Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Was late era Q mainly Brian?

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4 x Vision user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 15 Oct 09, 09:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Seb brought up an interesting point for me in his SMGO myth/truth topic. He said that "It's got both human bass and human drums (a rarity for the era)".

This saddened me a bit, but got me thinking... If Freddie was indeed getting sicker and making less frequent studio visits, and if they used more technological bass, drums... which Brian and Freddie could both use very well... what use were Roger and John in the studio with Miracle, innuendo and MIH albums? (obviously wasn't any Queen live after Magic). I'm aware they did write some songs, but in the editing was Brian more involved in the finished product? (I'm aware they put all songs under the banner of Queen, but we all know who wrote what now).

Was Brian more relied upon to edit material or make the bigger decisions with songs... even not his own? IMO, these albums do instantly have that Brian solo material feel to them. Am I right in saying he took over the MIH sessions after he didn't like what John and Roger where doing?

I ask this not to criticise John or Roger, I'm just interested in how much each played in the later stages and if Brian did kind of become Team Leader in the studio???


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Posted: 15 Oct 09, 12:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Absolutely not: songwriting was still dominated by Freddie, and both Roger and John contributed a lot to production as well as programming, not to mention lyrics.

So, Queen was NEVER Brian, just like Queen was NEVER Freddie. Let's see track by track:

Party: Songwriting-wise it's more Fred; playing-wise it's got more input from John (bass+rhythm) and Fred (piano+programming). Vocal-wise Fred dominates both lead and harmonies (though both B&R sing as well). So: it wasn't mainly Brian at all.

Khashoggi's Ship: Pretty much 25-25-25-25. So: it was not mainly Brian.

The Miracle: Songwriting's dominated by Fred; most instruments (piano+synth+samplers) are by Fred too; most vocals (almost all, actually) are Fred too. So: it was NOT mainly Brian.

I Want It All: Songwriting's by May; most instruments by May; vocals are mostly May (most harmonies plus some lead). So yes, this one is.

Invisible Man: Songwriting's Rog; most instruments by Rog (human drums, some programming); vocals are mostly Taylor (most harmonies plus some lead). So: NOT mainly Brian.

Breakthru: Same as Invisible Man. Drums are at least partly programmed, but Brian's got nothing to do with it. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Rain Must Fall: Songwriting's F&J; most instruments by Deacon (human bass, programming, synths and maybe some rhythm guitar); vocals are all Fred. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Scandal: Written by May; all instruments except for (human, btw) bass and drums by May; vocals are all Fred. So yes, this one IS mainly Brian.

My Baby Does Me: Written by F&J; most instruments by Deacy; most vocals by Fred (though Bri does sing some harmonies). But still: NOT mainly Brian.

Was It All Worth It: Written by F; most instruments by F (loads and loads of synths); most vocals by Fred (the others join in the end, mostly). So: NOT mainly Brian.

Innuendo: Written by F&R; most instruments by F (loads of synths); most vocals by Fred. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Slightly Mad: Written by F; most instruments by F (piano, synth & programming); most vocals by Fred (though there are some by B). Still, NOT mainly Brian.

Headlong: Written by B; most instruments by B (including programming); most vocals by Brian (most harmonies). So yes, this one IS mainly Brian.

I Can't Live With You: Ditto.

Ride the Wild Wind: Written by R; most instruments by R (including human drums & programming); vocals are a duet between F&R. So: NOT mainly Brian.

All God's People: Written by F&M; most instruments by Mike (piano, synths & programming); vocals are mostly F. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Days of Our Lives: Written by R; programming by all five (inc. D); vocals are all F. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Delilah: Written by F; most instruments (piano, synth & programming) by F; all vocals by F. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Don't Try So Hard: Written by F; all four played instruments in a more or less equal amount; vocals mostly F. So: NOT mainly Brian.

The Hitman: Written by F, arranged by B&J; all four played instruments in a more or less equal amount; vocals feature both F&B. So: NOT mainly Brian (though he did contribute a lot).

Bijou: Vocal lines by B; guitar lines by F; keyboard bits by F; title by F; instruments 50-50; vocals by F. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Show Must Go On: Music by J&R; lyrics & melody by B; instruments mostly B (keys+guitars); vocals mostly by F&B (B on most harmonies). So yes: this one IS manly Brian.

You Don't Fool Me: Credited either to F&R or F&J so... Brian's the one who contributed THE LEAST, not THE MOST.

Winter's Tale: Written by F; most instruments by F; vocals are more or less balanced (F on lead, B&R on backing); So: it was NOT mainly Brian.

Mother Love: Written by F&B; most instruments by B (keys, guitars & programming); vocals are more F than B. So: yes, it WAS mainly Brian.

So we've got 25 songs written, recorded and released in albums after 'Magic'. Only 6 of them were dominated by Brian (24%, almost exactly the 1/4 each member represents).

Conclusion: late era Q was ABSOLUTELY NOT mainly Brian.

Only two Queen albums had Dr May as 'team leader', and those were 'News of the World' and 'Flash Gordon'. For the remaining 90% of the band history, Brian was NOT a dominating force.

As for deciding on mixing et al, they kept the usual way: the author's got his way. So, for 76% of the songs, Brian was NOT the dominating force when it came to making decisions, etc. About 'MIH', the very hard task of re-arranging and recording was taken EQUALLY by the three surviving members. It was 1/3 by B, 1/3 by R, 1/3 by J.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 15 Oct 09, 14:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Even so, this is a topic that can only be discussed using averages at best.  The minutiae of songwriting and being in a band is something that outsiders really can't list after the fact.

MIH for example, was done in equal measures by the 3 guys (and Dave Richards), but it was Brian who came back from holiday (or touring, I can't remember which) to shitcan everything that John and Roger had done and basically start again.  That's a pretty big call to make, and no doubt changed the album quite severely.

Good fun, these topics!


"Your not funny, your not a good musician, theres a difference between being funny and being an idiot, you obviously being the latter" - Dave R Fuller
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Posted: 15 Oct 09, 15:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Who knows but my own take, Bri did slow down  1987-91; marriage problems, death of his father, the none touring didn't help, & telling the world Freddie was fine (when he wasn't) is going to make me not want to be too creative.



Where as Freddie could simply pour himself into his work when he knew there would be no more touring & take care of himself as well as one could with HIV/AIDS, from 1987-91



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Posted: 15 Oct 09, 18:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thank you Seb for your fantastic reply. Gives a very good insight and answers my question/s and then some!

I'm just browsing right now, but I've a day off tomorrow and looking forward to looking at your reply in more depth.

Also, I wonder how different MIH would have been under John and Roger having more of an influence instead of Brian.

Zeb, do we know to the extent in which Brian re-did what J + R had done with these songs... did he really start them all from scratch? What a kick in the nuts if he did lol




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Posted: 16 Oct 09, 05:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



 



Van Basten 9 wrote:



Zeb, do we know to the extent in which Brian re-did what J + R had done with these songs... did he really start them all from scratch? What a kick in the nuts if he did lol




Yes, I read Brian talking about this in his Soapbox and I went thinking: "wow, and didn´t Roger and John try to protect their work? did they simply allow you re-working the job they had done without ... any resistance?"

Has anyone further details to provide on this subject? Sebastian? I die for another of your brilliant+informative posts :)


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Posted: 16 Oct 09, 07:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great topic.  I was unaware that Brian had reworked MIH, I certainly wonder where Roger and John came out on all that.  I'm also curious about the statement that Brian was the "team leader" on News of the World.  Could you provide more info related to that as it feels like the usual Freddie/Brian 40% mix with the Roger/John 10% mix of those days.


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Posted: 16 Oct 09, 07:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Studio leadership in those days was pretty simple: the writer's the owner and boss, and he's in charge of arrangements (doing all of them himself or delegating as he pleased), mixing and he produces as well. With that in mind: May wrote 4 songs for the album, Mercury wrote 3, Deacy and Taylor 2 each. So, Brian was the team leader for 36.36% of the tracks, Mercury for 27.27% and the others for 18.18% each.

For 'Flash'... well, you know the story.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 16 Oct 09, 10:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:

Absolutely not: songwriting was still dominated by Freddie, and both Roger and John contributed a lot to production as well as programming, not to mention lyrics.

So, Queen was NEVER Brian, just like Queen was NEVER Freddie. Let's see track by track:

Party: Songwriting-wise it's more Fred; playing-wise it's got more input from John (bass+rhythm) and Fred (piano+programming). Vocal-wise Fred dominates both lead and harmonies (though both B&R sing as well). So: it wasn't mainly Brian at all.

Khashoggi's Ship: Pretty much 25-25-25-25. So: it was not mainly Brian.

The Miracle: Songwriting's dominated by Fred; most instruments (piano+synth+samplers) are by Fred too; most vocals (almost all, actually) are Fred too. So: it was NOT mainly Brian.

I Want It All: Songwriting's by May; most instruments by May; vocals are mostly May (most harmonies plus some lead). So yes, this one is.

Invisible Man: Songwriting's Rog; most instruments by Rog (human drums, some programming); vocals are mostly Taylor (most harmonies plus some lead). So: NOT mainly Brian.

Breakthru: Same as Invisible Man. Drums are at least partly programmed, but Brian's got nothing to do with it. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Rain Must Fall: Songwriting's F&J; most instruments by Deacon (human bass, programming, synths and maybe some rhythm guitar); vocals are all Fred. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Scandal: Written by May; all instruments except for (human, btw) bass and drums by May; vocals are all Fred. So yes, this one IS mainly Brian.

My Baby Does Me: Written by F&J; most instruments by Deacy; most vocals by Fred (though Bri does sing some harmonies). But still: NOT mainly Brian.

Was It All Worth It: Written by F; most instruments by F (loads and loads of synths); most vocals by Fred (the others join in the end, mostly). So: NOT mainly Brian.

Innuendo: Written by F&R; most instruments by F (loads of synths); most vocals by Fred. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Slightly Mad: Written by F; most instruments by F (piano, synth & programming); most vocals by Fred (though there are some by B). Still, NOT mainly Brian.

Headlong: Written by B; most instruments by B (including programming); most vocals by Brian (most harmonies). So yes, this one IS mainly Brian.

I Can't Live With You: Ditto.

Ride the Wild Wind: Written by R; most instruments by R (including human drums & programming); vocals are a duet between F&R. So: NOT mainly Brian.

All God's People: Written by F&M; most instruments by Mike (piano, synths & programming); vocals are mostly F. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Days of Our Lives: Written by R; programming by all five (inc. D); vocals are all F. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Delilah: Written by F; most instruments (piano, synth & programming) by F; all vocals by F. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Don't Try So Hard: Written by F; all four played instruments in a more or less equal amount; vocals mostly F. So: NOT mainly Brian.

The Hitman: Written by F, arranged by B&J; all four played instruments in a more or less equal amount; vocals feature both F&B. So: NOT mainly Brian (though he did contribute a lot).

Bijou: Vocal lines by B; guitar lines by F; keyboard bits by F; title by F; instruments 50-50; vocals by F. So: NOT mainly Brian.

Show Must Go On: Music by J&R; lyrics & melody by B; instruments mostly B (keys+guitars); vocals mostly by F&B (B on most harmonies). So yes: this one IS manly Brian.

You Don't Fool Me: Credited either to F&R or F&J so... Brian's the one who contributed THE LEAST, not THE MOST.

Winter's Tale: Written by F; most instruments by F; vocals are more or less balanced (F on lead, B&R on backing); So: it was NOT mainly Brian.

Mother Love: Written by F&B; most instruments by B (keys, guitars & programming); vocals are more F than B. So: yes, it WAS mainly Brian.

So we've got 25 songs written, recorded and released in albums after 'Magic'. Only 6 of them were dominated by Brian (24%, almost exactly the 1/4 each member represents).

Conclusion: late era Q was ABSOLUTELY NOT mainly Brian.

Only two Queen albums had Dr May as 'team leader', and those were 'News of the World' and 'Flash Gordon'. For the remaining 90% of the band history, Brian was NOT a dominating force.

As for deciding on mixing et al, they kept the usual way: the author's got his way. So, for 76% of the songs, Brian was NOT the dominating force when it came to making decisions, etc. About 'MIH', the very hard task of re-arranging and recording was taken EQUALLY by the three surviving members. It was 1/3 by B, 1/3 by R, 1/3 by J.



Good Job Seb!





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Posted: 16 Oct 09, 12:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:

About 'MIH', the very hard task of re-arranging and recording was taken EQUALLY by the three surviving members. It was 1/3 by B, 1/3 by R, 1/3 by J.


And this claim is based on what??






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Posted: 16 Oct 09, 13:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

What's interesting to me is the amount of synths, drum programming etc... which I know nothing about. To any musicians... would you find it obvious (without Seb's breakdown) to when such programming was employed over human playing?

Where Queen making up for the fact they used "no synths" on earlier albums!


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Posted: 18 Oct 09, 09:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:



The Hitman: Written by F, arranged by B&J; all four played instruments in a more or less equal amount; vocals feature both F&B. So: NOT mainly Brian (though he did contribute a lot).



Whilst I dont question the overall conclusion in the slightest, and happily admit I am far from qualified to call into question any of that very thorough post, I am nevertheless inclined to ask a question, haha:

If Freddie wrote The Hitman, why is there a demo with Brian singing the lead vocal and doing all the backing vocals?








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Posted: 18 Oct 09, 10:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Mmmm... my guess is that if Brian did more than a bit of rearranging, it would've been easier to do a guide vocal himself than to wait for a day when Freddie would be well enough to come in and work on the track.


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Posted: 18 Oct 09, 11:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Cwazy little thing wrote:







Sebastian wrote:





The Hitman: Written by F, arranged by B&J; all four played instruments in a more or less equal amount; vocals feature both F&B. So: NOT mainly Brian (though he did contribute a lot).




Whilst I dont question the overall conclusion in the slightest, and happily admit I am far from qualified to call into question any of that very thorough post, I am nevertheless inclined to ask a question, haha:

If Freddie wrote The Hitman, why is there a demo with Brian singing the lead vocal and doing all the backing vocals?







That's a funny one... i always thought it was Brian who wrote this too for the same reason... i.e The demo he sings in.

Also got that rockier feel that I put down to Brian.





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Posted: 18 Oct 09, 11:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie wrote the music, but not necessarily the lyrics. Here are some recurring themes:

* Dr May sings the demo: True, BUT, it's a 1-minute demo. Even if it 'proved' he'd written those two verses (melody-wise and lyric-wise, including the 'shit' line that's not present in the final version), it does NOT mean, imply or suggest AT ALL that he created the remaining 81.756% of the song.

* Dr May sings all backing vocals: Yes, so? While it was a frequent case to have the composer singing all BV's (e.g. Love of My Life, Tenement Funster, Leaving Home Ain't Easy), it is NOT an error-proof evidence (e.g. Scandal, Calling All Girls).

* There'd never been a song written by Fred with the demo sung by somebody else before. Why would there be one then? Well, by that logic: Fred never died, because he hadn't died before. He wasn't born either... conclusion: there's a first time for everything. Considering his health and the fact they'd got some deadlines, it could happen that Bri stepped in to sing the 54-sec demo in order to keep the ball rolling. It does NOT mean or imply that he wrote the remaining 81.756% of the song, or that Fred had nothing to do with the music, lyrics or melody (of either that portion or the remaining 81.756% of the track).

* Some people say that Fred MUST have written the lyrics because of 'hitman school' (similar to 'school of lover boys'). Well: is it physically impossible for somebody else to write those lyrics? By that logic, because John wrote 'you ('re my best friend)' in his song, it instantly became strictly forbidden for anybody else on the planet to write the word 'you'. Hence, all the songs, poems or scripts having 'you' MUST have been penned by John Deacon. Of course, in the case Fred in fact wrote those two words, it doesn't AT ALL imply, prove or suggest he wrote the remaining 99.0521% of the lyrics. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Based on the existing data, both options are possible.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 18 Oct 09, 13:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"Some people say that Fred MUST have written the lyrics because of 'hitman school'"

I'm sorry but no one has ever said that, you are making stuff up now to back up your speculation.

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Posted: 18 Oct 09, 13:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Interesting post.  As an aside i was under the impression, or rather i thought i read somewhere that Roger and John had already started Made In Heaven as Brian was to busy, but when brian heard what they had done the only way he would get involved was if they started again with him at the helm.  I was sure i read that.  Of course i may have got that read.
As an aside, its very difficult, damn near impossible to determine averages of who wrote what.  For example (now this is stretching it a bit), what would my input be counted as if my only suggestion was,  hey freddie you know what, we should put an opera section after brians solo" It may be just one suggestion but how could you determine an average on my participation??

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Posted: 18 Oct 09, 17:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote







mooghead wrote:



"Some people say that Fred MUST have written the lyrics because of 'hitman school'"











I'm sorry but no one has ever said that, you are making stuff up now to back up your speculation.






No one has ever said that? Sure.... because you know EVERYTHING EVERYONE HAS EVER SAID. NOTHING has EVER been said without YOU knowing it.

It is you who are making stuff up now to back up your speculations about other people's speculations.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 18 Oct 09, 18:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:

Freddie wrote the music, but not necessarily the lyrics. Here are some recurring themes:

* Dr May sings the demo: True, BUT, it's a 1-minute demo. Even if it 'proved' he'd written those two verses (melody-wise and lyric-wise, including the 'shit' line that's not present in the final version), it does NOT mean, imply or suggest AT ALL that he created the remaining 81.756% of the song.

* Dr May sings all backing vocals: Yes, so? While it was a frequent case to have the composer singing all BV's (e.g. Love of My Life, Tenement Funster, Leaving Home Ain't Easy), it is NOT an error-proof evidence (e.g. Scandal, Calling All Girls).

* There'd never been a song written by Fred with the demo sung by somebody else before. Why would there be one then? Well, by that logic: Fred never died, because he hadn't died before. He wasn't born either... conclusion: there's a first time for everything. Considering his health and the fact they'd got some deadlines, it could happen that Bri stepped in to sing the 54-sec demo in order to keep the ball rolling. It does NOT mean or imply that he wrote the remaining 81.756% of the song, or that Fred had nothing to do with the music, lyrics or melody (of either that portion or the remaining 81.756% of the track).

* Some people say that Fred MUST have written the lyrics because of 'hitman school' (similar to 'school of lover boys'). Well: is it physically impossible for somebody else to write those lyrics? By that logic, because John wrote 'you ('re my best friend)' in his song, it instantly became strictly forbidden for anybody else on the planet to write the word 'you'. Hence, all the songs, poems or scripts having 'you' MUST have been penned by John Deacon. Of course, in the case Fred in fact wrote those two words, it doesn't AT ALL imply, prove or suggest he wrote the remaining 99.0521% of the lyrics. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Based on the existing data, both options are possible.

I do agree with the suggestion that Brian might have demo'd the track because he'd worked on it in Freddie's absence and wanted to keep the ball rolling as it were, as that seems perfectly plausible, but can I flip this on its head for a second:
Basically what you've done there ^ Seb is say that the evidence in favour of Brian writing the track (namely the fact he demo'd it, and that he sings the BV's) is circumstantial (I can also understand the poster above that thought it was Brian's due to it being a very heavy track).

Ok, fair enough, but what is your evidence for it being a Freddie track?

I dont mean that in any sort of "YOU MUST PROVE YOUSELF!" way - Im genuinely curious as Id just assumed it was Brian originated since I first heard Innuendo. Has one of the band said it was Freddie's at some point?






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Posted: 18 Oct 09, 18:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

During a Sunset Strip interview made to Maylor in 1991, Brian commented that he wasn't even in the room when Fred wrote it (the riff). He then changed the key and some of the notes to make it playable on guitar, and later on John would reconstruct the track, changing the order and (whatever he meant by) 'everything'.

While that's as much circumstantial evidence as the BV's and the 54-sec demo (and the fact it's heavy says nothing... remember Ogre Battle, Princes of the Universe, Let Me Entertain You or even Was It All Worth It?), it makes sense considering the song, arrangement aside, does fit Fred's style a lot more than Brian's if you look through it musically.

Of course, none of that gives us any account on the melody, the lyrics and other details. We do know, of course, that Brian was heavily involved with it, but that can also be said about Freddie and Radio Ga Ga and the song is still Roger's, isn't it? Or George Martin and Yesterday, etc.

What can be inferred from both interviews and song analysis is that The Hitman's got a very mixed approach, with all sans Roger having a lot to do with it at some point (unless, hypothetically, Roger contributed to the lyrics rather strongly, there's nothing to confirm or deny that), which still works for the point I'm making (i.e. late era Q was NOT mainly Brian).

The topic's far from being finished or cleared, and I hope one year from now we can look back and think 'how little we knew about it, and how much there's still to research on'... that's the whole point of these threads IMO.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.