Queen: Days of Our Lives (2011)

There's been a lot of rumours lately 'bout
certain band for Queen, the rumour said that
we are going to split up. What do you think?
They're talking from here.
So forget those rumours. We're going to stay
together until we fucking well die, I'm sure of it!
"One Vision"
There really wasn't much sex...
Well, there wasn't much drugs.
You wouldn't be able to do that now.
# One man
# One goal
# One mission... #
For that moment,
we kind of owned the world.
Where's the modesty gone?
There isn't any.
# One solution... #
Press are never quite understood,
A lot of the press took against them.
# Yeah, one God... #
England doesn't really think we're that cool.
But I mean I don't want some arsehole critic
to tell me that.
You might as well paint a target
on your head and go, "Shoot me!"
I think when you go all the way up,
the only place is to come down.
Controversy Behind Sun City
I wish I'd never heard of the place!
# I'm gonna tell you there's
no black and no white... #
Whenever the band came under pressure, there
would be a walk-out, a separation, a row.
# One worldwide vision... #
We were at a crucial point.
We might have had to break up.
The arguments were creative, then
it would become personal. Of course.
There is an inward jealousy.
They're all wondering & all waiting to see if my
album is going to do better than the last Queen album.
Freddie took to the gay scene like David
Attenborough making a wildlife programme.
I just want to pack in as much of
life and having a good time as much as I can.
'London - the Imperial College
of Science and Technology,
'meeting place for space scientists
from 50 nations,
'specialists who will help develop the equipment which
has taken mankind to the new age of space exploration. '
We've got Brian May on guitar.
I was studying Physics as an undergraduate
here, but Astronomy was always my thing.
And so I did the Astronomy
post-graduate for a PhD.
When we were at school, me and
my mates had a group called 1984.
When I left for university,
the singer we had, Tim Staffell,
and myself decided to put
a new group together called Smile.
We've got Roger Meddows-Taylor
on percussion.
There was a noticeboard here
where you would pin items
of interest to musicians, so I put
a notice saying "drummer wanted".
"We need Ginger Baker/Mitch Mitchell
type drummer. "
I booked this little jazz club room here and
Roger brought his kit and I brought a guitar.
That was the first time
we played together.
# When she was done
# She hung them up... #
Something happened, I have to say. We thought,
"There is some kind of special sound to this. "
# Goodbye, April Lady... #
I guess we had the same sort
of sound in our heads.
# Goodbye, April Lady
# You've done a lot for the folks
in this town... #
Freddie Mercury on vocals.
Freddie came from
a colonial background.
He was born in Zanzibar and he went
to boarding school in India.
I first met Freddie
at Ealing Art School in 1968.
There was a piano down there
and Freddie would do
this flowery style on the piano.
It was very Mozart and effective, but unique. You'd
never seen anybody play the piano like that before.
The first time he sang, I knew straight
away that that voice was going places.
# The minute you walked in the joint
# I could see
you were a man of distinction
# A real big spender
# Good-looking, so refined
# Say, wouldn't you like to know
what's going on in my mind...? #
I used to follow Smile a lot. We were
friends. I used to go to their shows.
Freddie was waiting in the wings,
literally, and advising us on what to do.
He would say, "You're brilliant,
but you should do this and this... "
What did you see in what Brian and
Roger were doing with Smile? Nothing!
I think he had in the back of his mind
some idea about maybe working with us.
Freddie told everybody that he was going to be
a pop star and we didn't take it that seriously.
He was sitting over there one night. I walked in and
he put his head in his hands, looking really depressed.
I said, "What's the matter with you?" He
said, "I'm not going to be a pop star. "
And very slowly he stood up
and he said,
"I'm going to be... a legend. "
# Hey, big spender
# Spend a little time with me... #
Although we had a lot of successful
gigs and we played colleges, pubs
and clubs up and down the country,
we just never got anywhere.
Smile made a single
which did nothing at all,
then Tim, our singer, got an offer
from someone else called Humpy Bong.
So Tim sodded off to that.
Freddie got us. He said, "Come on,
you can't give up. I want to sing. "
So we decided
that we'd take the plunge.
And it was then that I sort of
thought about the name Queen.
Why Queen? I don't know.
At the time, it was outrageous.
So here we have the main hall.
In 1973, this is where Queen played.
This is really the first proper,
advertised gig we ever did
and it's certainly the first review we ever
got by Rosemary Horide of what was then Disc.
From the very beginning, Freddie was absolutely
remarkable for stagecraft. He had a presence
unlike anything I'd seen. I'd been
a music journalist for a long time.
Freddie, even from those days, had an ability to
work an audience and they would eat out of his hand.
He could turn his hand round like that and
do that and the audience would stand up.
# I have sinned, dear Father
# Father, I have sinned
# Try and help me, Father
# Won't you let me in?
# Liar!
# Oh, nobody... #
It was the first moment when I thought, "Something's
happening here and people know what we're about. "
When they came along, there had been
a denim rock movement,
if you like, with Status Quo,
Uriah Heep.
I think Queen were an incredible
breath of fresh air in rock music.
They had brilliant songs.
Freddie Mercury was
an absolutely charismatic front man.
# Liar... #
Brian May was just this brilliant guitarist
and Roger Taylor was a phenomenal drummer.
And you had that guy
that played bass.
We spent a couple of years looking for a bass
player. It was very hard to find the right guy.
Then we found John.
Deacon John on bass.
I came along
as a bit of an outsider at first.
It did take me quite a few years
to grow more into the group
and find myself at home, really.
Before we signed to a record label, we
actually signed to Trident Productions,
a management company run by the Sheffield
brothers who had a studio in the middle of Soho.
Recording our first album, we were
all students finishing off our degrees.
We had to do it
in what time was available
because the studio was being
booked up all the time.
We had to go in sometimes
at two in the morning
and sometimes finishing at six in the morning,
all those weird times that nobody wanted.
You know, you could see the working girls
at night through their lace curtains,
so while we were mixing,
we'd have a little bit of diversion.
The album came out and sort of resoundingly
crashed. It really didn't do much.
When you make your first album, you go into the record
shops and think, "We're in the record stores now!"
You go in and say, "Have you got the new Queen
album then?" They go, "What?" It's a long haul.
With Queen II, I couldn't believe
how much work we put into that.
I think We felt we were evolving
our own sound.
We were pioneering
this sort of multi-tracking thing.
It gave you a tremendous palette.
You could get massive choral effects
with just three of us singing.
# Voice from behind... #
We really got into production
and went completely over the top.
There's a track called
March Of The Black Queen.
# I'll be a bad boy,
I'll be your bad boy
# I'll do the march
of the Black Queen... #
It's very long. It's in about 11 different
sections and the complexity of it is staggering.
I mean, the tape was
literally transparent.
The 16-track, two-inch tape, the
oxide was almost completely worn away.
We'd gone over it so many times.
It literally was transparent.
# Walking true to style
# She's vulgar abuse and vile Fi-fo the
Black Queen tattoos all her pies... #
It was really only with Queen II
and Seven Seas Of Rhye
that we had the breakthrough.
We realised that the easiest way of
getting a hit album is to have a hit single
that has some musical validity.
The key to that was the stroke that was
pulled in getting them on Top Of The Pops
when Bowie dropped out
and it absolutely broke that single.
It was a very underwhelming
experience the very first time
because there was a strike on
at the BBC.
# Fear me,
you lords and lady preachers... #
So it was shot
in the weather studio.
# I command your very souls,
you unbelievers
# Bring before me what is mine
The seven seas of Rhye... #
It was great fun to be at Top Of The
Pops because it was all happening.
You felt like you were in a sense
becoming part of public consciousness.
# I will destroy any man
who dares abuse my trust... #
Top Of The Pops
was incredibly uncool.
It was rubbish because
nobody was actually playing.
There was about 75 teenagers
who were herded about the studio
and a bunch of ageing disc jockeys
presenting you.
Pan's People were there, these very
glamorous girls dancing. It was a lot of fun.
The BBC had a set of plastic cymbals that went "duh"
when you hit them, so they didn't make any noise.
I think that sort of says it all,
We had slightly mixed feelings about Top
Of The Pops because it wasn't very cool,
but it was the great vehicle for
selling records, so what can you say?
It had a big impact. Our record
went straight into the top ten.
So obviously, the impact was huge.
# Storm the master marathon
I'll fly through
# By flash and thunder fire and I'll
survive I'll survive, I'll survive
# Then I'll defy the laws of nature and
come out ali-i-ive Then I'll get you... #
We had this song called Seven Seas Of Rhye, but
it's a universal truth that more groups break up
because of songwriting arguments than anything
else in the world. Your songs are your babies.
The person who has written the song tends to be the
one person who sees that one song all the way through
from the idea they have in their head at first,
the final production, the sounds and the mix...
Most of the time, I have
a clear picture of what I want.
I sort of have a lot of...
say, Roger's parts
and what Brian should do and
things... There are rows, of course.
I've probably never spoken about this before,
but The Seven Seas Of Rhye was Freddie's idea.
He had this lovely little riff idea on the piano
and all the middle eight is stuff that I did,
so we worked on it together, but when it came to
the album coming out, Freddie went, "I wrote that. "
And we all went, "OK."
It didn't seem like that big a deal.
Freddie said, "I wrote the words and
it was my idea, so it's my song. "
The sort of unwritten law was the person who brought
the song in would get the credit for writing that song
and the money for writing that song.
Much, much later in Queen history,
we recognised this fact.
# Here I stand
Here I stand
# Look around, around
# Around, around, around... #
We were very lucky in that we hooked up with
Mott The Hoople and we were their warm-up act.
# Now I'm here
Now I'm here... #
We went all around the UK with them
and it worked out just perfectly.
# Now I'm there
Now I'm there... #
Then the guys from Mott said, "Would you
like to do the same thing in America?"
# Just a new man
# Yes, you made me live again... #
After a few gigs,
I started to feel weird.
Something was happening. I didn't know if it was
my head or my body, but I started to feel odd.
Then I woke up one morning in Boston which
was going to be the climax of the tour...
I woke up and I was yellow. The doctor came and
said, "You've got hepatitis. You have to go home. "
I still was amazed we managed to shepherd him
through the immigration queue at JFK in New York.
The poor fellow could hardly stand.
I was taken on the plane
shoulder to shoulder.
We were devastated the tour had been cut
short. It was our first trip to America.
But we just ploughed on
in the studio without him.
It was a bit of a long haul
back to health.
I was getting over all this stuff and I saw
Freddie battering out all these things, thinking,
"I've not got my shit together," and
really starting to worry about it.
# She keeps her Moet et Chandon
# In her pretty cabinet
# "Let them eat cake" she says
just like Marie Antoinette... #
Queen I and Queen II were full-on rock albums
and I suppose it was only a question of time
before they put some clever melody into it and
Sheer Heart Attack was that break-out album.
And Killer Queen where Mercury's
vocals have probably never been better.
# She's a killer queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
# Dynamite with a laser beam
# Guaranteed to blow your mind
Any time... #
I do remember having a slight
reservation about Killer Queen.
I thought, "Are we selling ourselves as
something which has become very light?"
But every slice through that record
is a perfect vision. There's lots of little things
which visit once only like that bell of the cymbal.
RINGING SOUND # In conversation
she spoke just like a baroness
# Met a man from China
Went down to Geisha Minah
# Then again incidentally
if you're that way inclined... #
Killer Queen always felt a bit special. It
was very sophisticated and it was very Freddie.
As the albums have progressed, our songwriting has
progressed and we ventured into different areas.
# Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind... #
I like writing different songs. We
don't like to repeat the same formula.
It had a slightly Noel Coward...
You know, that kind of element in it.
When you took the lyrics apart, you thought, "How
incredible is that!" Because they were so clever.
# Drop of a hat, she's as willing as
Playful as a pussycat
# Then momentarily out of action
Temporarily out of gas
# To absolutely drive you wild
# She's all out to get you
# She's a killer queen
# Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
# Guaranteed to blow your mind
Any time
# Oh, recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
# Wanna try?
# You wanna try... #
We were doing a lot of major tours
in Japan, America.
We were headlining by now and doing very well and
selling loads of records and not seeing any money.
We decided to go with the production
company, rather than with the record company.
The deal was that we made the album for the production
company and they sell it to a record company.
It's probably the worst thing
we did.
The deal that they were on just meant that they
weren't going to make any money out of what they did.
And the way it came to a head
was with the song Death On Two Legs.
# You suck my blood like a leech
# You break the law and you breach
# Screw my brain till it hurts
# You've taken all my money
# And you want more... #
Often I would go to do an interview
and I buy a couple of bottles of wine
on my expenses
because they had no money.
We didn't expect instant riches.
We didn't get them!
Roger was breaking sticks because
he hit the drums pretty hard.
The management's going, "Don't break
any more sticks. " We had no money.
One of the management group bought a Rolls-Royce and
we thought, "Hang on, something's going on here. "
It affected Freddie deeply and
Freddie got to the point where he said,
"I am not delivering any more music.
I can't. "
To cut a long story short,
we went with John Reid
who was Elton's incredibly
successful manager at the time.
I remember saying, "You go away
"and make the best record you can.
I'll take care of the business. "
We had a good working relationship
with John.
He was very fiery and feisty, but so
were we. We weren't scared of him.
It was the first night
I'd gone out to dinner with Freddie.
I said, "I'd just like to say, as I said to the other
guys, I hope you know I'm gay and it's not a problem. "
And he put his knife and fork down
and said, "So am I!"
Freddie, when I first met him,
wasn't out to the band
because he was struggling
with his own sexuality anyway.
And Freddie was from a very, very
traditional Zoroastrian background
and I think his family considerations
were probably paramount.
I remember when we went into the studio to make
A Night At The Opera, it felt like make or break.
We were not only poor,
but we were in debt.
All the sound and lighting companies and
the people we worked with hadn't been paid,
so we were at a really crucial point. We might
have had to break up if that album hadn't done well.
It was an expensive album,
enormous complexity on there.
Even now, I wonder
how we did some of that stuff.
There was so much hunger there. We
had so much we wanted to bring out.
It was all kept in
and so we had all kinds of songs.
Bohemian Rhapsody was basically like three songs that
I wanted to put out and I just put the three together.
I think the groundwork for a song
like that was done at Ealing College.
Freddie had lots of bits of songs
which we'd link together
and one of his bits, I just referred to it as The
Cowboy Song and it went, "Mama, I just killed a man. "
# Mama
# Just killed a man... #
The first thing I heard was Freddie
playing "Mama, just killed a man... "
"What do you think?" "I love it. It's absolutely
brilliant. " Not knowing what was to come.
We ended up having to do it
in six studios.
Because they were using all these
studios, you didn't know what was going on.
You would have guitar parts in one
studio and vocal stuff in another.
# Galileo
# Galileo
# Galileo, Figaro... #
Freddie would just turn up and go,
"I've got a few more Galileos. "
We were going round all these studios
just hearing parts.
# Thunderbolt and lightning
Very, very frightening me
# Lightning, very, very frightening,
very, very frightening me... #
Only Fred had it in his head and he was
making some of it up as we went along.
I thought, "I'll do as I please. "
# Thunderbolt and lightning,
very, very frightening me... #
Do as many multi-layer harmonies as
possible. You know, go well over the top.
It really was tongue-in-cheek, but at
the same time, "I bet you can't do this. "
# He's just a poor boy
from a poor family
# Spare him his life
from this monstrosity... #
But the record company as a mass came to us and
said, "This is too long. Nobody's going to play it. "
I played it to Elton John
at the time
and he said, "Are you off your head?
You'll never get that on the radio. "
I said, "It goes out in its entirety
or not at all. "
At the crucial moment, this young
man called Kenny Everett came in,
loved the track, stole a copy of it
and played it on his radio show.
Kenny played it 14 times over the
weekend and of course it was a smash.
Then following that up with what, to my
mind, was the first ever real music video.
# We will not let you go
Let him go! Bismillah!
# We will not let you go
Let him go! Bismillah... #
I'd never seen anything like it
and I don't think anybody else had.
The video took Queen to another level
where they could really command
the landscape.
# Mamma mia, mamma mia
Mamma mia, let me go... #
Night At The Opera was that landmark album
that established them as a major force.
That was the context in which you could
do something like the Hyde Park concert.
# So you think you can stone me
and spit in my eye
# So you think you can love me
and leave me to die... #
It was Richard Branson. "We think
we can put you on in Hyde Park. "
Thank you very much.
Good evening, everybody.
Welcome to our picnic
by the Serpentine.
I remember thinking, "Gulp!" We've
carved out a place around the world,
but England doesn't really think
we're that cool.
It was packed beyond belief and it was
really like coming home to a heroes' welcome.
# Ah, ah, ah, ah, ahhh... #
It was a thrilling experience to have that kind
of contact with an audience in your own home town.
When it came to make Day At The Races, we
just thought, "Let's just do what we do. "
The added ingredient in Day At The Races
is this feeling of freedom which we had
because we had escaped the old situation, we'd sorted
out the money side, we weren't in debt any more,
we weren't struggling for our very
existence, so there's a great freedom and joy.
# Ca-a-an
# Anybody... #
It was almost like we were still making A Night
At The Opera. We just loved it. We revelled in it.
# Somebody to lo-o-ove... #
Freddie came up with a magnificent, little sort of
foray into white Gospel, if you want to call it that.
# Ooh
# Each morning I get up... #
We really worked our harmonies
on Somebody To Love.
# Take a look at yourself Take
a look in the mirror and cry... #
Freddie's great inspiration for
Somebody To Love was Aretha Franklin.
He absolutely loved Aretha.
He would like to have been
Aretha Franklin!
# Somebody! Somebody!
Ooh, somebody! Somebody!
# Can anybody find me
somebody to love...? #
From that point of view,
OK, Bohemian Rhapsody, a big hit,
but a song like Somebody To Love is
in my estimation a better sort of...
from the writing aspect,
a better song.
# I work till I ache in my bones
# At the end
At the end of the day
# I take home my hard-earned pay
all on my own
# I get down on my knees
and I start to pray
# Till the tears run down
from my eyes
# Lord, somebody! Somebody!
Ooh, somebody
# Can anybody find me... #
We were using the studio to its maximum capacity,
painting a picture like on a huge canvas.
# Find me somebody to love
# Find me somebody to love... #
We had a gift. We had three voices
which really blended instantly.
# Find me somebody to love... #
Freddie has this wonderful,
crystal-clear, sharp vocal sound.
# Find me somebody to love,
find me somebody to love... #
Naturally, I've got
the powerful high voice.
He's got the dog whistle pitch,
a very high voice.
# Find me somebody to love... #
And I had quite a warm sound.
# Somebody! Somebody!
Somebody! Somebody!
# Somebody! Find me...
Somebody find me somebody to love
# Can anybody find me... #
Put the three together and you have
something which sounds sort of Panavision.
# Find me
# Somebody
# To-o-o love
# Find me... #
To keep their attention,
you've got to really tempt them.
Like, "You can have a break.
Have a coffee and biscuits. "
While they're in a good mood, grab
them and do another 50 million overdubs!
# Anybody find me somebody to love
Somebody to love... #
We used to call it
the sausage factory in the end
because we got so good at it,
we could just bang 'em out.
A Day At The Races,
as the follow-up to Night At The Opera,
was clearly... It had a hard act to follow.
People who wanted to have a go at Queen could quite
readily say, "It's not as good as the last one. "
A lot of the press took
against them.
Maybe if you got too successful
too quick,
there was a resentment there that they hadn't
made you, therefore they wanted to break you.
# Oh, take my breath away... #
Shortly after I started
to manage them,
I had told all the band one of the ground rules
is don't do any press without clearing it with me.
You open yourself up to all kinds
of things. Usually, they turn on you.
I went out to dinner with Freddie in
The White Elephant in Curzon Street.
Casually, he said, "I did an interview
with David Wigg from the Express today. "
I said, "I told you no interviews without
clearing it with me. " "Oh, never mind. "
I said, "Well, fuck you! If you don't work
within my rules, you don't work with me. "
I got up and left
and I left him there.
I came home, I went upstairs, turned
on the TV and the next thing I knew,
a brick came through the window.
And I looked outside here and there's Freddie
standing in the street, hands on his hips,
"Don't you ever fucking leave me
in a restaurant... "
I said, "You'd better come in. "
Queen didn't have particular respect
from the critics during the '70s,
which is when they had so many hits.
And then punk happened
in the late '70s,
which made the standard rock group
seem passe.
# God save the Queen
# We mean it, man
The punk stuff, as opposed to what Queen did,
they were coming from two different points of view.
It was anarchy on one side
and monarchy on the other.
NME was one of
the most vocal proponents of punk.
We were taking, if you like,
music icons at that time
and we were rubbishing them,
It was thought we should interview
Freddie Mercury, in particular,
and they asked me to go over to a house
in Knightsbridge owned by John Reid
and there's Freddie
sitting on the patio.
The whole house was
very ostentatious, it must be said.
We did an interview here
with the NME
and, you know,
we were very nice to the guy.
I had a butler, we gave him lunch.
There was a butler,
there was a bodyguard.
There was probably other people going round
with feather dusters and what have you.
Then the story slagged off Freddie.
Freddie Mercury, when the whole of the punk
new wave movement was going on around him,
had focused in on something that was kind of a bit
of an alien concept in some ways which was ballet.
I just feel that there are sort of
balletic moments in our repertoire.
One of the things that he said to me
was that his mission in life
was to bring ballet to the masses.
Well, when the NME piece came out,
Freddie was furious.
They called him "a prat".
You'd be furious.
I think we realised that talking
to the press gets you nowhere.
You might as well paint a target
on your head and go, "Shoot me. "
We all have our ups and downs and our limitations
and we know there are certain things you can't do,
but I don't want some arsehole critic
to tell me that.
I love posing.
That's for the press.
Well, we met The Sex Pistols
in Wessex Studios
and, uh...
I thought it was fascinating.
Can you imagine it just a whole
thing about punk rock
And anti establishment...
under one roof.
Sid came in. Sid was a moron.
You know, he was an idiot.
And he called in to the room, "Have you
succeeded in bringing ballet to the masses yet?"
I called him "Simon Ferocious" and he didn't like
it. I said, "What are you going to do about it?"
He hated the fact that I could even
speak like that. Right. Then...
So we went...
I think we survived that test.
# Well, you're just 17
All you wanna do is disappear... #
I thought when we went into News Of The World,
we couldn't reinvent ourselves as a punk band,
but we wanted it
a little bit more simple.
We thought maybe these really grandiose
things weren't quite what was happening then
and to be more of the time, we made
a more straightforward record.
Once we had our audience, we felt so
confident that they would be there for us
and not require us to be anything
that they'd seen before.
Do a twirl?
They were very open-minded, Queen
audiences, so we never felt constrained.
We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions
had a very sort of definite genesis.
The way I remember this story
is Bingley Hall.
We played this great hall
in the Midlands and it was heaving.
Those gigs that you love, it's all sweaty
and hot, everybody is jumping up and down.
And they were singing along.
# She's a killer queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
# Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind... #
In those days, it was really new. You just didn't
go to concerts where people sang to rock bands.
But on this particular occasion,
they didn't stop.
And when we went off stage, they
sang You'll Never Walk Alone to us.
I'd gone to sleep thinking,
"What can an audience do?"
They're all crammed in there. They can
stamp their feet, clap their hands and sing.
So I woke up with We Will Rock You
in my head.
We went into Wessex with these
ideas and that happened to be..
some boards lying around, strange enough
and I thought, "What does this sound like?"
And we multi-tracked it a lot of times to achieve a
sound of a big throng of people stamping and clapping,
a huge sort of rally of people.
# We will, we will rock you... #
# We will, we will rock you... #
I came up with We Will Rock You and Freddie with
We Are The Champions. His thinking was very similar.
Basically, it is
a participation thing.
I've been really cool and I'm just
thinking in terms of the public/group thing.
# I've paid my dues
# Time after time... #
We had no idea it would become a
universal, worldwide sports anthem.
Both of them did -
Rock You and Champions.
In football or whatever sport,
you've got two opposing teams.
Both can sing We Are The Champions, but
in a rock show, there's only one team.
# I've had my share of sand
kicked in my face
# But I've come through... #
It could be construed
as a rather elitist thing.
# We are the champions,
my friends... #
But it was really "we",
the collective "we".
But if I were you, before we find out, let's get
the sound... Let's get a real sound on the drums.
It's definitely a song
of great unifying power.
# We are the champions
# No time for losers
# Cos we are the champions... #
Here we've got four tracks of vocals, one with
the solo guitar, then that's the end bit solo.
I've listened to them.
That's the only way we can do it.
Fred was very cheeky. It was
about Queen being the champions
in a sense, the arrogance
for which we were famous.
# We are the champions
# We are the champions
# No time for losers
# Cos we are the champions. #
Only Queen could come up with the title "We
Are The Champions". Where's the modesty gone?
Well, there isn't any.
No modesty whatsoever.
After the slaggings-off we get from the English music
press, who cares? We've got nothing to lose, you know?
Anyway, it's only a song, isn't it?
Fuck 'em!
In those days, it was do the album,
do a video, tour America.
One, two!
It was regarded as the sort of grail
of the rock scene.
America was meaning more
and more to us,
and when you smell success
in America, you go for it.
We looked at what was going on
in the States at the time.
The music was very much
dominated by the cool West Coast
kind of rock with The Eagles
and Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac.
And to some extent, Queen, I guess,
didn't fit that mould.
They were bigger, more glamorous,
more extravagant than,
I think, anything that existed
in the States at the time.
They really didn't know
what to make of them.
Why would you call your band Queen
when there's obviously
four guys in it?
That was puzzling.
We were all in one station wagon,
then we were all in one limo,
then it was two in one limo
and two in another,
then it was one each.
But it was really only
because the entourage grew,
it wasn't anything to do with
not wanting to talk to one another.
We did stay pretty connected,
we didn't disappear
to our dressing rooms.
Generally, we found a big place
where we could all get ready together
and we would kind of joke around.
We had a good kind of camaraderie.
This is called a miracle, folks!
I've lost my shoe!
Oh, but I don't do my own.
Dave! Do, do, do!
I went to see the Queen show
and I had never seen so much luggage
and crew and amps and lighting.
And I said, "This is not
rock'n'roll, this is a show.
"This is a production.
This is Broadway".
"We Will Rock You"
The audience participation elevated
the shows to something really special.
And I think we put a bit
of distance between us
and some of our contemporaries like that,
because it was such a great two-way event.
This was a coronation
for Freddie Mercury in this town.
# We will, we will rock you tonight
# We will, we will rock you
# Buddy you're a young man, hard
man, shouting in the street
# Gonna take on the world someday
# Mud on your face, big disgrace
# Waving your banner
all over the place
# We will, we will rock you... #
It had always surprised us
that it took so long
to break Queen in the States.
It sounds like it happened quickly, but it didn't,
it happened over a period of about eight years.
We worked very hard at it.
At no point did you think,
"We've made it," cos we hadn't.
This is, um, a Mercury composition
from "A Night At The Opera"
and it's something which a few
people asked us to do last time.
So this is for those people.
This is "Love Of My Life".
The 1977 US tour was pretty much
a sell-out. And midway through,
we actually played two nights at
the legendary Madison Square Gardens
in New York, which is
a sort of landmark for any artist.
It was a watershed for me.
It was a mythical place, of course,
big deal for us to play.
And my parents, from the
beginning... Well, my dad, really.
My dad had really been against the
whole business of me being a rock star.
It's curious, because he helped me
build the guitar.
If it hadn't been for my dad slaving hours
and hours making this homemade guitar,
I probably would never have got
to this place.
He really felt that I'd thrown
my education away.
I mean, I was educated to a high level. So
to suddenly to go off and join a rock band
with apparently no future,
my dad really could not compute it.
He was kind of in tears, really, he just
felt I'd thrown my life away completely.
# You don't know
what it means to me... #
But anyway, we were playing
Madison Square Garden and I said,
"Look, Dad, this is a big one
for us, playing America,
"it's New York, it's the first time we've
played this amazing place. Come over. "
So I said,
"Dad, you'll go on Concorde",
you know, it was my dad and my mum.
And they came to the gig
and I remember to this day,
this feeling that our feet
weren't really on the ground, there
was so much electricity in this place.
# You don't know
what it means to me... #
And we came off thinking,
"Wow, that was really something,"
and then I went back with my dad
and my dad said, "OK."
He said, "OK, I get it now. "
# Oooh. #
Thank you, Madison Square Garden.
What's happening
when we go back to London?
You're one of the few bands
that actually haven't left Britain.
We're sort of an English band
in a way, we've always lived there.
Well, London particularly.
We've always recorded in England.
It doesn't change the fact that the
taxman still takes a lot of your money!
I think at the time,
we were paying 83%,
and plus, if you had any money in
the bank which was earning interest,
another 15%, which makes 98% tax.
So we decided to record the next
album, which was "Jazz", in France.
So that's what we did. In a tiny
little village called Super Bear,
we started the process
of making this album.
# Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
# I want to ride my bicycle,
bicycle, bicycle... #
Lots of sort of local colour
got put onto that album.
# I want to ride my bike... #
We were sitting there and the Tour
de France cycle race came through
and inspired Freddie
to write "Bicycle... "
and for some strange reason, inspired
me to write "Fat Bottomed Girls".
Although there might have been
other inspirations there.
# On your marks, get set, go! #
Sadly, we weren't there
for the filming.
I thought it was
a hugely amusing idea.
# Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle... #
I remember the huge disappointment that
none of us could be at the photo shoot.
Because we were exiled from England,
so we couldn't go back in to see it!
I don't think you'd be able
to do that now, would you?
Yeah, I don't think
we would go there these days.
# Bicycle race! #
When it came time
to launch the "Jazz" album,
we had the idea of having
a massive party in New Orleans.
# Oh, you gonna take me home
tonight... #
It was the so-called launch
of that album,
and we had lots of girls and things,
there was a New Orleans band,
it was a very over-the-top party.
# Fat bottomed girls, you make
the rockin' world go round... #
We had a bit of a spiritual
connection with New Orleans.
A lot of our friends came,
of all sexes.
It was definitely fun.
When I opened up
the door of my suite,
on the bed was a complete case
of Dom Perignon.
And it was downhill from there.
# Heap big woman, you made a bad boy
out of me... #
I remember I felt quite
ill the next day.
There was a lot of acts..
There was a man, he was actually
a person of restricted growth,
who did lay under meats.
When asked what he did, he said,
"I lie under meats. "
And he's covered in sort of
cold cuts and sort of, um,
chopped liver and stuff like that.
You couldn't see him.
So people would approach
the trestle table
and as they just reached out
to scoop their meat,
he would just move, like that.
And that was his act!
# Tonight, I'm gonna have myself
a real good time
# I feel ali-i-i-ive... #
It wasn't a pretence, we actually
did live the life of a rock band.
Sort of living on the edge,
in a sense.
# Turning inside out, yeah
# Floating around in ecstasy
# So don't stop me now... #
"Don't Stop Me Now"
is a whole different trip, really.
It's become one of the most
popular Queen songs of all time.
# I'm a shooting star leaping
through the sky like a tiger
# Defying the laws of gravity
# I'm a racing car passing by
like Lady Godiva
# I'm gonna go, go, go,
there's no stopping me
# I'm burning through
the sky, yeah... #
It's a song of sort of
unfettered joy.
#.. Mr Fahrenheit
# I'm travelling
at the speed of light
# I wanna make a supersonic woman
of you... #
I've been quoted as saying
I don't like the track.
I kind of do like the track,
but I had mixed feelings,
because in a sense, it represented
a sort of separatism.
It was very much Freddie's world
and reflecting what he was
going through.
Freddie took to the gay scene
in New York
like David Attenborough
making a wildlife programme.
He'd report on what he'd seen with that
kind of "Hey-hey!" attitude that he had.
There was this one particular place
called The Anvil,
which seemed to have invented new
uses for parts of the human anatomy!
He was never shocked.
He was eager to be
involved in everything,
it was like he was
a social field worker.
# I wanna make a supersonic man
out of you... #
As far as I'm concerned, I just want
to pack in as much of life
and fun and having a good time
as much as I can.
# If you want to have a good time,
just give me a call
# Don't stop me now
Cos I'm having a good time.
# Don't stop me now
Yes, I'm having a good time
# I don't wanna stop at all
# Da-da da-da dah
# Da da da-ha
# Da-da-da ha-ha-hah
# Da-da-dah... #
The album "Jazz"
was not a complete flop,
it got to number 6 in the chart.
But "Don't Stop Me Now", which is a
big favourite in Britain to this day,
in America, only got to the 80s.
The review in Rolling Stone
was notorious.
And it shows you that
Queen were not respected.
We were confused by that title.
Why would a rock band
call their album "Jazz"?
It had a couple of great
tracks on it,
but it had some weaker stuff on it.
Queen was maybe viewed
as the Indian meal that had
gone cold in the refrigerator.
What's going to happen
in '79 for Queen?
We're going to make more records,
tour even more.
It's difficult to say. This has been
our hardest working year.
We'd heard that there was this
great studio called Musicland
in Munich, and we'd heard there was
this great engineer called Mack.
And we got into this rather
kind of indulgent way of just
bowling into the studio with
no ideas, or very few ideas,
and just doing it from scratch.
"What you got?"
"Well I dont know, I've got this. "
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
# This thing called love... #
First thing we did was
"Crazy Little Thing... "
Fred did write the song in the bath,
in about ten minutes.
# Crazy little thing called love... #
Next, he said, "Tell them I'm coming over and
we've got to go straight into the studio. "
# Like a baby
In the cradle all night... #
I was very quick, had everything
set up in pretty much no time,
and they put it down,
and then the best bit was,
"Quick, let's finish it before Brian gets
here, otherwise it takes a little longer!"
# There goes my baby
# She knows how to rock and roll
# She drives me crazy
# She gives me hot and cold fever
# She leaves me in
a cold, cold sweat... #
That was the first number 1
across the board in America.
Billboard, Cashbox
and Record World, I think.
We were still making a record,
we hadn't even nearly finished
the album,
and we were going out in Munich
and somebody came up and said,
"It's gone to number 1 in America. "
We were going, "Yeah! More drinks!"
So, "Crazy Little Thing... " completely
cracked the charts in America.
But it wasn't easy to find
the follow-up.
"Play The Game"
charted outside the US Top 40.
But the next single was
something very different.
One thing I always liked about Queen
was they were four individuals,
all of whom brought something to the table,
musically and in terms of songwriting,
and that includes
the bass player, John Deacon.
"Another One Bites The Dust"
I'd always wanted to do something
that was more sort of disco-ey,
which was very uncool at the time.
I mean, funk wasn't really
in the vocabulary.
Let's go!
John was pulling us strongly in that
direction, sort of funky direction.
And John got Roger to play
with tape all over his drums,
which is exactly what Roger hated.
Roger hated his drums
being made to sound dead.
I didn't really want to get into
dance music. It wasn't my thing.
# Another one bites the dust... #
Freddie got deeply into it, Freddie
sort of sang it until he bled,
cos he was so committed to making it sound the
way John wanted it, which was like hardcore...
I don't know what you would call it. But it's
more towards black music than white music.
# How do you think I'm going to get
along without you when you're gone?
# You took me for everything that
I had and kicked me out of my home
# Are you happy? Are you satisfied?
How long can you stand the heat?
# Out of the doorway, the bullets
whistle to the sound of the beat... #
Michael came to several shows,
I think, at the Forum in LA.
And he loved Freddie.
And he kept saying,
"You guys, you've got to put that song out.
" I wasn't particularly enamoured with it,
so I said, "No, you're kidding,
that's never a single. "
# Another one bites the dust... #
"Another One Bites The Dust"
was never seen as a single.
It barely made it onto the album!
It got on the radio and it got heard by
people that didn't even know who the band was.
# Ah, take it! #
Strangely enough, the record became
huge because of the black audience.
One particular station in New York
picked it up,
thinking that we were a black band,
and played the hell out of it,
and it became a huge hit.
It was like number 1 in nine
different charts.
I mean, even in the country chart!
It's ridiculous.
And this thing just kept selling,
to around three million.
It was in the Hot 100 for 31 weeks.
When an opponent would get
knocked out in a boxing match,
you'd hear
"Another One Bites The Dust" used.
It became an anthem of triumph.
# Yeah, ye-e-e-e-a-a-ah!
All right! #
I think it's still
the biggest record we ever had.
# Another one bites
the dust, yeah! #
People pointing at the cars -
"You guys are bad!"
"What does that mean?"
"It means you're good!"
# Another one bites the dust
# Hey, gonna get you too,
another one bites the dust... #
If you're successful in America,
basically, you've made it.
We kind of became the biggest group
in the world at that moment.
It's a fleeting moment,
because someone else will come
and take over. But for that moment,
we kind of owned the world.
"We Are The Champions"
The sales figures tell the story
that the people wanted Queen
even when the press didn't.
Looking back on it now,
I'd say Queen were never in fashion.
We were never a fashionable group,
I don't think.
Maybe that was to our benefit,
that we didn't become the thing
of the moment, a fashionable thing.
We were just popular, which got
right up some people's noses!
Fred, how do you feel,
playing and singing
before 200,000 people?
Haven't done it yet!
Every song, you felt, was,
"They're stealing the show".
I like Queen very much, but I don't
want to end up life living a quartet.
The band was pretty
much on the verge of falling apart.
I think he had an idea
that he might not be terribly well.
He said, "I'll come back and finish
it off," and he never came back.
That was the last moment
that I had with him.
# Flash, aaah
# Saviour of the universe... #
I wanted us to be massively
successful, I mean...
I think almost everybody
in this business does.
# Flash, aaah
# He'll save every one of us... #
Certainly by the beginning
of the '80s,
the world domination they'd
craved for was definitely there.
# Aaah
# He's a miracle... #
The hardest thing is to actually maintain
the level of success you've achieved
because I think when you go all the
way up, the only place is to come down.
# Flash, aaah
# King of the impossible... #
You've no idea where you can get to.
It's like the sky's the limit.
# He'll save with a mighty hand
# Every man, every woman, every child
with a mighty Flash... #
We didn't want just America,
we wanted the whole world, you know.
South America reared its head
and we heard rumours that we were...
the biggest thing ever in Argentina
and Brazil and they started to ask
us to go down there.
They were saying, "You can play
football stadiums down there. "
We went, "You're joking. "
In those days under
the dictatorship in Argentina,
we were negotiating with the army
general and he said to me,
"How can I possibly allow 50,000
young people into a stadium
"when I can't control them?
"What happens if somebody suddenly
shouts out 'Viva Peron'
"in the middle of a Queen concert
and I have a riot on my hands?"
And I tried to explain to him that,
rather like
gladiatorial matches in Rome,
this was panacea to the people,
they'd never, ever had this before,
this would be an
extraordinary experience.
So we got the whole thing together
and it was God knows how many
jumbo jets full of equipment.
And when we arrived in Buenos Aires,
as we're unloading it,
you could see spent bullet cases,
and thinking,
"Yeah, we really are in a very
different place here. "
We were looking for a bodyguard for
Freddie, this particular man came in
and his opening recommendation was
that he'd killed 212 people.
The travel arrangements
were very scary.
Driving the wrong way along
a raised motorway
with outriders, with guys in big
jeeps waving their big guns
and getting the cars, coming
straight towards them, to pull over.
We got caught in a traffic jam and
one of the policemen just stood up,
put his head through the roof
and started firing his gun in the
air in order to clear the traffic.
Very hair-raising.
Hello, amigos.
Fred, how do you feel playing
and singing before 200,000 people?
I haven't done it yet!
I can remember being nervous
the first night.
The top tier alone took 80,000
and we were in this sort of dug-out
which I guess the football teams
would normally be in.
All the windows were broken
and I remember thinking
this is... You know, it's going to
take some balls to walk out there.
Hello, Sao Paulo!
# Get your party gown
# Get your pigtail down
# Get your heart beating, baby
# Get your timing right
# I got my act all tight
# It's gotta be tonight
My little school babe
# Your momma says you don't
# Your daddy says you won't
And I'm boiling up inside... #
They knew all the songs.
These people don't speak English
but they could sing along
all the Queen songs
so they're obviously very genuine
fans and they went nuts.
# Tie your mother down
Tie your mother down
# Lock your daddy out of doors
I don't need him nosing around
# Tie your mother down
Tie your mother down
# Give me all your love tonight
# Tonight... #
It also takes a certain ego
and a certain drive to want to be
in that spotlight and go on display.
And Freddie thrived
and got better in bigger arenas.
# Yeah
# Yeah
# Yeah
# Yeah
# Yeah ye-yeah yeah
# Yeah ye-yeah yeah
# Yeah yeah ye-ye-yeah
# Yeah yeah ye-ye-yeah
# All right
All right
# All right
All right
# Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
# Yeah Yeah
# Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
# Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
# Yeah Yeah
# Yeah
# Yeah, yeah, yeah
# Aaaaaaaall right
# Aaaaaaaall right
Let's do it to tempo.
Once we'd finished Argentina
and Brazil,
the band decided to go
back into the studio
and they had of course bought
the studios in Montreux, here.
Mountain Studios was in the casino
by the lake in Montreux.
When they first arrived it was,
like, the top studio in Europe.
We were in the studio in Montreux
and David Bowie lives nearby.
I think we went out for a meal
or drinks or something
and then landed up back in
the studio with the sort of
rough intention of doing something.
We were fooling around and just...
jamming with tracks
and suddenly we said,
"Why don't we just see what we can do
on the spur of the moment?"
Then it's the pressure
of His Majesty David being there
and everybody wanted to look suave
and quick with ideas and stuff.
Deacy of course came up with this
riff - dun dun dun de de dun dun.
# Bom bom bom buddle der der
# Ding ding ding digger ding ding
He kept playing that over and over
and over again.
And then we went for a pizza
and he forgot it.
Completely escaped his mind!
We got back and I remembered it.
And of course, we're used to playing
together and now we have this
other guy there who's also
inputting, inputting, inputting.
David's idea of putting these
clicks and claps
and then the track just grew.
By that time,
David was very impassioned.
He had a vision in his head,
I think.
It's quite a difficult process
and somebody has to back off
and actually I did back off,
unusual for me.
# Pressure pushing down on me
# Pressing down on you
# No man ask for
# Under pressure
# That burns a building down
# Splits a family in two
# Puts people on streets... #
For the vocals, one of them
was to be locked out
and not allowed to
hear what the other one sang
and they sang anything off the top
of their heads.
# It never rains but it pours
# Um ba-ba bey... #
Fred starts doing his bum-didder-dup
and his bits-and-pieces
and I see out of
the corner of my eye,
I see David sticking his head in,
Then Fred came down, David went up
and Freddie was quite impressed
that he was counterpointing
to what he did before.
#.. This world is about
# Watching some good friends
screaming let me out
# Pray tomorrow gets me
higher, high, high
# Pressure on people
People on streets... #
And Fred said,
"What do you make of this?"
I said, "It's kind of easy if you stand in
the doorway listening to what you're doing. "
And Freddie turned,
"What the BLEEP"?
# Cos love's such
an old fashioned word
# And love dares you
# To care for the people
on the edge of the night
# And love dares you
# To change our way of
# Caring about ourselves
# This is our last dance... #
The result is very good but it was
a difficult experience, I think,
because people pulling in different
directions, in a sense.
# Under pressure... #
Under Pressure, David Bowie,
the band, me,
I don't think it mixed too well.
# Pressure. #
Shame actually, it's...
I thought it was fabulous, we could've done
some incredible further things, actually.
Well, here we have a total change
of life for all of us, really.
We went back to Munich
to do the next album
and really, I suppose, things
started to go downhill.
It's actually a rather grim place.
It's a studio in the basement of
a huge tower block which is a hotel.
And it's kind of depressing.
A lot of people used to jump off
that building and kill themselves,
off that particular building,
it was well known for it.
We didn't know that until we got
there, so we went a bit nuts.
By that time, we were getting
very finicky about recording
and we spent months there.
After the massive success of
Another One Bites The Dust,
the thinking was we'll make an album
that's slightly more dance orientated.
Not my idea.
Especially in Freddie's entourage,
I won't mention any names
like Paul Prenter, for instance,
loathed guitars and
found that Brian was old fashioned.
Paul Prenter had become
Freddie's personal assistant.
He was a very, very bad influence
upon Freddie,
hence on the band, really.
He very much wanted
our music to sound
like you'd just walked in
a gay club.
And I didn't.
# Back chat, back chat
# Criticising all you see
# Back chat, back chat
# Analysing what I say... #
There were a lot of strains in
the band that'd happen
with four people of that
strength of character.
Everybody had their say and the arguments were
creative and then it would become personal.
Of course!
It was a sort of emotional
roller coaster.
I think less and less time
was spent in the studio.
Get up about three o'clock and go
and have breakfast
and then a bit of work would be
done and then you'd have dinner
and then one of the roadies would
start mixing cocktails and then...
other things would... ahem, happen.
# Give me... #
I'm not saying cocaine
and other drugs
and loose women had anything
to do with that at all.
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!
# Body, body
# Give me your body... #
It turned into a rather exhausting
cycle, I think, in the end.
# Don't talk, don't talk, don't talk
# Baby, don't talk... #
I don't know if I can say this...
Yes, I could probably say this.
We all got ourselves into deep
trouble emotionally in Munich
and Freddie was no exception, he got himself deep
into emotional waters which he couldn't really handle
and was very unhappy
for some of the time.
# Give me your body... #
He was being sucked into places which
really probably weren't good for him.
And I think we all felt that
and realised that he was
in some kind of danger.
# Give me, yeah
# Your body... #
I certainly saw the change
in Freddie...
# Don't talk... #
.. in the club Heaven in 1983.
I said to him, "Have you
modified your behaviour
"in light of 'the new disease'",
which as of yet did not have a name.
And with the sweep of his arms
in a theatrical fashion, he said,
"Darling, my attitude is fuck it,
I'm doing everything with everybody. "
If someone kept a chart
of rock and roll royalty,
Queen would have to be at the top.
Now Queen is back on tour
and perhaps up against their
biggest challenge yet.
Now, most of you know that we've got
some new sounds out last week and...
.. for what it's worth, we're going
to do a few songs in
the funk-black category,
whatever you call it.
Record sales are not
as strong as in the past
and that's left everyone wondering.
I don't like everything that we do.
I like a lot of what we do
but not everything.
It depends on whatever the four
individuals in the group,
what music they're into at the time
and what songs they're writing.
There might be a couple of songs
come out you don't like very much.
I could name a couple!
Well, Hot Space in Queen terms
was pretty disastrous, really.
It didn't appeal to
some of the hardcore Queen fans
who would turn up at concerts with
banners saying "disco sucks".
It's only a bloody record, people get
so excited about these things. I mean...
The band...
It was pretty much on
the verge of falling apart.
I think we had a couple of meetings
and staff to discuss
were we still together etc, etc.
What to do if you're a member
of an internationally successful
rock band but want to
blow off creative steam
that doesn't fit the band's image.
Our next guest has faced that,
he is Roger Taylor.
He's just blown off some of his own
steam with his second solo album,
Strange Frontier. Let's look at it.
# Sometimes I feel
like a man on fire
# Sometimes I feel
like a man possessed
# Sometimes I wanna burn down
this crazy town... #
I think we decided we
needed a break.
Queen propelled us into the world
but also in a sense it confined us
into a very small space. We just worked with
each other, not the other fabulous musicians.
I ended up in LA
and one morning just got up
and rang up some mates there and
said, "Why don't we do something?"
And it led to
the Star Fleet Project.
# Star fleet, star fleet
# Star fleet, star fleet... #
At a certain point we were
all ready, there's no doubt.
We'd been off doing
our different things,
refreshing ourselves but we were
ready to get back in the studio.
This is the hardest time for us,
this is a big test, we've been
in the business 12 years and to keep
it going that much further is hard.
The Works was the next album.
We thought we wanted somewhere
nice and warm
and not freezing bloody cold Munich.
So that really made sense,
to go to LA to make that record.
And I think we got back on track
in The Works, actually.
They were a complicated
musical marriage.
They didn't have one room in
a studio, they had three or four.
Studio B, Studio C,
Studio D, Studio E.
But that was a good thing
cos it allowed everybody to
work on their individual songs.
In the early days it was
Brian and Freddie
who really used to write
most of the material
but over the last five years,
Roger and I have started to
contribute more.
I thought John Deacon was
kind of a secret weapon because
he would come up with these
major hits out of nowhere.
He had this track,
I Want To Break Free,
and it was pretty much there
except this big hole in the middle.
I mean, John did not want a guitar
solo so he asked Fred Mandel,
a very brilliant keyboard player,
to improvise something
around the main tune
and Fred did this brilliant take.
You know, all their records used
to say prominently "no synthesizers"
then I come along
like another schmuck
and put synthesizers on everything.
I wasn't too happy at the time
but I gave it my blessing,
that's the deal.
The polarity of writing
within the band changed.
I think the time has come
where we actually...
in songwriting,
we're completely even.
Roger will come up with something
like Radio Ga Ga and it's perfect.
It was Sunday afternoon, my son
Felix came in, he was very young
and he just sort of went,
"Ah, radio, caca"
cos he's half French.
And, um, I just thought
that's quite nice, you know.
I put the backing track together
and presented it to Freddie
who really loved it.
We took it into the next room
and then Fred and I worked
on the vocoder parts.
# All we hear is
# Radio ga ga
# Radio goo goo
# Radio ga ga... #
If you listen,
several times it says "radio caca".
# Radio ga ga
# Radio ga ga... #
Radio Ga Ga brought Queen back.
# Radio... #
It came from a rock thing.
Radio Ga Ga combined the best
elements of
the '70s with the '80s.
That's where Queen had a strength
with The Works.
It was more of a substantial hit
even though it didn't actually make
the top 10 in America.
But it got played a lot
and the video made a big impact.
# Let's hope you never
# Leave, old friend
# Like all good things
# On you we depend
# So stick around
# Cos we might miss you... #
We had a killer video which we
put a lot of work into.
# You had your time
# You had the power
# You've yet to have... #
The whole thing just felt good,
of its time.
It felt a bit different.
It felt modern and it was very fresh.
# All we hear is radio ga ga
# Radio goo goo
# Radio ga ga... #
All of a sudden people,
would participate jointly
in Radio Ga Ga situations.
A collective statement
that was good on the radio,
or on a turntable.
In live, it really was
a unification.
# All we hear is radio ga ga
# Radio goo goo
# Radio ga ga... #
Freddie said,
"What we do is like the Olympics.
"It's people believing in you
and everyone behind you.
"Everyone doing the same thing.
"That's the Olympics. "
He said, "That's what we do. "
# Radio ga ga, radio ga ga... #
Suddenly the MTV generation grew up
and video became all-important.
The most enjoyable video was
I Want To Break Free
because we just laughed.
I was dying to dress up in drag.
Doesn't everybody?
And everybody ran into their frocks
quicker than anything.
It was their idea, basically,
and I said, "Yeah, let's have a go. "
# I want to break free
# I want to break free
# I want to break free
from your lies... #
That great video was a loving
reference to Coronation Street.
# I've got to break free... #
Americans didn't understand it. It just
looked like we wanted to dress up in drag.
It was unthinkable
to most of middle America.
# I've got to break free... #
It's a very British thing. Sometimes the humour
doesn't translate. I'm Canadian so I get it.
It was just a different
style of humour
and I don't think it went over
with the "MTV generation".
I remember this video being banned.
MTV were very quick on the
trigger to ban things then.
I mean, if you thought
Mary Whitehouse was bad,
you should have seen some of
the geezers running MTV
in the very early '80s.
Well, MTV were very narrow-minded.
It was Whitesnake,
and fucking Whitesnake,
and then another Whitesnake track.
And they decided that
they didn't think men in drag
was rock enough for them, I guess,
so they didn't play the video.
Most Americans were deprived of my,
and Freddie's,
favourite moment of that video.
I said to Freddie, "I love
the way you double-step...
# But life still goes on... #
.. to get from one room to the other.
And he said, "I'm so glad you
noticed. That's my favourite part. "
#.. without you by my side
# I don't want to live alone
# Hey, God knows
# I've got to make it... #
The funny thing is, we became global
but we lost America.
And we kind of never got it back.
# I've got to break free. #
Freddie wouldn't go back
to tour America
unless they were touring a hit,
and of course
that's the chicken and egg
because the less you tour America,
the more you lose America.
It was sad, it's a shame, because
there's a whole catalogue of hits,
worldwide hits, but not in the
States, and that'll never come back.
Appearing at Sun City
never helped anybody's image,
and sometimes it hurt.
Sun City was this resort of
international standard in South Africa
and the position taken
by most of the rock community
was that if you went to South Africa
you supported apartheid.
It's very nice to be
here in South Africa
and I just want to have a good time.
Anything you'd like to say
to your fans?
Yeah, we hope you get real excited,
because we're pretty excited to be here.
The controversy behind Sun City...
Sun Fucking City -
wish I'd never heard of the place.
The principal reason that Queen
went there
was because they were offered
a large amount of money.
There was all sorts of hoo-ha
going on,
you know - "You mustn't play
Sun City because it's a sign
"that you're supporting apartheid. "
Well, it's simply not true.
If you adopted a policy of
never playing in a country
where you don't approve
of the politicians,
there'd be very few places
you can play.
Did you know you had
so many fans in South Africa?
Well, I think we had some
idea of our popularity here,
but we didn't realise
it was quite that.
Jim went down there time after time and
I asked if we'd play to mixed audiences.
He said we wouldn't play
to segregated audiences.
And it was not
an apartheid audience,
but it was mainly white.
Are you going to the concert?
What have you heard?
I heard it's a great show.
What are you expecting at the
concert? Something fantastic.
I've heard it's
the most fantastic show ever.
The band then supported a school
for the deaf in Bophutswana
that we became very involved with.
The general audience doesn't read the
small print. It just sees the headlines.
If it goes, "You're making a lot of money
playing a gig in an apartheid state",
it makes it look like you're following
apartheid. It did not help them.
I will say to my dying day
that we acted properly
according to our conscience
as regards South Africa.
Um... We went there to play music,
the same as we did
in all kinds of other places.
We got so much shit for it.
But we went for good reasons.
But, on balance,
I think it was a mistake to go.
Whenever the band
came under pressure,
there would be maybe a walkout,
a separation, a row.
# Sometimes I feel I'm going
to break down and cry
# Nowhere to go
Nothing to do with my time
# I get lonely
# So lonely
# Living on my own... #
I like Queen very much, but I don't
want to end up living a quartet.
I'm 37 years old
I want to do something different,
otherwise I'll get too damn old
and I'll be in a wheelchair.
There was a lot of strain
when Freddie did his solo album,
mainly because the advance
was considerably more than
the advances for Queen albums.
# Got to be some good times ahead
# Sometimes I feel
nobody gives me no warning... #
There is an inward jealousy -
they're all waiting to see if
my album does better
than the last Queen album,
or something like that.
# It's not easy
# Living on my own... #
Sometimes it's nice to break away
from a group
that's actually been going for
so long, meaning staying away.
He was definitely contemplating
the idea of what Living On My Own
actually means because he lived
in Munich for well over a year.
# Got to be some
good times ahead... #
When Freddie was alone in Munich,
he had to basically fall back
either on the gay community,
or, when he needed some sense or
decent advice, he would call us.
He was hanging out
a lot at our place.
He'd spend a lot of time
with the kids.
It was like a family affair.
He said a lot of times that this
was the best time in his life.
Out of the songs you've
put on this album, Freddie,
which one do you find the most
rewarding, personally?
Oh, I don't know,
the one that sells the most.
Freddie had a very fulfilling
experience of creativity,
but he didn't have
a very fulfilling experience,
um... how shall I say, economically.
The Mr Bad Guy album really was
a disaster, in terms of sales.
The strength of Queen
came from the arguments.
It was the fact
that you had to fight your space.
Songs got fine-tuned by that,
and Freddie working on his own in
Munich with an orchestra and Mack,
there was nobody really
to stand up with him.
Well, tomorrow, the pop world's
greatest extravaganza,
as we've been talking about,
Live Aid,
will bring together rock's brightest
and best from both sides of the Atlantic,
all performing free in the hope of raising
millions for the starving people of Africa.
You know, looking back, there was a
moment when Queen were thought of
as a good group that
was predominantly historic.
Radio Ga Ga was their one
big hit in four years.
They weren't on a hot streak,
and they weren't a particularly
productive group at that time.
There was a feeling
that maybe that was it.
But Geldof ordered them
to regroup and perform.
The thing was, did Freddie want
to do it? He wasn't that keen.
Freddie was a bit reticent
about doing anything,
but Bob came in one day
when we talked about Live Aid,
and said,
"I told Freddie he's doing it. "
And I kind of believe him.
It really is a gathering
of the rock world's elite,
and already rehearsing in here
are some of rock and roll's royalty.
It was rehearsed quite intensely at
the Shaw Theatre on Euston Road.
# Here we stand and here we fall
# History won't care at all
# Make the bed, light the light... #
Queen took the responsibility more
professionally than anyone else on the bill.
# You don't waste no time at all
# Don't hear the bell
but you answer the call... #
I went out and bought these big
plastic white clocks
and put them in the orchestra pit so
we could see the time.
There was an 18-minute
slot that each artist had,
and there were traffic lights
at the side of the stage.
And you were warned that the traffic lights
after 16 minutes would turn amber from green,
and they said, "You won't see them
turn red because the power goes off. "
So you make it quick and
you make it something they know.
Just after 16 hours of live Aid,
would you welcome Status Quo!
# Here we are and here we are
and here we go... #
The energy that day was sensational.
# Rockin' all over the world... #
We were all quite nervous, actually.
Not necessarily our audience because
they'd put together
the bill of Live Aid before
we'd been announced as being on it.
They set the level for the PA
with limiters
and then when Queen came on, Trip,
who was Queen's sound engineer,
switched the limiters
so that Queen would be louder.
From the word go, he came out of
the traps like a champion.
Freddie performed against the advice of
his doctor because of a throat condition.
But he went out there and gave one of the
greatest live television performances ever.
# You don't waste no time at all
# Don't hear the bell
but you answer the call
# Comes to you as to us all, yeah!
# And it's time for
the hammer to fall... #
The ballet with a BBC cameraman
was shockingly charismatic.
# Every night, every day
# A little piece of you
is falling away
# Lift your face the western way... #
And it was as if all the artists
backstage had heard a dog whistle.
And their heads turned
and the frisson you felt was,
"They're stealing the show. "
# I've paid my dues
# Time after time
# I did my sentence
# But committed no crime
# And bad mistakes
# I've made a few
# I've had my share of sand kicked
in my face
# But I've come through
# We are the champions,
my friend... #
I defy anybody who saw it not to have
goose pimples on the back of their neck
when you saw that sea of people.
# We are the champions
# We are the champions... #
I remember looking up and seeing the whole place
going completely bonkers in unison and thinking,
"Oh, this is going well. "
#.. the champions
# We are the champions,
my friend
# And we'll keep on
fighting till the end... #
We did have an unfair advantage.
We had done football stadiums.
Freddie particularly learned this
magical way
of involving everybody.
In a huge football stadium,
he could make everybody feel
they were in contact.
# We are the champions...
#.. of the world. #
People say, "Was it a career move?"
Well, no, it wasn't a career move
but of course that's
in the back of everybody's mind.
We got a great reception
from the crowd, even at Wembley,
and also from the
TV audience as well.
So in fact, it was a great boost of
confidence, in a way, for the group.
To have conquered
Live Aid in that way
undoubtedly breathed
fresh energy into the band.
It was a shot in the arm
and we went back in the studio.
We were back in Munich with
all its attendant dangers,
so we tried to keep ourselves
in the studio as much as possible.
# Hey! One man, one goal
# One mission, one heart... #
I had a page, a sort of poem that was sort of
half nicked off Martin Luther King's famous speech.
It doesn't fit. It does.
One goddamn decision.
Real decision.
No, it won't fit.
It was all one this and one that.
# One God, one soul,
make one decision... #
Make one decision. One true religion.
# One God, one vision
# One man, one goal,
one true religion
# One dump, one turd
Two tits, John Deacon
# Woh-oh-oh-oh-oh
# Give me one vision... #
The Magic Tour was the biggest tour
we'd ever undertaken.
# No wrong, no right
# I'm gonna tell you there's no black
and no white... #
We planned an entire tour
of stadium gigs.
# All we need is one world,
one vision... #
Massive shows all over Europe, and really
fantastic reception. We hit another level.
We were finally in the place we'd
always dreamed of being, perhaps.
# I had a dream when I was young
# A dream, sweet illusion... #
That tour had gigs like Budapest in
it, which in itself is a great thing.
Budapest was the first stadium
concert behind the Iron Curtain.
People hitch-hiked from
all over Eastern Europe.
# Look what they've done
to my dream... #
It was a great tour because
it ended up two nights at Wembley.
Hello there, my beauties.
This is happening.
# Give me your hands
Give me your hearts... #
In addition to Wembley Stadium,
we put on an extra one
because it sold out so quick, the
two nights, so we put Knebworth on.
# One voice, one hope
One real decision
# Gimme one light One light
Gimme one hope One hope
# Just gimme, ah
One man, one man
# One bar one night
One day hey hey
Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme
fried chicken. #
They were the final shows
with Freddie,
and I remember it being
pretty much perfect.
"God Save The Queen"
I just got the vibe from Freddie,
he felt that he wasn't
maybe able to do any more.
I know there'll be a time when I
can't run around on stage
because it'll be ridiculous. There
comes a time when you have to stop.
I think he had an idea that
he might not be terribly well.
Freddie told me that he was HIV
positive before he told the band.
This put me in
a very difficult position
because he told me
he didn't want me to tell the band.
So there was I, managing
a band, knowing something
of crucial importance to the band
which I couldn't pass on to them.
# Every drop of rain that falls
in Sahara desert says it all
# It's a miracle
# All God's creations
Great and small
# The Golden Gate
and the Taj Mahal
# That's a miracle
# Test-tube babies being born
# Mothers, fathers, dead and gone
# It's a miracle... #
There were rumours
and he was obviously suffering,
and we didn't know what it was,
and rumour, rumour, rumour...
And so he did sit us down
at one point and said,
"Look, you probably know what
I'm going to say.
"You know what I'm suffering from.
You know what the problem is
but I don't want to talk about it
anymore. I just want to make music
until the day I fucking die.
And... let's get on with it.
# It's a miracle
# It's a miracle... #
These are some of our best
studio times.
We've made the decision that all
the songs we write will be credited
to all of us, so it kind of
releases a bit of...
positive energy in us.
They became closer and closer,
without any doubt.
The sharing of writing credits
was a major breakthrough.
Some magical things happened,
I think.
There's this track called
The Miracle, itself,
which I think is one of Freddie's
most beautiful creations.
# The one thing
The one thing
# We're all waiting for
# Is peace on earth
Peace on earth
# And an end to war
An end to war... #
'I love the track. It's all
so optimistic about the world'
and the miracles that are being
found in the world.
Which is incredible when you think
what he's looking at
because he knows what he's got and
he knows what the prognosis is.
# That time will come
One day you'll see
# When we can all be friends
# That time will come
One day you'll see
# When we can all... #
APPLAUSE Special Award for an
outstanding contribution to British music
goes to John Deacon, Brian May,
Freddie Mercury,
Roger Taylor - Queen.
The first indications
something wasn't right
was Freddie looked a
little thinner to me.
And I called John up to see
what was going on.
I said, "Is something wrong with
Freddie?" And he wouldn't tell me.
The thing that annoyed me
more than anything was a shot
of Freddie in The Sun and he'd just
come out of the doctor's, I think.
It's a really grainy,
full-page shot. "Is this man dying?"
And I thought,
"You fucking wankers. "
# Scandal
# Scandal... #
We hid everything and
we avoided questions.
# Scandal... #
I guess we lied.
Because we wanted to protect him.
# Scandal... #
I would then say anything
to anybody. "Is Fred sick?"
"Absolutely not, no.
He was in the gym yesterday.
"Fuck you," you know.
"None of your business. "
Everybody had to draw
the wagons around him.
Because at that time, to become ill
was to have a death sentence.
# Today the headlines
Tomorrow hard times
# And no-one ever really knows
The truth from the lies... #
His house was surrounded by...
I don't know, a couple of
hundred, I reckon.
Just like vultures, really.
# Deeper and deeper inside... #
It was utterly shocking, you know.
Filming the groceries in the back
of the car boot.
# Scandal... #
"Any medicine in there?"
You know, it's absolutely shocking.
It became difficult to
work in London,
there was such a terrible
focus of attention on him.
People sticking cameras through
his toilet windows,
as soon as the rumours
were out there.
So Montreal was a much more peaceful place to
work so we ended up doing a lot of stuff there.
"I'm Going Slightly Mad"
Freddie felt much safer there
because people didn't bother.
You know. They weren't intrusively
observing him.
At that point we can't play live
but in the things that we're doing,
it's business as usual.
# I'm going slightly mad
# I'm going slightly mad... #
He was determined to work right up
to the last minute.
I was surprised that he did
Going Slightly Mad.
# It finally happened... #
Which I thought was a good video,
and it had lots of humour in it.
# I'm slightly mad! #
There was a lot more humour in
Freddie than I think
the general public realised.
You want to take it? No, I...
Oh! What's it doing?
Roger, what did you do?
It was just really
a very close time.
Go for me. Waaa!
Freddie found an amazing tranquillity
and I never really heard him complain.
I remember we went out one night
and he had horrible
problems with his leg.
And Freddie saw me looking at it and said,
"Oh, Brian, do you want to see what it's like?"
And he showed me, and I think...
he reacted to my face, and he said,
"I'm really sorry. I didn't mean
to do that to you. "
I never heard him go, "This is
really awful. My life is shit.
"I'm going to die. "
Never, never, never.
He was an amazingly strong person.
The sicker Freddie got, the more
he seemed to need to record,
to give himself something to do, you know
- some sort of reason to get up.
And he would make it in
whenever he could.
So really, it was a period
of fairly intense work, actually.
Freddie is becoming weakened
by this horrible disease
and he finds it hard
to stand up a lot of the time
but he'll throw a couple of
vodkas down and prop himself up
on the mixing desk and have his mike
there, and go for it.
Roll camera, roll playback.
# Sometimes I get to feeling
# I was back in the old days
# Long ago... #
'I can hear the voice is
getting thinner. '
# Things seemed so perfect
You know... #
'I think you can really tell
that it's an ailing voice. '
Although he hits the notes.
# The sun was always shining
# We just lived for fun
# Sometimes... #
'Roger started writing These Are
The Days Of Our Lives about his kids'
and the way he felt about
life and how it comes back.
But of course, in that context,
it had another meaning.
# Those were the days
of our lives... #
'He looked so ill there.
It was quite scary,'
and... I thought that was a very
brave thing to do.
And why not, you know?
'He spent hours and hours and hours
in make-up, sorting himself out,
'so it would be OK.'
# Those days are all gone now but
# One thing is true... #
I did too many movements.
But I just wanted to see...
No, I know...
# I still love you... #
I just want to see...
It doesn't look...
It doesn't look...
I think it should be waisted.
Do you know what I mean? I want a
little bit of shape here. A tiny bit.
'Yeah. I like the shape now. '
# Those days are all gone now, but
# One thing's still true
# When I look... #
'Freddie actually kind of says
a goodbye in that song. '
# I still love you... #
I still love you.
Innuendo was out on the streets,
it was number one
and two weeks later they
were here in Montreux.
And they started doing more music.
And Freddie, at that time, said, "Write
me stuff. I know I don't have very long.
"Keep writing me words.
Keep giving me things.
"I will sing and then you can do
what you like with it afterwards,
"you know, finish it off. "
And so I was writing on scraps
of paper these lines of Mother Love.
He was dying and he did those things
and he knew he would be dead
when they were finished.
Because he said to me,
"I'm going to sing it now,
"because I can't wait for them
to do the music on this.
"I'll give it to you on a drum
"Give me a drum machine thing...
They'll finish it off. "
# I don't want to make no waves
# You can give me all the love... #
Every time I gave him another line,
he would sing it,
sing it again, and sing it again.
So we had three takes for every
line, and that was it.
# I long for peace before I die... #
Mother Love, I think, was the last
one. There's an exceptional
spine-chilling note in the middle.
A fantastic bit of singing.
# Out in the city
# In the cold world outside
# I don't want pity
# Just a safe place to hide
# Mama, please, let me back
inside... #
It's absolutely... spine-chilling.
And we got to the last verse
and he said,
"Oh, I'm not up to this now,
I need to go away and have a rest.
"I'll come back and finish
it off", you know.
And he never came back.
That was the last moment that I had
with him in the studio.
I went to see Freddie, and it
was in fact the last time I saw him.
He said to me, "I haven't given
you anything in my will.
"You're my executor,
you can do anything with my legacy,
"you can do anything with my music
"but never make me boring. "
The last time I saw Freddie was,
Anita and I went to see him
and he was in bed,
with the curtains open so he could
see out into his garden,
and I was talking about
things in his garden,
saying, "That's really interesting"
and he said,
"Guys, you don't need to feel like
you need to make conversation.
"I'm just so happy that you're here,
"so even if we say nothing,
it's just having these moments. "
The worst thing was I was
actually on my way to see him,
and I was about 300 yards away
when Peter Freestone rang me
to tell me, "Don't bother coming
cos he's gone. "
It was me who wrote
the little epitaph
that's on his statue in Montreux
which just says, "Freddie Mercury,
Lover of Life - Singer of Songs. "
To me, that sums him up
because he lived life to the full,
there's no question,
with all that that entailed.
He was a generous man, a kind man,
an impatient man sometimes,
but utterly dedicated to what
he felt was important,
which was making music.
We made the announcement that we were going to do
a tribute concert to him when we felt that we could,
to send him out in the style
which he deserved.
We hope that a lot of you will
be able to join us
on April 20th at Wembley Stadium
for a celebration of Freddie's
life and career.
You're all welcome. Please join us.
So we drew up a list of people
that we'd like to be on the show.
Roger got the ball rolling.
Roger got up one morning and said, "Look,
we're doing this. " And made a few phone calls.
And Brian said, "Well,
if you can get that lot, I'll come. "
On stage, Mr Roger Daltrey!
Mr Robert Plant, thank you!
Mr David Bowie!
# Any way the wind
blo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ows! #
We got a date, Wembley Stadium... Had to
be Wembley Stadium, didn't it? Had to be.
The scene of Freddie's
greatest triumphs.
A lot of amazing things happened.
I'd like to offer something,
in a very simple fashion.
David Bowie spontaneously went into the
Lord's Prayer which was a surprise to us all.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power
and the glory
for ever and ever,
A- men.
God bless Queen.
God bless you.
Thank you, good night.
I want to hear every single person.
See every single pair of hands.
Three, four.
# Find me somebody to love
# Find me somebody to love
# Find me somebody to love
# Find me somebody to love
# Somebody! Somebody!
# Somebody! Somebody!
Somebody! Somebody!
# Somebody find me
somebody to love
# Anybody find
# Somebody to-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o... #
Come on!
# Lo-o-o-o-ve. #
'It was completely cathartic. '
It was like working out
a bit of grief in a way.
# Somebody find me
somebody to-oo-oo love
# Find me somebody to-oo-oo love
# Find me is somebody, somebody
# To-oo-oo love
# Anybody anywhere find me
somebody to love
# Yeah, yeah
# O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oh
# O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oh. #
And I remember just as we were
coming off,
Joe Elliott from Def Leopard
put his hand on my arm
and said, "Stop, Brian,
"just turn around and look at that
audience and remember this moment.
"Nothing like this
will ever happen again. "
'The incredible thing is, it's 40
years since the band was formed.
'The band is probably
as big as it's ever been. '
And yet 20 of those 40 years
have been without Freddie.
We don't have John either because he's
chosen to be in a very different place.
For Roger and I...
there is always that searching.
# The show must go on! #
What's lurking in the wings was the material
we'd done with Freddie which was unfinished,
and what were we going to do with
this, make an album?
Made In Heaven
was obviously different.
It was very weird working with Freddie's
voice coming out of the speakers
but Brian and I felt that we knew
what Freddie would have been thinking
so we got there and I was
very pleased with the result.
I feel like it was
the right completion.
It was, um... it was the right
album to finish up on.
Once you've passed your initiation into
being a rock star, it never leaves you.
You cannot stop having that feeling
inside you that makes you want to play.
# The show must go on! #
When we did the Paul Rodgers
tour, it was great, actually.
Paul was a great singer,
completely different.
# I've never given in
On with the show
# The show must go on. #
It constantly amazes me
to think we were lucky enough
to be in a great band, to have
a great band together,
and that, actually, people still
like the music, you know.
Queen is such a stimulating
creative environment,
there's really nothing quite
that could live up to that.
There was a perfect creative
hothouse that was Queen at its best.
# One dream, one soul
# One prize, one goal
# One golden glance of what should be
# It's a kind of magic
# One flash of light
that shows the way
# No mortal man
# Can win this day
# It's a kind of magic
# The bell that rings
# Inside your mind
# Is challenging
# The doors of time
# This rage that lasts
a thousand years
# Will soon be, will soon be
Will soon be...
# Will soon be done
# Will soon be done
# E-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-up
# E-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-up
# E-e-up
E- e-up
# E-e-up
E- e-up
# E-e-up
E- e-up
# Ee-do-ree-ro-re-ro
# Ee-do-ree-ro-re-ro. #
Fuck you.