Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Mack vs David Richards

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Raffy user not visiting Queenzone.com
Raffy
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Posted: 01 Jun 12, 03:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Just a personal curiosity: why do Queen decided to produce themselves together with David Richards instead of Mack from the Miracle album 'till the end(also Freddie for Barcelona)?

princetom user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 01 Jun 12, 07:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

maybe they wanted to give their recordings more depth. i guess they got rid of this sterile pop-sound of the early 80s and decided to be a rock band again - and therefore were in need of a different producer.
but more likely it's because they left munich and decided to record in the uk again.



prince[tOM]
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Posted: 01 Jun 12, 09:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

2

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Posted: 01 Jun 12, 10:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i guess they got rid of this sterile pop-sound of the early 80s and decided to be a rock band again


Wait... what?

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Posted: 01 Jun 12, 15:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Micrówave wrote:
i guess they got rid of this sterile pop-sound of the early 80s and decided to be a rock band again
Wait... what?

:-)
well, yes... in my opinion 'the game', 'hot space' and 'the works' sound a little bit dry. furthermore most of the songs are quite... pleasant... or tend to be . maybe it's me, but i prefer the production of 'the miracle' and 'innuendo' a lot over those albums. although one might discuss the quality of songwriting on 'the miracle' - but it's quite a progress in terms of production, i think. unfortunately they didn't get rid of those synth-drums (blame them!!!).
i don't think that -overall- the mack-produced albums were aimed to please a rock-listening audience. they were missing songs like IWIA headlong or RTWW... "put out the fire" could have been a real killer with a little more ambition..
i don't aim to say that die mack-produced songs are crap... i love "under pressure" for example; it's just a different approach compared to the early and late albums.
... and for "barcelona"... well, i really cannot (and surely don't want to) imagine how the good old reinhold would have produced that *lol*


prince[tOM]
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Posted: 02 Jun 12, 02:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'd say sonically the Mack albums are amazing. The Game is far more rock than Innuendo. Obviously Hot Space is the exception, although when that rocks, it SOUNDS like rock. The 90s stuff sounds more 80s than the 80s stuff :o)

I should imagine DR was a lot cheaper than Mack. especially when they relocated to the UK.

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Posted: 02 Jun 12, 02:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think the sterile pop sound statement was pretty correct. Even though The Works and Magic have good songs, the production was mostly awful..

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Posted: 02 Jun 12, 04:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Works and AKOM are, to me, their worst sounding records, from a sonic/audio point of view, which in turn colours my judgement of the songs on them too.

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Posted: 02 Jun 12, 04:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Macks input was very important at the time. He did produce some of Queen's biggest hits. Crazy, Dust,Pressure and Radio GaGa. Album wise sure The Game and Hot Space sure they went more dance music for a couple of albums but after Jazz ( an album i love ) they had to do something different or i am sure they band would have broke up because of boredom. Sure some of it wasn't great but i admire Queen for at least having the balls to change and not do the same thing for 20 years. Also i don't get the constant bickering about The Works, i feel its not just a good Album but a great one , much better than Magic and only The Miracle is better. Both albums combine early glory with 80s production value and there is nothing wrong with that. Each of the producers Queen had, Baker , Mack and Richards was great for at that time . As far as Hot Space goes yes it might be Queen's weakest album but there is several songs on there worth listening to and again it was very important to the development of the band. I enjoy both 70s and 80s Queen equally i always have. Queen's worst is in general better than the best of many other artists. Also, i still remember when Radio GaGa was released, i lived in Germany at the time and it blew me away and was huge. Not everything has to be Bohemian Rhapsody or alike, you want bands that do the same damn thing over and over listen to AC/DC or Kiss. Queen is unique for many reasons in music history and variety of styles is a big one and Hot Space is a big part of it. Shit i need more coffee, Good Day

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Posted: 02 Jun 12, 04:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great! My thoughts exactly!

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Posted: 02 Jun 12, 06:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Some good observations made here. I can hear real differences in the production values between songs on The Game such as Save Me, which has a traditional 1970s Queen sound, whereas AOBTD has a more compressed 1980s sound. That said, the whole album sounds clear and fresh and hasn;t dated at all. All the songds on Hot Space sound a litle "muddy" to me. Compare, for example, Put Out The Fire to Save Me or Sail Away Sweet Sister and everything -- vocals, guitar, drums, bass -- sounds less clear and even a little distorted. It might seem a strange comparison but AC/DC's Fly on the Wall album has that same distorted and muddy production values and it's one of the least listenable albums from their classic era. The Works just sounds weak all the way through. All the life seems sucked out of the guitar, drums and vocals. Even It's a Hard Life, by far the song that most sounds like classic 70s Queen, is a bit muted compared to anything on, for example, ADATR or Opera.


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Posted: 02 Jun 12, 16:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It wasn't necessarily a Queen decision, maybe it was Mack who decided to leave ... Hot Space sold far less than The Game, The Works sold less than Hot Space in America (their biggest market), Magic sold less than The Works ... believe it or not, from a commercial perspective, *they* were becoming a liability, so it could also make sense for a producer to try to move on to younger and/or more financially-promising acts.

Being the No. 1 selling act in Italy, Croatia or Austria is, monetarily, less than being the No 50 selling act in the States, so if Queen had scored two No 1's in 1980 and then were selling less and less both in terms of albums than singles (Under Pressure sold less than Body Language in America; Ga Ga sold less than Under Pressure; Magic sold less than Ga Ga; sophomore singles sold less than lead ones as usual).

The lack of commercial success (compared to what they did with The Game) could've been a motivator for either Queen to look for another producer or for the producer to seek another act.

David had been in the picture ever since Live Killers (1979) and he'd produced and/or engineered Roger's albums as well, and taken a strong part in Under Pressure (which at that point had been their only No 1 hit in Britain after Bo Rhap), and his involvement on the Highlander soundtrack was enough to win Maylor over.

Richards' CV and style was also more fitting for orchestral music (e.g. Who Wants to Live Forever, which he produced instead of Mack), so he was a more natural choice for Barcelona.

When Queen began recording The Miracle, three of them were simultaneously working on other projects (The Cross, Back to the Light and Barcelona), so it was only logical to keep the same producer for what they would do together. John either agreed or was outvoted... or both.


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: 03 Jun 12, 05:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't understand the response that it was Queen's decision to leave Mack or not , yes Hot Space sold more in the US than The Works or Magic. The market in the US isn't everything, worldwide The Works sold twice as much as Hot Space and Magic sold even more at least in the estimations i have seen so that comment is mood. Many artists made a good living outside the US ( Cliff Richards, Slade, Status Quo ). By 1986 Queen was as big as ever in Europe thanks to Live Aid and the whole Magic operation and i don't think they were starving. If i remember right Mack was a personal friend of Freddie who was the godfather of one of his children , i don't believe that Mack stopped being their producer for career reasons, it seem like it was a mutual decision by him and the band and it ended in friendship. Queen was always a fuzzy band in the studio but in all documentaries all former producers seem happy about the work and have kind words to say and that includes Mack.

Raffy user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 03 Jun 12, 09:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks for the kind responses, glad I opened a debate that has aroused so much interest :)
From your instructions I've made some observations so I can say that:
1. Main cause of Mack's desertion was due to poor sales in the U.S. market (after the release of "The Works" album) and the need to experiment new, more mature sounds
2. The excellent results obtained in the production of Roger's solo works (Fun in Space & Strange Frontier) and of Queen's songs Under Pressure/Who Wants To Live Forever along with the engineering and recording of both live albums (Live Killers & Live Magic) led the band (and Freddie for Barcelona) to choose David Richards
3. It was only a career choice that had no bearing on the personal sphere seeing the mutual respect on both sides and the words of affection and praise lavished over the years.
So now it's time to introduce a small survey: WICH ONE DO YOU PREFER? MACK OR RICHARDS? AND WHY?
I personally prefer Richards because his records have stood the test of time: if you listen to Queen's final three albums today they don't seem to be aged at all. Unfortunately I cannot say the same thing for "Hot Space" and "The Works". However, Mack's merits have to be recognized: "The Game" is one of Queen's best produced albums (after the disastrous production of "Jazz" this was like a breath of fresh air) together with "A Kind Of Magic". Both producers are highly professional but as a matter of taste for me Richards will always be a step higher. His decisive point in favor was the hard task (successfully accomplished) of producing a pop-rock/orchestral record as Barcelona and combine egregiously two voices coming from completely opposite hemispheres.
My TOP 10 of QUEEN'S BEST PRODUCED ALBUMS is this:
1) INNUENDO (Queen, David Richards)
2) A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (Queen, Roy Thomas Baker)
3) QUEEN II (Roy Thomas Baker, Queen, Robin Geoffrey Cable on "Nevermore" and "Funny How Love Is")
4) A KIND OF MAGIC (Queen, Mack, David Richards)
5) THE MIRACLE (Queen, David Richards)
6) A DAY AT THE RACES (Queen, Mike Stone)
7) THE GAME (Queen, Mack)
8) MADE IN HEAVEN (Queen, David Richards)
9) SHEER HEART ATTACK (Queen, Roy Thomas Baker)
10) NEWS OF THE WORLD (Queen, Mike Stone)
Among the worst produced records I put:
1) JAZZ (Queen, Roy Thomas Baker)
2) HOT SPACE (Queen, Mack)
3) QUEEN (John Anthony, Roy Thomas Baker, Louie Austin, Queen)
4) FLASH GORDON O.S.T. (Brian May, Mack)
5) THE WORKS (Queen, Mack)
Live Killers & Live Magic, instead, they deserve a stunted sufficiency 'cause they reproduce only partially the power and impact of the band. Sound is a little bit too rough and thin and I sincerely hope that one day the band will finally decide to put hand on the masters again to do them justice. Other live albums (Rock Montreal, Queen On Fire, Live At Wembley) instead sound like they should.

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Posted: 03 Jun 12, 13:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

>>> The market in the US isn't everything,

It's not, but it may be a strong reason for the band to leave the producer, or for the producer to leave the band.

>>> Many artists made a good living outside the US

Good living and superstardom are two different things.

>>> i don't think they were starving.

Not being starving and being global superstars are two different things.

>>> If i remember right Mack was a personal friend of Freddie who was the godfather of one of his children

Being a personal friend isn't enough to be their producer. How many Queen albums were produced by David Dilloway? Mary Austin? Peter Straker? Tony Iommi? Eddie van Halen?

>>> i don't believe that Mack stopped being their producer for career reasons,

Then why? A love triangle? Career decisions are most likely made out of career reasons...

>>> Queen was always a fuzzy band in the studio but in all documentaries all former producers seem happy about the work and have kind words to say and that includes Mack.

Having kind words to say about them and (hypothetically) wanting to move on to other (more commercial) projects (in America) aren't mutually exclusive.


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: 04 Jun 12, 02:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Good points raffy - however it is all down to taste. I remember those DR tracks sounding somehow dated upon release. Perhaps that's understandable for MIH, but Innuendo not so much. I think the only Queen album of the 80s that sounded current was The Miracle which sounds ludicrous now.

As pointed out, production styles ages, not songs and instumentation. I think Mack's stuff hasn't aged purely down to the stripped down 'live' feel of most tracks. The fact that the more electronic parts of HS have aged almost backs that up even though it is by the same team .And lets not forget Shove It :o)

Another point to make is that the failings as perceived of any producer do not reflect on them. Recordings aging is the curse of rock and always unavoidable to a point.

Also, Jazz is a great sounding record although I'm alone in thinking that.