Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Brian and Roger songs

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Biggzy10 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 05 May 12, 20:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I've always enjoyed the tracks where Brian or Roger sang lead vocals. '39 and Im In Love With My Car are some of my favorite Queen songs. But why were tracks with Brian and Roger singing lead, absent from Hot Space and onwards? Was Freddie being controlling? Or is it something un-known?

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Posted: 05 May 12, 21:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Maybe they got bored with it, or decided to focus their vocal work towards their side solo projects?

waunakonor user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 05 May 12, 21:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

That, and Freddie was becoming such a strong singer. Even in the vocal harmonies, it seems like Brian/Roger were less prominent in the '80s in favor of more focus on Freddie's voice. Besides, Roger's voice in the '80s just wasn't what it used to be in the '70s; it was (and is) still pretty strong, but not as badass as in the '70s. Also, Queen were (sadly) a little more concerned about being commercial in the '80s than in the 70s, and songs sung by Roger and Brian seem a bit un-commercial, if that makes any sense.

I enjoy like those songs too, though. Favorite Brian song is Sleeping on the Sidewalk, and favorite Roger song would probably have to be Drowse. A lot of those songs are quite strong. Kind of a shame they stopped doing that, but they have plenty of solo in place of that, and I like Brian's parts in Who Wants to LIve Forever and I Want it All, as well as Roger's parts in The Invisible Man and Ride the Wild Wind.


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Biggzy10 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 05 May 12, 21:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Long Away is by far one the best tracks the band produced. I enjoyed the songs because it was a nice change of pace. Not that i was annoyed by Freddie (far from it, I could listen to him all day) but the songs that Brian and Roger would sing would be far different than any other song on the album.

I don't really believe the "being more commercial" argument. Being commercial means releasing good signals. And the tracks that Brian and Roger would lead were rarely released as a singal. So why would A track on the album hurt it. It's not like those songs were ever bad.

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Posted: 05 May 12, 22:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Admittedly, the commercial argument was kind of weak. It sounded good in my head, but didn't really come out right when written out. I think what I meant wasn't that Brian/Roger tracks were holding down the albums, but that Freddie's voice is simply more recognizable than Brian's or Roger's and generate more of a response. However, truth is I'm not entirely sure myself why they stopped doing those kinds of tracks. Some albums would be a bit stronger if given more vocal contributions from Brian/Roger. I'm just throwing stuff out there that might work as a suitable response to the question.


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Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 06 May 12, 04:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Long Away was released as single in America and flopped miserably. Extraordinary song, but without Freddie's voice it failed to gain public acceptance. That may have generated the unwritten rule that singles would need to be sung by Freddie in order to have some chance at being successful. Coincidentally (or not), from the next album onwards, Freddie was singing lead on some of Roger's songs (SHA, Fun It, Coming Soon, Rock It intro).

Freddie's voice also became stronger, and both Brian and Roger became more and more specialised in writing for that voice. 'Sail Away Sweet Sister' sounds great with Brian's voice, but IMO nobody could deliver the middle-eight with as much power as Freddie.

Up until mid-1977, the band had only had three worldwide massive hits, and they'd all been written and sung by Freddie (Killer Queen, Bo Rhap and Somebody to Love). Enter WATC (another Freddie song), which in the States was double-A with WWRY (Brian's) and which became the band's first No 1 in America. Brian had suddenly (half-)written a No 1 hit as well, so it was natural for him to want another - cue Fat Bots and Save Me both sung by Freddie (1978 and 1979, respectively), though neither achieved much success.

John became the band's third member in writing a No 1 hit in 1980, and it was indeed their best-selling single ever. Roger must have felt left-out (he's always openly admitted he likes superstardom), as being part of a world-class band was not enough anymore: now there was an inner competition to write best-selling singles as well, and in order to have a better chance in that competition, the more songs you wrote with Freddie on vocals, the more chance you'd have for at least one of them to be a single, which would be the stepping stone for it to be promoted (earning a place on stage, filming a video) and to be a hit.

That's possibly one of the reasons why both 'Action This Day' and 'Calling All Girls' were sung by Freddie (the latter was indeed a single as well), combined with how Roger said (e.g. when interviewed in Venezuela, 1981) that he considered Freddie's voice was getting better while his own was getting worse. The strategy worked, as we all know now, because Roger then had big hits with 'Ga Ga' and 'Magic'.

From 'The Miracle' onwards there was another reason, of course: Freddie was dying, so it was better to have him sing almost everything, as he wouldn't have another chance to do it.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 06 May 12, 06:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Actually I think the Freddie/Roger thing was they discovered they worked well together and had a lot of fun doing it. And the vocal contrasts could be used well together. The classic for this, I think, is The Cross version of "Heaven For Everyone".


Martin
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Posted: 06 May 12, 11:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

And Sebastian took something along the lines of what I was trying to say and worded it a lot better than I could have. Good job. :)


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Posted: 07 May 12, 03:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yes, nice analysis of the reasons for the lack of songs sung by Roger and Brian in later albums there Sebastian. Not a topic I would have given much thought to, despite the fact that I did like the variety that the other members engendered in Queen albums when they sang the odd track here and there.
I was also sorry that Freddie seemed to give up on the piano too, probably for similar reasons I would think. I love those sorts tracks like You Take My Breath Away and Melancholy Blues.

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Posted: 07 May 12, 09:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Definetively, Freddie was a much stronger vocalist -than Roger or Brian- when singing live. That's why he provided lead vocals on live renditions of 'Modern Times Rock And Roll', '39', 'Rock it'.
For this reason, I think they decided that Freddie recorded all the lead vocals from 1981 on-wards, so when playing the songs live, they don't sound un-familiar with Freddie's voice on them.

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Posted: 08 May 12, 05:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think Freddie singing their songs live had more to do with the fact that he'd have nothing to do at all otherwise, except maybe some piano in the last verse of Modern Times RNR. Having Freddie not be onstage for a song was unheard of.