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Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
Sebastian
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Posted: 07 Jul 05, 09:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As some of you know, periodically, I tend to compile the list of who wrote each of the songs credited to the band and/or how was the process in twofold compositions. The list is done with two basic purposes: inform new people or people who are interested in that, and make a request for anybody who's got data to add. So here's the list of binary and group credits as of 12th January 2007:

DOIN' ALL RIGHT (May/Staffell): Structure is somewhat unusual to what Brian did for the remaining three decades of his career. But it doesn't neccesarily mean he didn't organise that: it could mean that in the early days he was into more intricate forms and then he dropped them.

HANGMAN (never credited since never on an official release): Freddie wrote the lyrics, Brian the music (thanks to Jeroen who mailed me a letter May sent him 13 years ago clearing that up).

STONE COLD CRAZY (Queen): The song had been performed live before John ever met the band; Moreover it was a Wreckage track. Barry Mitchell confirmed it sounded the same in 1970-1971 than on the record. Why is it credited to all of them instead of Freddie is beyond me.

SOUL BROTHER (Queen): Brian said in his soapbox some time ago that Freddie wrote it about him, and he did it in about 15 minutes. So there you go.

COOL CAT (Deacon/Mercury): Chord progression is definitely John's. Freddie must have composed the melody.

UNDER PRESSURE (Queen/Bowie): The music is Freddie's, according to what John said in Japan '82 and France '84. Lyrics are a collaboration between all of them, with Mercury and Bowie's dominance. Apparently both Fred and David sang the melodies they wrote.

MACHINES (May/Taylor): Note how the bridge goes "climbing up" melodically as many other Roger songs ('Ga Ga', 'Days Of Our Lives', 'Heaven For Everyone'); melody on the verses sounds more Brian-esque though. Chords are more Roger-esque if you look at his later efforts (e.g. 'Ride The Wild Wind').

IS THIS THE WORLD (May/Mercury): Brian did the chords and Fred did the lyrics.

XMAS (May/Taylor): Basically Roger's, Brian then added the modulation. The synth is played by Roger.

ONE VISION (Queen): It was Fred's idea to ring everyone up and be in the studio writing a song together. Still, in my opinion, the track is Roger's (lyrics, melody) and Brian's (chords). John was mostly absent of the creative process, and Freddie did have a lot of input on production and polishing, still, imho, he was more an arranger than a co-writer per se.

PAIN IS SO CLOSE TO PLEASURE (Deacon/Mercury): No idea about the lyrics, but it seems to be more a John's track with Fred's help in polishing. Intro's very similar to the one in 'Best Friend', chord-wise.

FRIENDS WILL BE FRIENDS (Deacon/Mercury): Brian said Fred had written it and then he and John worked on it. Lyrics are apparently Freddie's with input from all of them.

PARTY (Queen): Fred was the driving force and he started the "we had a good time" while at the piano. Then Brian and John helped him out but I think it was a similar case to 'Ga Ga' or 'Magic'.

KASHOGGI'S SHIP (Queen): No idea about the main musician. Lyrics are apparently by all four.

THE MIRACLE (Queen): The entire band contributed to the lyrics, some chords and the theme were decided by Fred and John, but all in all the track is Freddie's, as he again took the leadership.

I WANT IT ALL (Queen): Brian, in fact recent releases credit it to him.

A NEW LIFE IS BORN: Freddie, he said that in the last interview made to the band.

BREAKTHRU: Roger, as confirmed by both Fred and Brian.

INVISIBLE MAN: In Queen For An Hour they were asked about who was responsible for the track, both Fred and Brian said "Roger". David Richards too said it's Roger's.

RAIN MUST FALL: Music by John (confirmed by both Brian and David), lyrics by Freddie (source: David)

SCANDAL: Brian. Sources: Roger & David Richards.

MY BABY DOES ME: Mostly Freddie, although Joh


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: 07 Jul 05, 09:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I vote for make this post sticky. Or put in special section as well as John's Ultimate Collection.

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Posted: 07 Jul 05, 10:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I came across a quote from Brian a while ago for 'Pain Is So Close To Pleasure' which has always confused me:

''There's a song called 'Pain Is So Close To Pleasure' which I started off, and I think again John and Freddie worked together on it. That's really sort of a motown sounding track, very unusual.''

What does he mean ''which I started off''?

Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 07 Jul 05, 13:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

About Hangman, it wasn't a pre-Queen track as far as I know, but Fred did have some similar efforts.

Brian could have "started off" Pain Is So Close in many ways: a riff, a short melody, etc. Similarly Radio Ga Ga was started off by Roger's son.


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: 07 Jul 05, 13:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

''THE HITMAN: Freddie's, although Brian took it under his wing and changed the key and some notes. Once again, Brian wasn't a co-writer but an arranger instead, like Fred in Radio Ga Ga or George Martin in ... well, half of Beatles catalogue.''

Wasn't it John who changed the key? I thought it was Deacy...

Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 07 Jul 05, 22:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

John changed the form, Brian the key :)


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: 07 Jul 05, 22:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks, Sebastian! Excellent work- it is appreciated. Once again, the only elusive enigma is who wrote the Under Pressure bassline? I know John himself has said that Bowie came up with it, but Bowie also said to his fan club last year that he arrived in the studio and Queen already had the bassline. Will we ever know? Has anyone asked Brian on his soapbox? I know now is probably not the proper time to ask him something so trivial....


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Posted: 08 Jul 05, 01:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian wrote:


PAIN IS SO CLOSE TO PLEASURE (Deacon/Mercury): No idea about the lyrics, but it seems to be more a John's track with Fred's help in polishing.

FRIENDS WILL BE FRIENDS (Deacon/Mercury): Brian said Fred had written it and then he and John worked on it.


Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Peter Freestone say in his book that both of those were essentially John songs and that only because John was a kind gentlemen that he gave Freddie credit? I took that to mean that both were John songs that Freddie polished, and John felt that Freddie did enough to earn a credit.


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Posted: 08 Jul 05, 03:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Zeni wrote:

Sebastian wrote:


PAIN IS SO CLOSE TO PLEASURE (Deacon/Mercury): No idea about the lyrics, but it seems to be more a John's track with Fred's help in polishing.

FRIENDS WILL BE FRIENDS (Deacon/Mercury): Brian said Fred had written it and then he and John worked on it.


Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Peter Freestone say in his book that both of those were essentially John songs and that only because John was a kind gentlemen that he gave Freddie credit? I took that to mean that both were John songs that Freddie polished, and John felt that Freddie did enough to earn a credit.

Yep, thought the same...

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Posted: 08 Jul 05, 07:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Something I've been meaning to say for ages is that I always get the impression that there's a mix-up between the details of Innuendo and Show Must Go On.

I swear I remember reading ages ago that Innuendo started off with Rog and John fooling around, rather than SMGO, and this just makes far more sense.

The intro and feel of Innuendo is primarily dictated by the drum pattern and accompanying bass, and I can easily imagine Rog fooling around with the bolero-type rhythm and then John joining in, shifting from E to G#. Then you get Bri and Fred frantically joining in and adding to this groove.

The essential ingredient in the Show Must Go On riff is the chord riff. The drums and bass are entirely secondary, and I can't see how John and Rog could possibly have started this song. Obviously one of them would have had to have been on a synth, but I can't see what the other person would have done.

As SMGO is all about the chord sequence/riff, it seems that it's entirely the one work of one person, and the riff is completely unlike anything Rog or John have ever created, but is entirely in keeping with Brian's style and other compositions.

In conclusion, I think:

- Rog and John came up with the Innuendo riff/feel
- Bri alone came up with the SMGO progression


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Posted: 08 Jul 05, 08:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Bohardy wrote:

In conclusion, I think:

- Rog and John came up with the Innuendo riff/feel
- Bri alone came up with the SMGO progression


You could be right about Innuendo, but I'm certain that I read somewhere about SMGO that Brian started working on it AFTER hearing the chord riff and getting enthused about it. So, someone else must have come up with the chord riff. Certainly Roger and John were both capable of coming up with such a sequence and playing it on the keyboard.


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Posted: 08 Jul 05, 08:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The thing is that, as in CSI, the least believable evidence is a witness imo. We don't know to which extent Phoebe or even Brian were present at the time either Freddie or John came up with FWBF and PISCTP. Maybe John did write one of them and Fred just helped and Phoebe assumed the other was done the same way. Maybe Brian thought Friends was Fred's because it resembled 'Champions' or 'Play The Game'. For what it's worth, remember Phoebe's book was done some years after the recording of Magic, while Brian's comment "Freddie's written a song called Friends Will Be Friends" is from '86.

About Innuendo, Brian said it started off with all of them messing around in the studio. David Richards said more details to Rolling Stone one year later: they were at Casino Hall and found a groove they liked, then some chords and that's when Fred said "I like it" and rushed down, started singing along and that's how the song was born.

Show Must Go On seems to have some confusions, but for a more informed conclusion, I'll post the quotes I've got, all of them from Dr. May unless told otherwise:

- At Sunset Strip Hotel, June 1991, he said that "We made a decision to work on it corporately, and left our egos outside the room. We put drums on a loop, then I put chords to it. I said, 'Freddie, listen to this.' The phrase 'I can't go on' kept going around in my head. I sat with it and developed it, wrote lines and had a verse after a while. But it was a long way to the final version"

- Then, three years later, at Guitar Magazine, he said "The Show Must Go On came from Roger and John playing the sequence and I started to put things down. At the beginning it was just this chord sequence but I had this strange feeling that it could be somehow important and I got very impassioned and went and beavered away at it. I sat down with Freddie and we decided what the theme should be and wrote the first verse. It's a long story, that song, but I always felt it would be important because we were dealing with things that were hard to talk about at the time, but in the world of music you could do it."

- An interview from '01 which sadly I haven't been able to track down again, I remember it was one in which he spoke about one song from each album: "Having The Show Must Go On out as a single at that time, it was very bizarre, because the way the song came about in the first place was strange. For some reason, John and Freddie and Roger had been playing around with things in the studio and I heard one of the sequences they had come up with, and I could just hear the whole thing descending from the skies... almost in the form, sound-wise, that it ended up. It's something that came as a gift from heaven, I suppose. I did some demos, chopped things up, did some singing demos and some guitar and got it to a point where I could play it to the guys, and they all thought it was something worth pursuing. Then Freddie and I sat down, and I got out my scribblings and said, 'What do you think of all this?' It was a very strange and memorable moment really, because what I'd done was come up with something which I thought was the world viewed through his eyes"

- Two years ago he told me "that sequence just got thrust into my head playing around with Roger – I will never know where it came from, but it completely took me over for a long time while the song was in development"

So it's a weird story. I tend to believe more the '94 story because it's earlier and probably Brian remembered more accurately. My conclusion is that first he heard R&J doing the sequence, then he developed the song after that and showed it to the rest, then they decided to work on it together, put drums on a loop, Brian added the chords and the sequence he had recycled from Roger & John, then they basically built it 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: 08 Jul 05, 13:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I know the various quotes support it, but it just seems so strange that John and Rog originated the SMGO sequence, because neither bass nor drums are a part of it (really), and I can't see either of them coming up with the riff on a synth.


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Posted: 08 Jul 05, 13:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Fair enough on the 1986 Brian comment. I'd probably trust that more myself than Phoebe's written a decade later.


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Posted: 08 Jul 05, 16:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

generally speaking its normally easy to spot lyrics with a big influence from either roger or brian in them. linguistically they use words and sentance formations that are very unique to them and come out even more clearly on their solo albums. freddie is not so easy to spot since he seems to be good at switching between writing styles depending on subject matter. and john is incredibly difficult to spot if he doesn't want the song accredited to him and nobody in their inner circle points the finger.

but generally speaking brian likes to use a lot of metaphors and roger uses coloquial words nobody else does, mostly commonly "ain't" andf other west-country regional words.

think it'd make an interesting independant study for A2 english language?

***Debz***

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Posted: 08 Jul 05, 18:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

_Tatterdemalion_: Wasn't The Hitman a Brian song?? I mean Brian sang on the demo.

That is correct - furthermore, the demo is freely available from this site!

Besides, because of Freddie's imminent death, the band brought stuff for HIM to sing (eg: Musker, Lamers and May's - Too Much Love Will Kill You) therefore, I too kind of find it difficult to believe that Freddie (under such circumstances) would farm his work out to others - but hey, that is just my opinion.

I also disagree in that I also think Hangman existed in some pre-Queen form (perhaps not on tape) and was already part of an earlier repetoir, but again, this is my opinion.

Remember, much of Seb's work is also OPINION - not fact, therefore, I usually tend to stay clear from such discussion, but, at the end of the day, that really is the point of a good notice-board, so that fans can openly express such opinions with each other.


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 08 Jul 05, 19:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Excellent post. Thanks! :D

BTW, when you say 'lyrics', do you mean melody + words or just words?

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Posted: 08 Jul 05, 21:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Hangman thing is indeed an opinion, the Hitman point is different since Brian himself confirmed Fred wrote at least the music. But the lyrics can be Brian's, by other side he could have done it to try out a different melody, the could have had a deadline with the record company and Fred wasn't able to sing the demo, etc.

My theory is simply that, as Brian said, Fred's original Hitman was very different to the one released. Brian transferred it to guitar. Then it's obvious that Mercury's version was in piano or keyboards, from there you can assume the tempo would be different as well. Brian could have easily sung the demo of his arrangement to show Fred how did it sound with May's modifications.


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: 09 Jul 05, 05:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

How about Blurred Vision? :) Just kidding...

For me Soul Brother sounds more like a studio improvisation track by the whole band, but lyrics are in Freddie's writing style.

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Posted: 09 Jul 05, 10:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks so much, Sebastian!!! Very interesting

Fairy


“If the house crumbles... I’ll just build it again”

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