Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Songs unenshapened by Freddie's illness and death

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Posted: 01 Aug 10, 15:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

From subtle lyrical or mood choices through unambiguous tribute songs, Freddie's illness and death likely helped to shape several Queen songs and solo efforts via the lyrics, music, video or performance.  A place to discuss the first, the last, the best, the clear, the speculative, the most effective etc. etc.

I'll start with Roger Taylor's 'Old Friends'. When the song is that clearly a tribute to a lost friend you also have a great deal of respect for and for whom you even have your own sense of loss of a sort, it's difficult to separate that and judge the song on it's objective merits.  So with those limitations in mind, I do like it.  I like the music and I like the essence and I expect it's an accuate reflection of Roger's relationship with Freddie which I've always seen as easy, warm, affectionate, not particularly deep, and with a great deal of mutual respect.  The song is marred a little here and there by Roger's tendancy to insert something kind of jarring or trite in the middle of lyrics that were otherwise tripping along nicely, but on the whole I'm glad it was created and shared.

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Posted: 01 Aug 10, 16:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm pretty certain Brian's 'Nothing But Blue' was about that whole situation if I remember correctly. I think I remember a quote of his that I read somewhere that he had written it not long before Freddie passed. Please someone correct me if I'm wrong...


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Posted: 02 Aug 10, 02:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Just listened to both songs mentioned and they are both very good tributes to the loss of a what was obviously a great friend

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Posted: 02 Aug 10, 06:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Speaking of "Nothin' But Blue", I honestly think the guitar version in itself totally sounds like a Pink Floyd type composition, with small uncanny similarities in style to the later PF track "Marooned", even right down to an inherent mixing 'defect' with the drum sound that goes from slightly muddy to expanded clarity all of a sudden within a second or two (around 0:46 in NBB Guitar Version, ~4:00 in Marooned though slightly more subtle). Nothin' But Blue could probably have even substituted well for "Marooned" I think!

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Posted: 02 Aug 10, 12:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Regarding 'Nothin But Blue', Brian said something like he arrived home feeling down about how close he felt Freddie's impending death was, how he had a feeling it was going to be happening very soon, and he poured those feelings into that song.  I think it was either the Friday or Saturday evening before the Sunday.  You can tell it's been composed to work perfectly for a romantic relationship as well so as not to lock the listener into one experience or understanding of the song. A mark of the professional that Brian was and is. 

If I recall, 'No One But You' went through similar reworkings to move from what was a fairly specific lyric relating to Freddie penned by Roger to a more general lament about people who died too young, like Princess Diana.  The video of course invites fans to see it through the prism of Freddie, and beautifully at that.  I wonder if those original lyrics are still around?

An interesting period to consider is the Magic-Miracle period, when Freddie suspected or knew, but the rest of the band really didn't. I'm going to think about that.

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Posted: 02 Aug 10, 13:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Its possible he may have known what was to come as Exes and friends had started to develop the disease towards the latter part of 86 so mabe during the magic tour he had an inkling of what was to come

According to one source he had a negative test in late 85 but the virus can stay undtetcted for a while apparantly

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Posted: 02 Aug 10, 13:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

AFAIK bambam is right, I think I read somwhere that Brian one day felt that "Freddie was ready to leave", and the words just came to his head. The music is co-written by Brian with Cozy Powell for the drummers' solo album (as was "Resurrection"). Brian just used is as a vehicle for this spontaneous inspiration. I still really like the song a lot, despite it being "recycled".

"Old Friends" is a different issue: I absolutely adore the song! It was released a year or so after BTTL and it just has this nice sort of "distance" to it, but at the same time is absolutely honest and haunting. That for me is a song someone writes for a friend who has passed away with a bit of time gone by. Lovely lyrics, honest, not too tearful, just a look back on the great times they had. The music is not sombre, very light, it does not rock, it's what one would play at a gathering of friends, mourning the passing of a true friend but celebrating his life.

Considering Rog's sometimes shallow lyrics (don't get me wrong - I love his solo work more than any of the others) this is a wonderful song. Brought me to tears back in 1994. More than once.


Guten Tag und Guten Abend !!! We had a great time in Cologne. Drinking beer in the sunshine beside the Mighty Rhein brought back many memories for me..... (Brian May, 2004)
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Posted: 02 Aug 10, 13:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

There is a few songs on the miracle and inneundo album where the lyrics of certain songs certainly make you think about the impact it was having on the guys

for example

For Roger to come up Days of our lives which is such a beautiful song for Freddie to sing as his farewell song if you like

Scandal i know Brian said it was about the tabloid press and his marraige but some of it was probably to do with Freddie's illness

Show must go on is a fantastic song which Brian and Freddie came up with

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Posted: 02 Aug 10, 15:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

freddiefan91 wrote: Its possible he may have known what was to come as Exes and friends had started to develop the disease towards the latter part of 86 so mabe during the magic tour he had an inkling of what was to come

According to one source he had a negative test in late 85 but the virus can stay undtetcted for a while apparantly

_________________________
I remember reading that as well.

Back in the 80's, testing wasn't as accurate as it is today. Luckily for us, we can get accurate results in less than three weeks after exposure. He could have been infected with HIV but not known about it until he developed full blown AIDS. Which seems to be the case. But, he knew around the time the Magic Tour started. I remember Brian mentioning the band had an argument during the first few shows of the Magic Tour. Fred then mentioned to the boys they should stop arguing since this would be the last time they would tour. It's part of the Live at Wembley DVD.

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Posted: 03 Aug 10, 14:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Brian has stated that he believed Freddie knew or strongly suspected on the Magic tour, because of things that have been pointed out here - the onstage comment and the disagreement when John Deacon was being really stubborn about something and Freddie said something to the effect of "Look, I'm not going to be doing this [touring] forever.  This could be the last time."  Brian implied that kind of took the air out of the room and defused whatever was going on, but they didn't know then if Freddie had just said something impulsive in the moment or if he was trying to tell them something about the future.  Some people have said the last show at Knebworth show seemed to be extra emotional, so it's possible that some of the latter shows on that tour were impacted.

People slag off 'Hitman', but I think there's a strong possibility that it's a pretty brilliant take on what the HIV/AIDS blight was doing to the gay community. With the frequent references to love and lyric choices like 'waste that brother' it was what I thought the first time I heard it.  Freddie's expression of the lyrics was almost perfect if that was the case.

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Posted: 03 Aug 10, 15:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I always loved Hitman. Aggressive, unusual, kinda prog-metal and perhaps the heaviest song apart from SHA. And the lyrics also for me are maybe the clearest statement about his illness, perhaps more than Mother Love or TSMGO. Very significant, but also musically enjoyable, great solo in the long outro. One of my Top 10 Tracks.


Guten Tag und Guten Abend !!! We had a great time in Cologne. Drinking beer in the sunshine beside the Mighty Rhein brought back many memories for me..... (Brian May, 2004)
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Posted: 03 Aug 10, 16:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I just noticed somethong about the title of thos thread -- "impacted" --- is that a real word or did Grateful fan go to Springfield Elementary, where such cromulent, embiggened and debigulated words are the norm? ;)


"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)
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Posted: 03 Aug 10, 16:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Holly2003 wrote: I just noticed somethong about the title of  >>>>>  thos  <<<<< thread -- "impacted" --- is that a real word or did Grateful fan go to Springfield Elementary, where such cromulent, embiggened and debigulated words are the norm? ;)  
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Ah yes....Springfield Elementary.  Sigh. The memories.  Those crazy Pepsi running shoes with the big wedge heels, the cool orange stapler I had that nobody else did, crushing on Sean McNamara, learning to spell 'this'.  Good times.

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Posted: 03 Aug 10, 17:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

GratefulFan wrote: Holly2003 wrote: I just noticed somethong about the title of  >>>>>  thos  <<<<< thread -- "impacted" --- is that a real word or did Grateful fan go to Springfield Elementary, where such cromulent, embiggened and debigulated words are the norm? ;)  
===================================

Ah yes....Springfield Elementary.  Sigh. The memories.  Those crazy Pepsi running shoes with the big wedge heels, the cool orange stapler I had that nobody else did, crushing on Sean McNamara, learning to spell 'this'.  Good times.
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You missed my "somethong" --- Me flunk English? That's unpossible.


"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)
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Posted: 03 Aug 10, 17:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

No, I just figured it was punctuation/spacing thing.  "I just noticed some thong.  About the title of this thread..."  Sorry.  In that case, yeah, it's 'something'.  You just noticed 'something' about the title of this thread.

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Posted: 03 Aug 10, 18:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

My fingers just want to go to the 'o' instead of the 'i'. In much the same way, my fingers keep spelling 'beleive' the wrong way, even though I known how to spell it. I have the same problem with some songs on the guitar -- I know how to play Spirit of the Radio, for example, and some days I can do a passable effort, but most days my fingers keep taking me to the wrong place. Very frustrating.


"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)
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Posted: 04 Aug 10, 01:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I alway's thought  Roger's "you had to be there"  was about freddie. Not sure if this tune was mentioned yet.

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Posted: 04 Aug 10, 21:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Regor wrote: I always loved Hitman. Aggressive, unusual, kinda prog-metal and perhaps the heaviest song apart from SHA. And the lyrics also for me are maybe the clearest statement about his illness, perhaps more than Mother Love or TSMGO. Very significant, but also musically enjoyable, great solo in the long outro. One of my Top 10 Tracks.
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I always really liked Hitman too, right from the first listen.  Aggressive and unusual is a great way to put it. And those intriguing lyrics, punched out with such perfect dark glee. I think it's often too quickly dismissed.

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Posted: 04 Aug 10, 21:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

mike hunt wrote: I alway's thought  Roger's "you had to be there"  was about freddie. Not sure if this tune was mentioned yet.
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Thanks for bringing this up.  Just gave it a listen and a lyric read through.  It seems maybe a little intense to me to be about Freddie.  Do you have a particular reason for thinking that?

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Posted: 04 Aug 10, 21:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Holly2003 wrote:My fingers just want to go to the 'o' instead of the 'i'. In much the same way, my fingers keep spelling 'beleive' the wrong way, even though I known how to spell it. I have the same problem with some songs on the guitar -- I know how to play Spirit of the Radio, for example, and some days I can do a passable effort, but most days my fingers keep taking me to the wrong place. Very frustrating.
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I bet a lot of people mess up believe. I have to backspace on that one with the very same error at least half the time I write it. Just remember there's no " I " in 'team' and there's no " O " in 'this', and you'll be alright.  There's also no "the" between 'Of' and 'Radio' in 'The Spirit of Radio', but it's very cool that you can play it, even sometimes.  Unless there's some song called 'Spirt of the Radio' that I know nothing about, in which case I don't know if it's cool that you can play it sometimes.  Every time I've typed 'spirit', including edits, I've typed 'spirt' and had to fix it.  What a sad pair.

I think I've edited this about 6 times.  Good thing most of you people are sleeping.