Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > A look at Back To The Light

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rhyeking user not visiting Queenzone.com
rhyeking
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Posted: 20 Jul 10, 21:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Nothing too in-depth, but I'd like to take moment to look Brian's first credited solo album: Back To The Light.

The Dark
Begun in March 1988, Brian would incorporate some material recorded during the Flash Gordon sessions (Oct. - Nov, 1980, engineered by Alan Douglas). The last thing recorded was the lullaby intro.

Back To The Light
Begun in March of 1988, at least the earliest ideas (according to the liner notes), and finished by mid-1992.

Love Token
Two versions recorded in 1992, the Explicit Version and the (less fun) album version. The vocal of the Explicit Version sounds like it was recorded first, though I'm not 100% certain.

Resurrection
Begins life as "Ride To Win," an instrumental Cozy Powell track from his album 1992 The Drums Are Back, co-written by Brian. Brian would then write lyrics and turn "Ride To Win" into "Resurrection". Various instumental parts are re-mixed and re-recorded for Back To The Light.

Too Much Love Will Kill You
Written with Frank Musker and Elizabeth Lamers in or around 1988, recorded by Queen for The Miracle but left off probably for songwriting credit reasons. The instrumentation was changed for Brian's solo version.

Driven By You
Written for Ford's UK 1991 ad campaign and beefed up and slightly rewritten for the album, along with "Driven By You Two". The album version features a drum machine, though Cozy Powell would record drums for the Radio Mix.

Nothin' But Blue
Also began life as a Cozy Powell solo track, co-written by Brian, titled "Somewhere In Time". Brian remixed the track, where it became "Nothin' But Blue (Guitar Version)" and then wrote lyrics and edited the track, turning it into the album version of "Nothin' But You".

I'm Scared
Recorded in 1992, the Original Version appears on the "Too Much Love Will Kill You" single and the remix (Justin's Mix '92) appears on the album. The "Chaos Karaoke" section appears to have been added after the Original release.

Last Horizon
Recorded in 1992 in two parts, the first minute has a synchopated drum beat and the second part is a standard 4/4 time. According to Brian he was experimenting with the song in these two different ways. When compiling the album, he liked both and edited them together. The Single Version and released Backing Track are basically the second part.

Let Your Heart Rule Your Head
Started in March 1988 and recorded in 1989 with Lonnie Donnigan, as yet unreleased.

Just One Life
Written in 1989 after attending a memorial with Anita Dobson for actor Philip Sayer and recorded in 1991, along with the Guitar Version.

Rollin' Over
A cover of the Small Faces song, started in March of 1988. The last thing recorded was lullaby outro

Pim Derks user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 00:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ktnxbye.

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 01:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks for another nice thread.  Do you plan to also compare some of the remastered editions like you did with Queen albums ?

rhyeking user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 01:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Has it been remastered?

I still have my copy from 1993, the Hollywood Records US release. Hard to believe it's been 18 years since the UK edition came out! And 19 since "Driven By You" was released!

Part of why I posted this "look" at the album was because I find it fascinating to see how the album reflects Brian's life at the time, the same way Another World does for his late '90s life. Back To The Light grew out of a very turbulent time for him.

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 01:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I had the original UK release but sold it long ago, now I have only a Japanese release from (I think)  1998, but I have nothing to compare it with, so I don't know if it was remastered or not

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 02:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Do the liner notes not say?

The original was mastered by Kevin Metcalfe.

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 02:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'll tell you when I get home

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 04:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I always remember rushing tot he shop on the day of it's release and after listening, thinking "Why did he only make half an album".  As "groovy" as Rollin' Over, Let Your Heart Rule Your Head and TMLWKY are, they're just really, really bad filler.  SURELY, as a guitarist, Brian could have found more inspirational output than that.  The heavier numbers are great and the combination of Brian and Cozy really was superb.

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 06:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Agree with Benn - and I've got the same feeling about Another World. Both albums feel as 5 or 6 great tracks with some really really really heavy fillers added to make it last 50 minutes.

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 08:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I have to agree that Brians solo stuff is indeed very patchy, if you put the two albums together you would have a great album.I much prefer Rogers solo stuff and what he did with the Cross.

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 10:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great album. IMHO (the "H" stands for "humble" so resist the urge to bite my head off), of all the solo albums this one is by far the closest to the "Queen sound".

V.


I'm as mad as HELL, and I'm not going to take this anymore!

rhyeking user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 10:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I go through periods of listening to particular albums. When it first came out, my favourite songs were "Back To The Light," "Resurrection," TMLWKY, "Driven By You" and "I'm Scared." That was in high school.

In university, playing it for some friends, we got into "Love Token" as well. Imagine our surprise when we found the Explicit Version. When I picked up the "Last Horizon" single, found as an import in a record storeo, I totally started diggin' on that song, too. 

Then Another World came out and my focus shifted to the newer stuff, though I also started getting into the Small Faces around this time, so Brian's cover, which I always thought was a decent enough song, got promoted to Pretty Sweet status. I'd load up my MP3 player with a few classics from BTLT, but not much else. 

I recently realized it had been a while since I put on Back To The Light and listened to it all the way through. It was like visiting an old friend, one whose qualities I didn't entirely appreciate in my youth, but now, not needing to rock out all time, I can chill to the mellower stuff and find it a great, solid album. It reflects the man who created it. Is every song strong? Maybe not, but they're his songs and I take them for what they are.

Listening to it reminds of something my brother once mentioned, when skipping a song in the car on his MP3 player. He said, "I think we've been spoiled by CDs and MP3s. Remember when with tapes you were forced to listen to the entire album, because fast-forwarding through a song meant you might miss the next song? So you got to know the whole thing, every song."

I think he was right. Too often I buy a CD (or download an album) and listen to it all the through once, then pull my favourites to put on my player and rarely give the rest of the album a chance to grow on me. I want to change that. I want to have the patience I had as a kid, when even if a song wasn't an immediate favourite, it had a regular chance to find a place alongside the rest.

Am I alone in feeling this way?

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 11:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

No, you're not alone. I absolutely know what you mean. 

V.


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Benn user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 11:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Big V,

Given that it's a solo Brian record, is the Queen sound really what the doctor ordered?

Personally, I'd rather Brian moved right away from anything to do with Queen when he's issueing solo material.  Look at just how amazing the Star Fleet Project was.  Proving that Brian does NOT need to hid behind that ridiculous over-bearing multi-layered guitar thing.  I remember the collaboration he did with Hank Marvin and after 1 listen, I threw the CD in the bin.

Brian is a great guitarist but he doesn't ever just PLAY GUITAR.  He gets embroilled in the need to be a singer and the need to produce something bombastic; The Dark, Space and Last Horizon are possibly the most cringeworthy pieces ever to come from any mamber of Queen, inside or outside of the band.

Why on earth Brian doesn't just sit down and produce a great "live in the studio" guitar album I'll never know - he could base it on Clapton's "From The Cradle" or Page & Plant's "Walking In To Clarkesdale" and we'd have something truly worthy of such a great player.

Instead, we get covers of shite like All The Way From Memphis and complete pap like Another World.

Brian needs to man up and be the guitarist.


Benn
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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 13:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

If I can find the quote, I'll post it, but while promoting Back To The Light, Brian actually talked about how he felt more free to do slower, mellow songs and more emotional stuff on that album; that if it was a Queen project, he'd feel they'd needed to be heavier.

Back To The Light was not a side project done to explore some need which was unfullfilled by Queen. At the time (and I stress that: *at the time*) Queen appeared to be done. Freddie died, Brian's marriage had fallen apart and he was a working to create an identity for himself. Back To The Light and its tour was self-prescribed therapy. Does the album sound like Queen? Sure it does. Some of the material extends back into the active Queen period. and Brian was never, and never will be, "just the guitarist."

At least not on his two solo albums. and certainly not on Queen albums.

Brian plays guitar, writes about half of Queen's songs, sung lead on average on one song per album for 2/3s of their career and was an active 1/4 (sometimes more) of the band. As I said, he was never "just the guitarist".

Benn, you're entitled to your opinion, but I'm not sure where you got the idea that the guitarist in a band has a duty to be "just the guitarist" and nothing else. And that the guitarist should only ever be of the Clapton School of Guitar Licks. Personally, I find Clapton kind of vanilla. Was he talented? No argument, but other than his Cream and  Derek And The Dominos periods, he doesn't rock out consistantly like he could. Same with Santana, who I think is overrated. I don't play guitar, so you can slam me on that point, that I don't know what I'm talking about. But as the saying goes, I know what I like.

I like rock! I want mountains to shake and the Earth to crumble. It needs to be a dazzling spectacle of electric melody. I want to take my imagination far and wide, through deep valleys and over mighty spires of majectic mountains. Few musicians do this for me, but Brian is certainly one of them.

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 13:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Benn wrote: Big V,

Given that it's a solo Brian record, is the Queen sound really what the doctor ordered?

I'm not saying what it should've been, I'm saying what it is... to me at any rate. 

What I like about Brian (and Queen, come to think of it) is that very few artists can get away with a song as delicate as "Too Much Love" and a headbanging metal track such as "Resurrection" on the same record. The songwriting (if not vocal) range of the man is mindblowing!

V.


I'm as mad as HELL, and I'm not going to take this anymore!

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 14:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

OK the Japanese release is also from 1992, but it has 2 bonus tracks - Just One Life (guitar version) and Too Much Love Will Kill You (guitar version) . Sorry for any confusion

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 14:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

No confusion taken.

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 14:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

There is a Japanese release from 2001 (light purple slim obi), but it wasn't remastered.

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Posted: 21 Jul 10, 15:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Wilki Amieva wrote: There is a Japanese release from 2001 (light purple slim obi), but it wasn't remastered.
Hi Wilki,

I was only aware of a 2006 rerelease (TOCP-53713). Has there been a 2001 rerelease too?