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Bohemian: 313 posts
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Posted: 25 Aug 10, 10:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote


rhyeking user not visiting
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Posted: 25 Aug 10, 13:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

My top favourite singles?

Hmm...rather than simply making this about the songs alone, I'm going to look at the single as a whole: the songs, the artwork and why the single has significance for me.

01) 1975 "Keep Yourself Alive" US Re-issue 7" single
I found this 7" at a flea market, in a bin with a bunch of other 45s, for 50 cents each. I saw it contained "Lily Of The Valley" and "God Save The Queen" as b-sides. Two b-sides on a 7"? That was uncommon, and they were all from different albums. Weird! Upon playing the single, I discovered that all three were unique versions. KYA was the US edit, which I had on the US 1981 Greatest Hits, but LOTV was the complete track, with the full intro, not segued from "Flick Of The Wrist". GSTQ didn't fade in. It just started at full volume. I later learned that the single came out before the band was working on A Night At The Opera, so I realized that when this single came out, "God Save The Queen" was a NEW Queen song, exclusive to the states. For 50 cents, it's a heck of a find.

02) 1982 "Body Language" US 12" single
I know, I know, many of you hate this song, but the song is less what I'm going to talk about, more my experience in first hearing it. My best friend found this at a yard sale for me well before I had heard anything from Hot Space besides "Under Pressure". The cover art featured the nude man and woman from the video and at 16, looking at this sleeve, I was like, "Uh...alright." He had already listened to it and pronounced the song: "Weird, man...very different." We put it on and I heard it for the first time. I didn't know what to think. Keep in mind, I still didn't own all Queen's albums, so this was out of left field and I can appreciate why it startled people in 1982. We played the b-side, "Life Is Real" and I remember thinking, "That's more like it." This single and a-side did the most complete 180 degree turn around of any Queen song for me, going from WTF to Hell Yeah! as such, it earns it's place on this list.

03) 1995 "Heaven For Everyone" UK CD Single Part 1
It's autumn, my first year of university, away from home for the first significant time. I walk into the HMV Superstore in downtown Toronto one cold evening after studying and thumb through the Queen section. I see this CD single. "What is THIS? New Queen single? Seriously?" I don't think I had any inkling about Queen recording a new album, so this...THIS was a complete surprise. I had no internet, but a roommate did, so I bought the single, went the newly launched, still incomplete site and it was like a meca. Queen information, lots of it, at my fingertips. Wow! I listened to single, TWO NEW SONGS! Now, I did know that The Cross had recorded this song, with Freddie, but never having heard it, this was all new. I took it at face value, as a new, complete Queen song. And WHAT a song! For me, this was right up there with the best of them (well, maybe not "Rhapsody," but certainly others). The sleeve promised a second CD single the following week. I couldn't wait! I love the blue, yellow and orange colour scheme and the Freddie statue on the front. This single will always bring back that memory, being the first new Queen single for me after I became a fan.

04) 1981 "Under Pressure" Elektra Re-print 7" single
Once again: high school...yard sale...I think I paid $1 for this one. I knew UP very well from Classic Queen and GH1 (US), but here was a b-side I'd never heard. "Soul Brother"? Alright, cool. This event preceeds the BL entry above, so I wasn't entirely sure if this song was even on the Hot Space album. I put it on and thought, "Hmm...another gospel song, like Somebody To Love." Then the self-referential lyrics came in and I was laughing. How many Queen references were they squeezing in here? Hilarious! It was the first song since "I'm Going Slightly Mad" that made me laugh out loud when I first heard it.

05) 1974 "Liar" US 7" single
Well established as a Queen fan at this point, I had all the albums and there werent many surprises left...or so I thought. I found this in a shop in Toronto, for $5 and bought it because the label said "3:30" track length. Uh...okay. This I had to hear! I went home, listened in stunned silence and then played it a second time. Then a third. I could not do a fourth time in a row. It was They'd chopped up the song! This was the first time I felt a bit of disgust for something Queen-related. It was a new, unpleasant sensation. I flipped the disc over and listened to "Doing All Right," sweet and unaltered. Peace and harmony were restored. I still own the single and only ever listened to it again when I transferred the edit to my computer, for as bad an edit as it is, it's still rare.

06) 1984 "I Want To Break Free" Freddie-Sleeve 7" single
Found in the same shop as the "Liar" single, this too contained a unique b-side which is why it warrants inclusion on this list. I liked the original song "Machines," but hearing the instrumental was a new experience. It was the first Queen I heard in such an instrumental form. I discovered a new side of my love for the band's work, that their backing tracks were so well done as to stand on their own. I became fascinated with instrumental versions of the songs, and still am. all thanks to "Machines."

07) 1982 "Back Chat (Re-mix)" 7" single
Found in the same Toronto shop as before, for $5, I almost didn't buy this. I owned Hot Space by this time and wasn't entirely anamoured with the disco/funk pieces. Still, I had (and still have) a policy of grabbing singles when I find them, to add to my collection. So, I took it home. I notice on the label when I went to play it that this was a "Re-mix"....a remix from 1982? I didn't know such a thing had been done. I played the song and found it was punchier and, for me, better than the album version...and...I LIKED it. This marked for me the beginning of the shift in my view of Hot Space, where I began to overcome my chagrin toward this album. I liked that the sleeve matched the album, the four blocks of colour. I'm not sure why.

08) 1991 "The Show Must Go On" CD single
Bought for $4 in a different shop in Toronto (Toronto used to have dozens of great used music stores, many of which are now long gone!). Nothing new on this disc, except "Queen Talks," but I love the JJ Grandville artwork that ties all the singles together with the album. Also amusing is the selection of previous a-sides: "Keep Yourself Alive" and "Body Language". I never would have put these three songs together and there's some charm in hearing them this way. It seems mildly subversive when you consider that the single was partly promoting Greatest Hits 2, yet these two songs would not appear on either UK Hits albums. It's like Queen wanted you to have them in addition to the "Hits".

09) 1995 "A Winter's Tale" UK CD single
Wrapped in a red, white and green card sleeve, this single was bought in London, England, by my brother for a Christmas present. He wrapped in it paper and didn't sign the original sleeve, preserving it for me. "Merry Christmas from Queen!" How cool. I had the three tracks already, though this cut of "Rock In Rio Blues" was slightly different, but it was great to have the two holiday song together. It was also great to have my brother back for the holidays (he lived in London for two years, returning only once or twice a year). So many great memories associated with this little single!

10) 1995 "Too Much Love Will Kill You" US CD single
Back in HMV, now having heard Queen's new album, I was hunting down all the singles. I saw this and thought, "Huh? cardboard sleeve...Whoa! New song!" That was the "Rock In Rio Blues". I knew the band had done RIR, but what was this? A live track? Something else? I bought it, got home and put it on. It was like the Impromptu track from Wembley. Alright, very cool. Non-album live b-side. 1995/1996 were heady days, when new Queen singles were hitting the

Wiley user not visiting

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Posted: 27 Aug 10, 11:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I loved your post, rhyeking! Great spin for an otherwise reduntant topic.

Let me try and do something similar. I'm sorry for rambling a bit but there are too many stories to be told. Hopefully someone will care :).

1) Let me Live (red, "at the BBC" edition).
This is the first Queen single I ever bought, back in 1997. I went to one of my local record shops in Villahermosa, Mexico. I had been a fan for 5 years now and I had NEVER seen a single for sale, let alone a QUEEN CD SINGLE. I went nuts and bought it. I was very happy with it.

2) No-one but you (French 2 track Cardboard sleeve).
The second Queen single I bought. I saw it in a record store in Mexico City around 1998. I bought it along with the Barcelona CD album. I had seen them both in the shop but I had no money with me. The following day my aunt was taking me to the Airport and I begged her to stop by the record store to buy both discs. She did and I got both records but ENDED UP LOSING MY FLIGHT! hehe :). It was rescheduled for the following day and I went back to my aunt's to listen to my new discs again. By the way, I know it's not rare but I have never seen that particular edition of NOBY for sale in a record shop ever again. I'm glad I lost that flight.

3) Staying Power (extended) / Back Chat (extended) U.S. 12" single
I didn't buy anything from eBay until August 2009 but I have bought A LOT of Queen material ever since. One of the few versions I got to listen with the singles I bought which I HAD NEVER heard before is this Staying Power remix. It is AWESOME! I love the Hot Space album and I like this song a lot (both studio and live versions) but this remix just takes it to another level. I remember listening to it a few months ago and thinking "I didn't believe this song could get any better". Loved it.

4) Another One bites the Dust w/ Wycleff Jean (2 different CD singles).
Bought it in Cancun, Mexico back in 1998. My dad was living there for a while due to work. Some personal things happened during that trip which changed my view on life and, eventhough I HATE that version and I almost regret buying those crappy singles, I look back on that trip and remember that song. My Mexican CD single has a typo on the CD surface. It lists Queen's name as "QUENN". If someone is interested in such a rarity, let me know :).

5) Barcelona / Exercises in Free Love (the one with Montserrat Caballé singing it)
Another single I bought on eBay which had a track I had never heard before. I had heard Freddie's version as early as 1996 but I had to wait until 2010 to hear Montsy's version.

6) Killer Queen / Flick of The wrist (French 7")
The first 'uncommon' rare-ish single I bought on eBay. Loved the sleeve and I got it in Excellent condition. I only listened to it once and ketp it for my collection.

7) Made in Heaven (rare Mexican edition CD with the original version of "Let me Live").
I am going to cheat. This is NOT a single but there's a story behind it as well. I was in my aunt's house in Mexico City back in 1997-8 (around the time I got the NOBY single in #2) and I put my cousin's Made In Heaven CD. Skipped It's a Beautiful Day and listened to the title track. Then I was blown away when I heard the intro to the Original version of "Let me Live" with the additional voices/choir. My cousin was kind enough to give the CD to me since she knew I was a fan. Some years later I found out this track was not available on the Internet in CD quality. I shared it on MP3 in around 2001 and then on FLAC in 2005, when Barbara and Thorsten (which I had recently met in the QPR tour) asked me to share it.

8), 9) and 10)  Let me Live (UK 7" Picture disc) + TMLWKY (pink vinyl) + Brian's "The business"
I bought these 3 in my visit to the Official International Queen Fan Club back in 1998. It was the first time I went to Europe and the UK. I went with an aunt and I told her I HAD to visit the Queen Fan Club. When we got to our hotel in London I asked the receptionist for directons on how to get to "16a Barnes High Street". The following day she gave me a note with indications as to what Tube station and what Bus we should take to get there. I remember changing buses at Hammersmith tube station and walking down Barnes Street looking for the Queen Fan Club until we saw the Queen crest on a beat down wooden door. When we got there we saw a lady leaving and asked her about the club. It turned out to be Val. She was leaving but still let us in for about 20 minutes. She put Queen's "The Game" CD and let us look around for a while. There I was, 16 years old and visiting what I considered back then to be my own personal Mecca.

Happy days!

rhyeking user not visiting
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Posted: 27 Aug 10, 12:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great post, Wiley!

I love the stories people have behind certain songs and albums and events in their lives.

I noticed my post is slightly cut off (probably because I went on ad nauseum). The missing word is "shelves." I can't remember if I wrote anything after that. Probably, but it ain't important.

More thoughts, keep'em comin'!