Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Roy Thomas Baker

forum rss feed
Author

1bigdaddycool user not visiting Queenzone.com

Rocker: 33 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 11 May 06, 15:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

After Jazz why didn't Queen ever work with him again? I always though of RTB as Queen's George Martin. IMO their best & most creative work was w/ him the the board.

Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
Sebastian
Deity: 6327 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 11 May 06, 17:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Roy was nothing like George Martin. He hardly contributed to any idea for the arrangements, he wasn't that kind of producer. A more Martin-esque one would be David Richards, who:

- Played piano in 'Under Pressure'
- Did most of keyboards in FIS and SF
- Co-wrote one song with Roger
- Played sampled bass in 'Scandal'
- Helped John putting 'My Life Has Been Saved' synths
- Suggested some keys in 'Show Must Go On'
- Programmed the keyboard sequence of 'I Can't Live'
- Did the orchestration of 'Innuendo'
- Played Conga percussion in 'Days Of Our Lives'
- Added several arrangement ideas in HFE

There's your George Martin.

PS: About your question, they simply wanted to change their sound in a radical way, since they didn't like Jazz (I don't think they blamed Roy for that though). So they moved on to Munich and to work with Mack.


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.
kdj2hot user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 965 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 11 May 06, 23:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian wrote:

Roy was nothing like George Martin. He hardly contributed to any idea for the arrangements, he wasn't that kind of producer. A more Martin-esque one would be David Richards, who:

- Played piano in 'Under Pressure'
- Did most of keyboards in FIS and SF
- Co-wrote one song with Roger
- Played sampled bass in 'Scandal'
- Helped John putting 'My Life Has Been Saved' synths
- Suggested some keys in 'Show Must Go On'
- Programmed the keyboard sequence of 'I Can't Live'
- Did the orchestration of 'Innuendo'
- Played Conga percussion in 'Days Of Our Lives'
- Added several arrangement ideas in HFE

There's your George Martin.

PS: About your question, they simply wanted to change their sound in a radical way, since they didn't like Jazz (I don't think they blamed Roy for that though). So they moved on to Munich and to work with Mack.


To go above your response they stopped working with Roy after A Night at the Opera. It wasn't any creative differences, they just felt that they knew enough to produce it themselves. Really he was just more of an overseer, they really produced it themselves anyway, he wasn't that responisible for the sound I don't think. Proof? ADATR.

Anyway after ANATO they felt they knew enough from the technical aspect to do it themselves.,, with the help of Mike Stone. Mike had good ears and was probably more of a factor than Roy. So they produced 2 albums solo, with the aid of Mike Stone's engineering before bringing ROy Thomas back for Jazz. The reason is lost on Brian, cause he's quoted recently as saying he's not quite sure what the reason was for bringing Roy back. Anyway Jazz was a one off return and they never worked with him again. Don't get me started on my opinions on Mack...please don't ask.

1bigdaddycool user not visiting Queenzone.com

Rocker: 33 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 08:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Apparently I'm in the minority feeling that Roy had input in creating & perfecting the Queen "Sound" which certainly peaked on the brilliant ANATO - IMO he was much more than overseer. their work with him was much more production intensive & I just don't think you can dismiss his contributions.As if they would've created these masterpieces with anyone - Their albums w/ Roy were much more flowing/consistant,interesting sonically from start to finish than anything else they would accomplish w/out. - I think the band & producer both hit their stride together & am sure learned tremendously for one another. Adatr one of my top 5 favorites indeed - but you can tell differences between the 2 ,compared to anato this lp almost feels stripped like there was a deliberate attempt to open up & let the music breath - I'm not saying that they totally abandoned the rtb approach ie:stl & teo quickly come to mind and I'm not saying that it was a bad thing,- you can't continue doing the same thing over & over you'll get tired & stale so I understand their reasonings - Just always wondered way the never went back to Roy. & Please do get started, would love to hear about the Mack years.

Togg user not visiting Queenzone.com
Togg
Deity: 2393 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 09:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I would not exactly disagree about David Richards, but I do think Roy had much more of an influence over the albums than you have given him credit for, he was/is a brilliant producer and clearly had a major contribution to make in creating what we think of as the classic Queen sound. I don't think anyone else at the time could have made Bo Rap what it is.

As for Mack well I found it fresh at the time, but I have also found it has dated very quickly and looking back I think it was the weakest period. Which is a shame, he did some amazing work with ELO, and I have often felt that must have been the reason to approach him in the first place, but I don't think he suited the Queen sound, he turned them into a studio band when there real unique sound was effectively live. Just my opinion.


"It is better to sit in silence and have people think you're a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
Serry... user not visiting Queenzone.com

Deity: 8271 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 10:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian wrote:


- Played piano in 'Under Pressure'
- Did most of keyboards in FIS and SF
- Co-wrote one song with Roger
- Played sampled bass in 'Scandal'
- Helped John putting 'My Life Has Been Saved' synths
- Suggested some keys in 'Show Must Go On'
- Programmed the keyboard sequence of 'I Can't Live'
- Did the orchestration of 'Innuendo'
- Played Conga percussion in 'Days Of Our Lives'
- Added several arrangement ideas in HFE


+ Horns Of Doom, Track 13 etc. etc. etc.

drwinston user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 153 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 10:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian wrote:

Roy was nothing like George Martin. He hardly contributed to any idea for the arrangements, he wasn't that kind of producer. A more Martin-esque one would be David Richards, who:

- Played piano in 'Under Pressure'
- Did most of keyboards in FIS and SF
- Co-wrote one song with Roger
- Played sampled bass in 'Scandal'
- Helped John putting 'My Life Has Been Saved' synths
- Suggested some keys in 'Show Must Go On'
- Programmed the keyboard sequence of 'I Can't Live'
- Did the orchestration of 'Innuendo'
- Played Conga percussion in 'Days Of Our Lives'
- Added several arrangement ideas in HFE

There's your George Martin.

PS: About your question, they simply wanted to change their sound in a radical way, since they didn't like Jazz (I don't think they blamed Roy for that though). So they moved on to Munich and to work with Mack.


Hmmm, maybe... but I thought that George Martin was more of a "we want it to sound like this" type of producer that made it happen, but rarely played on the albums. I could be wrong.

Also, where is there orchestration on Innuendo? I'm replaying it in my head, but don't remember any - do you mean the synth at the end?

roy_fokker user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 139 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 11:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Question: DAve Richards is not quoted for having done all that stuff you say. How can you say that? Is it written in any biography, or is it just a deduction?


Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
Sebastian
Deity: 6327 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 12:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

> Apparently I'm in the minority feeling that Roy had input in creating & perfecting the Queen "Sound"

Yes of course. As long as "sound" is concerned, he was probably even more important than the band themselves. But he wasn't a "George Martin" in the way that he didn't contribute to the actual songwriting. He helped painting the house, but he didn't design it or build it.

> IMO he was much more than overseer.

Of course.

>I do think Roy had much more of an influence over the albums than you have given him credit for

Yes, but he didn't record instruments or add arrangements or songwriting ideas in the way that other producers do. Of course his work mixing and getting the best sound possible was flawless, but as far as songwriting and arrangements were concerned, it was 99% between the four of them. Unlike George Martin with The Fabs.

> I don't think anyone else at the time could have made Bo Rap what it is.

I agree.

> Hmmm, maybe... but I thought that George Martin was more of a "we want it to sound like this" type of producer that made it happen, but rarely played on the albums. I could be wrong.

George Martin:

- Changed 'Please Please Me's tempo

- Wrote the string accompaniment for Yesterday

- Scored the string arrangement of Eleanor Rigby, inspired by Bernard Hermann

- Orchestrated 'Yellow Submarine'

- Played the baroque piano solo on 'In My Life'

- Arranged the brass and string sections in 'Strawberry Fields'

- Scored the orchestra for 'All You Need Is Love'

- Scored violins, cellos, horns, clarinet and a 16-piece choir for 'I Am The Walrus'

- Conducted the orchestra for 'A Day In The Life'

- Did the piano solo in 'Lovely Rita'

- Contributed the circus backing in 'Mr Kite'

- Scored and conducted the orchestra of 'Good Night'

- Wrote the score for Penny Lane's trumpet solo (after Paul hummed him the melody)

+ God knows how many more small or big contributions he did ... all in all, it's possible that The Beatles weren't the best that happened to popular music, but Martin certainly was.

> Also, where is there orchestration on Innuendo?

3/4 bridge ("you can be anything..."). Fred put the chords and the synth-bass, David put the orchestra.

> DAve Richards is not quoted for having done all that stuff you say. How can you say that? Is it written in any biography, or is it just a deduction?

Some of those bits have been credited (e.g. Fun In Space: "approx 50% keyboards: David Richards"). 'Abandonfire' even includes co-writing credit. But for the most part it was David himself who told me (via e-mail), when I asked him if he had contributed to any Queen song by playing instruments or 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.
Boy Thomas Raker user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 969 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 13:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Great stuff Sebastian. I too think Roy's work with Queen contributed to their best efforts, and from things I've seen and read, I think a big part of his job was to act as a buffer and referee amongs the band.


You know, good times are now.
drwinston user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 153 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 14:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sebastian wrote:

>

> Hmmm, maybe... but I thought that George Martin was more of a "we want it to sound like this" type of producer that made it happen, but rarely played on the albums. I could be wrong.

George Martin:

- Changed 'Please Please Me's tempo

- Wrote the string accompaniment for Yesterday

- Scored the string arrangement of Eleanor Rigby, inspired by Bernard Hermann

- Orchestrated 'Yellow Submarine'

- Played the baroque piano solo on 'In My Life'

- Arranged the brass and string sections in 'Strawberry Fields'

- Scored the orchestra for 'All You Need Is Love'

- Scored violins, cellos, horns, clarinet and a 16-piece choir for 'I Am The Walrus'

- Conducted the orchestra for 'A Day In The Life'

- Did the piano solo in 'Lovely Rita'

- Contributed the circus backing in 'Mr Kite'

- Scored and conducted the orchestra of 'Good Night'

- Wrote the score for Penny Lane's trumpet solo (after Paul hummed him the melody)


Yes, he contributed immensely, but you seem to have supported my point. In your examples, he only actually played on three tracks (sparingly). Regardless, there is no doubt that the Beatles would not have been the Beatles without him, whereas Queen would have been Queen without RTB.

<i> ... all in all, it's possible that The Beatles weren't the best that happened to popular music, but Martin certainly was.</i>

It was certainly magic, but I think that most of the songs were strong enough to stand on their own. The addition of Martin's musical knowledge and innovative studio techniques were without a doubt an integral part of the magic, though.

On a similar note, I read recently about Martin's disdain for stereo in the early years. Something about how he was unaccustomed to the technology, and when they started making stereo mixes of the Beatles songs, he basically left that up to Geoff Emmerick. I'm not sure where the quote was from (Emmerick's new book?), but it seemed odd since there was so much extreme panning in much of their work. But Martin had been recording for years before stereo, so I guess it is possible.

Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
Sebastian
Deity: 6327 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 15:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

What he played in those three tracks is by far more prominent and basic than Roy's castanets in Funny How Love Is.

Yet again, it's completely different: Roy didn't score any orchestra for Queen. Every arrangement before Flash Gordon came from the band themselves. Bo Rhap's vocal harmonies were note for note written by Freddie, the guitar jazz band in Good Company was 100% created by Brian, etc. He never arranged the instrumentation for a song like George Martin did with Yesterday or Walrus.

Roy didn't take part in the creative stage (which doesn't dismiss his exceptional role as producer), contrary to Martin.


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.
kdj2hot user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 965 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 18:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Togg wrote:

I would not exactly disagree about David Richards, but I do think Roy had much more of an influence over the albums than you have given him credit for, he was/is a brilliant producer and clearly had a major contribution to make in creating what we think of as the classic Queen sound. I don't think anyone else at the time could have made Bo Rap what it is.

As for Mack well I found it fresh at the time, but I have also found it has dated very quickly and looking back I think it was the weakest period. Which is a shame, he did some amazing work with ELO, and I have often felt that must have been the reason to approach him in the first place, but I don't think he suited the Queen sound, he turned them into a studio band when there real unique sound was effectively live. Just my opinion.



Honey, he didn't turn Queen in to a studio band Queen always where a studio band. They were also a live band as well. Digressing, Mack, if anything did more to make them less versatile in the sense of making them less of a studio band and more of a live band in the studio. Atleast with the game. I don't blame him for hotspace because it's a product of the time and Queen weren't smart enough to avoid some of the clinche`s of that time.

I think most people in this thread are overstating Roy Bakers importance. Does Nevermore stand out as something completely different on Queen II (I won't mention funny how love is because it does sound eerily like I can hear music? Or How about the Night Comes down from Queen? I think not.

Richy Mercury user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 320 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 12 May 06, 18:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

kdj2hot wrote:

Sebastian wrote:

Roy was nothing like George Martin. He hardly contributed to any idea for the arrangements, he wasn't that kind of producer. A more Martin-esque one would be David Richards, who:

- Played piano in 'Under Pressure'
- Did most of keyboards in FIS and SF
- Co-wrote one song with Roger
- Played sampled bass in 'Scandal'
- Helped John putting 'My Life Has Been Saved' synths
- Suggested some keys in 'Show Must Go On'
- Programmed the keyboard sequence of 'I Can't Live'
- Did the orchestration of 'Innuendo'
- Played Conga percussion in 'Days Of Our Lives'
- Added several arrangement ideas in HFE

There's your George Martin.

PS: About your question, they simply wanted to change their sound in a radical way, since they didn't like Jazz (I don't think they blamed Roy for that though). So they moved on to Munich and to work with Mack.


To go above your response they stopped working with Roy after A Night at the Opera. It wasn't any creative differences, they just felt that they knew enough to produce it themselves. Really he was just more of an overseer, they really produced it themselves anyway, he wasn't that responisible for the sound I don't think. Proof? ADATR.

Anyway after ANATO they felt they knew enough from the technical aspect to do it themselves.,, with the help of Mike Stone. Mike had good ears and was probably more of a factor than Roy. So they produced 2 albums solo, with the aid of Mike Stone's engineering before bringing ROy Thomas back for Jazz. The reason is lost on Brian, cause he's quoted recently as saying he's not quite sure what the reason was for bringing Roy back. Anyway Jazz was a one off return and they never worked with him again. Don't get me started on my opinions on Mack...please don't ask.


Whats so good about Mack? or bad?

DrBilliam user not visiting Queenzone.com

Be Gentle, I'm a newbie: 10 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 13 May 06, 13:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Asterik user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 649 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 16 May 06, 12:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Mack is a poor producer for me. I loathe the dry, tinny sound of drums, the guitar reduced to virtually nothing, awkward synths given more prominence over real instruments. Roy Thomas Baker made Queen's best albumms and David Richards was nearly as good- "Don't Lose Your head" aside. The middle period is deeply disappointing; you can tell that because Mack's songs e.g Dragon Attack, I Want To Break Free, Action This day, all sound drastically better live, where Queen were free of him. The difference is less noticeable with Thomas Baker's productions.


hj
7Innuendo7 user not visiting Queenzone.com
7Innuendo7
Bohemian: 816 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 16 May 06, 23:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

RTB worked with other bands -- the Cars, Devo, some incarnation of G n' R among many others -- with a heavy visual style. With NOTW, the glam era was clearly over, the music changed with less layering and unusual song structures, like "You Take My Breath Away." The striking Jazz cover and the wild stereo/mono trick on "Mustapha" reverberate with RTB's influence. Now, Mack seems to have been more of a sound man-- capturing the fabric of sound-- rather than shaping or molding song ideas. There's good stuff in both places, but one wonders if RTB would let Queen get away with Hot Space before it hit the shelves.


When a red hot man meets a white hot lady, Hoop Diddy Diddy, Hoop Diddy Doo!
1bigdaddycool user not visiting Queenzone.com

Rocker: 33 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 17 May 06, 10:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So, to get back to my original question, from what I'm able to gather - the reason Queen didn't work again with RTB was just simply they wanted to update their sound & with changing musical styles they felt it better to do so with someone else. It was nothing personal? or they didn't have a falling out?

Boy Thomas Raker user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 969 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 17 May 06, 10:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Not sure if this answers your original question, but I recall quotes from Brian and Freddie around the time of NOTW saying they'd done the multi-tracked, overdubbed thing to death, and were looking to go a new way with their sound. Maybe they felt RTB was a certain style of producer and they wanted new ideas. From everything I've read, the parting was amicable, as RTB has done docs and stuff and never has a bad word about the band, and never heard Brian or Roger disparage him either.


You know, good times are now.
Sebastian user not visiting Queenzone.com
Sebastian
Deity: 6327 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 17 May 06, 12:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The only producer they gave the elbow to was John Anthony. Other than him, Fred asked Robin Cable to be there for some tracks since he wanted a specific wall of sound effect, and they departed with Mack (possibly) because they were positively astonished with David Richards' work.


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.