Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Freddie's Voice Differences between 1984-1986 (live).

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Gregsynth user is on Queenzone.com
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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 13:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I was listening to various bootlegs from the Works Tour, and my question is: Why was his voice much deeper and raspier than his 1986 voice?

Freddie starts off the Works Tour sounding like the later Hot Space gigs (timbre-wise), on Brussels and Dublin. By Birmingham, his voice starts to slowly roughen and deepen into this "different" voice. Just compare something like Brussels to Stuttgart--both have him in good voice, but Stuttgart has a much "deeper-sounding" Freddie. Also, listen to the (many) gigs on that tour where his voice wasn't in good shape--he's got this "raspy" edge to his voice (that's not so much on his "good" gigs--or the Magic Tour.

Someone who attended some of the Sun City shows, messaged me in the past, and said that Freddie completely lost his voice on a couple of the gigs-- (assuming one of them is 10/7/1984), and witnessed Freddie spitting blood. That begs the question: Was that nodule-related? Did one of the nodules burst? Whatever the case, the next recording (from 10/19/1984), shows Freddie's voice has healed, and his timbre is closer to his early Works Tour voice (rather than the "deep and raspy" one). He even nails a C5 during the impromptu (!!!)!

For the 1985 Works Tour voice, his voice shape fluctuates, but his timbre stays pretty much the same. On the Japan 1985 shows (mostly 5/9/1985), his tone is very light and phrases stuff closer to 1980-1981 (rather than belting out notes).

At Live Aid, he's in perfect voice, and doesn't even sound like he SMOKED! That's what I don't get. He sounds like 1982 Freddie!

For the Magic Tour, his timbre deepens a tad, but not even close to his 1984 voice. His timbre stays pretty much the same throughout the tour (with his vocal shape fluctuating from excellent to weak). Look at Zurich 1986--his voice is at it's worst on the tour--but he doesn't sound "bad." He just sounds "tired" with his high range shot out. Compare that to the Works Tour--when his voice was weak, he sounded really BAD.

So here's some questions we can discuss:

1. Did Freddie find new singing techniques in the 1985-1986 timeframe?
2. Did the nodule burst actually HELP him?
3. Why did Freddie sound so "clean and fresh" at Live Aid (on breaks during the Works Tour, he never sounded 100% Fresh)?
4. Did Freddie improve with age?

THOUGHTS?


I always knew I was a star And now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me-Freddie Mercury
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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 15:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

1 and 3. I think it's possible he found new techniques but a major thing that we may have forgotten was the fact that during the Works Tour, Freddie was recording Mr Bad Guy so any rest he could've had was probably wasted in the recording studio so after Japan 1985 he was able to rest for the first time since late 1983 so this could explain the freshness in his Live Aid voice which shows what 6 weeks off without him singing did! (counting Live Aid rehearsals)
2. Did the nodule burst actually HELP him?
It probably relieved his throat alot after doing most of the European leg with them hurting his throat but the doctor requested him to have at least 3 months off yet he ignored this and his voice was actually pretty decent with Sun City and 1st Rio sounding fantastic!
4. Definately! He probably learnt from the later HS gigs and the recording of the Works/Mr Bad Guy/Works tour to rest after doing each thing. Interestingly though, even though Freddie claimed to never have had vocal surgery, I actually believed he could've had it as early as 79 but the claim of singing lessons too is also believable. But didn't he cut down the smoking in 85/86 as well? This may have helped his voice a lot and it also shows on the later albums with his voice being very clean on songs!



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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 15:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

formulaone+queenmad wrote: 1 and 3. I think it's possible he found new techniques but a major thing that we may have forgotten was the fact that during the Works Tour, Freddie was recording Mr Bad Guy so any rest he could've had was probably wasted in the recording studio so after Japan 1985 he was able to rest for the first time since late 1983 so this could explain the freshness in his Live Aid voice which shows what 6 weeks off without him singing did! (counting Live Aid rehearsals)
2. Did the nodule burst actually HELP him?
It probably relieved his throat alot after doing most of the European leg with them hurting his throat but the doctor requested him to have at least 3 months off yet he ignored this and his voice was actually pretty decent with Sun City and 1st Rio sounding fantastic!
4. Definately! He probably learnt from the later HS gigs and the recording of the Works/Mr Bad Guy/Works tour to rest after doing each thing. Interestingly though, even though Freddie claimed to never have had vocal surgery, I actually believed he could've had it as early as 79 but the claim of singing lessons too is also believable. But didn't he cut down the smoking in 85/86 as well? This may have helped his voice a lot and it also shows on the later albums with his voice being very clean on songs!
==============

I don't know the exact dates on the Mr. Bad Guy recording sessions, but wikipedia gave me the spring of 1984 on some songs (which is way before the tour). Maybe Bob and Sebastian can help out. I've never heard of Freddie getting vocal surgery (and he actually refused), but I guess anything is possible. As far as the smoking goes, he was heavily smoking in the mid 80s, but he cut down in the later 80s!


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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 15:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I looked at some of the Mr Bad Guy dates, some were about 2 months before the Works Tour but I believe he finished that section of the album then went straight into Works rehearsals which would go on to kill his voice! But I do know he recorded some stuff in early 1985!

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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 15:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

And the stuff he was singing on that album was highly demanding. If he was doing vocal work up to the rehearsals then that can explain why he lost his chops early into the tour!


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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 16:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So that would support my point of 6 weeks rest doing him the world of good before Live Aid but I still don't understand why he sounds so so fresh! We need TSS's opinion on that matter!

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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 16:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Good old TSS.

I heard that Freddie actually had a sore throat during Live Aid!


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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 16:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I heard that too, if he did then how did he sing the best versions ever of most of the songs there?!

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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 16:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I read somewhere that before Live Aid Freddie had problems with his voice and was told by the doctors not to do Live Aid.  Freddie being Freddie he refused and did Live Aid.

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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 18:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

IMO On top of all his vocal problems during the works tours, didnt he sing rough on purpose? He has stated that he wanted the husky voice, so he must have possibly sang rough regardless of the risks while on tour. As for live aid, he must've realised how ineffective the husky voice was and return to whatever his standard live voice as you hear in Live aid. 
Why didnt he change his voice during the tour? because he had to sound consistent for the entire works tour, just like the entire Jazz tour!
So singing lessons or not, he established another singing style for the Magic tour that didnt compromise his voice as much like the risky husky style from the works.


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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 18:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great interpretation, Marvin.  Sounds about right to me.


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Posted: 24 Mar 11, 18:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Marvin's post made lots of sense. I just wish Freddie sang with his Live Aid tone, or even the Magic Tour tone on the Works Tour. Some of the gigs on that tour are a bit hard to listen to.


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Posted: 25 Mar 11, 02:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Guys, what do you think about the factor of not so frequent gigs on Magic tour comparing to previous one european leg of Works tour? In fact, they performed 26 gigs in 2 mothns on Magic tour and 23 gigs in 1 month and couple of days on european leg of Works leg, so the pauses between concerts to rest in 1986 were bigger. Maybe this happened because they often rented venues with more capacity on Magic tour (i.e. stadiums of open-air fields), so less shows were needed to satisfy public demand.
Maybe it's not the general reason, but as the additional to what you have already stated here, I think it could be.

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Posted: 26 Mar 11, 23:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm willing to bet that the touring schedule also helped out Freddie's voice.

BTW, does anyone notice that Freddie's tone is really "dry and thin" on Stockholm 1986 (especially if you compare it to the other gigs)?


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Posted: 28 Mar 11, 09:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

1. Did Freddie find new singing techniques in the 1985-1986 timeframe?
2. Did the nodule burst actually HELP him?
3. Why did Freddie sound so "clean and fresh" at Live Aid (on breaks during the Works Tour, he never sounded 100% Fresh)?
4. Did Freddie improve with age?

1. Possible, He uses lots a falsestto  during late Works onwards
2. Possible. Batman Begins quote. "Why do people fall...So you could pick yourself back up" Look back at Jazz to Crazy
3. 1, Break between Tour 2, Cough drops and water 3, fewer rehearsals for Live Aid 4, Giving everything. Live Aid was susposed to be the farewell gig for the band.
4. Yes, see Barclona, The Miriacle, Innuendo and Made In Heaven

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Posted: 28 Mar 11, 22:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Isle0fRed wrote: 1. Did Freddie find new singing techniques in the 1985-1986 timeframe?
2. Did the nodule burst actually HELP him?
3. Why did Freddie sound so "clean and fresh" at Live Aid (on breaks during the Works Tour, he never sounded 100% Fresh)?
4. Did Freddie improve with age?

1. Possible, He uses lots a falsestto  during late Works onwards
2. Possible. Batman Begins quote. "Why do people fall...So you could pick yourself back up" Look back at Jazz to Crazy
3. 1, Break between Tour 2, Cough drops and water 3, fewer rehearsals for Live Aid 4, Giving everything. Live Aid was susposed to be the farewell gig for the band.
4. Yes, see Barclona, The Miriacle, Innuendo and Made In Heaven

==============

Very good explanations!


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Posted: 28 Mar 11, 23:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Isle0fRed wrote:

Live Aid was susposed to be the farewell gig for the band.

==========

Interesting... I've never heard it put like that before.

Are you sure though?  No doubt the band were in a bad place in 1985 and this show brought them new life, but is there any confirmation that they were considering calling it quits at this point?


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Posted: 29 Mar 11, 02:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

yes i heard that they were thinking of splitting up for good after the works tour but live aid rejuvenated them and thankfully so!!!

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Posted: 29 Mar 11, 13:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I have a newspaper cutting from the week before Live Aid. I don't have it to hand at the moment, but I think it was written by Rick Sky from the Daily Mirror. It goes something like.............

'Queen's Freddie Mercury is so determined to play next week's Live Aid concert, he is taking a risk of losing his voice forever! Mercury, who has recently had an operation on his vocal chords, has been told by doctor's that he must rest his voice for at least another month. Doctor's have told the star that if he sing's at the show, he may never sing again'.

By the sounds of that, he went in for an operation as soon as The Works tour finished. It would certainly explain the dramatic improvement of his voice.

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Posted: 29 Mar 11, 15:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Doesn't it take a few months to heal from a throat operation? If that's true--then Freddie really took a risk!


I always knew I was a star And now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me-Freddie Mercury