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Posted: 14 Oct 04, 22:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

A new development in the debate about the composer of "The Hitman."

while I originally argued it was a Brian track, Sebastian managed to convince me it was indeed written by Freddie.

Now, on a radio interview transcribed at brianmay.com, Brian claims that he "mostly" wrote The Hitman.

his exact quote: But mostly I wrote The Hitman, yeah, but I...

he seemed to be cut off, so I suppose he could have been about to say "but I remember Freddie had a lot of input into it," or something to that effect, but I think this quote should be taken into account. I'm not trying to start a debate here, and I'm sure Sebastian will reply with the usual points in favor of Freddie's having written it, I'm just bringing a new possible piece of evidence into play.

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Posted: 15 Oct 04, 04:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastians evidence apart from the analysis of the song as such was also based on several quotes and Brian himself stated that the song was almost finished when he got into doing it. Original idea by Fred and arranged by John. He just changed the keys and of course did play quite a lot of different guitar tracks AND sang the guide vocal, but I think in the heat of the moment (and considering the beer they've supposedly consumed during the interview) it was really something like "yeah most of it in terms of guitar parts". :)



Guten Tag und Guten Abend !!! We had a great time in Cologne. Drinking beer in the sunshine beside the Mighty Rhein brought back many memories for me..... (Brian May, 2004)
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Posted: 15 Oct 04, 04:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Which interview are you referring to here guys?


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Posted: 15 Oct 04, 05:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The transcript of a radio interview in Sydney, you can read it on www.brianmay.com (Brian News or What's New)


Guten Tag und Guten Abend !!! We had a great time in Cologne. Drinking beer in the sunshine beside the Mighty Rhein brought back many memories for me..... (Brian May, 2004)
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Posted: 15 Oct 04, 05:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ah, there's more of it on there now it there? haven't checked in yet this morning on BM.com!


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Posted: 15 Oct 04, 05:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Regor wrote:

The transcript of a radio interview in Sydney, you can read it on www.brianmay.com (Brian News or What's New)


A case of RTFQ - or read the original post would've told me this. Sorry!!


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Posted: 16 Oct 04, 01:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I love this topic, I think I`ll write about it in my web. Yeah there`s a big discussion about the song `Hitman`; the first time it got "solved" was when QMS made the famous list, in which the Bijou database is based, and so is the "common belief", which is wrong in certain cases (e.g. Roger as the writer of Innuendo, Brian as the writer of My Life Has Been Saved, John as the writer of Don`t Try So Hard). They had credited Hitman to Brian based in its heaviness, Fred`s apparent low participation in songwriting for the last years, and the fact Brian sang backing vocals.

Each point should be threated separately. Therefore:

- The song is heavy, but it doesn`t rule out anybody. Fred also wrote heavy songs (Liar, Ogre Battle...); it could theoretically also be Roger or John. The fact John wasn`t a metal fan doesn`t mean he couldn`t have written one heavy song. It`d be like crediting Bo Rhap to Brian because it mentions Galileo. You don`t have to be an astronomer to know that word, or use it in a lyric.

- Fred was indeed the major songwriter in the later period (actually, he was the major songwriter in early and middle periods too). The QMS list took off several songs he had written and creditted them to the others (e.g. Innuendo, Bijou, Don`t Try So Hard, Hang On In There, Was It All Worth It and this one).

- Having the author of the song doing all or most of the backing vocals was pretty usual in the band: Love Of My Life, Sheer Heart Attack, Action This Day, You Take My Breath Away, Save Me, Radio Ga Ga... but it doesn`t imply that a song with vocal harmonies by Brian would be invariably from him. Slightly Mad is another in which he got some strong backing vocals but as he, Roger, David Richards and Jim Hutton have admitted, the song is Freddie`s. There are some other exceptions through the years: Calling All Girls, Dancer, It`s Late, My Baby Does Me...

------

Actually the style of the song, in compositional terms, is completely Freddie-esque: acyclic form, AAAB phrasing in the riff (like Jesus and some others), the way of shifting the key down and then up again (Funny How Love Is, Mutapha), the double stop riff in fourths (Let Me Entertain You), the use of bridges over bridges over bridges (listen to his epics in the second album), and the extremely long melody (Princes Of The Universe, Liar, Masterstroke...)

The arrangement and production sounds much more Brian-esque, so it`s very conceivable that perhaps it was Mr. May who coordinated what would Roger play in the drums (except in the intro, where they`re very Mercury-esque), and how would the guitar solos go. Moreover he was most likely the person who sat with David Richards to tell him how did he want the mix. So, that`s one of those unusual cases in which one member of the band "gave birth" to the song but another one "educated it". Other examples of that are Radio Ga Ga and A Kind Of Magic (which Fred arranged, but Roger wrote). In other bands, there are the GnR cases in the Illusion albums: Izzy wrote many many songs, which he put in house demos and didn`t want to work on further, but Axl loved the songs so he worked a lot in them and figured out the arrangements, harmonies, etc. Still the songs are Izzy`s.

We do know about Hitman that it was a very different track in the beginning: Brian said he had to change the key to make it playable in the guitar. It means that Fred had written it in piano or synths. He should have "abandoned" the idea. Why? no idea, maybe he didn`t like it, or maybe he got sick in that time or whatever. Then Brian took it, changed it a little bit, and put a demo. John then changed the order of (I suppose) the bridges.

About the quote, it`s not ethical to say that, but Brian`s memory isn`t exactly in the best way nowadays: look at his soapbox. Last year he said Masterstroke was part of the Opera/Races sessions and had been recorded at Wessex, he said Fred didn`t use Steinway p


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: 16 Oct 04, 01:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In fairness to Brian's memory, I don't recall him ever forgetting if he wrote a song or not.

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Posted: 16 Oct 04, 03:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Maybe, if the quote from Sydney were the only existing one about the song, it`d be the strongest evidence. BUT, 13 years ago (when the song had been recently recorded) he confessed he didn`t write it; that`s imo much more reliable since he had it "fresh"


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: 16 Oct 04, 03:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

out of curiosity, where is the 1991 quote from? what are Brian's exact words?

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Posted: 16 Oct 04, 05:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It`s September 1991, at Sunset Strip Hotel. The album had been released 7 months before. Brian commented that in the end each person took certain songs under his wing, and that was his case of the two rockers of the album, Headlong and Hitman. He first said that he had written Headlong in Montreux for his solo album but when he heard Fred sing it decided to give it to the band. Then he continued "Hitman's finished version had very little to do with the original idea. Most of the riff came from Freddie. I wasn't even in the room when they wrote it. I changed the key and some of the notes to make it playable on the guitar. We finished the backing track, but it seemed to ramble. John sat down and decided to reconstruct the track. He changed the order. He changed everything. I went back and played on that. Then we filled in the gaps on the lyrics, did the harmonies and generally tidied up."


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: 16 Oct 04, 11:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

ok thanks Sebastian. that quote does seem to give the fullest example of the story.

although I will point out that the person who "starts" a song isn't always the one who is credited to it...Brian "started" Pain Is So Close To Pleasure and it's credited to Deacon/Mercury, so either Brian or Freddie could've "started" The Hitman and still not been the main writer.

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Posted: 16 Oct 04, 19:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hitman sounds like not-just-by-Brian-writing-track - that's true, 'cause Freddie really loved to compose all those noises you hear there. Brian likes a lot of guitars, it doesn't have to be loud. But he sung the guide vocal and whatever you said - it's the evidence that you can refuse. Can you imagine Roger's singing guide vocal to Sail Away Sweet Sister?! But anyway there are lot of questions you can ask anyone, but never would get answers - who wrote Under Pressure? David, Freddie and Roger? Okay, but the main bass line came from John. And that bass line important than most of other chords, so who's author? And actually I think only Galileos in Bohemian Rhapsody was written by Freddie and nobody else was not involved :-)

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Posted: 16 Oct 04, 23:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The thing is that there`s no right or wrong in this situation. It can be considered Freddie, or Freddie & Brian, and both options are correct, if we take that Brian did create some guitar parts and stuff, and in fact changed a little of the riff. With that in mind, A Kind Of Magic could be considered Roger & Freddie, because Freddie did invent some spacers and connectors (i.e. new chord progressions), and the bass-line, and produced it.

But, A Kind Of Magic`s melody and "main" sections were Roger`s, what Fred did was connect them, re-arrange them, etc. There was definitely writing there, but the song is still Roger`s. With that in mind, I consider both Bijou and Hitman to be Freddie`s. As for Don`t Try So Hard... that`s a difficult one.

Definitely during the later period they gave away a lot of their babies, so it`s even possible that, say, John, or Roger, re-wrote lyrics for I Want It All or I Can`t Live With You, stuff like that. The bottomline is that Freddie is the "main" (70% or so) writer of Hitman and Innuendo. Still almost one third of the input belonged to somebody else in most cases. Like Brian with Show Must Go On: John & Rog came up with the sequence, Fred co-wrote a verse, etc.

That famous QMS list "gave" Innuendo to Roger based in the fact that the song had a lot of percussion (similar argument as crediting Headlong to Brian because there were lot of guitars, although in that case they did get the answer right); still, Roger did complete the lyrics. It`s another one of those cases.

Under Pressure is Freddie`s, and partly David`s. They all contributed obviously. In fact Brian did have more input in the songwriting than Roger, but the latter was more involved in the process of production, mixing and "which parts are there which parts aren`t there"; many people used to consider it Roger`s based on the fact he sang it in his solo concerts. Which again doesn`t say anything: he also sang I Want To Break Free & We Will Rock You. He loved Under Pressure and he sang it very good so he did it. Same as Show Must Go On. Same as Brian with Love Of My Life. But they didn`t write those tracks.


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: 17 Oct 04, 04:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yeah, Sebastian, that's exactly what I mean. Everyone contributes something to a song. About Show Must Go On - absolutely right, main theme from John and Roger, lyrics by Brian and Freddie etc., so the same is with The Hitman, but people likes to think it was Brian's one

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Posted: 17 Oct 04, 06:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie wrote the song
I mean there is a comparison between Hitman and
Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
In Hitman there's a line 'I've been to the Hitman school'
In Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy there's a line
I've been to the old fashioned school of lover boys.



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FREDDIE MERCURY 1984
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Posted: 17 Oct 04, 07:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The German fan club magazine mentioned an
interview with Brian on CNN in which he said,
that he wrote Hitman, Show must go on and
Hitman for his Solo album.


King Freddie still rules
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Posted: 17 Oct 04, 08:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The songs Brian had for his solo album were I Can`t Live With You and Headlong, which are the only ones in the album which are totally (or at least 80%) written by him.

As for the GOLB parallel: yes it`s a plus for Freddie`s side but not a definitive evidence. If you put it together with the others though... it does say something


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: 18 Oct 04, 15:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Main reasons for incorrects in right decision of songs' authorship are: who's singing back vocal, how long guitar solo is and what kind of lyrics is! 'Cause Innuendo lyrics are really have so much of Roger ('false religion' etc.) someone could said that Roger wrote the whole song.

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Posted: 18 Oct 04, 17:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

For me Freddie helped Brian to write the song. But the guitar parts are from Brian and they are the main part of the song.


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