Saturday, November 25, 2006


Elle leaves Freddie Mercury a message at Garden Lodge, June 2005

Because it is the anniversary of the death of one, Freddie Mercury, I decided to post some of my favourite Queen rarities. Ever since I was 8 years old, I have considered Freddie to be my first and favourite. I will always adore his dynamic personality, presence and stage performance. I will always swoon at his persistence, drive and passion.. and needless to say I will always wish for his creativity, musical skill and integrity. He's quite the benchmark to have. But unfortunately it means ma other bands miss out on ridiculous lashings of love, because quite frankly, they suck in comparison.

Queen - Mad the Swine (Recorded for Queen I, 1973) (currently offline)
This song was recorded (and rejected) for Queen's first album, simply entitled Queen I (1973). This song was the one of their first biblical songs, along with Jesus . Many of the band's early tracks such as My Fairy Queen, Great King Rat, Ogre Battle and The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke feature mythological scenes with lush language and imagery. The band and their producer Roy Thomas Baker couldn't agree on "the quality of percussion" so the song was consequently left off the album altogether. This later reappeared as a b-side to the single Headlong.

Queen - Rock'n'Roll Medley (Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1975)
The moment Freddie emerges in a kimono you know you're in for something so wonderfully over-the-top. The moment he disrobes you're not quite sure what to expect, but it's well worth if it you decide to uncover your eyes.

Queen - The Prophet Song (Live in Osaka, 1976) (currently offline)
Penned by Brian May for the epic, A Night at the Opera, The Prophet Song can broadly be described as an 8 minute biblical manifesto about Noah's Ark. This was the last song that Queen recorded that used mythological or biblical imagery. Many, including myself, consider this to be the finest composition of Brian's career, rivalling Bohemian Rhapsody in its complex production and technical brilliance. Aspects of the live performance of the Prophet Song are improvised each night, but basically The Prophet Song is promptly doused with delay and echo effects, consequently producing an atmospheric and immense Freddie choir. This particular performance, recorded nine years before my birthdate on my birthday, is nothing less than spectacular. Plus it features thousands of screaming, hysterical fangirls and nothing less than a Frère Jacques musical reference. How can you not love?

Queen - You Take My Breath Away (Live at Earl's Court, 1977)
Taken from their 1976 album, A Day at the Races, the live performance of You Take My Breath Away can only be described as the single most beautifully touching live moment. There is a moment when the mood is lost when there is an incidental drum crash in the middle of it. But the sentiments are not disturbed.... why do you not believe me??

Queen - It's Late (Alan Freeman Session, 1977) (currently offline)
Queen's album sessions are always difficult to come by. Although more have progressively emerged thanks to sites such as Queenzone.com, I believe that we have access to only a fraction of the material recorded. Luckily, some people have looked at their own recordings of old radio shows and found a wealth of material - such as this gem from Alan Freeman's BBC Radio One Rock Show. The band chose a number of tracks from their 1977 album, News of the World such as We Will Rock You, Spread Your Wings, My Melancholy Blues and my favourite track, It's Late. They are hardly album sessions but they are the closest we are going to get.. for a while yet!

So there you have it! My favourite Queen rarities, pre-moustachio years. Thanks extend to El Blog de Queen, Queenzone and Qfriends all around, who still love and miss Freddie.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Queen were 'my first time' live. I spent quite a while in denial about this but have come back to it recently. Unfortunately I lent all of my albums to someone who kept them and never spoke to me again! If you add 'Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict' to your 'books' session you can see Owen, the guy who nicked them.
Good stuff here, all. :)

Anonymous said...

I saw them at Milton Keynes Bowl in the uk in 1982, on the Hot Space tour - it was one that was filmed by Channel 4 and subsequently televised, and is probably available to buy. I was 13 and went on my own for the day - what on earth were my parents thinking about!