I was bored on my day off so I decided to calculate which percentage of the Queen catalogue (Queen to MIH, not counting B-Sides, bonus tracks or ‘yeah’ but counting Track No 13) had been produced by each person. Of course there are many ways to do it, I decided to be ruled by certain principles:
- Most songs were usually produced by their … producer (department of redundancy department) plus the author. So, ‘You’re My Best Friend’ would be Baker/Deacon (roughly 50% each), ‘The Show Must Go On’ would be May/Richards, etc.
- Despite the credits on Flash Gordon OST, it’s clear from the amassed sources that Brian and Mack worked at the end on the mix-down engineering, but the actual production side was ‘normal’ (e.g. Fred co-produced ‘The Kiss’, John co-produced ‘Arboria’, and several of those recordings were simultaneous with The Game).
- For ‘Bijou’, for instance, I credit 33.33% to Fred, 33.33% to Brian and 33.33% to David. Same with ‘Machines’ (Mack/May/Taylor) and others. ‘Party’ is 25% each (David instead of Roger), ‘Under Pressure’ is 20% each (Mack and David R. were engineers, not producers, Bowie was co-producer), ‘One Vision’ is 25% each (Mack instead of John), etc. A lot of those are debatable so remember that this is (in part) a subjective analysis.
- For the ‘Made in Heaven’ tracks it was a slightly more complex equation: I gave 50% of the production credits to whoever produced the original track (e.g. ‘I Was Born to Love You’ would be 25% Freddie, 25% Mack), and the other 50% is unevenly split between Brian, Roger, John, David, Josh and Justin, keeping in mind that the teams changed roughly every three months: first it was Deacon/Macrae/Taylor, then Deacon/Macrae/Taylor again, then Macrae/May/Shirley-Smith/Taylor, then May/Shirley-Smith (Roger was touring), then Deacon/May/Richards/Taylor, then Deacon/May/Shirley-Smith/Taylor (the three of them were working in Brian’s studio), then Deacon/Macrae/May/Shirley-Smith/Taylor, then Deacon/Macrae/May/Richards/Shirley-Smith/Taylor.
- For songs where Freddie didn’t have a co-authorship credit but where he’s been confirmed to have played a strong role and/or virtually taken them over, I’ve split the production credits in three (Freddie, the author and the external producer). Those are ‘Ga Ga’, ‘Magic’, ‘Break Free’ and ‘Dust’. Of course there’s a huge margin of error here as I don’t know if, for instance, Roger at any point co-produced a song he didn’t write. The more details such as those are revealed, the more accurate this list can become. It will hardly ever be even close to perfect, so those who’re willing to moan about that, fuck off.
- Début album: John Anthony was the main producer there, so I gave him 50% of every track, with the remaining 50% split in halves between Roy (second producer) and the author of the song. The exception was The Night Comes Down, largely a studio creation, where I gave 50% to Brian (the author) and the remaining 50% was split in thirds between Freddie, John and Roger.
Now, to the results.
Queen’s chief producer was..........
Freddie Mercury, who produced 21.79% of their catalogue.
Second place for Dr Brian May with 19.61% (results would vary if we regarded him as a co-producer for the entire Flash Gordon OST, which would be consistent with the credits but inconsistent with what actually happened).
3. Reinhold Mack: 14.96%
4. Roy Baker: 14.79%
5. Roger Taylor: 9.19%
6. David Richards: 7.78%
7. John Deacon: 7.30%
8. John Anthony: 2.63%
9. Robin Cable: 0.78%
10. Arif Mardin: 0.19%
11. David Bowie: 0.12%
12. Justin Shirley-Smith: 0.50%
13. Joshua J. Macrae: 0.47%
John hated HS. Frederick's favourite 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.