Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > The Opposition Acetate...?

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rhyeking user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 09 May 11, 22:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I was reading an article by John S Stuart on the Queen Wikipedia site on The Opposition and came across this:

"Sometime in the Sixties, (possibly late 1969 or early 1970), Art recorded an acetate. Whatever the date, the crucial point is that John Deacon was present at the session."

Okay, but Queen: The Early Years book says John left The Opposition/Art after August of 1969, *before* the acetate was recorded.

Confusion doesn't end there. Setting aside The Opposition, according to the Queen vault site and the JSS article, one of the tracks they recorded was the 1970 hit "Vehicle," by The Ides Of March. I don't own the album "Vehicle", but the info on Wikipedia (which I hope comes directly from the sleeve notes) says it was written by Jim Pettrik and recorded by Ides Of March first as a demo, then as a single, before March of 1970 (the single possibly between December '69 and February '70, as a ballpark guess.):

From Rockasteria:
"The album was recorded after the single was taking off," pitches in multi-instrumentalist and fellow Ides of March founder-member Larry Millas."

A look at the SongFacts site has this to say about "Vehicle" (the song):

Jim Peterik:  "On April 9, 1968 [met and started dating a girl named Karen...] ...After about 6 months of great dates, good times, meadows, making out and serenades, Karen informed me that it was over between us [...after wards she'd take advantage of his owning a car to keep driving her to modelling gigs]...One day in a fit of frustration, I heard myself blurt out to her 'You know, all I am to you is your Vehicle'. The word baby was added later. Just then the light bulb popped up on top of my head and I thought about all the guys like me who don't mind being taken for a ride by a beautiful girl. I said 'See you later' and started writing the song."

Here's the whole entry:
http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=3940

It goes on to say he married Karen and tells the story at concerts, much to her embarrassment. So, I have no doubt the story is true and all other facts seem to support it. That would put his writing of the song in late '68 or early '69 (after the 6 months of dating, the break up and his "I'm your Vehicle" statement, the catalyst from the song. 

The Ides Of March, Jim Petrik's band, was formed in 1965, so it was well and going when he wrote the song. It was the lead track on the debut album and the album was named after it. The JSS  article says it's an old blues song, but that doesn't seem to be the case, relative to The Ides Of March, assuming JSS means to say TIOM covered it, which they clearly didn't do. It is an original Ides Of March song, written by Jim Peterik, lead vocalist, lead guitarist and lead songwriter for that album.

(If John S Stuart wasn't implying it was a cover, I apologize. I'm not here to call anyone out.)

So, all this is by way of pointing out some apparent timeline issues.

According to both the JSS article and The Early Years, John Deacon's last performance with The Opposition/Art was August 29th of 1969. The JSS article goes on to say: " By October [1969], he'd moved to London to study electronics at Chelsea College of Technology, part of the University of London."

The Early Years says that weeks after John left, they recorded an acetate as The Opposition. The JSS article states this was the second such acetate, that the earlier one, containing "Vehicle," was with John.

My concern is that in order to contain The Ides Of March track "Vehicle" (written no later than early 1969[?] and recorded before March of 1970), that any acetate would have to have been recorded after spring [April or May] of 1970, when the single was released. The album was released in June of 1970. 

Here's another website which features the song and details the recording of the "Vehicle" album:

http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2011/02/ides-of-march-vehicle-1970-us.html

The sites discussing the song and album "Vehicle" and The Ides Of March do not mention The Opposition/Art, so we can safely say they are independent sources against which our facts about the Opposition acetate(s) must be compared. "Vehicle"'s hit status in the spring of '70 locks it firmly in that period. And it is there that the timeline breaks down for John to have had any involvement in the recording of that track (and possibly the others). He can't have appeared on this recording which predates the recording of the song by its original artist.

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Posted: 10 May 11, 10:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Excellent points, but the problem is that this period of study is "not as fixed", as we believe, but constantly evolving. By that I mean we are now (thanks to the internet amongst other research tools) finding out new and unknown facts - which mean that we have to go back and re-write this history to accomodate this new information.

For example: Until now, much of what has been written has been from memory. However, people like "Queen in Cornwall" have challenged these memories and discovered that (surprise, surprise) these memories are faulty. While generally correct, they are not as accurate as photography or written documents.
So new things do come to light. This means that much which has been written previously, while generally true, can now be viewed in a crisper and clearer light - with evidence to support these new discoveries. In otherwords, the more we find out, the more we have to re-write history. So what I have written in the past - was written with the best information at that time, now that information needs to be updated.

As for the Opposition, my evidence was based on the testimony of band members. Now it seems those memories were fallable. Here is a much clearer vision:


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 10 May 11, 10:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

1970

Sour Milk Sea: Live Various
Gigs, March 1970
For Information only - does not exist
Farrokh Bulsara: Vocals
Chris Chesney: Guitar
Paul Milne: Bass
Jeremy Gallop: Rhythm guitar
Rob Tyrell: Drums

Queen: Debut Live Gig, City Hall, Truro, 27 June 1970
For Information only - does not exist
Debut Live Gig, City Hall, Truro, 27 June 1970. Billed as Smile
Freddie Bulsara: Vocals
Brian May: Guitar
Roger Taylor: Drums
Mike Grose: Bass Guitar

Queen: Live City Hall, Truro, 23 Aug 1970
For Information only - does not exist
Live City Hall, Truro, 23 Aug 1970
Freddie Bulsara: Vocals
Brian May: Guitar
Roger Taylor: Drums
Barry Mitchell: Bass Guitar

Queen:  Rehearsal, Imperial College,
London, 18
September 1970
For Information only - does not exist
Barry Mitchell: Queenzone, 31 Aug 2005: We had a rehearsal at Imperial College on 18th September 1970, the day Jimi (Hendrix) died. We were all so stunnednthat Jimi had gone; we all loved him so much. I think we tried to run through
some of our own material, but our hearts weren’t in it. It was Freddie whonsuggested we do a tribute to the man.
So we played Jimi`s songsnthrough to the end of the rehearsal. “Voodoo Chile”, “Foxy Lady”, “Purple Haze”
and maybe “Stone Free”. Just one long jam, it was memorable, made all the more so because he died less than a mile from where we were rehearsing. It is a shame that there was no tape machine running that night.

Opposition: Unreleased, Beck Studios Acetate
Recorded 1970, Beck Studios, Wellingborough
Vehicle                    
Transit 3
Sunny

Opposition:  (None John Deacon) Unreleased, Acetate
Non-John Deacon/ John Savage - One-sided 7” acetate                           
Loosen Up

Deacon:  Live Chelsea College, 21 November 1970
For Information only - does not exist
John Deacon: Bass
Don Carter: Drums
Peter Stoddard: Guitar
Albert: Guitar
21 November, Chelsea College, London

1971

Queen:  Unreleased, Live, Ewell Technical College,
January 1971
Freddie Bulsara: Vocals
Brian May: Gutar
Roger Meddows Taylor: Drums
Barry Mitchell: Bass

Supporting Kevin Ayers And The Whole World Band, Flying Fortress and Genesis. 
Ken Testi recorded the entire set on a Grundig tape recorder, but only the Rock and Roll Medley remains. 
A flyer for this concert is briefly viewed in the official “Genesis - Archive” video

Queen: Live Hornsey Misto Hall, Truro, 19 Feb 1971
For Information only - does not exist
Freddie Bulsara: Vocals
Brian May: Guitar
Roger Taylor: Drums
Doug Bogie: Bass Guitar

Queen: Live Surrey College, 2 July 1971
John Deacon’s First Queen gig
For Information only - does not exist
Live Surrey College, 2 July 1971Freddie Bulsara: Vocals
Brian May: Guitar
Roger Taylor: Drums
John Deacon: Bass Guitar

De Lane Lea Demo Tape, October 1971 – February 1972
Freddie Bulsara: Vocals
Brian May: Guitar
Roger Meddows Taylor: Drums
Deacon John: Bass
Recorded by Louie Austin.


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 10 May 11, 10:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

All that can be added for 100% certainty is:

Fixed point 1: Vechicle was indeed a cover version of the Ides Of March single which charted in March 1970.

Fixed point 2: The 2nd July 1971 - as by all known available information, this was JD's first gig with Queen.

Anything in-between those two fixed points is therefore open to speculation - BUT, Between those two points (March 1970 - July 1971) The Opposition cut two acetates:

Opposition: Unreleased, Beck Studios Acetate
Recorded 1970, Beck Studios, Wellingborough
Vehicle, Transit 3, Sunny

Opposition:  (None John Deacon) Unreleased, Acetate
Non-John Deacon/ John Savage - One-sided 7” acetate                           
Loosen Up 

The 1970 date of the first acetate is not recorded, nor is the date of the second Opposition acetate recorded either. (Indeed it is possible that the second acetate was cut in 1971 - but regardless JD appeared on the first disc but not on the second).

As to John appearng on the first disc, the source of that information and the acetate itself, was no other than his mother!

But I agree, it is time that much of this new stuff was brought together for a sharper clearer focus of what actually took place and when.


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 10 May 11, 11:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

PSS: I have never written for or offered any info to Wikipedia, so anything up there with my name, is not authenticated by me!


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Posted: 10 May 11, 12:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

On reflection: I think Ryeking has posted the first decent post in QZ in ages, as he is absolutely correct.
The waters from this early period are indeed murky, and any new additional info which makes this history clearer is very welcome indeed.

I only wish that more sound, vision, photographic or documented evidence existed from this time. As we can all see, working from faded memories of actual band-members may be (in historical terms) primary sources of evidence. I know both John Deacon and Brian May have kept detailed diaries, photos, and even audio tapes of the period, wouldn't it be great if these documents were to some day become public?


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 10 May 11, 12:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

John, I'd first to say that my post was in no way meant to undermine your hard work. I understand 100% what it's like to consistently refine notes and knowledge as new information surfaces. I'll never claim to know conclusively about things that exist in the murky Queen and Pre-Queen past. And I present my findings here for further refinement, because I believe collectively we can all become more knowledgeable that way.

If I'm ever wrong, I expect to be corrected. I may balk at the quality of the argument or information which contradicts my own, but that only because I take the matter seriously and want the issue scrutinized as much as possible. Basically, not taking anything for granted.

I feel in some ways we're archaeologists here, uncovering details and theorizing as best we can. And like all noble scientific pursuits, we must make the information available to the rest of the community for analysis and be open to other view points.

The recent "Keep Yourself Alive" (Long Lost Re-take) thread I started, to examine contradictory evidence for and against it being from 1975 is an example were I started at one point, believing the recording dated from 1972 and the Queen 1 sessions, but as more evidence and analysis enlightened us, I came to the conclusion that I was wrong and the new information better supported it being from 1975.

Recently, my understanding of the BBC recordings was also improved by the work and observations of others.

We're all this together!

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Posted: 10 May 11, 13:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Here is the Queenpedia article I cited:

http://www.queenpedia.com/index.php?title=The_Opposition

In 100% fairness, it does say "Adapted from article by John S Stuart, 20 January 2006." Which I took at face value.

John, I apologize if I attributed to you the mistakes/alterations made by others. My intention was draw attention to the timeline issues only, based on facts the Queen fan community was using (which in this case had your name associated with it). 

If anyone is ascribing your name to articles you did not wholly author, that's doing you and your hard work a disservice!  You should request they remove your name to avoid confusion or post your entire work, unaltered, with your express permission.

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Posted: 10 May 11, 13:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Rye King: When I said that your post was the first decent post on QZ for a while - it was not meant to be either flattering or ironic.

I love polemic discussions. I love being challenged. Your post was not seen as as threat or contradiction in any way -
Quite the reverse actually!

I am totally behind you 100% because I too learn from this, and if you can challenge my "belief" system and force me to re-evaluate, then I honestly appreciate that you have taken the time to do the research, do your homework, and come up with a very solid argument, because your hard work - forces me to work even harder - and that is the biggest compliment I can give you.

But you are correct, it does benefit the whole Queen community, and not just we two, and that is a good thing.

Back to the topic, I wish I could be more precise. I wish it was as easy as it would appear at first glance. The truth is that we are swimming in very muddy waters. Things overlap, things are recalled in an incorrect order, and things do merge into one big whole, so it is very difficult to disect with exact surgical precission, but I hope you appreciate that my answer though technically "incorrect" is at present - the best available - and I am waiting, praying and hoping for anyone who can help me clarify, this period, and that is why I enjoyed your post.


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 10 May 11, 14:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As a further note on reliabilty - I find that non-Queen members (in general) have better memories than the band do themselves.

For example, Barry Mitchell's time as bassist was very limited. We can indeed place his "existence" between two fixed points. (I know we can argue about the date of those points - but, generally speaking, we do have a Barry Mitchell window - which he remembers far more clearly than the rest of the band do).

Barry clearly recalls the death of Jimi Hendrix and how Queen performed a few tribute "jams" the night they heard the news. This would be embedded far clearer in his memory because he was only in the band for such a short period. Yet, Brian May also recalls the night Jimi died, but I believe he stated that John Deacon was the bassist. So who do we believe?

On this ocassion, I believe Barry, because in the larger scale of things, this would be one of Barry's greatest life memories, it is something he is very unlikely to forget because it would be such a big event in his life. This would be a great achievement for him.

On the other hand, Brian's life is so full of great moments (Live Aid, Buckingham Palace etc, etc), it would be far easier for Brian's recollections of the night of Jimi's death to be distorted - but both are primary evidence from primary sources so who can claim which evidence weighs the heavier?

It is not very often we get such intelligent posts - even less so when we get posts which push the envelope, but it is these very posts we keep tuned int QZ for, and I only wish that we had a few more...


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 10 May 11, 15:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I agree.

Memories are not always accurate, as say a photograph or a recording would be, where the details captured are unchanging. And yes, the memories should also be considered in context. As you note, Barry was only in the band a short time and the death of Hendrix was significant for him and everyone else there.

It's also easier to remember "I was here for this occasion," than it is to remember who might have been with you. I was recently corrected on a mis-remembered event from a few years ago, where I thought my sister attended my uncle's funeral along with the rest of our family. She corrected me saying no, she couldn't attended because of her infant son, my nephew. Since we'd done what felt like a string of funerals that year, where she did attend the others, I remembered her there. She correctly remembers that she wasn't.

In doing research and reading things like old interviews, there's sometimes more accuracy the closer the statement is given in time with the event. When the band is promoting a new album in, say, 1984, what they say about the recording then is still fresh in their mind, compared to 25 years later, where details get lost or jumbled.

I sometimes fall back on what I call the 'essence of the memory,' the thoughts and feelings toward an event (or song or session), if the facts are muddy or inconsistent. This helps resolve what could seem like the person "changing his story" about how a song was written or a session came about.

Lastly, I never feel that because a person is wrong on one detail that he wrong on every detail. For example, during the North American Q+PR tour in 2005, Brian claimed "Under Pressure" had never been played live in this continent. I knew immediately that he was incorrect, but since the window for that song played here was so small (one tour), he doesn't recall playing it here before they stopped touring in the US and Canada (for those keeping track, it appeared in the 1981 Montreal concerts, it's first live performances, I believe).

In a way, I envy fans of current artists, where the artist has a website and blog and keeps the fans up to date on their recording and touring. These will be helpful in the future to locking in dates for when songs were written and recorded, and collaborations done. Brian's site has been helpful in recent years in noting when and where he's working. Imagine having had that much detail 40 years ago!

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Posted: 10 May 11, 15:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Though Rhyeking and John are the only 2 discussing this topic here, I do hope more people are reading this.
Not to add non-info but to get a grip of the Importance of the Invaluable Past. (I hope this is plain English)

And I too love these kind of discussions. Different people bring new fresh ideas.
Keep it up, guys.
Much appreciated.


Feel free to visit my site - http://www.mercuryparadise.com

(Come into my life, it's a MercuryParadise)
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Posted: 10 May 11, 15:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyeking: I think we both agree (to quote Johnny Nash):
 "There are more questions than answers... and the more I find out the less I know"!

But (back to the topic) you are correct.

Both the Ides of March single and The Opposition acetates are both fixed points in time, and it is clear that the acetate (as a cover version) was recorded after the (original) single's release - but before John joined Queen.

This gives us a 16 month window (March 1970 - July 1971) for the disc to be cut.

As to narrowing this down to a more precise date of recording, the studio itself no longer exists, so, how can supporting  documents or photographs be traced?


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Posted: 10 May 11, 15:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

WE are reading..

and enjoying all whats written:)

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Posted: 10 May 11, 16:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Tracing original documentation would be difficult at this point, I imagine, unless the studio's owner or those people who were present kept some files in their attic. Even then, do we know who these people would be (owner or engineer, etc.) whom we could ask.

Are the band member's recollections such that they could tell us more about when the actetates were cut, such as what might have occurred at the time or even what songs were popular on the radio (aside from "Vehicle"). Those facts could help narrow it down.

I don't like drifting too far into unsubstantiated speculation, but is it possible John recorded with the band between school years? Did he return to Leicestershire in the summer of 1970 and perhaps they made the recording then?

"Sunny," the Bobby Hebb song, doesn't seem to help, as it dates from 1966 and was covered several times by different artists before 1970. One way it could shed some light is if The Opposition's arrangement is similar to a specific cover, whereby we might discern that unique recording as having influenced the acetate recording. That, though, could be a bit of a stretch.

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Posted: 10 May 11, 18:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As far as I am aware the Opposition version IS the same arrangement as the Ides of March version. What does that tell us?
The other contrbuting factor is that the middle track "Transit 3" was an original track co-written by John and the other band members.

"Transit 3" is very heavilly influenced (if not borrowed) from Booker T's "Green Onions". I know that does not help either, as "Green Onions" also comes from the mid 1960's.


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Posted: 11 May 11, 05:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Would it be an idea to trace down the bandmembers?


"On the first day Pim & Niek created a heavenly occupation. Pim & Niek blessed it and named it 'Loosch'."



(Genesis 1:1)
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Posted: 14 May 11, 22:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

FriedChicken wrote: Would it be an idea to trace down the bandmembers?

Yes; I have traced the band members, and I have interviewed extensively (indeed it was I who passed a taped copy of the disc to one member who had lost his during multiple house changes) and they did indeed confirm to me that John played during the recording studio session. (I think one even claimed that John played in both - but that obviously is not the case).

The real question is not whether John plays on the disc or not - but WHEN the disc was cut.
 Without repeating the above - it was obviously after the Ides of March single was released - but before he joined Queen, which as I also mentioned above gives us a 16 month window of opportunity - if you excuse the pun.


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Posted: 17 May 11, 13:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

who cares

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Posted: 17 May 11, 16:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

saj ditta wrote: who cares
---------------------------------------------------------

Queen FANS who are interested in the history of the band 'care' about this information.

If all you're bothered about is hearing the music, then don't post negative comments.
It makes you come across as Surly...