Queen Forever: RECONSTRUCTED (Going Back)

Q

Never thought I would remake this post, but there is a good reason for it. In 2014, I wrote a post sharing some Queen B-Sides and Demos which I felt could have been made into an album, which I called Goin’ Back (After the cover of the song sang by an early version of Queen, sans John Deacon). 3 years on, I went back and fulfilled the project, and now is the time I talked about it.

My friend Lisa, who’s from New Zealand, commented on a post I shared from 3 years ago on Facebook, my original Goin’ Back blog post, and said she had trouble with the playlist, and told me her son loved Queen, so I offered to send her the unofficial album I made, and I also sent a new playlist, with the songs I used for the project. Incidentally, the playlist can be listened to here: Goin’ Back

The songs themselves were mostly ripped from YouTube, using a YouTube to MP3 Converter, and from official sources, such as the Queen YouTube page. The B-Sides were all from fans who put them up from deluxe albums released by Queen, and the 3 ‘new’ Queen songs from Queen Forever were taken from the Queen YouTube page because buying all those deluxe albums would cost me a fortune.

I manually added in all the credentials for my Frankenstein album, and made some cover art on Powerpoint, using rejected photos from the Queen II Album shoot, and that’s essentially how I realised my Queen Forever: Goin’ Back Project, as I call it. The whole point of it was to have as many of the released Queen songs as possible, as B-Sides tend to be neglected, and also to make the album that I felt Queen should have made. It would have been a money spinner and would sell big, but they went the crappy route and bundled 3 songs in a standard compilation album. Boo. If Queen isn’t going to do it, then I guess I’ll just go into a moral grey area and make it myself, and give it away for free.

On the unofficial album, I have 13 tracks, and these are:

  1. Mad The Swine- A rejected piece from the first Queen album, and it has that early Queen sound you find on the First album. Its not really like more famous queen songs, but has only recently been made available on the 2011 re-release of Queen’s Debut album.
  2. I Go Crazy- It was a B-Side to Radio GaGa and is one of many rejected songs from the 1984 Album ‘The Works’, which was Queen’s big comeback after the disastrous 1982 stylings of Hot Space. This is the first of 3 tracks on Goin Back that come from these sessions.
  3. A Human Body- B-Side to Play The Game, from the album The Game. For many years one of the few Queen songs only available on vinyl, until 1985 for the boxset ‘The Complete Works’, and eventual addition on The Game Rerelease in 2011.
  4. Soul Brother- Another B-Side, recorded during the sessions for arguably the weakest Queen Album, 1982’s Hot Space. This song was the B-Side to Under Pressure, of all things. Incidentally, Bowie recorded vocals for another track on Hot Space, Cool Cat, but asked to be removed. We only know this from demos released online.
  5. Hang on in there- B-Side to ‘I Want It All’ from 1989’s The Miracle, re-released in 2011. I Want It All was written about Brian May’s wife, Anita Dobson, most famous in the UK for being on EastEnders, and having her own singing career.
  6. Stealin- B-Side to ‘Breakthru’ from 1989’s The Miracle, and also re-released in 2011. Interestingly, Breakthru was actually two different songs at one point during demos and was eventually merged together into Breakthru, which is one of my favourite latter-day Queen songs.
  7. Lost Opportunity- B-Side to ‘I’m Going Slightly Mad’ from 1991’s Innuendo, and sung by Brian May, rather than Freddie. Has a very bluesy sound to it.
  8. See What a Fool I’ve Been- B-Side to Seven Seas of Rhye, recorded during the Queen II Sessions, Queen II being my favourite album of all time. This song is Heavy Blues Rock and unapologetically slow. I would have this over ‘Loser in the End’ on the main Queen II album.
  9. Let me in your Heart Again- Initially recorded, but unfinished, during sessions for 1984’s The Works, and eventually recorded by Anita Dobson, who used Freddie Mercury’s demos to guide her voice, it was  one of the 3 songs featured on Queen Forever, and was not on the initial list of songs I had for the original post
  10. There Must Be More to Life than This: The famed Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson duet, recorded in 1983, but never was officially released. It was released with Freddie’s vocals on his 1985 solo album, Mr Bad Guy. The Queen version was produced by William Orbit for the Queen Forever compilation, with Jackson’s vocals, and the whole reason I started the project initially.
  11. Love Kills: The 1984 Freddie Mercury solo released, initially recorded with Queen during sessions for The Works, was released as a synth piece for the rerelease of the 1927 film Metropolis. This was reimagined as a Ballad for Queen Forever.
  12. I can hear music: A cover by Freddie Mercury (under the name Larry Lurex) and Brian May and Roger Taylor from 1972, in order to get studio time for the first album.
  13. Goin’ Back: A cover from the same Larry Lurex sessions. The whole point of this was to recreate Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound producing technique. If you do not know what that is, buy any album by The Ronnettes, Let it Be by The Beatles, or the Phil Spector Christmas Album. All of those songs were recorded in that style.

And that’s the album. You know my disdain for compilations, unless they’re special ones, like re-recordings, B-Side releases, etc. I hate them because they’re lazy and exploitative. As fans, we deserve the best we can get, and Queen Forever SHOULD have been Goin Back. I could easily recreate the tracklist of Queen Forever as a playlist, as I have all the albums. If you are a fan, compilations are weak and awful. Give the fans something great, not the bare minimum. Let us just enjoy listening to classic tracks, and goin’ back to the things we love so well in our youths.

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Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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