Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Box Sets: What's missing?

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John S Stuart user not visiting Queenzone.com
John S Stuart
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Posted: 01 Jan 04, 22:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

YourValentine (posted 12/31/2003 9:09:02 AM) "tell us about Amazing Grace - pretty please:)"

In answer to this, (and similar requests) I hope this post is viewed as both informative and (as a collector) request.

Hopefully, some of this discussion may be new (so if cited - some sort of accreditation would be nice) and could be construed as "boasting". I assure that this is not my intention.

Once and for all, I would finally like to know what actually is "out there" - and perhaps create some sort of "definative catalogue".

If this works well - then perhaps we could be opening up a whole new area of research. If however this descends into another "bitching" session - then I guess it stops similar future postings.

For newbies, or for those who have faith in the forthcoming boxsets, let me use the career of the Beatles and their "Anthology" collections as an example. (I stress that this has been very overly simplified!).

The Beatles career (and thus bootlegs) fit nicely into the following six broad categories:

1: Pre-Beatles (Eg: Quarrymen, Silver Beatles etc).

2: BBC Radio Sessions.

3: Home Demos.

4: EMI Official Recording Sessions and out-takes.

5: EMI Acetate recordings of "Work in Progress"

6: Live Concert footage/recordings.

(For ease of discussion I have ignored documentary/interviews and collaborations at this stage).

Therefore, the only Beatle material EMI/Parlophone could legally release was the material owned by them (4: EMI Official Recording Sessions and out-takes) which meant that the other five categories were either wrangled over in court - or in some cases completely ignored. Now that is a LOT of officially ignored stuff!

The good news for Beatles collectors is that some (not all) of this unavailable product is available in bootleg format - but the bad news is that some real gems (a 26 minute version of "Helter Skelter" for example) has NEVER surfaced.

The parallels with Queen are similar. Any boxset by definition must ignore 5/6 of what could be available - and once live tracks are considered, the box sets are only the tip of the iceberg. To make things worse, unlike the Beatles, most of the "unreleased" Queen catalogue has NOT sufaced on bootleg, and while Greg may be doing a great job IN the archives, he has no idea what exists OUTSIDE. (Hence the nature of this post - but I ramble).

Therefore some EXCELLENT Freddie stuff does exist, but was not included in the boxset for various reasons.

So to eventually answer YV's question: a cassette tape does exist of Freddie playing well known piano pieces.

The tape was recorded at Garden Lodge, and featured full versions of "Amazing Grace", "Send In The Clowns" and some (forgive my ignorance) Bach Preludes.

Unlike the other Garden Lodge tapes which have surfaced - this one is "semi-professionally" recorded (very reminiscent of Brian's "Too Much Love" home demos) from a "decent" piano onto "decent" equipment.

Freddie obviously takes the "exercise" seriously, and although no Mike Moran or Thierry Lang, he makes very few mistakes (if any) and it sounds as if he is playing from memory (or ear?) because he does not appear to be playing from sheet music. (Amazing Grace is three or four verses long - and although similar - each verse is slightly different).

The tape came from a certain Irish gardener, whom I believe is not too popular in "this here parts!".

Another example of an unreleased Freddie gem is Andrew Llyod Webber's "Creatures Of The Night" from "Phantom Of The Opera".

It may surprise some, but Freddie (and not Michael Crawford) was Andrew's first choice to play the phantom.

As such, Freddie recorded the audio version of a "screen-test" (a sort of demo if you like).

Basically, Freddie listened to a "karaoke" version through headphones. Sheet-music in hand, Freddie cut a couple of vocal improvs. (Freddie as a karaoke singer - now there is a good idea!).

These vocals still exist (but as gui


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 01 Jan 04, 22:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Wow. I fully support this, even though I have nothing to offer. Kudos to you, John.

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Posted: 01 Jan 04, 23:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I have a feeling, Queen Productions would never be willing to reimburse each collector what each collector has paid to obtain such gems. Also, collectors probably (if they are sane) not loan their recordings to Queen Productions given the "Wreckage fiasco".

Clearly Queen Productions is not willing to pay reasonable money for what they feel is "rightfully" theirs, and the petty thieves that have seemingly infiltrated Queen Productions make loaning of rare material out of the question.

Collectors should not be expected to "donate" to the box sets unless they are guaranteed of recovering at least their original MONETARY investments.

John, thanks for your continued contributions


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Posted: 01 Jan 04, 23:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Of course, perhaps John (probably) was only talking about documentation of these rareties ...

oops


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Posted: 01 Jan 04, 23:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Nice idea for a topic. But who here is really going to own up to having or heard these things? Also, how does the non-collector (etc.) know if what's being said, is true? I.E. The idea of Freddie recording these vocals for Phantom Of The Opera. How does the everyday-fan on these boards take this as fact?

John, could you tell us how you know about (at least) that one? If it's just by rumour, I don't think these should be taken seriously. No matter how legit the source seems. Hard facts are a blessing.

Peace,
Adam.

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Posted: 02 Jan 04, 03:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks for this, John. The Freddie box is one of the most treasured records I ever owned. To think that so much is still missing makes me sad - to say the least. Of course I understand the reasons why some people preferred to not send in their tapes to QP when the Freddie box was compiled, perhaps they were not even asked. Freddie playing Bach of all music, that is truly amazing.

Unfortunately, I cannot contribute any information except for the already known tracks and I seriously doubt than anybody knows more about this unreleased material than you do.

Do you think that Freddie ever considered to sing lead role in a musical? I seem to remember that he said he did not have the discipline for such a task (when talking about the "Time" musical).


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Posted: 02 Jan 04, 03:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

How does ownership effect Queen's later releases? I would assume that by the 80s at some point, Queen owned more of their original recordings, and that the 5/6 rule you mentioned would be slightly skewed.

Also, is it just a matter that more Freddie "odds and ends" have hit the collector market, or was he more productive in that manner than the other boys?

And finally-
"a 26 minute version of "Helter Skelter" for example"

Is that any good? I really hate that song, and can't possibly imagine a 26 minute version of it being entertaining.

Always a pleasure to read these kind of posts. Wish I could contribute something.


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John S Stuart user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 02 Jan 04, 09:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Adam: "Could you tell us how you know about (at least) that one... No matter how legit the source seems. Hard facts are a blessing".

I could not agree more Adam, but rather than let me try to convice you, I think that it is up to us all to conduct a bit of personal research.

A cursory "Google" internet search for "Freddie Mercury & Phantom Of The Opera" revealed;

http://www.abctales.com/story/3215

http://susning.nu/Freddie_Mercury

http://www.pemcom.demon.co.uk/jason/songs/freddie/fmisc.htm

If you were around at the time of Freddie's death, you may recall amid the many newspaper stories, magazine articles and the myriad of TV & Radio interviews, it was announced that Queen had many unreleased tracks - and that a new album could be released during the following 6 - 18 months. One of the "hot tracks" touted for release was
"Creatures Of The Night".

While "Made In Heaven" came and went without "Creatures", omission was justified as "not a Queen track", and "Lloyd Webber property".

When the Freddie box set finally appeared a number of tracks (including "Creatures..." and additional Dave Clark tracks among others) were still excluded.

Better sources include Peter Straker, and Llyod Webber, who via various sources (Interviews, Press Releases etc) have confirmed that Freddie did indeed record such a guide vocal.

For older Queen fans, this should not come as "News", but for those who wish to inevstigate further - perhaps a more thorough personal search could be more beneficial.

YV: "Do you think that Freddie ever considered to sing lead role in a musical? I seem to remember that he said he did not have the discipline for such a task (when talking about the "Time" musical)".

In my opinion (and yes Adam this bit is speculation NOT fact) I think the simple answer is both Yes and No!

No - to a series of theatrical live performances, but (like "Time") Yes - to a studio recording of the OST.

Shame really, because with the combination of Freddie's amazingly "dramatic" vocals and astute sense of the theatrical, I think he would have been an amazing phantom.





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Posted: 02 Jan 04, 11:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

John, you rule ! It's always a pleasure to read your very interesting topics though I also cannot really contribute anything to these issues. Go ahead !

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Posted: 02 Jan 04, 14:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I would be very interested in knowing exactly what does exist in the Queen world behind what the average fan (myself included) has heard, and I fully support any attempt to create the "definitive catalog". Good luck to you, John in this endeavor, and hoping that other knowledgeable Queen fans who can contribute will do so.

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Posted: 02 Jan 04, 15:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Again, good stuff. But I still think rumour needs separated. After your urging to investigate, I have only found heresay and rumour about such a track. And I'm not really into finding out about unreleased tracks. Not as much as I used to be.
But even if it is true - we need someone to tell us, honestly, that it has been seen or heard.

Peace,
Adam.

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Posted: 02 Jan 04, 16:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

now I understand why you have that creatures of the night thing for your quote.


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Posted: 02 Jan 04, 18:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I collect only for hobby on opposition to hard-core collectors so I am far from having access to these treasures-in-vaults you mention, John.

Indeed it is quite nice to know of those amazing the Freddie's solo piano pieces played in Garden Lodge including Bach's ones, very interesting.

Greg must have a hard work to do with the archives, but I hope he considers including some tracks that most of us have heard of but that we haven't listened to:

- "Face it alone" from the Innuendo sessions is one of my long-expected ones, specially since it is reported to be a three-piece graet ballad.
- "Africa by night", the Freddie solo demo version for "All God's people".
- "Creatures on the night". Mentioned above but unlikely to appear on the Queen boxset since it's Freddie solo work.
- "Goin' back" demo version, not the one that was released as a B-side.

Not to talk of the Roger's Olympic theme which is owned by a private collector who is not willing to disclose it (pity) and, again, it is not Queen.

Indeed it's funny how there's so much "hidden" material available yet around Queen.

Nice post, John :)


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Posted: 02 Jan 04, 23:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't know if this would be considered Queen or Mercury solo material, but I think I remember hearing that there is a home recording of Freddie performing an early demo of Keep Passing The Open Windows.

There's also Queen versions of Man Made Paradise and There Must Be More To Life Than This, which was mentioned in the Freddie Box. The liner notes said that they would be released on the Queen Box Set (3 years ago).


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Posted: 03 Jan 04, 02:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sounds great!!!

FBG!!!


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Posted: 03 Jan 04, 03:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I've read in various sites that there is a Queen demo version of Roger's Magic is Loose. But where did this information come from? Was it mentioned by Greg or Jim Jenkins at any time, or by a band member themselves? Same thing with New Dark Ages. Thanks for any info!


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Posted: 03 Jan 04, 05:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"I've read in various sites that there is a Queen demo version of Roger's Magic is Loose. But where did this information come from? Was it mentioned by Greg or Jim Jenkins at any time, or by a band member themselves? Same thing with New Dark Ages. Thanks for any info!"

all I know is that Roger once said that he WISHED that Freddie had sung Magic Is Loose
I know too little bout New Dark Ages.. could be recorded by Queen once but that is just a guess.. same for Driven By you


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Posted: 03 Jan 04, 07:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks John for the info, it's so great. Just for being a smart-ass, but also for the sake of an accurate info, I feel I have to point out something: There's no 'Creatures Of The Night' in Phantom. The song you refer is called 'MUSIC of The Night'. 'Creatures Of The Night' is a Kiss track from early 80s (from wonderful album with the same title btw) in which Paul Stanley also played bass - yes, that's the nonsense trivia I love.


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Posted: 03 Jan 04, 11:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

If they didn't include songs in the box-sets because they are Freddie solo work or Roger's or Brian's,I wonder if some day,now that we have Freddie box-set,we could have Roger or Brian ones.


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Posted: 03 Jan 04, 12:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

What's missing?

The box sets themselves. Give up, they aren't coming out. It's just a 5 years and counting tease.