Brian Mays ‘emotional’ Freddie Mercury moment – ‘Like he was there
Brian May discusses ‘losing Freddie’ with Johnnie Walker
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Next week marks 31 years since Freddie Mercury’s tragic death at just 45 after losing his battle with AIDS. The star had performed for 20 years as Queen’s singer and formed a close bond with his band that never broke up. After his HIV diagnosis in 1987, which wasn’t made public at the time, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon agreed to stop touring as it was becoming too much for the singer.
In the four years before Freddie death in 1991, Queen recorded two more albums, 1989’s The Miracle and 1991’s Innuendo. The sessions for the first began in January 1988 and latest a year, as the singer’s health started to decline.
Yet he kept up a tenacious spirit, as the band co-wrote and recorded around 30 songs, with only 10 making it onto the album. Now, three decades on, Queen are releasing six previously unheard tracks on their collector’s edition of the record, which is released tomorrow.
The first of these, Face It Alone, was released as a single last month and hit No 1 on the Rock chart.
Speaking with Variety, Brian was asked what he remembered of working on the track.
The Queen guitarist replied: “Very little. It was a fragment among so many other fragments at that time, or perhaps other songs were calling to us more loudly. I do remember the sound of the melody… it stuck in my head. It was done incredibly quickly. Freddie probably wrote its words in the morning, and was working on the song with his strange keyboard. I don’t even remember playing the guitar on it, to be honest. I was probably just playing something to get us to the next verse, something to feed off.”
Brian confessed he successfully fought the temptation to add new guitar bits.
The 75-year-old said: “We resisted, too, the temptation to turn it into the epic it could have become. It could have been developed into a major construction. But we wanted to deliver it as simply as possible. It’s very stark as you can hear, with very little on the track… as sparing as can be. There are places where the boys rescued a word or a phrase to make a reprise of the verse which makes sense – Freddie did three takes – but that’s it.”
Yet when he first heard the finished version for release, he couldn’t hold back his emotions.
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Brian shared: “The chaps did spring it on me, so I did get pretty emotional. All I could hear was Freddie’s incredible vocal cords, working so splendidly and passionately…. Yeah, I was pretty emotion-ed up. It was, as if, he was there, and you realise, again, what an incredible talent that was. Such an amazing human being with an extraordinary instrument.”
Queen The Miracle Collector’s Edition will be released on November 18 as an 8-Disc Book Set: Vinyl LP/5CD/DVD/Blu-ray and can be pre-ordered here.
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