Queen At 50 Reviews – Jazz – Part 1

Booklet cover spread for the Jazz album by Queen. The front cover is full of white concentric circles on a black background. The outermost circle is bright and bold, with thin circles radiating inwards. The centre of the cover has 10 thicker circles, and protruding from the smallest innermost circle is the word Jazz in pink letters. The back cover has a white background, with half of the front cover image on the left, mirrored and with the colours inverted, while on the right is the track listing in black text.

Last updated 29 June 2022

Following News Of The World, an album of raw energy that spawned the mega-hits We Will Rock You & We Are The Champions, on top of their previous successes, was always going to be a very tall order for Queen. But, as always, they weren’t deterred by that, and opted to explore a variety of musical styles on their 7th album (though not including jazz itself as the title might suggest). And it didn’t do them any harm, as the LP peaked at Number 2 in the UK charts (held off the top spot by the Grease soundtrack), and Number 6 on the US Billboard Chart, going Platinum in both countries.

Overall the album perhaps isn’t as stunning as some of their previous work, but only because of the incredibly high bar they’d set themselves, and it’s still really good in its own right. For a start, it gave us their well-loved songs Fat Bottomed Girls, Bicycle Race and Don’t Stop Me Now, a trio that makes it worth the price of entry alone (although surprisingly the latter wasn’t a big hit to begin with). And the other ten tracks are an enjoyable mixture too, with some relatively obscure gems amongst them as usual.

The heavy criticism it received in the music press at the time was certainly unwarranted, with the band even being described as “fascist” and “creeps” with “polluting ideas” by Rolling Stone reviewer Dave Marsh. But it was often fashionable for music critics to bash the band, and reviewers tended to be thrown off guard whenever Queen tried something different (which was always), not knowing how to react to it and simply not ‘getting it’. Queen’s humour and sense of fun often went over journalists’ heads.

Hindsight has been kinder though, with retrospective reviews often being more favourable, such as Loudersound ranking it as their 4th best album, and Rolling Stone magazine admitting they were wrong. It is now rightly acknowledged that the album is rather underrated, as it’s never had as much attention as some of their earlier work.

And so, as the latest instalment in my Queen At 50 series, this post is my personal run-through of all the tracks on Side 1 of the album, including the usual mixture of alternate versions, live performances, covers and more. Freddie Mercury dominates here, with 4 of the 6 songs written by him, while Brian and John contribute one each. Then in my next post I’ll share my review of Side 2. I hope you enjoy!

The album was recorded at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland and Super Bear in Nice, France. The move was partly for tax reasons, but Freddie also loved Montreux anyway, including the Montreux Jazz Festival. So much so that he decided to buy Mountain Studios on behalf of the group, as well as the Mountain View apartment for himself overlooking Lake Geneva. A bronze statue of Freddie has stood by the lake since 1996 to reflect his love for the area, and is constantly adorned with flowers, poems, drawings, photos, etc by visiting Queen fans. I’d love to take a visit one day. The band also brought back producer Roy Thomas Baker for one last time, who had worked on their first 4 albums.

The album and the associated Jazz tour (which resulted in an album of its own, Live Killers, from its European shows), was then launched with one of the band’s lavish parties on 31 October 1978, held at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans. 80 reporters and 52 EMI Managing Directors were among the hundreds of guests in attendance. The partygoers and the entertainers covered a huge range of nationalities, ethnicities, sexualities, body shapes and sizes, etc. Everyone was welcome at Queen’s parties as long as they had a good time, Freddie always made absolutely sure of that.

According to Queen themselves, along with UDiscover, Classic Rock magazine and various other sources, the many unusual forms of entertainment included dwarves covered in meat (surprising anyone who tried to take a serving!), naked female mud-wrestlers, fire-eaters, jazz and steel bands, Zulu and voodoo dancers, transsexual strippers, drag artists, unicyclists, and a fat nude lady who would smoke cigarettes from a rather intimate area. Several bars on Bourbon Street reportedly had to close for the night because all of their entertainment was taken. The rumours about dwarves carrying trays of cocaine on their heads have been dismissed as nonsense by some of those involved, but nevertheless it was clearly an expensive and excessive night of delightful debauchery, with lots of food, drink, nudity, music and extreme entertainment. The album may simply have been called Jazz, but Queen knew how to live the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle!

Contents

See also: Ultimate Queen / Queen Vault / Wikipedia / UDiscover

The tracks on Side 1 of the album are as follows. Click their names to jump to the reviews:

  1. Mustapha
  2. Fat Bottomed Girls
  3. Jealousy
  4. Bicycle Race
  5. If You Can’t Beat Them
  6. Let Me Entertain You

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


1. Mustapha

Written by Freddie Mercury

See also: Ultimate QueenWikipediaLyric Video / Montage Video

In this rather unusual opening track, it sounds like Freddie is making a Muslim call to prayer during his powerful a cappella intro, before it becomes a catchy rocker with some nice piano and guitar work. The lyrics cannot be fully translated and understood, so it’s not clear whether there’s a deep meaning to the song, or if Freddie’s just messing around, or some combination of both. But he sings powerfully in a mixture of English, Arabic and Persian, including some apparently made-up or obscure phrases. And it clearly ties in to his Parsi background, as he was born in Zanzibar to parents with western Indian roots who practised Zoroastrianism.

It was released as a single in 1979 in Germany & Spain (with Dead On Time as the B-side), along with Bolivia & Yugoslavia (accompanied by In Only Seven Days), but in no other countries.

Live Performances

The song was performed in full at several concerts between 1979 and 1981, with Freddie at the piano after his powerfully sung intro. There are no official professional recordings of it unfortunately, but some of the reasonable quality bootlegged examples include:

Meanwhile at various other concerts, Freddie’s a cappella intro served as the lead-in to other songs, for example:

There’s also a very rare performance of Brian May singing the intro, as a lead-in to Back To The Light, during a show at Wildparkstadion, Karlsruhe, Germany on 22 June 1993.

Cover Versions

There are a fair number of varied covers for this song.


2. Fat Bottomed Girls

Written by Brian May

See also: Ultimate QueenWikipedia / Song Facts / Lyric Video

This classic and catchy rock song is a very enjoyable and cheeky celebration of the larger lady. It did cause a little wave of controversy among a few music critics and other people who felt it was sexist or objectified women – but Queen didn’t intend any harm by it, and the overwhelming majority of Queen fans love it.

Brian May, who shares lead vocals with Freddie on the track, once explained: “It brought us a lot of flak, but it’s a piece of fun. It was meant to be very complimentary, I mean, that’s the way I certainly felt about it.” And in an interview with Mojo Magazine in 2008, he said: “On the face of it, it’s a heterosexual song because it’s called ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’, but I was totally aware of Freddie’s proclivities and the fact he was going to sing it. Plus, some of the inspiration for the song came from stuff that I saw in Freddie’s life as well as my own. So it’s actually not so much of a heterosexual song as you might think. It’s a sort of pansexual song. There are so many ways you can take it.”

The track was released as a double A-side single with Bicycle Race, because both songs make reference to each other – in Fat Bottomed Girls, Freddie declares “Get on your bikes and ride!”, whilst in Bicycle Race the band sing “Fat bottomed girls, they’ll be riding today”. The single reached number 11 in the UK (spending 12 weeks in the chart, 4 of them in the top 20) and number 24 in the US – so not as successful as some of their other singles, but still a fairly decent result.

It’s interesting how there are sections during the first 90 seconds of the full track where the guitar is focused purely on the left channel, which is of course most noticeable when listening with headphones. It’s an odd effect, but it makes the complete mix feel all the more powerful when it kicks in seconds later.

When the album version of the song was remastered by EMI, it suffered from a tape glitch, where a pop or click sound can be heard at the start of the second line in the intro. This appeared on the 1994 CD release of Jazz, the Queen Rocks compilation and on the B-side of the Let Me Live CD single. The anomaly was finally repaired for the album’s 2011 reissue, which I was glad about as it had always niggled me when hearing the song!

Alternate Edits & Remixes

The single edit (included on Greatest Hits in the UK and as a bonus track on the 2011 reissue of the Jazz album), is shorter than the album version by almost a minute, trimming a lot of the great guitar sections to get to the vocals faster, and fading out before the end. It’s very effective for those who want to get straight into the meat of the song, and works better for radio airplay for that reason. But the album version is undoubtedly better, as the additional guitar work is of course great.

Other versions that have been released include:

  • Brian Malouf Remix – This was included on the 1991 Hollywood Records reissue of the album. It doesn’t mess around with the track too much, just adding some minor effects to the vocals, guitar and drums. It’s the outro section that’s of most interest, however, because it features additional vocals from Freddie that aren’t on the original version, which were either unused parts from the multitracks or have been lifted from an alternate take.
  • Organized Konfusion Remix – A remix by a New York hip hop duo, included on Basic Queen Bootlegs, a very rare Hollywood Records promo CD that never had a full release in the end. While it appears to use some alternate vocal takes by Freddie, giving it some level of interest, it’s ruined by the rapping and the hip hop beat. The remix also includes samples from We Will Rock You and Bicycle Race.

Isolated Tracks

The multitracks for this song that have been shared online consist of the usual elements. The vocals consist of powerful delivery from Freddie as always, and there are nice harmonies in the chorus, while Brian gives a solid and exciting performance on guitar (and this is one of only a few Queen songs to be played with Drop-D guitar tuning). Roger’s steady percussion is the least exciting track, as it’s very basic until it gets to the chorus, and doesn’t have much of major interest thereafter, apart from a few nice fills. But John’s bass is the catchy, rhythmic, hidden gem amongst it all, as it gets so buried in the final mix you barely pay it attention, which is a shame as it’s very cool with nice variations throughout. There are also some fascinating alternate vocals and guitar parts out there as well.

Music Video

The music video for this song was filmed at the Dallas Convention Centre in Texas on 28 October 1978, during rehearsals for the 1978 North America & Canada tour. With a bare-chested Freddie in shiny PVC trousers taking centre stage, the band play under their huge ‘Pizza Oven’ lighting rig from the tour, so named as it gave off a lot of heat.

The video uses the single edit of the song, and has been included on a few different releases, ending with either a fade-out (on Greatest Flix & Greatest Karaoke Hits) or the closing drums from the album version (on the US-only Greatest Hits VHS, Queen Rocks & the Greatest Video Hits 1 DVD). The Queen Rocks video also mixes in footage of mud wrestling from Magic Years Volume 2.

Brian and Roger give an audio commentary on the GVH1 DVD, where they criticise how it was directed and edited, as Brian and John don’t get much coverage and it feels very ‘static’ overall, and they explain how the band didn’t have much control over the video production process.

Live Performances

Queen

The song was, and still is, a fabulous rocker live on stage, and Queen performed it between 1978 and 1982. Freddie does a great job on lead vocals as usual, while Brian and Roger provide lower and higher harmonies respectively during the choruses. This is a slightly different arrangement to the studio recording, where it’s actually Brian who sings the lead vocals during the chorus. Freddie often dedicates the song to the girls in the audience, or tells them that it’s about “great big tits and a great big ass”, eliciting a cheer from the crowd as he gives his own backside a slap.

Examples of their performances include:

Brian May Solo

Brian included the song on the setlist for his 1998 Another World tour. There are only rough quality bootlegs available, but they’re still an enjoyably rare chance to hear him leading the song he wrote.

Queen + Paul Rodgers

From 2005-2008 the song was included on the band’s collaborative tours with Paul Rodgers, and it suits his singing style. This is also where Brian starts to play around on the guitar more for this song, extending the intro and outro sections as he sees fit. Examples of their performances include:

Queen + Adam Lambert

The song has continued to be a hit with audiences during the Adam Lambert gigs, with examples including:

2-page spread from the Live Around The World album booklet by Queen and Adam Lambert. The left page shows Brian and Roger performing on the guitar and drums respectively, with Brian dressed in a metallic robot style mask and outfit. On the right page, Brian triumphantly plays his guitar surrounded by enthusiastic cheerleaders wearing very revealing blue and white outfits.

Cover Versions

The catchy, feel-good nature of this song has inspired a myriad of artists to cover it in a variety of styles.

We Will Rock You Musical

  • Musical Dome, Cologne, Germany – Released on the 2005 German Cast Recording, but performed in English, this is the only time the song has appeared on any official soundtrack album from the musical. It begins by playing the opening vocals of Queen’s original track, before the character of Killer Queen takes over, with minor adaptations to the lyrics to suit her character and the story.

TV Appearances

  • Al Murray’s Happy Hour – On this comedy chat show, musical guests would join the host to cover a Queen song at the end of each episode. The song was first performed by The Feeling in Series 1, Episode 2 – for which there isn’t a clip available, but you can see them performing it live at the University of East Anglia on 16 February 2007, the first of many times they would play the song during their tour that year. The song was then played again on Al Murray’s show by Bryan Adams in Series 2, Episode 9.
  • The Daily Politics – The song made a completely unintended appearance during an episode of this topical discussion show in 2014, when BBC political editor Nick Robinson‘s phone went off, revealing it to be his ringtone!

The song has also been featured or referenced on TV and in movies in various other ways, including:

Country Bands

The song has proven to be very popular with country and bluegrass musicians, and is sometimes much faster than the original. The most notable covers have been performed by 2 groups in particular:

Other country versions include:

Rock & Metal Covers

  • Marc Martel:
    • Marc Martel & Ultimate Queen Celebration – Released as a single.
    • Duet with Queen’s version – Clever edited by Youtuber Dany Fil.
    • Live in Hammersmith (with Queen Extravaganza) & Tulsa (at Hard Rock Hotel).
    • In the description for his version, Marc notes: “It is one of the more polarizing songs in the Queen catalog, from my own experience. It’s almost always included in the set list, no matter where I play with a band. If we are overseas – anywhere overseas – it goes over like some lesser-known deep cut, even in Queen’s homeland of England. But the moment we sing that harmonic intro in the USA, everyone is on their feet and ready to party. I guess maybe we have the American Food & Drug Administration for that. Thanks, FDA! America, especially, loves Fat Bottomed Girls, and they are none too shy to show it. Always a good time. Thanks to Brian May for penning a good ol’ fashioned down and dirty barn-burner!”

Other Song Styles

A Cappella Groups

Instrumentals

Parodies

Remixes

Dances


3. Jealousy

Written by Freddie Mercury

See also: Ultimate QueenWikipedia / Lyric Video

This is a beautiful little ballad, its theme very obvious from the title. It was released in April 1979, as the 4th and final single from the album, in the USA, Canada, New Zealand & Brazil, with Fun It as the B-side. It was also the only single they released in the USSR, where the flipside was Don’t Stop Me Now. It didn’t get anywhere in the charts though, and they never performed it live either. So it is one of their lesser-known, underrated pieces, which is a shame.

The song has lovely vocals, harmonies and piano playing by Freddie, and also features a nice sitar-like sound on the acoustic guitar, as Brian explained in the January 1983 issue of Guitar Player in the US: “I have a very old, cheap Hairfred which makes that buzzy sound that’s on Jealousy [Jazz] and White Queen [Queen II]. I’ve never seen another one like it. I made it sound like a sitar by taking off the original bridge and putting a hardwood bridge on. I chiseled away at it until it was flat and stuck little piece of fretwire material underneath. The strings just very gently lay on the fretwire, and it makes that sitar-like sound.”

Brian was slightly misquoted there though, as it later transpired he was actually referring to a Hallfredh guitar, which on his website he later confirmed he also used on The Night Comes Down (on their debut album).

However, that clarification is minor compared to a significant correction to the track itself. The original release of the song had the bass drum part accidentally omitted, and the error was only rectified decades later on the 2011 reissue of the album, along with the compilation Deep Cuts: Volume 2. In all other respects the song remains the same. I still have my copy of the 1994 CD release, and in comparison to the 2011 remaster I can clearly hear the difference.

There is also an early instrumental take that was played at the 20th International Fan Club Convention in Prestatyn, which is a different piano, bass and drum track to the final mix. It’s interesting to hear the song in a slightly different form like this, including an unused bridge that partly resurfaced in Play The Game, provided you can put up with the incessant “Property of Queen Productions” watermark they always add at these events.

Cover Versions

There are a small selection of covers out there, including:


4. Bicycle Race

Written by Freddie Mercury

See also: Ultimate QueenWikipedia / Song Facts / Lyric Video

Note: Due to the nudity in the promo video shoot, some videos here are age-restricted on Youtube, meaning you need to be over 18 and signed in to a Youtube account in order to view them.

Another of Queen’s classic hits, Freddie was inspired to write this entertaining, lively, silly song when he saw the Tour de France passing by his hotel in Montreux. It was released as a double A-side single with Fat Bottomed Girls, with both tracks making reference to each other, as explained earlier for that song.

Bicycle Race is a complex composition as well, including wonderful vocal and guitar harmonies, a solo of bicycle bells, unusual chord progressions, and changes in time signature between 4/4 and 6/8. Plus there are several cultural and topical references in the lyrics, which don’t necessarily reflect Freddie’s personal interests, as Brian May explained on his website:

“Did you ever read Moby-Dick? I always remember the first words were ‘Call me Ishmael‘. But of course Herman Melville wasn’t Ishmael. As with a novel, just because a song is written in the first person doesn’t mean it’s in any way autobiographical. As I remember, Freddie liked Star Wars a lot, and he actually wasn’t very keen on riding his bicycle (if he even had one!) – he preferred being driven in a Rolls-Royce! But he created a character in the song, and this character can say what he wants, and he can ride his bicycle where he likes!”

And to prove the Star Wars point further, Freddie even sat on Darth Vader’s shoulders during some of the band’s shows!

You can also see Roger Taylor briefly discussing how Freddie was inspired to write the song on The Richard & Judy Show in 2005 and Absolute Radio in 2011.

Alternate Mixes

  • Instrumental Version – This was included in the 2011 reissue of the album, and is really cool to hear, as it omits all the lead and backing vocals so you can focus purely on the music, but you do hear Freddie doing a short count-in at the start. A Karaoke Version that retains the backing vocals had previously been released on Greatest Karaoke Hits.
  • Junior Vasquez Remix – This very strange dance remix was included on the 1991 Hollywood Records remaster of the album. It only keeps the vocals, while replacing everything else with a hip hop beat, piano loops and other effects. It gives the song a very different feel, and not in a good way.
  • There were also a couple of rare vinyl releases in the US. One was a 1978 12″ promo record that had both Bicycle Race and the single edit of Fat Bottomed Girls on both sides of the record. Side A played Fat Bottomed Girls first, while Side B played Bicycle Race first. Then in 1979 a 12″ Columbia release of Crazy Little Thing Called Love featured a version that was extended by restarting the song when it reached the bell-ringing section, but in all other respects was the same as the original mix.

Isolated Tracks

Given the complexities of this song, it’s fantastic to be able to hear the individual parts from the multitracks in isolation. There are several aspects that get buried or are just easily missed in the final mix, so all the stems hold little moments that you’ve probably never noticed before. The vocals are wonderfully sung and harmonised for starters of course. Meanwhile Freddie’s beautiful piano playing and Brian’s excellent guitar work (including his racing solo) can be much more thoroughly appreciated, as they deserve to be. We also get one of the more interesting percussion tracks by Roger here, as there’s a lot of variation. And John’s entertaining counter-melodies on the bass are fabulous yet, as ever, sadly overlooked by many.

Music Videos

The notorious promo shoot for this song, filmed by Dennis De Vallance on 17 September 1978, featured 65 naked female models cycling around Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium in London. The band had hired the venue and the bikes for the day, but cycling rental firm Halfords insisted that they purchase all the saddles instead of returning them, after learning what they were being used for!

Photos of the naked bicycle race appeared in some newspapers, and a poster from the shoot was included with many releases of the Jazz album. In America, however, to avoid causing offence, an order form was included instead, so that people could send off for the free poster if they wanted it. A small version of the poster was also included with the Crown Jewels box set. Also, in most countries, the covers of the Fat Bottomed Girls/Bicycle Race single included an image of a naked woman on a bike, viewed from the rear with a red bikini bottom painted over the top (plus a bra in American editions). An alternate single cover on some releases used a small version of the poster mentioned above.

A few different versions of the promo video have come out over the years:

  • Original Version – This is a collage video that was released on the Greatest Flix, Greatest Hits & Greatest Karaoke Flix VHS tapes. It mixes glimpses of the band performing in Hyde Park in 1976 with animated visuals relating to the lyrics, plus footage of the naked bicycle race that has been heavily censored using colourful special effects (though that still didn’t stop the video being banned in several countries, including China).
  • Greatest Video Hits Version – David Mallet created a completely new video for the Greatest Video Hits I DVD in 2002, using uncensored footage of the bicycle race from 17 September 1978 that had been discovered in the vaults, combined with visuals of Queen performing the song at the Convention Center in Dallas, Texas on 28 October. The audio commentary with the song mainly features archive audio of Freddie talking about making promo videos for other countries and the chemistry between the band members. There’s no actual discussion of the song or video itself, other than a brief line from Roger saying they wished they were at the shoot because it looked like fun.
  • A clean version of the promo video was included with the 2011 iTunes reissue of the Jazz album. It features only the visuals of Queen performing the song in Dallas, excluding the bicycle race entirely, apart from a fleeting glimpse of bicycle bells being rung during that brief solo.

Further extracts from the video shoot were also shown in a couple of documentaries:

  • Killer Queen (Channel 4, 2002) – Accompanied by interviews with Halford’s marketing manager, one of the racers, Status Quo and Brian May.
  • Days Of Our Lives (DVD & Blu-ray, 2011) – Accompanied by interviews with Brian about the Tour De France inspiring the track and ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’, and interviews with Roger and Roy Thomas Baker about the video.

Live Performances

Queen played the song as part of a medley during concerts on their Jazz tour, including Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany on 2 February 1979 (released on the Live Killers album) and Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan on 25 April 1979. It was very popular too, so much so that cycling shops near the gig venues would quickly sell out of bicycle bells, as fans snapped them up in order to ring them during the song.

There were also a few rare instances where scantily-clad women on bikes did actually join Queen on stage, cued by the line “Get on your bikes and ride!” near the end of Fat Bottomed Girls. This happened at Madison Square Garden, New York, USA on 17 November 1978, then the following year at Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle, Munich, Germany on 10 February & 11 February 1979. While there isn’t video evidence from the concerts themselves, there is some fun footage of Queen rehearsing the song with the girls on bikes, in a German TV report about the second Munich show. Only 6 songs from the actual gig were filmed for broadcast on German TV, not including Fat Bottomed Girls or Bicycle Race.

More recently the song has been resurrected in concert by Queen + Adam Lambert. During the 2017-18 tour Adam would sit on a tricycle with a basket of flowers on the back. Then during the Rhapsody Tour from 2019 onwards he straddles a large motorcycle that emerges from beneath the stage. Examples of their performances include:

Cover Versions

As with its sister song Fat Bottomed Girls, there are a lot of covers for this too.

Tribute & Cover Albums

Other Single & Album Releases

Other Rock Performances

Liverpool indie band The Wombats performed the song on Series 2, Episode 7 of Al Murray’s Happy Hour on 23 February 2008, but there isn’t a video available for that. Other rock covers you can hear, however, include:

Other Vocal Performances

Instrumentals

Choreography

Miscellaneous


5. If You Can’t Beat Them

Written by John Deacon

See also: Ultimate Queen / Lyric Video

This is a fun and catchy rock song by John about getting stuck in and playing others at their own game, particularly in the entertainment industry, with references to being wined and dined and then bound to a legal contract. All of the guitars on the track are played by Brian, which is relatively unusual.

Live Performances

This was a popular song in concert, for the brief period it was in the setlist in the late 70s. While no recordings of it have yet been officially released on their live albums, you can see and hear a few examples online from:

Cover Versions

As this is a little-known and thus under-appreciated album track, there are barely any covers of this song. The only ones of any note are by:


6. Let Me Entertain You

Written by Freddie Mercury

See also: Ultimate Queen / Lyric Video

Not to be confused with a rather well-known song by a certain Robbie Williams, this very different but fabulous Freddie composition is also about stirring up the crowds, and demonstrates the band’s power as rock gods. It would have worked well as the opening track on the album.

The lyrics contain references to the band’s tour manager (Gerry Stickells, who passed away in 2019) and their record labels at the time – “If you need a fix, if you want a high, Stickells will see to that. With Elektra and EMI, we’ll show you where it’s at.” There are also nods to Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, and Teo Torriate from A Day At The Races (“we’ll sing to you in Japanese”).

Alternate Mix

An alternate mix of the track was played at the 2006 Dutch Fan Club Convention – hence the audience recording available online is poor quality, and there are the regular “Property Of Queen Productions” voiceovers. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to hear, as it has a ‘live’ drum track, and the outro is extended with a group of people singing the chorus of We Are The Champions.

Live Performances

This song was obviously designed with concerts in mind, and so was always a fantastic rocker on stage, heavier and faster than the studio version. It appeared in their gigs from 1978-81, appropriately played near the start each time. It tended to be the second or third song, usually coming after the fast version of We Will Rock You, but it was the opener at a few gigs on their Crazy Tour, including their first night in Newcastle on 3 December 1979.

Examples of their performances are available from:

Cover Versions

Being another deep album cut, not many people have covered this song. The few versions that exist include:

  • Marc Martel – Performed with a backing band, followed by an extensive interview with Marc and a deep dive into the multitracks, which you can download for free if you sign up to Produce Like A Pro. The same performance, without the additional material, can also be seen on Marc’s channel, where he just spends a couple of minutes at the start explaining how it came about and crediting the band members. He also released the performance as a single.

Conclusion

And that brings us to the end of Side 1 of the album, I hope you enjoyed my exploration of those 6 great tracks. As ever, it just goes to show it’s always worth digging beyond the greatest hits – those fat bottomed girls on their bikes are riding by some other wonderful delights here.

As always, you can check out my Queen & Covers playlists to see the official videos, live performances, rarities, and other versions of the songs collected together. I’ll update them, and this post, 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.

There are still 7 more tracks to go, including the magnificent sing-along Don’t Stop Me Now of course. So join me again soon for my look at Side 2!

 

Author: Glen

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

2 thoughts on “Queen At 50 Reviews – Jazz – Part 1”

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 )

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.

%d bloggers like this: