Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Question about releasing "The Great Pretender"

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goinback user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 00:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In the late '80s Freddie was having to fight tabloid rumors about having AIDS.

So why at that time would he release a song saying "I'm the great pretender...pretending that I'm doing well"?!?




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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 00:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Is it really any different than releasing a song called "Was It All Worth It" or "The Show Must Go On"?


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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 01:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Well I guess I just thought of The Great Pretender's lyrics as a little more direct than something like The Show Must Go On. (Plus he stood in front of those huge letters seeming to proclaim himself as THE great pretender.) But I always sort of thought the same thing about those other songs too.

It just always seemed odd to me...I didn't understand why he would give the press anything else to go on. But I guess maybe it's because the music was really his only outlet....


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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 01:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i thought the great pretender wasnt his song and it was a cover of a song from the 60s?


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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 01:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It was a cover, originally done by the Platters.

I think the choice was a bit autobiographical, but not in the sense that he was covering up his illness. I always thought he was addressing his emotional health more, and until this thread, never considered the physical health aspects.

But, honestly, recording a song called The Show Must Go On while he looked as frail as he did is probably more of a statement than Great Pretender ever was.


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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 01:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

haha i was right about da cover :)


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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 02:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i have only heard freddies version :)


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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 02:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

TGP is one of the very few cases where a cover is better than the original. But then what would we expect? :-)

It seems to me that Freddie was being honest with us all, and especially himself. He was one of those artists who treats setbacks as catalysts to art. So, for once, I do read quite a bit into his choice of TGP.

But then I think he did it with a tremendous sense of humour, particularly considering he would have been coming to terms with something terrible.


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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 05:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i think that his voice is at its best on the great pretender. he is so convincing and so emotional.

i think he probably was trying to make some kind of statement as the lyrics apply to him so well but he also probably covered the song because he loved that style of music, you can see how that type of music influenced him through songs like man on the prowl and my melancholy blues.


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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 05:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Oh come on, it's just a bloody love song, for god's sake.


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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 12:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freestone's book suggests that Freddie's interest in "The Great Pretender" centered on making the video rather than on the song per se. And the video is so autobiographical that there's a career retrospective in clips, all updated to indicate "that was pretending," "oh, also that, pretending," EXCEPT for the clip of a live Queen performance, which is synchronized to the line "wearing my heart like a crown," which is kind of sweet. I think the video's about moving to a different stage in his career, that he can't do the old things anymore, because they are lovely but old, like the song.

--Egret

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Posted: 11 Jan 05, 13:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

it wasnt autobiographical. It was the last single "well" freddie released, prior to finding out about his AIDS. And from the video, he looks fine, in full health,minus moustache tho, but I think he looks better that way

I love the great pretender, its over the top yet down to earth. Sometimes I relate to myself



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Posted: 13 Jan 05, 10:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Why did he shave his moustache off at that time?

I wonder exactly when he he did the vieo as two books reckon he had it confirmed he was ill around Easter 1987, but I don't know what month it would have been that year.



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Posted: 13 Jan 05, 12:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i beleve freddie found out he had aids in 86 during health checks etc, thats why he told the band im not touring again *brian stated that, freddie just blurted it out when the rest of queen(bri-rog-john) were arguin about the tour or summit to them lines. and the three ov them were shocked. he didnt wanna tour


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Posted: 13 Jan 05, 13:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I go with the easter time 1987 assessment, as ive seen it quoted in several sources. I dont know why he shaved for the video, but it was only part way thru, as there are some shots with him plus moustache, and in some countries picture discs, he was pictured in the great pretender suit with his moustache.

the great pretender is a love song

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Posted: 13 Jan 05, 14:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

it was the last time he was seen with a moustache, as he obviously only kept it for scenes where he was re-creating 80s videos, then shaved it off. the photo session would have been done well before the video.

it always intrigued me why freddie shaved off his moustache for the ballet scene in the I Want To Break Free vid but not the drag section.

are there any photos of Fred without his tache around this time that are not from the video?

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Posted: 13 Jan 05, 16:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think he liked the song, and wanted to sing it. It is very chart friendly and a great pop song. Why not sing it? Some of you guys look to far into things.


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Posted: 13 Jan 05, 17:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

i'd like to add that there's a very huge bias around here...someone covers a queen song and it's heresy
queen/freddie covers an old song and it's better than the original....what utter bollox

the original was how it was meant to sound

TGP much like ICHM and Going back before it were no more than Freddie's homage to an era he grew up in....a cover is not better than the original EVER....as no-one but the original artist/writer/producer can envisage the end result desired.....freddie's was good but not better...don't try and kid otherwise


....and as for the moustache shaving thing....that's fairly obvious...if for no other reasons than - he was in full drag in the vid and to "carry it off" convincingly - ie not in a mick way - like I want to break free - then the Bic had to be employed


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Posted: 13 Jan 05, 17:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Here here, Brenski, especially about the cover thing. But I think Freddie shaved the moustache because he was about to record with Montserrat Caballe, and wanted to be as "professional" as possible.

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Posted: 13 Jan 05, 17:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yes but he never had the moustache again after that did he!

And many songs are written by songwriters for other people to sing, so their original vision is not always carried thu even by the first artist to record the song