Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Bell Boy Tape story is apocryphal.

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rhyeking user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 06 Aug 12, 12:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I figure this is worthy of discussion.

Elizabeth Lamers read my Back To The Light feature at QOL and wrote to say the story of her giving a bell boy the tape in question is false. She said she never gave anyone at any hotel any tape of unreleased material. The exact quote can be read in the article here:

http://www.queenonline.com/en/features/journey-back-light-part-1-fan-feature-patrick-lemieux/

The tape exists and many of us have heard three of the recordings it contains, and the owner confirms two other tracks are present on it:

Instrumental Backing Track
Brian May Vocal Version
Duet Version with Brian May & Elizabeth Lamers

Sleepy Blues
Moody Keyboards

There are other bits and pieces on the tape according to JSS's list in another thread, but these are the widely known-of ones.

My understanding, and this may also be wrong, is that the tape was purchased legitimately at an auction or from a dealer (?), which is how it is owned today. Since the bell boy story is not true, how did it get from the owner (May, Lamers or Musker) to the auction house/dealer?

I'm not accusing anyone of anything nefarious, I'm just curious, in light of this new information.

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Posted: 06 Aug 12, 13:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sleepy Blues and Moody Keyboards are in circulation, and have been for years. I certainly got these from somewhere years ago.

And the tape apparently contains a hell of a lot more than what you've noted.

http://www.queenzone.com/forums/752892/bell-boy-tape.aspx is worth a look.

As to where the story came from, no doubt JSS is the most informed of us and can hopefully shed some light.


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Posted: 06 Aug 12, 13:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Did you add the "There are other bits and pieces on the tape according to JSS's list in another thread, but these are the widely known-of ones" after you originally posted? I swear it wasn't there when I replied.


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Posted: 06 Aug 12, 14:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

No, the "other bits" part of the post was there from the beginning. I said it exactly for the reason that the three TMLWKY tracks, SB & MK weren't the only tracks on this tape, but I didn't have JSS's list handy.

:-)



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Posted: 06 Aug 12, 14:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Nice fan feature. I enjoyed it a lot more than the one you did for The Cross, which IMHO would have been better as a 2 part featurette as opposed to how it ended.

Another part that caught my attention was the mention of Brian writing The Hitman which was "common knowledge" for many years but I believe there was evidence that Freddie could have written it only to be transposed by Brian to a "guitar friendly" key later on. Someone on Queenzone mentioned that some time ago. Anybody remembers this?

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Posted: 06 Aug 12, 14:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

And there is the problem that plagues so many accounts of Queen history.

The Internet is open to anyone writing anything about what ever they want, without checking and cross checking facts. It's so easy to name people as being responsible for things they haven't done.

Fortunately Elizabeth Lamers saw this and was able to do something about it. The thing I can't fathom is why would anyone think that a song writer would give away a copy of a song that is unfinished.

But then again, in the secret world of bootlegs the better the story the more collectable the item.

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Posted: 06 Aug 12, 15:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I didn't do The Cross features. Those were by Mr. Gavin Noble.

I did write The Forgotten History Of A Queen track, about their recording of "God Save The Queen," and A Chronicle Of Magic, about their recording of the A Kind Of Magic album.

Brian's vocals are on The Hitman demo snippet on the Hints Of Innuendo cassette. I don't go into too much detail of the makings of The Miracle and Innuendo, except how they related to Brian's solo album. If it seems I skate over the rest of the band's contributions those albums, that's why.

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Posted: 06 Aug 12, 18:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyeking, my bad on the Cross bit. I did read the GSTQ one and it was good although a bit short (IIRC).

The one on Brian was very good and I am aware that you mention the Queen sessions in passing because this is a Brian article (and a good one).

Keep up the good work!

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Posted: 06 Aug 12, 18:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks.

Yeah, The Forgotten History was short, since it was my first stab at a Queen article. I decided to aim for brevity. Also, there was only so much I could say about the track, whereas the album articles have a story for each song, mostly, so they can run longer.

One thing I've always found fascinating about many of the Queen solo albums is how interwoven their writing and recording is with Queen albums and other solo projects. It's easy to view them as separate entities, and in a way they are, but the work on the solo albums (at least in the '80s and '90s) fed off the Queen albums much of the time, and vice versa. In some respects, they're extensions of each other. That's one of the things I wanted to illustrate with the BTTL article.

Thanks for the support. I'm glad people enjoy them!

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Posted: 07 Aug 12, 06:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

This just goes to show that more often than not these tapes arrive in 'collectors' hands without permission of the owner or artist.

Why would she give it away, it always seemed madness to me, so often these things get left accidentally in a place where they can be picked up by someone else in the studio or rehearsal room or in this case hotel. Then naturally it goes up for sale.

I can understand why collectors want to buy this stuff, but I cannot justify in my mind the fact that unless the origin can be confirmed all the way back then you are buying stolen property.


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Posted: 08 Aug 12, 10:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Togg wrote:
This just goes to show that more often than not these tapes arrive in 'collectors' hands without permission of the owner or artist.
Why would she give it away, it always seemed madness to me, so often these things get left accidentally in a place where they can be picked up by someone else in the studio or rehearsal room or in this case hotel. Then naturally it goes up for sale.
I can understand why collectors want to buy this stuff, but I cannot justify in my mind the fact that unless the origin can be confirmed all the way back then you are buying stolen property.


Yes true. I argued this point a while back on another thread. I was shot down because of it. JSS particually wouldn't except that collectors who buy and sell things like this are dealing in stolen property.

Anything, tape, CD or what ever, that comes out of a recording or writing session and has not been published at the time has at the very least been lost if not stolen. Fact.

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Posted: 08 Aug 12, 11:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think each case should be considered specific to its circumstances. The chain of events, and responsibility, varies.

If an acetate is pressed for the artist, he takes it home, gives it to a friend to listen to, forgets about it and the friend sells it on eBay years later, is it "stolen" or "legitimately sold"? Or is there another category?

If someone goes into a studio's vault, rummages through and copies a master tape, I think we all agree that's straight-up unauthorized leaking. If he takes the master, well, that's stealing.

If a personal copy owned by the artist is misplaced by him or her, found by someone else and sold or the tracks are file-shared, is that the same as leaking?

Where do Promo copies, sent to record execs or radio stations come in? If there are versions or entire tracks not later released on the official album, but the executive decides to get a few $s for selling it to a collector, what do we say about those?

I'm neither defending nor condemning how these tracks get out, except when things like master tapes themselves are stolen, since that's damaging future opportunities for remastering, etc, not to mention it's straight theft. I freely admit, these unreleased recordings, like "Too Much Love" demos and "Marie's The Name," interest me and I ask around when I hear they're leaked, so I'm not taking any higher moral ground on this issue (except with the stolen recordings. Don't do that, people!).

I think people should be clear with themselves on where they stand. Is there a difference between owning an MP3 or FLAC of an unreleased demo if you yourself didn't "beg, borrow or steal" the original copy, but instead got the file from a friend. That radio-only promo 12" single you found at a yard sale, labelled "Not for Resale," do you buy it? Make copies for your friends?

There's no one answer, in my opinion, nor a right answer (unless you're stealing that master tape. I can't stress this enough, don't do that!).

Basically, who is responsible and where does that responsibility end? With the person who first leaked it? Or are we all responsible in some way for creating the market?

Stuff to think about.

And lastly, if you have a master tape in your possession, give it back. You know full well you shouldn't have it, no matter how you came to possess it, because chance are the artist didn't give it to you personally. (If he/she did, well, can I get a copy? :-)

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Posted: 08 Aug 12, 12:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I find it interesting (for the lack of a better euphemism) that there haven't been any replies from "collectors" in this forum as there were with the David Fuller incident a couple of months ago.


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Posted: 09 Aug 12, 02:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyeking wrote:
I think each case should be considered specific to its circumstances. The chain of events, and responsibility, varies.
If an acetate is pressed for the artist, he takes it home, gives it to a friend to listen to, forgets about it and the friend sells it on eBay years later, is it "stolen" or "legitimately sold"? Or is there another category?
If someone goes into a studio's vault, rummages through and copies a master tape, I think we all agree that's straight-up unauthorized leaking. If he takes the master, well, that's stealing.
If a personal copy owned by the artist is misplaced by him or her, found by someone else and sold or the tracks are file-shared, is that the same as leaking?
Where do Promo copies, sent to record execs or radio stations come in? If there are versions or entire tracks not later released on the official album, but the executive decides to get a few $s for selling it to a collector, what do we say about those?
I'm neither defending nor condemning how these tracks get out, except when things like master tapes themselves are stolen, since that's damaging future opportunities for remastering, etc, not to mention it's straight theft. I freely admit, these unreleased recordings, like "Too Much Love" demos and "Marie's The Name," interest me and I ask around when I hear they're leaked, so I'm not taking any higher moral ground on this issue (except with the stolen recordings. Don't do that, people!).
I think people should be clear with themselves on where they stand. Is there a difference between owning an MP3 or FLAC of an unreleased demo if you yourself didn't "beg, borrow or steal" the original copy, but instead got the file from a friend. That radio-only promo 12" single you found at a yard sale, labelled "Not for Resale," do you buy it? Make copies for your friends?
There's no one answer, in my opinion, nor a right answer (unless you're stealing that master tape. I can't stress this enough, don't do that!).
Basically, who is responsible and where does that responsibility end? With the person who first leaked it? Or are we all responsible in some way for creating the market?
Stuff to think about.
And lastly, if you have a master tape in your possession, give it back. You know full well you shouldn't have it, no matter how you came to possess it, because chance are the artist didn't give it to you personally. (If he/she did, well, can I get a copy? :-)



I agree with all of that, in the case of the Bell Boy Tape, it seems fairly clear that it arrived on the collectors market via means that one could say is questionable at the very least. And personally I find that to be a pretty clear cut issue. If it was not released by the original owner then it was stolen....end of


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Posted: 09 Aug 12, 04:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

greaserkat wrote:
I find it interesting (for the lack of a better euphemism) that there haven't been any replies from "collectors" in this forum as there were with the David Fuller incident a couple of months ago.


lol!


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Posted: 09 Aug 12, 09:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

greaserkat wrote:
I find it interesting (for the lack of a better euphemism) that there haven't been any replies from "collectors" in this forum as there were with the David Fuller incident a couple of months ago.

Indeed, well there's your answer right there, Whilst is certainly cannot be the case that every leaked demo is stolen, it is certain that a number have been, and this just proves that. If the owner of the Bell Boy tape says she never 'gave' it away, one can only assume it was stolen.
Now how it got to collectors is obviously less of an issue, the only reason to steal it is logically to try to sell it, which is exactly what happened. In my opinion a collector has to seek genuin provenance just as a legit retailer would if he buys say jewels or cars, if they fail to do that they can rightly be prosecuted for selling of stolen goods. Or handling stolen goods.
Getting that provenance is a difficult thing I grant you, but hey that's their problem, just as it is for an antiques dealer.
It must be a huge temptation to buy something if you are in a position to do so, but for the sake of the artists if you really care about them I would simply say no, just as I would if a guy offered me a watch in a pub.
OK, OK so I am making it sound all very dodgy which I am sure it isnt, but in a nutshell this is what it comes down to.


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Posted: 09 Aug 12, 15:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In the case of The Bell Boy Tape, I suspect the "bell boy" himself first put it on the market. Whether he worked at a hotel and it was there that he came upon the tape, I don't know, but my feeling is that he came into possession of it (somehow), knew what he had was valuable to collectors and decided to establish provenance with the (false) story that it was legitimately given to him by Ms. Lamers.

And that's just going by the story we've been told.

Did this person work in a hotel? We don't know. He could have been a friend of Ms. Lamers or a studio employee who made his own copy.

How did he get the tape? Maybe he found it. Maybe he stole it. Again, we don't know.

The Bell Boy story appears to have been good enough for the auction house or dealer in order to resell (if that's how it came into the current owner's possession). Did they take it at face value or was there some sort of documentation he provided with it. I can't imagine what such a document could be, short of a forged note from Ms. Lamers or something like that.

We'll probably never know all the answers, but if the current owner bought it from a reputable auction house or dealer, one that was duped by an inaccurate story, it's not the buyer's fault for purchasing what was offered. The key word is reputable, as there are laws in place for auction houses and pawn brokers and such to try to curb the re-sale of actual stolen items.

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Posted: 10 Aug 12, 01:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In this case it is the story that is was bought legitimately from an auction house that baffled me. I'd like to know exactly what research the auction house did to satisfy themselves that this item wasn't stolen - certainly something enough for them to publicly list it for sale?

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Posted: 10 Aug 12, 02:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Indeed that is a very good question. Sadly it happens all the time, much as auction houses like to claim they will only deal in legit items there are many cases over the years in all sorts of collecting areas where the items have been proved later to have been stolen. Lets not forget much of the artwork liberated by the Nazi's has come up for auction instead of being returned to it's rightful owner.
In this case it would be very interesting to see what was given as provenance


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