-recorded with Cozy Powell on drums, but sounds very similar to the original.

His first solo album 'Back To The Light' was finally issued in the UK on September 28 1992 on LP, CD and cassette, although it didn't surface here until later in the year and was only available here on CD & Cassette. Australian pressings of the CD do exist. I personally think it is an excellent album but doesn't quite stand up next to any of the Queen albums, although a lot of the material would sound very much at home on a Queen album. It is interesting to note that some of the maternal was recorded as early as 1980.

A Japanese version of the CD exists with two extra tracks; The guitar versions of 'Just One Life' and 'Too Much Love'. There is also a US version with 'Driven By You (new version) as an extra track, which