Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Was Freddie a scat singer?

forum rss feed
Author

Raf user not visiting Queenzone.com
Stop this noise!
Raf
Deity: 8274 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 19 Jan 08, 20:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Was he? On songs like Living On My Own it sounds like maybe he could do a bit of scat singing, but I never heard him doing anything fast like Scatman John, so I was wondering if he actually COULD do that.


We got the Cosmos rockin'!

We got the Cosmos rockin'!

We got the Universe rockin'!

We got the Cosmos rockin'!

We got the Cosmos rockin' to the mighty power of rock'n'roll!
John S Stuart user not visiting Queenzone.com
John S Stuart
Deity: 4178 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 19 Jan 08, 20:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Was Freddie a scat singer?

No: Freddie never sang sh*t - he was always a class act.


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
kagezan1313 user not visiting Queenzone.com
kagezan1313
Bohemian: 940 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 19 Jan 08, 20:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Nobody scats as fast as Scatman John. If Freddie could, then he probably would have taken the name Scatman Fred instead of Freddie Mercury, no?

In all seriousness though, Freddie can be heard scatting during several songs and live performances, and judging that he was such a fan of soul music stars like Aretha Franklin, this is no surprise.


Thank you, God bless you, sweet dreams you lot of tarts, Good-bye!
Yara user not visiting Queenzone.com

Royalty: 1430 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 19 Jan 08, 21:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

No, I don't think so, mainly because he didn't want to, I guess. With a little bit of training, he'd scat as good as anyone, no doubt. But scat singing isn't that interesting and it ends up being kind of boring if you listen to it a couple of times. What he did quite well and beautifully, and which is much more difficult than scat musically speaking was vocalise. That he did a lot, and it demands not only a full control over one's dynamic range but also brains, musical intelligence or cleverness to insert the voice into parts of the song which should or could plausibly have been filled up with the sound of other instruments.

Take "I Want to Break Free", good example. Try to hear anyone singing "living without, living without, living without" with his breath, power and speed. It's quite rare, and it's seems damn simple. What he's doing there? He's doing some vocalise. He's singing understandable words and phrases but at such a pace that it seems the line was intended to be playbed by another instrument, maybe a piano or some kind of horn. I can think of Miles Davis taking these lines with his trumpet. Freddie does it with his voice.

The secret there is escaping from the vocalise. You go through his live performances and I think you'll hardly find an instance of him failing such escape: "living without" (3x) is taken at a very brisk pace while the notes in "you, by me siiiiide" are longer, much more embodied, consistent and he takes a while to sing it all, even though it's four words! This kind of sudden shift is really treacherous, it may - I think it does - pass without notice but it requires a good deal of talent.

Freddie's singing secrets lie in the details.

In fact, if you listen to Queen's melodies carefully, much of it was composed with piano, guitar and bass.

Under Pressure is another good example. John's establish the basic theme and the rythm with his bass lines. Freddie changes it into melodic lines by going through all those variations on the theme: "de-do-ok", and so on. He's basically singing, with some variations to give it a melody and operatic-like shade, what John is playing on the bass. It's a kind of very beautiful and sophisticated vocalise.

Ok, jazz-fans would probably laugh at all that. :-) They have the right to, it's their area. ;-)))))




Yara
Roger Meadows Tailor user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 330 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 Jan 08, 03:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie certainly wasnt a scat singer.

Another instance of his vocal technique can be heard in the song " You Take My Breath Away".The line "You can reduce me to tears with a single sigh" almost sounds like to me he's singing " Yew can reedyews me to teeyars....etc"

Almost Noel Coward like.


Memories my memories

How long can you stay

to haunt my days.
saltnvinegar user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 312 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 Jan 08, 04:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Another interesting topic, thanks again to Yara for your little lecture-I do learn a lot from your lessons!
Could I ask, how would the style of singing be defined at the start of this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS5dH-vk6D8

is this another example of vocalising?



Roger Meadows Tailor user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 330 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 Jan 08, 07:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

saltnvinegar wrote:

Another interesting topic, thanks again to Yara for your little lecture-I do learn a lot from your lessons!
Could I ask, how would the style of singing be defined at the start of this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS5dH-vk6D8

is this another example of vocalising?



Hi saltnvinegar.RMT here.

Sounds like he's gone into the studio with maybe an idea for a song but not quite worked out the lyrics yet.Its something that i do also because i write music myself.If i have an idea for a song i record it somewhere until i work out the lyrics or whatever.

He seems to start off in a jazzy Cleo Laine ish Ella Fitzgerald style.Then into a melabcholy blues (or should that be My Melancholy Blues) style before getting fed up with it .

Ok my friend.


Memories my memories

How long can you stay

to haunt my days.
Raf user not visiting Queenzone.com
Stop this noise!
Raf
Deity: 8274 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 Jan 08, 08:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thank you, everybody - especially Yara! Very interesting input!


We got the Cosmos rockin'!

We got the Cosmos rockin'!

We got the Universe rockin'!

We got the Cosmos rockin'!

We got the Cosmos rockin' to the mighty power of rock'n'roll!
mooghead user not visiting Queenzone.com
mooghead
Deity: 3668 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 Jan 08, 16:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Dooby doo waa waa scibledee dee do scooby waa do.

Thats what I think about that.

John S Stuart user not visiting Queenzone.com
John S Stuart
Deity: 4178 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 Jan 08, 17:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

John S Stuart wrote:

Was Freddie a scat singer?

No: Freddie never sang sh*t - he was always a class act.


Just watching the tumbleweed roll by...


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
JacquesDaniels user not visiting Queenzone.com
JacquesDaniels
Bohemian: 123 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 Jan 08, 17:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'd just like to comment on the remark that scat singing would presumably sound boring if you heard it a few times. Now, I'm not a big fan of jazz, but I know good and interesting scat singing when I hear it.

"Scatman" John Larkin wasn't much of a singer, but his stuttering helped him in producing faster scat-phrases. Freddie, on the other hand, while being an amazing pop vocalist, wasn't much of a scat-singer, and you can hear it clearly because all of his scatting usually was either clearly pre-composed or severely lacking in ideas. Good professional jazz singers, on the other hand, have a tendency to sound overly trained and almost devoid of any real personality. And then, there's the really freakily great singers like Bobby McFerrin, Napoleon Murphy Brock and Al Jarreau, who can really do whatever you set them to do. Particularly McFerrin, he's made scat singing into a whole new form of art. Just my opinion, though...

Yara user not visiting Queenzone.com

Royalty: 1430 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 Jan 08, 18:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

JacquesDaniels wrote:

I'd just like to comment on the remark that scat singing would presumably sound boring if you heard it a few times. Now, I'm not a big fan of jazz, but I know good and interesting scat singing when I hear it.

"Scatman" John Larkin wasn't much of a singer, but his stuttering helped him in producing faster scat-phrases. Freddie, on the other hand, while being an amazing pop vocalist, wasn't much of a scat-singer, and you can hear it clearly because all of his scatting usually was either clearly pre-composed or severely lacking in ideas. Good professional jazz singers, on the other hand, have a tendency to sound overly trained and almost devoid of any real personality. And then, there's the really freakily great singers like Bobby McFerrin, Napoleon Murphy Brock and Al Jarreau, who can really do whatever you set them to do. Particularly McFerrin, he's made scat singing into a whole new form of art. Just my opinion, though...


You're right. Sorry. In fact, Queen itself has been for me a bridge to Rock and Roll, blues, jazz and many other kinds of music which I'd never have cared to listen to or study otherwise. I'm glad you learned to appreciate all that. I don't know much about the singers you mention. I do find beautiful, however, the scats Ella did, here and there, with a good deal of parsimony, ok, in such great performances as her concerts in Rome, Berlin and Stockholm.

I admit, though, that I'm ignorant enough about the music you mention to be unable to enjoy it.

I'm not much of a jazz fan either, but Ella's performance of "I loves you porgy" in Rome must be one of the greatest live performances by a singer that I have ever heard. The whole concert is great, the whole song is sung perfectly, and that "theeeeere's nooOOOo wrIIInkle on my brooow..." still kills me. lol It's very, very beautiful.




Yara
saltnvinegar user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 312 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 Jan 08, 19:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Roger Meadows Tailor wrote:



Hi saltnvinegar.RMT here.

Sounds like he's gone into the studio with maybe an idea for a song but not quite worked out the lyrics yet.Its something that i do also because i write music myself.If i have an idea for a song i record it somewhere until i work out the lyrics or whatever.

He seems to start off in a jazzy Cleo Laine ish Ella Fitzgerald style.Then into a melabcholy blues (or should that be My Melancholy Blues) style before getting fed up with it .

Ok my friend.


Hi RMT, thanks for the explanation.

Yes, Cleo Laine is a good way of describing it- I thought of her when I first heard 'Living on my Own' too!

You mentioned you write music too (any RMT originals online?!) and then fill in the lyrics later. That seemed to be Freddie's pattern too if you listen to the Barcelona demos or early versions of 'Keep On Passing...' and that unfinished 'You are the Only One' He once said in an interview he finds the lyrics hard and wishes he had a 'Bernie Taupin' to help...perhaps he often wrote from the melody out but I'd like to think the wonderful, creative lyrics of the likes of 'My Fairy King' or 'Seven seas..' weren't just chosen because they fitted in well with the tune!

Yara user not visiting Queenzone.com

Royalty: 1430 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 20 Jan 08, 20:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

saltnvinegar wrote:

Another interesting topic, thanks again to Yara for your little lecture-I do learn a lot from your lessons!
Could I ask, how would the style of singing be defined at the start of this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS5dH-vk6D8

is this another example of vocalising?



Sorry, saltnvinegar! I have just "seen" the clip, I had an all too busy sunday to my taste. lol

Wow! And you say you learn with me? I learn with you: I had never heard this clip before. Thanks for bringing it in. Many thanks. In my most humble opinion, and without knowing the context of all that, he was really having fun. lol It didn't seem to me like he was going for something very serious, it sounds like he's mocking it all. Well, technically speaking, he's doing some scat singing there, and he's doing it just fine. But he doesn't seem very interested in the whole thing, it sounds like he's having fun and doing some high-level mockery, so to say.

Well, Freddie could scat. He does it quite beautifully there, but I don't think he was as apt at scat as the singers our friend up there mentioned. Not because he couldn't, I think, but mainly because he was not that interested in it. With some training, I guess he could go on scating for minutes just fine, he was clever enough to do that.

But, yes, I think if you dig Queen's live recordings you'll find him doing some scat singing. That's afterall one of the greatest qualities of Freddie as a singer: his versatility. And being able to be a good singer leading that kind of life, not exactly healthy...lol. It's really remarkable.

He's a talent, I guess. A big talent. Maybe not an exceptional talent or singer, but a great singer, a real pleasure to listen to, very clever, amusing, I mean, a damn good singer. A very good musician too.

Thanks for posting this link and take care!!!!

:-)




Yara
mooghead user not visiting Queenzone.com
mooghead
Deity: 3668 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 21 Jan 08, 01:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Why are we talking about scat singing on a Queen messageboard? Is this the twilight zone?

mooghead user not visiting Queenzone.com
mooghead
Deity: 3668 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 21 Jan 08, 01:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Was Freddie a scat singer? FUCKING NO.

End.

Fopjeflauwmopje user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 176 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 21 Jan 08, 08:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

yes he did sing once for his cat delila I remember that


i love freddie mercury and his band queen and i hate it when people spel his name wrong
Stellabella user not visiting Queenzone.com

Rocker: 31 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 16 Feb 14, 11:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

This is an old posting....I'm new here. I was really ill a month or so ago and spent my time in bed watching Queen videos on Youtube

As a lover of music from birth.....with a degree in music, which means you study the history of music from the beginning and Freddie Mercury certainly was a scat singer. I think he could have sung any style imaginable which is what makes him one of the greats if not the greatest singer "ever". When you listen to his Barcelona, he really does sound like Michael Crawford (Phantom of the Opera), and just listening to Live at Wembley from 1986 and in Inpromptu darn if he doesn't sound like a young Joni Mitchell. Would Freddie, like Joni have ruined his upper range had he lived and continued to smoke? It's heartbreak that none of us will ever know.

But don't take my word for it. http://www.worldwizzy.com/learn/index.php/Scat_singing

He is listed as a notable scat singer.

In any event, there's just such a magnificent catalog of music by Queen. I'm American and wasn't quite born at Queen's inception but I think folk rock was the craze here in Southern Cali.

I love all music "Universal Language of Mankind...but I'm going to be listening to Queen for a very long time, just to get through it all. Brian May - brilliant guitar player, John Deacon ditto on base and I used to think U2's drummer was the baddest ass drummer and then Dave Grohl of Nirvana but I'm a Roger Taylor convert.

Ok....I've gone on too long. Thanks for reading.

Peace Out,
Stellabella



Thistleboy1980 user not visiting Queenzone.com
You wanna ring the bell?
Thistleboy1980
Deity: 3057 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 16 Feb 14, 12:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

^ thank you. I will never be able to hear Barcelona without thinking about Frank effing Spencer ever again ;)


It ain't about how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit: how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!
crazy duck user not visiting Queenzone.com
its bytes and megachips for T
crazy duck
Bohemian: 195 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 16 Feb 14, 13:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Oo betty


If you ever lean out of line......so help me lord i'll flop you lower than whale shit!