Queen At 50 Reviews – A Day At The Races – Part 2

Booklet cover spread with a black background for the Queen album A Day At The Races. The front cover has a very colourful image of the Queen crest, consisting of a large phoenix with outstretched wings looking over a large letter Q, on top of which sits a small crab, on fire from the phoenix's breath. A crown sits in the centre of the Q, while a lion and a fairy appear together on each side of the Q. The band and album names are below the crest in white script lettering. The back cover features the track listing in white text.

Happy Japanese Queen Day! Following on from the wonderful variety of tracks on Side 1 that I reviewed previously, Side 2 of A Day At The Races continues to entertain with a mixture of offerings. It starts off with one of Queen’s most enduring and hugely popular hits, before taking us on a journey that ends up in Japan at the end of the album, which has important relevance to today, as explained for that particular track. So there’s plenty to cover as usual, and I hope you enjoy this latest set of reviews!

Contents

See also: Ultimate Queen / Queen Vault / Wikipedia / UDiscover / Classic Rock Article

This post covers all the tracks on Side 2 of the album as follows. Click their names to jump to the reviews:

  1. Somebody To Love
  2. White Man
  3. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
  4. Drowse
  5. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)

The reviews also include references to tracks from their live albums, and a Capital Radio interview Freddie did with Kenny Everett that’s available in edited form as part of the On Air album.

You can see all the videos I mention in this post and more on my Queen & Covers playlists. So do feel free to check them out (along with my other Queen playlists) and see which versions of each song you like best!


6. Somebody To Love

Written by Freddie Mercury

See also: Ultimate Queen / Wikipedia / Song Facts / Lyric Video

This soul-searching, gospel-infused, harmony-rich, intricately-layered masterpiece, with Freddie’s poetic lyrics pleading for God’s help to find that special person to spend his life with, is always a joy to listen to and is easily the most famous song from the album. The main surprise to me is that it only reached number 2 in the UK chart, held off the top spot by Under The Moon Of Love by Showaddywaddy. It spent 6 weeks in the top 5 altogether though, of which 4 of them were at number 4, so that’s still impressive. And it did reach number 1 in the Netherlands, while also getting to number 13 in the USA.

Commentaries & Interviews

Brian and Roger discuss the track on the Absolute Greatest Hits commentary, where Brian explains: “You have to bear in mind we’d just had Bohemian Rhapsody, historically, it had just been a huge hit, and it was a massive vocal production. And this also is a massive vocal production, in some ways the counterpart of Bohemian Rhapsody, but in a gospel kind of style. Aretha Franklin was Freddie’s idol, and so he wrote it really with her in mind.”

They also note how complex the song is, and what a great track it is to perform live. They particularly enjoy recalling a performance in Auckland, New Zealand, where Freddie started the song off but forgot what he was playing, and also put his trousers on backwards, because he’d been drinking heavily with Tony Hadley! For Freddie, ever the professional, this was very unusual, as he wouldn’t normally be the worse for wear before a concert. But, as Brian observes, he “just had too good a time” on this occasion!

The audio commentary on Greatest Video Hits 1 also features Brian and Roger, where they reminisce about the Hyde Park show and the music studio that both appear in the video, and remark on the multi-tracking they used to create the gospel choir. Freddie, meanwhile, discusses why many of his songs are about emotion, as he’s a “true romantic… writing about things that everyday people go through”.

Elsewhere:

  • Brian is quoted as saying: “That was part of Freddie’s great gift: to take a song and keep building it until it almost became something else. Until it belonged to everybody. Somebody To Love was like that.”
  • John Deacon once stated that the song proved “Queen could swing as hard as it could rock, by channeling the spirit of gospel music”.
  • Roger Taylor, in Circus Magazine on 31 January 1977, observed: “Somebody To Love is Aretha Franklin-influenced. Freddie’s very much into that. We tried to keep the track in a loose, gospel-type feel. I think it’s the loosest track we’ve ever done.”
  • Brian May briefly told Absolute Radio about the Aretha Franklin influence and building up the vocal parts to create a gospel choir.

Alternate Versions

Outtakes from the recording, including interesting experiments with the harmonies that were never used in the final track, were played at a Queen convention. It means you get the copyright message over the top regularly and the audio quality isn’t great, so I don’t often share such recordings for those reasons. But it is interesting to hear this particular rarity.

The 1991 Hollywood Records reissue of the album included a remix by Randy “Badazz” Alpert (nephew of Herb Alpert). There’s some phasing in different parts of the track, a bit of extra percussion, and occasionally different ad-libs from Freddie, none of which really adds anything special. So it’s ok, but the original mix is easily superior.

Isolated Tracks

The vocals on this song are sublime to say the least, and are split between lead and backing vocals in the multitracks:

  • Lead Vocals – Freddie’s performance on this track is an absolute tour de force of power, energy and feeling, and I defy anybody not to say it sends shivers down their spine when they hear it, especially in isolation like this. For example, on several occasions when he sings the lyric “somebody to love”, it’s incredible how he holds and plays around with just the word “love”, extending it for a good 6½ seconds on one occasion, and hitting a superb high note for the word “to” later on that’s difficult for some performers to replicate on stage. Likewise, it’s impressive how he manipulates the final word in “I’ve got nobody left to believe” up to a higher register, and there are several other nicely held notes during the track. There’s also the repeating “find me somebody to love” choir section in the middle, and other moments beyond that, where his improvisations and “ooohs” sound magical. It’s just perfection all the way, nobody else can sing like him.
  • Backing Vocals – The linked video contains all the backing vocals as a complete track, but that’s not quite how they’re presented in the multitrack files. Most do reside on a separate track, but some of them are mixed into the lead vocal track when Freddie isn’t singing, so there are occasional gaps in the backing track as a result. Freddie, Brian and Roger all contributed to these wonderful harmonies (as John didn’t sing on the record), to give the impression of a 100-strong gospel choir. And it’s incredible what they achieved, it sounds amazing. Roger in particular, as on several other songs, demonstrates his ability for hitting some astonishingly high notes. The best example is around 2:55, at the end of “he’s alright, he’s alright, yeah, yeah”, where a lot of people mistake his high “yeah” for a guitar note! it’s only when you hear that part in isolation like this that you can clearly tell it’s him. And at the very end of the song you can hear Roger sounding a bit like one of the Bee Gees. There’s a bit of additional piano mixed into this track part way through too, to complement the main piano track.

All the other elements of the song play a crucial role as well, of course:

  • Freddie’s piano that underpins the whole track is a solid and beautiful piece of composition, and when mixed with the vocals makes a perfectly decent song all of its own. It also incorporates the double hand claps sequence in the middle of the song.
  • Brian’s guitar only features in the song for less than 50 seconds in the middle, but as ever he makes it count, with a rhythmic lead-in to his marvellous solo. He gives a little tutorial for the end of the guitar section in his 1983 Star Licks video.
  • John’s bass plays a counter-melody with some nice little touches here and there. Even if you heard this bassline without being told which song it belonged to, you’d still recognise it, as it fits so well.
  • Roger’s percussion is steady and effective, providing a firm rhythm throughout.

By combining the various tracks without Freddie’s lead vocal, you can hear a straight instrumental without any vocals or the instrumental with backing harmonies. Either way, it highlights how all the layers fit together like a perfect jigsaw. You can also sing along using the Karaoke Hits video.

Music Videos

The promotional video shows the band doing a staged recording of the track at Sarm East Studios, London on 4 November 1976, combined with visuals from their Hyde Park show a couple of months earlier (a concert that I discussed in my previous post). Every band member gets a fair amount of screen time, particularly Freddie in his shirt covered in colourful leaves.

John Deacon appears to sing backing vocals during the video, but doesn’t sing on the actual track, so it’s a visual cheat. The head of the band’s road crew, Peter Hince, explained to Mojo magazine in 2009 that: “Aesthetically, you had to have all four around the microphone, but John didn’t sing on the records. By his own admission he didn’t have the voice. He did sing on-stage but the crew always knew to keep the fader very low.” John’s voice can be heard on some bootlegs of live shows, however, so it wasn’t always faded out completely. Peter also told Mojo that the song was “always one of Queen’s best. The studio version was very polished, but on-stage there was so much more guts to it.”

The video has appeared on various “Greatest” video releases by the band, including the Greatest Video Hits I DVD. It’s also included with the 2011 reissue of the album on iTunes.

An alternative video, created from all 4 takes of the studio footage, some of it shown in split screen, was included on the Days Of Our Lives documentary DVD & Blu-ray. So that’s also really fun to watch. There’s also a teaser clip for the documentary on Queen’s Youtube channel that combines some of that music video with comments by the band.

There are also a couple of videos from TV music shows, where dancers performed routines to the song, which was common practice for programmes like Top Of The Pops when artists were unable to appear in person:

And more recently the song was played during the opening credits of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, as the band prepare to play at Live Aid.

Live Performances

Queen Concerts

As if the record itself isn’t special enough, the song comes to life even more on stage. It doesn’t matter that they can’t create a full gospel choir effect, because it’s not necessary with Freddie belting out the lead vocal as passionately and powerfully as he does. And the other band members sing backing vocals too – including John, even if he’s faded down a bit as he doesn’t have as good a voice as the others – but you can always hear Roger providing the higher notes.

Some of their live performances include:

Queen & George Michael

George Michael’s fantastic performance of the song with Queen at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, Wembley Stadium, London on 20 April 1992, backed by a gospel choir and the 72,000-strong crowd, was without doubt the highlight of the show. He absolutely nailed it, making the song his own without trying to copy Freddie, and having the vocal skills to reach some of those tough top notes that few could pull off.

And he engaged with the audience so well too, getting them all clapping and singing along with ease. That moment near the end when the band pauses and he gets the crowd to sing the word “love”, and in unison they do the complex descending melody on that single word perfectly, is just marvellous, embodying the joyful impact that Freddie’s music has had on everyone present. Brian’s huge smile immediately after says it all – he’s rightfully proud, as Freddie would also have been. The experience has also been recalled by Mike Moran, who worked with Queen and Freddie for many years.

As well as being included in the film of the concert, George Michael’s performance was also released on his Five Live EP in 1993, along with These Are The Days Of Our Lives with Lisa Stansfield from the same show, plus a few other live tracks. All proceeds from sales went to the Mercury Phoenix Trust. George & Brian were interviewed by MTV about it at the time.

The EP went straight to number 1 in the UK singles chart for 3 weeks, one of only 4 EPs ever to reach that position (others had been by Demis Roussos, The Special A.K.A. and Erasure). It was eventually bumped off the top spot by All That She Wants by Ace Of Base. And as a result of that chart success, George’s version of Somebody To Love was also included on Queen’s Greatest Hits III and the related VHS video in 1999.

For George himself, his performance came at a very difficult and poignant time. His first love, Anselmo Feleppa, had just been diagnosed with HIV, after they’d both been tested 4 months earlier. Yet George’s homosexuality was still a secret from everyone else, even his own family, and remained so until he came out in 1998. So he was having to deal with his partner’s diagnosis, and the devastating death of Freddie Mercury from complications resulting from AIDS, all by himself. Anselmo passed away from an AIDS related illness in 1993, the year after the concert.

In his 2017 Freedom documentary, George recalled: “I went out there knowing that I had to do 2 things. I had to honour Freddie Mercury and I had to pray for Anselmo. So it was so much to me all in that one performance. I’m so proud of the fact that I held on to that feeling, because I just wanted to die inside. It was just overwhelming for me, and I think what that did was turned on one of the best performances of my career.”

Similarly, in the Red Line interviews he said:

“This was the loudest prayer of my life. And it’s not an accident that the performance, probably most well-known in my career, was sung to my lover who was dying. That will hopefully never happen again. The fact that it happened that way… I mean, my God, talk about destiny.” 

“My subconscious knew this was very probably the most important performance of my life. So I went for five days to rehearse. Everyone else went for an afternoon. I went for five days because it had to be perfect. I think it’s probably my most famous performance.”

He also spoke about rehearsing for the concert in an interview with Chris Evans.

And it certainly was perfect even at the rehearsal stage. The DVD releases of the concert include a video of Queen & George rehearsing the song at Bray Studios, and his rendition is powerful and flawless, just like on the big night. You can tell that he really is taking it seriously and making the most of the experience. And the applause from his peers at the end shows the respect that everyone has for him. And, in hindsight, people have even more respect for his performance now, knowing the struggles he was facing at the time. It clearly took a great deal of courage to do the show, all things considered, so he’s right to be proud of it.

We Will Rock You Musical

The song was featured in Queen’s West End play, and there are several clips where you can see or hear it being performed:

Brian May & Kerry Ellis

Brian and Kerry beautifully adapted this song for their acoustic shows, with Brian on acoustic guitar and Jeff Leach assisting ably on keyboards, while the vocals were shared between Kerry, Brian and the audience. It sounded completely different to the original record but still worked really nicely, and was a great number that everyone was encouraged get involved with. Examples of their performances include:

Kerry’s wonderfully powerful voice suits this song very well, so she’s also performed it independently of Brian with other musicians and groups, including:

She’s also performed the song with Only Men Aloud, who released their own version of it, which I’ll mention in the list of covers below.

Queen & Adam Lambert

You’ll notice that I’ve skipped the Paul Rodgers era here. Paul’s voice wouldn’t have been able to do the song justice so, to the best of my knowledge, the song wasn’t featured in any of the Queen & Paul Rodgers concerts.

Adam Lambert, on the other hand, has the range and power to do it justice in his own style, and gets the audience involved of course. Some later performances begin with Adam accompanied only by Brian on guitar, instead of the traditional piano, before Roger joins in and the song builds.

He’s performed the song with Queen frequently, with examples from concerts and TV appearances that include:

  • The Late Late Show with James Corden, 2 February 2017 – As part of their tour promotion, Queen & Adam appeared on this US comedy chat show for a Front Man Battle, where James unsuccessfully tried to prove that he could be the lead singer. Snippets of various songs were performed during the segment, but a shortened version of Somebody To Love was the big conclusion, with James and Adam doing a duet.

Cover Versions

Being one of Queen’s most popular songs, there are a wealth of different interpretations out there, and it’s testament to Freddie’s talent as a composer that it can be arranged in so many different ways to good effect. So hopefully you’ll find some versions you like among this lot.

Adverts

  • Amazon Music – A Voice Is All You Need – There’s a nice snippet of Freddie singing in this 30 second promo for Alexa.
  • Confused.com 2010 – There’s a nice animation to go with the cover version sung in this advert, of which there is a bit of behind-the-scenes footage of the recording. There was apparently a bit of controversy near the start of the cartoon though, when the central character (Cara) appears to pull the microphone out from between her legs rather than a pocket, and there were complaints about about the over-sexualisation of the characters in later adverts. The ASA regulator also banned their adverts that made the inaccurate claim of being “18 million strong”, as seen in this case.
  • Honda Ridgeline 2016 Superbowl Advert – A flock of sheep sing the song in this commercial, having learnt it in the vehicle they were transported in.

Movies

Glee

Glee’s version has been the inspiration for many of the covers presented later in this post, such was the popularity and influence of the show.

Marc Martel

Lots of people auditioned for Queen Extravaganza in 2011 using this song, in their bid to be part of the official tribute band. And the one that went viral, with over 22 million views at the current count, was Marc Martel’s audition, as many people felt he sounded a lot like Freddie. I wouldn’t say they’re identical by any means, as some seem to suggest, as I can tell them apart very easily, but Marc is still very good. And such was its immediate popularity that he was inited to make a guest appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show just a week after the video was released.

His brother David also put himself forward, incidentally. And he’s good, but he’s not as good as his sibling.

Marc was successful in becoming the lead singer for Queen Extravaganza, and sang this track with them on many occasions, including:

And he’s done various other performances of the song too, including:

Other Male Singers

  • Troye Sivan recorded his version as one of 3 tracks commissioned by Universal to celebrate the release of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, with proceeds going to The Mercury Phoenix Trust. He said he was “beyond honored” to record the song, while Queen’s manager Jim Beach described his version as “moving and totally original”.
  • Yvan Pedneault released his version as a single.
  • Other singers who have performed the song live include Jeff Scott Soto (with his band at a 2003 Queen convention), Joe Victor (on piano with backing vocalists at Sofar Milan in 2018), Piano Man Len (on piano with his band), Ravi Amruth (a lockdown session on guitar at Acoustic Sanctuary in November 2020) Riki Putra (with the Bhinneka Orchestra & Chorus), Robby Valentine (in 2011 on piano, with the audience joining in, plus a later performance with his band in 2017), Timur Lezgishvily (a young boy giving a very respectable performance while dressed as Freddie at the 2018 Slavyansky Bazar festival in Belarus), VanVelzen (with the Chosen Gospel Choir) & Waylon (with a backing band, and duetting with a recording of Freddie Mercury, on Dutch TV talk show De Wereld Draait Door).

Other Female Singers

Bands

Choral & Operatic

A Cappella

And many other a cappella choirs and groups have performed the song live in concert:

TV Talent Show Singers

A lot of contestants have performed shortened adaptations of the song as they try to win the judges and audiences over. So these attempts, all sung in English, are very variable in terms of style and quality, and none come close to Queen of course. But now you can be the judge as to which ones are best:

Foreign Versions

Instrumentals

Dances

Remixes & Parodies


7. White Man

Written by Brian May

See also: Ultimate Queen / Song Facts / Lyric Video

This song, released as the B-side of Somebody To Love, is about Native Americans suffering at the hands of European colonists, poetically summarising their plight. It’s a heavy topic, and the song’s in a suitably heavy style to match – apart from the calm intro and outro sections that reflect how their idyllic lives have been disrupted, and which use the same melody as heard in the album’s lead-in section prior to Tie Your Mother Down. It’s a great rock track all round, with powerful guitars and percussion to accompany Freddie’s impassioned vocals.

When asked by Kenny Everett in his Capital Radio interview how they were able to make such a big noise on one record, after they had heard this song, Freddie replied: “That’s Mike Stone our engineer. We’re very bad in the studio for that actually. The poor engineer has to really suffer, because we really want as much level as possible, and we keep pushing the faders up and he keeps looking at the meters and going ‘Oh, it’ll never cut’. And then we give him the added task of going over to New York or wherever and saying ‘Make sure that cut’s as loud as possible’.” And Kenny explains to the listeners that “if a noise is too loud on a record, the little wobbly groove grunges into the groove next door, and the record skips.”

Live Performances

Queen played the song in concert during their tours for A Day At The Races and News Of The World, from which you can see recordings at Earls Court, London on 6 June 1977 and The Summit, Houston, Texas on 11 December 1977, and there are other poorer quality bootlegs out there. They never performed it beyond that tour as far as I’m aware, but a few vocal and guitar elements did make brief appearances in some concerts. There was even a nod to it in the later tours with Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert, as part of the guitar intro to Fat Bottomed Girls.

Cover Versions

In stark contrast to the previous smash hit song, there are hardly any covers for this deep cut album track:


8. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy

Written by Freddie Mercury

See also: Ultimate Queen / Wikipedia / Song Facts / Lyric Video

Note: The Lyric Video uses the Top Of The Pops recording of the track, which differs from the album version as noted below.

Again a big contrast to the track preceding it, this delightfully jolly, romantic, harmony-rich, music hall style song was released on 20 May 1977 on Queen’s first extended play single (with Death On Two Legs, Tenement Funster & White Queen). It entered the charts at number 36 and peaked at 17 on 2 occasions during its 10 weeks in the top 40.

In his Capital Radio interview with Kenny Everett (who introduces the song as “a little frilly number”), Freddie remarks that “It’s in my ragtime mood that I get a chance to do on every album. And this time, yes, this is something I came up with this time around.”

Freddie sang the bridge line in the song (“Hey boy, where’d you get it from? Hey boy, where did you go?”) with their record producer Mike Stone, a rare instance of a non-band member contributing vocals.

Music Videos

The band performed the song on Top Of The Pops in July 1977 to promote the EP, by miming to a new recording made at BBC TV Centre in Shepherd’s Bush especially for the show. It’s similar to the album version of course, but it’s a little bit faster, Freddie sings the vocals afresh and plays some different piano, Brian plays a new guitar solo, and Roger sings more prominent vocals including the line Mike Stone had on the original. So it’s an enjoyable alternative version. The video is among the bonus features on the Greatest Video Hits 1 DVD, and the audio was included as a bonus track on the 2011 reissue of the album.

An alternative music video, syncing the album version with footage of the band performing the song live at Earl’s Court and other venues, was included on the 1992 Greatest Hits VHS tape released only in the USA.

Live Performances

Queen performed a shortened version of the song as part of a medley during their A Day At The Races and News Of The World tours. There are no official releases of such versions, but you can see videos online from Earls Court, London on 6 June 1977 and The Summit, Houston, Texas on 11 December 1977.

Cover Versions

There are also many instrumental versions out there, including:

There are also dance routines performed by Cecily Stewart MacDougall (a ballet duet), LA Unbound (a live group performance) & Laurel Butler (a quartet doing an expressive routine).


9. Drowse

Written by Roger Taylor

See also: Ultimate Queen / Lyric Video

Roger sings the lead vocal here, reminiscing about his younger days, as well as playing electric rhythm guitar and timpani, while Brian plays slide guitar. It’s his only composition for the album and is in 6/8 time, just like I’m In Love With My Car on the previous album. I  much prefer his car song personally, but he does sing Drowse very nicely and the lyrics are quite poetic.

Queen have never performed the song live, though it was rehearsed with Adam Lambert prior to their Rock Big Ben Live show on New Year’s Eve 2014, after the track had been included on the Queen Forever compilation the previous month.

Cover Versions

We’re very much back in the realm of barely-covered songs with this one, which isn’t a surprise. The only notable renditions I can find are a recording by AB & The Gin House Bandits on the Horse Feathers & Animal Crackers tribute album, a music video by Norman Kapoyos & The Swinging Mood Orchestra, a live performance in Italy by tribute group Queen Obsession, and a solo cover on acoustic guitar by Mark Vayngrib.


10. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)

Written by Brian May

See also: Ultimate Queen / Wikipedia / Lyric Video

Queen have had an enormous following in Japan from early on in their career that continues to this day. The band first performed in Japan in spring 1975, where they had a very busy tour. And the close bond they formed with their fans back then has persisted to this day. Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop the country celebrating the 45th anniversary of the band’s arrival on 17 April 2020, a date officially known as Queen Day!

This song, therefore, was the band’s way of gratefully returning the love to their Japanese fans. It was exclusively released as a single in the country, reaching #49 in the charts, and has been included on Japanese Greatest Hits compilations as well. In March 2011 it was also released on the Songs For Japan charity compilation album, in support of those affected by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

It’s a beautiful track that makes use of harmonium and plastic piano, both of which are played by Brian in addition to his guitar, along with wonderful vocals, enhanced further by a local choir brought in for the chorus at the end.

And the most striking feature, of course, is that it has 2 choruses sung entirely in Japanese. Only 2 other Queen songs have choruses sung in a foreign language (Las Palabras De Amor & Mustapha), so it’s all the more unique in that regard. The band had help to interpret the lyrics from their friend Chika Kujiraoka, who they credit on the album sleeve.

  • An accurate translation from the actual Japanese, according to Wikipedia, would be: “Let’s go hand in hand, my beloved. In a quiet evening, light the light, embracing loving teachings.”
  • The English chorus in the song is a more poetic interpretation: ““Let us cling together as the years go by, oh my love, my love. In the quiet of the night, let our candle always burn, let us never lose the lessons we have learned.”

On the album, the track finishes with a 1-minute Shepard tone melody that continuously rises. This is a repeat of the same tune that precedes the first track, Tie Your Mother Down, bringing the album full circle, and as such you can find out more about it in my previous post. The edits of the song on the single and Greatest Hits albums in Japan fade out early during that outro.

Alternate Versions

There is a short extract from an alternative take circulating online, taken from a 10″ Wessex reel to reel master tape, which features slightly different background vocals.

In 2005 a new High Definition Mix was released on the Jewels II compilation album in Japan, including the Shephard tone melody at the end. And 6 years later a stand-alone edit of the HD mix, which omits the Shephard tone outro and brings the song to a definitive end instead, was included as a bonus track on the 2011 reissue of A Day At The Races.  Brian had always been happy with the original mix, but subsequent advances in technology enabled him to revisit it, generating a fresh version that gives more clarity to some of the background vocals and instrumentation. It sounds really nice as a result.

Live Performances

Queen have only ever played this song in their Japanese concerts, given that it was written especially for their fans in the country. Brian May has sung it at their gigs since Freddie’s death, and also provides the only exception I can find of the song being performed elsewhere in the world.

Queen

Queen played this song in their Japanese shows during their tours from 1979 to 1982. These concerts would always be very late in each tour, sometimes at the very end, so occasionally you can hear that Freddie’s voice is tired and cracking a bit. But he sings this song beautifully in any case. Brian, meanwhile, would play the piano for this number, just as he does on the album, a rare sight for him to do so on stage.

Examples of the band’s various live performances include:

The Brian May Band

Queen + Paul Rodgers

These versions build as they progress, starting off as an acoustic solo by Brian, before Roger joins in with backing vocals and percussion, and then it becomes a full band performance as Paul joins them for the bridge section onwards.

Queen + Adam Lambert

Adam himself isn’t involved with these performances, which are part of Brian’s solo acoustic sets during their shows:

Cover Versions

Meanwhile, instrumental versions include:


Conclusion

And that brings us to the end of the album. There are a couple of less well-known songs on this second side that are perhaps the weakest tracks when compared to everything else on the record. And inevitably the album isn’t quite as good as its Night At The Opera predecessor. But such margins of quality between tracks and albums are small, there isn’t a bad song here. As ever we’re gifted with a fascinating variety of themes and styles that are all distinctively Queen, and it’s all very enjoyable to listen to. So I hope you’ve enjoyed my detailed run-through!

Check out my Queen & Covers playlists to explore the official videos, live performances, rarities, and other versions of the songs, including videos not mentioned above. I’ll update them in the future as I become aware of new videos. And if there are others I should check out and consider adding to these or any of my Queen playlists, do let me know. And I’ll see you again soon for the next album, News Of The World!

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger & Youtuber with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

4 thoughts on “Queen At 50 Reviews – A Day At The Races – Part 2”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.