Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Freddie's Killer Queen renditions on The Game Tour

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Gregsynth user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 03:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I've got a question for people, and I need answers! This has been bugging me for months, and I think I should write it down, so people can help me figure this out!

I've been studying the Game Tour concerts (mostly the 1980 shows--since a debate's coming up), and one thing is always glaring at me: Freddie oversings the shit out of Killer Queen on about 75% of the recordings and it doesn't sound right. On most versions before the Game Tour, he'd sing the line "A built-in remedy" on a G4 that goes to an F4 (like the studio). On the Game Tour, he'd sing ENTIRE lines on G4, and then throw random A4s in spots where it doesn't fit in the song. Also, on a number of versions, he would vibrato the hell out of the notes to sound more "macho!" I also heard at least 2-3 instances where he'd thrown a random B4 in the song and it sounds very over-the-top (there's people even saying that it's obnoxious/overdone on my Youtube videos). He also tends to do this "speak-singing" phrasing that sounds obnoxious and "lazy" at the same time (like on the Early European Game Tour shows, and parts of 12/8/1980, and the Brussels 1980 shows).

Is there a reason for the obnoxious renditions of the song? My guess is that he wanted to "beef up" his image (he had grown the stache) and wanted to be more "macho." Another guess is that he was bored/tired of the song and wanted to just mess around with it (Bob mentioned something like that on his 12/8/1980 page).

Here's some examples:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3PO0U2HsbU (Hartford 1980: Obnoxious, and random notes all over the place)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elp3ek-XpmU (New York 1980: Overdone, holding out random G4s, etc)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsSb7EBqAq0 (Wembley 1980: Random B4, and random phrasing)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf1oqXT-YT8 (Frankfurt 1980: Oversinging all over the place, and someone even commented that it was too over-the-top!)

Thoughts and answers are needed! :)


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 04:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

What ever version on which ever tour it was a song that never worked live, & it was boring

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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 08:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

These versions sound good to me.

One may get annoyed, but these "gifts" from Freddie might even sound marvellous. It makes those versions unique.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 08:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Personally I would say he had to sing this night after night, which would drive you mad particularly as the song was written years before.
I see no reason why he wouldnt experment for his own amusment just to shake things up a little, if he liked something it would get used again.

Yes he oversang songs, he wasn't perfect, plus again why not it's live not just a copy of the studio track.

having played in a band for 30+ years I can say with certainty you just have to change things up a little, to stay the same is to die...it's boring as hell.

Fred was known to have a low boredom threshhold so i think this is simply trying to make the same song more interesting for the singer and stop him from falling asleep while performing it.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 12:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Agree that it never worked live. To me, it never sounded like they gave it much effort to sound at all like the studio version, which had its own delicate balance.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 13:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Togg wrote: Personally I would say he had to sing this night after night, which would drive you mad particularly as the song was written years before.
I see no reason why he wouldnt experment for his own amusment just to shake things up a little, if he liked something it would get used again.

Yes he oversang songs, he wasn't perfect, plus again why not it's live not just a copy of the studio track.

having played in a band for 30+ years I can say with certainty you just have to change things up a little, to stay the same is to die...it's boring as hell.

Fred was known to have a low boredom threshhold so i think this is simply trying to make the same song more interesting for the singer and stop him from falling asleep while performing it.

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

The versions from the Sheer Heart Attack, Opera, Races, NOTW, and Crazy Tour are different than the studio version--but they sound good with the phrasing he does. The 1980 versions come across as obnoxious and oversung!


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 16:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

He was coked off his head.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 17:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I wrote this in the comments to the "obnoxious" Hartford clip.
That's not really oversinging, I don't think, when we talk about how he sings "cigarettes." It's more like an aggressive interpretation.
Granted, there's no proper definition of oversinging. But it's not a melisma, and it's not a forced delivery for lack of being able to hit the note.
Sinatra did this kind of aggro-interpretation of his repertoire all the time later in his career.
I guess I think y'all debaters need to come up with a different word for "oversinging."
He's not hitting bum notes so much as singing it in a different style. Talk-singing is one way to put it; macho-aggro another. I might like these versions as opposed to, say, Live Killers, if it was a clean recording.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 17:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Oversinging is simply "overdoing" the singing. It doesn't have to be full of vocal acrobatics. Simply hitting higher notes than needed, can be considered oversinging.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 17:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Greg, I disagree with your definition of the term. The notes on "cigarettes" and others aren't higher, by the by; they're lower, and expressing a different emotion entirely. He's vamping. You might even say he's doing a karaoke version of his own, well-known song, as if to say to the crowd, "well you know this oldie-but-a-goodie, let's all sing along to it." It's beside the point that he's not singing it in falsetto, or ducking high notes; it's a different interpretation.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 18:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I didn't make up the term or definition. Look on Wikipedia and it says "overdoing the singing." There's also many sites that describe oversinging as either overdoing the singing, overdoing vocal acrobatics, singing too loudly, etc.

Actually, he is hitting higher notes than the record and many versions before 1980. Like cigarettes is supposed to end on a C4, he hits a G4 on all three syllables of the word. There's also many versions where he sings lines like "guaranteed to blow your mind" on mostly G4 (instead of dropping down the scale towards the end of the line). I can give you a laundry list of all the oversung phrases on the Killer Queen performances from 1980.

He is technically oversinging the song, and other posters like "Yara" have commented on Freddie's oversinging from this era.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 18:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So, when he talk-sings 'caviar cigarettes' in Hartford, he's hitting *higher* notes than on record? OK.




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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 18:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Daniel Nester wrote:
So, when he talk-sings 'caviar cigarettes' in Hartford, he's hitting *higher* notes than on record? OK.


No, you're not getting it, and that's actually false:

On the record he sings "caviar and cigarettes" starting on a G4, then when he sings "cigarettes" he hits Eb4, D4, C4 in that order (each note on each syllable). On Hartford, he sings (not TALKS) "cigarettes" on all G4s. Last I checked, singing a G4 is higher than notes in the C4-Eb4 range.

I never said he "talk-sings" cigarettes on Hartford, so that's a red herring from you.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 18:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'll take your word for it on the notes. But I would say the interpretation--and make no mistake, it is an interpretation, he's not singing these notes *unintentionally*--is not obnoxious or purposefully "macho," as you say. Those last two terms are redder than most red herrings are, especially when you're the one setting up the topic. You're like, "OK these versions are obnoxious/lazy/oversung--why do we thing this is the case?"


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 18:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Because when I make a statement or an observation, I can back it up with the audio. I don't go around saying "oh, he oversang this song" and expect everyone to say "oh OK, I guess he did." If someone asks me questions on whatever I say, I will explain everything and show either a video, or an audio sample proving my statement!

The "macho" and "obnoxious" stuff aren't red herrings because I brought them up in my very first post. I didn't throw them out to distract other people. I said that because that's the vibe I'm getting from some of these performances! If you are purposely singing notes with a heavy chest connection, and purposely deepening your tone, it sounds "macho" to my ears!


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 19:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So what's the purpose of this "debate"? You say you have audio and it backs up your explanation and only your explanation. I hear these versions and they don't sound oversung--a malleable definition if they're ever was one.

I am saying these versions are *not* obnoxious. "Your" audio does not *prove* this. For me. For you, it does. God bless.

But now that you brought up red herring, a term used in rhetoric, and seem to think I'm using some rhetorical tricks to prove my point, here some of the following fallacies you've committed, just in these few responses:

Appeal to motive. We call is the intentional fallacy in my business(literature). This is when the interpreter actually presents him or herself as going inside the artist's (i.e., Freddie's) mind, and saying how he *meant* or intended to sing (i.e., Freddie is trying be more "macho"; or, to a lesser degree "obnoxious").

Cherry-picking. Using the actual notes, the fact of them, as back up for your own subjective interpretation.

Circular Logic. It's "obnoxious" because it's "obnoxious." "Is there a reason for the obnoxious renditions of the song?" is another version of "When did you stop beating your wife?" The premise is part of your conclusion.

And a red herring can be a red herring even if you start off your "debate" with these terms. It assumes everyone else will agree with those interpretations, the debater or reader will then be distracted, and then we all are supposed to feel free to move on to the next topic, which is, Why do we think this is so?

So, besides my disagreement with you and a couple others that he is in fact oversinging here -- which I think you're conflating with simply singing higher notes -- you're using that as your supporting argument for many other interpretations, which I also feel are off the mark.

Me, I guess I'm committing the fallacy of argumentum ad nauseum. I'm going on way toooo long.

I don't think you're, like, morally wrong or whatever (that would be a straw man), maybe just wrong-headed in your qualitative, aesthetic assessment of the performances.

Happily, aesthetic assessment can't be decided upon in a final way; ask Emmanuel Kant. These are not mathematical proofs; piling up reasons that support a single argument doesn't ispo facto mean anyone is right about these things. It's an ongoing conversation.

The methods used in framing these discussions/debates, here and in other places, to me,  are not all not terribly useful.

The raw data/trainspotting quality of transcribing down which notes he hits at different points, which I find is pretty fascinating. I applaud you for that.

But it's the interpretations and support of them I find kind of wrong-headed and sometimes grating, even more than Roger's backup singing on the Jazz tour! :)


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 19:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Double post deleted here.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 19:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I never really liked it live after the Crazy Tour. The only exception is for a few shows in '81.


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 21:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don´t remember if he oversang Killer Queen in argentina 81... anyway this kind of post (about what notes hits freddie or the way he sang a song) are too much "structuralist" to me...


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Posted: 26 Apr 12, 21:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Daniel Nester wrote: So what's the purpose of this "debate"? You say you have audio and it backs up your explanation and only your explanation. I hear these versions and they don't sound oversung--a malleable definition if they're ever was one.

I am saying these versions are *not* obnoxious. "Your" audio does not *prove* this. For me. For you, it does. God bless.

But now that you brought up red herring, a term used in rhetoric, and seem to think I'm using some rhetorical tricks to prove my point, here some of the following fallacies you've committed, just in these few responses:

Appeal to motive. We call is the intentional fallacy in my business(literature). This is when the interpreter actually presents him or herself as going inside the artist's (i.e., Freddie's) mind, and saying how he *meant* or intended to sing (i.e., Freddie is trying be more macho; or, to a lesser degree obnoxious)

Cherry-picking. Using the actual notes, the fact of them, as back up for your own subjective interpretation.

Circular Logic. It's obnoxious because it's obnoxious. "Is there a reason for the obnoxious renditions of the song?" is another version of "When did you stop beating your wife?" The premise is part of your conclusion.

And a red herring can be a red herring even if you start off your "debate" with these terms. It assumes everyone else will agree with those interpretations, the debater or reader will then be distracted, and then we all are supposed to feel free to move on to the next topic, which is, Why do we think this is so?

So, besides my disagreement with you and a couple others that he is in fact oversinging here -- which I think you're conflating with simply singing higher notes -- you're using that as your supporting argument for many other interpretations, which I also feel are off the mark.

Me, I guess I'm committing the fallacy of argumentum ad nauseum. I'm going on way toooo long.

I don't think you're, like, morally wrong or whatever (that would be a straw man), maybe just wrong-headed in your qualitative, aesthetic assessment of the performance.

Happily, aesthetic assessment can't be decided upon in a final way; ask Emmanuel Kant. These are not mathematical proofs; piling up reasons that support a single argument doesn't ispo facto mean anyone is right about these things. It's an ongoing conversation.

The way these discussions/debates are framed here and in other places, to me,  not all not terribly useful.

Besides the raw data/trainspotting quality of transcribing down which notes he hits at different points, which I find is pretty fascinating. I applaud you for that.

It's your interpretations and support of them I find kind of wrong-headed and sometimes grating, even more than Roger's backup singing on the Jazz tour.

Being a live concert enthusiast, analyzer, and researcher has its drawbacks! Since you took the time to write that long post (and I read it all), I'm going to answer back with a long post of my own: [img=/images/smiley/msn/tounge_smile.gif][/img]

Those 1980 versions of Killer Queen are open to different interpretations: Some people find them excellent, bad, obnoxious (not just me), funny, etc. All of that stuff is personal opinion--but the one fact (that can be proven via audio), is that Freddie was technically oversinging the song: He throws in random higher notes (often G4 and A4), in spots where the original notes (that are on the studio version or 70s live versions) were much lower. He also tends to hit G4s with more "chest" connection and purposely deepen his tone on some versions. My interpretation is that he wanted to sound more macho (he sounds more "strong" and "manly" in that deeper voice). He never did that on the 70s versions, and he stopped that style by 1981. My guess is that since he recently grew the mustache, he wanted to present himself as being "Mr. Bad Guy."

The cherry picking fallacy is a moot point: The audio CLEARLY shows proof of the oversinging. Just compare the record version or something like Rainbow 1974 to a 1980 version. This is the only tour where he consistently was oversinging the song. There's a few versions here and there from the 70s where he'd oversing it a bit (Houston 1977, Stockholm 1978, etc), but those versions don't come across as overdone as the 1980 versions.

The circular logic is also moot (plus you used the wrong word in your example): I'm not saying it's obnoxious because it is, I said I think the interpretations of the song were obnoxious (which still allows everybody else to make their own conclusion on them). I think you meant "Oversung." Again, that's proven by the audio (the random higher notes, etc), and the common on-line definition (Overdoing the singing).

I want you to listen to some of these links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJX_xGARfGQ (The Hauge: 1974)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfyYkr3v-NM (Liverpool: 1974

Now compare them to these two versions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elp3ek-XpmU (New York: 1980)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsSb7EBqAq0 (Wembley: 1980)

All you have to do is compare those 1974 versions with the 1980 versions!

Good day Sir! [img=/images/smiley/msn/teeth_smile.gif][/img]


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