On this day
  • 1973: Queen live at Leciester University JCR Hall, Leicester, UK. John\'s...
  • 1975: Queen live on A Night At The Opera Tour at Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland.

Read all 6 events for 15 December at diary.QueenSongs.info

A Day At The Races

Documented Timeline:

  • 1976:
    • April:
      • Queen return from their world tour, and for the first time ever have to do it secretly in order to have some privacy. A few of them also move to new homes.
    • May/June: 
      • Fan Club changes hands and is now run by Thérèse.
      • Rehearsals at the Ridge Farm, with Phil John being replaced by Christopher Taylor as Roger's equipment supervisor.
    • Summer: Recording sessions at The Manor. Confirmed tracks partially recorded at The Manor in July 1976:
      • 'Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy'.
      • 'The Millionaire Waltz'.
      • 'You Take My Breath Away'.
      • 'Simple Man' ('White Man').
      • 'Drowse'.
      • 'Somebody to Love' (shorter version - probably some sections were added later).
    • September:
      • Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd: Queen play two concerts in Scotland, then return to England to keep working on the album.
      • Friday 10th: Queen play a concert in Wales, then return to England to keep working on the album.
      • Saturday 18th: Free concert at the Hyde Park in London. They resume recording afterwards.
    • October:
      • Unspecified Date: Fan Club Newsletter announces the album will be finished soon, though at that point they're yet to choose the single. Thérèse informs that A Day at the Races may be the title but it's not set on stone at that point, and mentions Frederick'd penned a waltz for the album.
      • Saturday 16th: The record company arranges for the band to attend the horse races at Kempton Park in Surrey, as the title of the album's been confirmed by then.
      • Friday 22nd: Single mixed at Sarm in London.
      • Tuesday 26th: Monitor mix of 'Brian's 12 String Thing' (working title for 'Long Away') at Wessex in London. Backing vocals (not necessarily the definitive ones) had already been recorded at this point.
    • November:
      • Tuesday 2nd: 'You Take My Breath Away' copy-mix at Wessex.
      • Friday 5th: Compilation mixes for the album done at Wessex. Different running order at that point.
      • Tuesday 9th: Copy-mixes for 'Long Away', 'Drowse' (three different versions) and 'Tie Your Mother Down' at Wessex.
      • Friday 12th: 'Somebody to Love' / 'White Man' single released in the UK.
      • Tuesday 16th: 'The Millionaire Waltz' and 'You and I' copy-mixes at Wessex.
      • Friday 26th November: Reception event for the press, playing the album's final mix at Advision Studios in London.
    • December:
      • Wednesday 1st: Even though the album hasn't been released at this point, it's been pre-ordered enough times in Britain to qualify for Silver and Gold certifications for having reached the necessary monetary thresholds (£100,000 and £250,000).
      • Friday 10th: A Day at the Races is released in the UK.
      • Wednesday 29th: The album is certified Gold in the USA for having earned a million dollars in sales in that territory.
  • 1977:
    • Saturday 8th January: The Official Charts Company reveals A Day at the Races was the best-selling album of that week, having overtaken Glen Campbell's 20 Golden Greats. A week later, it'd be replaced by ABBA's Arrival.
    • Saturday 5th February: Queen play Madison Square Garden in New York, and guests at their post-concert party include Eric Idle and Peter Frampton.
    • March:
      • Thursday 3rd: After the second night at the Forum in Inglewood, California, the promoters and the record company host a party where Queen and Thin Lizzy entertain a few celebrity guests, including Michael Jackson (who was eighteen at that point), The Beach Boys, Tatum O'Neal (she was thirteen), Sparks, the Electric Light Orchestra, American actor Tony Curtis and English drummer Cozy Powell.
      • Friday 4th March: 'Tie Your Mother Down' / 'You and I' released as the album's sophomore single in the UK.
      • Friday 25th March: 'Teo Torriatte' / 'Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy' released as the album's sophomore single in Japan.
      • Friday 20th May: Queen's First EP released in Britain, containing 'Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy' and 'Death on Two Legs' on the first side, 'Tenement Funster' and 'White Queen' on the second one.
    • Tuesday 7th June: 'Long Away' / 'You and I' released as a single in Elektra territories.
  • 2002:
    • Thursday 14th November: The album is certified Platinum in the USA for having sold a million copies in that territory.
  • 2017:
    • Friday 3rd November: Over three decades after having been released, 'Somebody to Love' is certified Silver in Britain after finally having accumulated 200,000 sales.

Documented Recording Venues:

  • Advision Studios on 23 Gosfield Street, Fitzrovia, City of Westminster, Greater London W1W 6HG, England.
  • The Manor in Shipton-on-Cherwell, Kidlington, Oxfordshire OX5 1JL, England.
  • Sound and Recording Mobiles (aka Sarm Studios) on 9 - 13 Osborne Street, Aldgate, London E1 6TD, England.
  • Wessex Sound Studios on 106 Highbury New Park, Islington, Greater London N5 2DR, England.

Documented Personnel:

  • Performers:
    • The band:
      • John Deacon: Electric bass, acoustic guitar.
      • Brian May: Lead and backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic and electric piano, electric harmonium.
      • Frederick Mercury: Lead and backing vocals, acoustic piano.
      • Roger Taylor: Lead and backing vocals, acoustic drums, additional percussion (gong, tambourine, timpani), electric guitar.
    • Guests:
      • Michael Stone: Lead vocals.
      • Unknown Uncredited: Backing vocals.
  • Studio Crew:
    • Timothy Friese-Greene: Assistant engineer (Wessex).
    • Gary Langan: Assistant engineer (Sarm).
    • Gary Lyons: Assistant engineer (Sarm).
    • Michael Stone: Deputy producer, chief engineer.
  • Technical Crew:
    • Richard Anderson: Equipment supervision.
    • Jonathan Harris: Equipment supervision/coordination.
    • Peter Hince: Equipment supervision.
    • Christopher Taylor: Equipment supervision.

Documented Instruments:

  • Keyboards:
    • Bechstein IV 7' 2" Acoustic Piano: The Manor (presumably).
    • Bechstein C 7' 4" Acoustic Piano: Wessex.
    • Bösendorfer 200 6' 6" Acoustic Piano: Advision.
    • Steinway (possibly B 6' 10.5") Acoustic Piano: Sarm.
    • Vox Electric Piano: 'Teo Torriatte'.
    • Unknown Harmonium'Teo Torriatte'.
  • Percussion:
    • Ludwig Bespoke Drums.
    • Ludwig Ringer Timpani: 'Drowse'.
    • Paiste 60" Symphonic Gong: 'Overture'.
    • Premier New Era Bell-Tree: 'Long Away'.
    • Premier New Era Tambourine: 'Teo Torriatte'.
    • Premier New Era Triangle: 'Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy'.
    • Premier New Era Woodblocks: 'Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy'.
  • Strings:
    • Baldwin Double-Six Guitar: 'Long Away' (rhythm).
    • BHM Bespoke Guitar: Brian's main.
    • Birch Bespoke Guitar: Brian's spare.
    • Fender Precision Basses: John had two, he could've used either, or both.
    • Fender Stratocaster Guitar: Possibly 'Drowse' (rhythm).
    • Martin D-18 Guitar: Likely 'You and I', possibly 'Drowse'.
    • Tokai Hummingbird F-120 Guitar: Possibly 'Drowse'.

Documented Studio Equipment:

  • Analogue Tape Recorders:
    • 3M M-79 24-Track: Sarm and Wessex.
    • Ampex MM1100 24-Track: The Manor.
    • MCI JH-16 16-Track: Advision.
  • Mixing Consoles:
    • Cadac 3208: Wessex Studio 2.
    • Cadac 3224: Wessex Studio 1.
    • Helios 3224: The Manor.
    • Quad Eight: Advision.
    • Trident B 2824: Sarm.
  • Monitors:
    • JBL Bespoke Speakers driven by Crown and Radford Amplifiers: Advision.
    • Tannoy Red Speakers in Lockwood Cabinets driven by Radford Amplifiers: Sarm.
    • Tannoy Speakers driven by HH Amplifiers: Wessex.
  • Compressors / Limiters:
    • ADR F-760: The Manor.
    • dbx 160: Sarm and Wessex,
    • dbx 165: Sarm.
    • Marconi: Sarm.
    • Neve: The Manor and Wessex.
    • Orban De-Esser: The Manor.
    • Teletronix LA-2A: Sarm.
    • UREI 1176: Sarm, The Manor and Wessex.
    • Westrex: Sarm.
  • Equalisers:
    • Aengus Graphic: Sarm.
    • Orban Parametric: Sarm and Wessex,
    • Trident Parametric: Sarm.
    • UREI Graphic: Sarm, The Manor and Wessex.
  • Microphones:
    • AKG:
      • C-28: Possibly used for guitars at Advision.
      • D-12 & D-202: Most likely used for bass-drum and additional percussion at The Manor.
      • D-224: Multi-purpose mic at The Manor.
    • Beyerdynamic:
      • M-69: Possibly used on electric instruments, acoustic drum overheads, and vocals at The Manor.
      • M-88: Possibly used on electric instruments, acoustic drums, tom-toms and vocals at The Manor.
      • M-160 & M-360: Multi-purpose mic at The Manor.
      • Soundstar: Possibly used on vocals and amps at The Manor.
    • Neumann:
      • KM-64 & KM-84: Possibly used for drum overheads at The Manor.
      • M-49: Possibly used for piano at The Manor.
      • U-47 & U-77: Multi-purpose mics The Manor.
      • U-64: Multi-purpose mic at Advision.
      • U-67 & U-87: Multi-purpose mics at Advision and The Manor.
    • RCA 44-BX: Possibly used for sundry overdubs at Advision.
    • Schoeps CMC-56: Multi-purpose mic at The Manor.
    • Sennheiser (Various Models): Wessex.
    • Shure 456: Multi-purpose mic at The Manor.
    • Sony (Various Models): Wessex.
    • STC Coles 4038: Possibly used for percussion and vocal overdubs at The Manor and Wessex.
  • Outboard Signal Processors:
    • Allison 64K Automation: Sarm.
    • Allison Kepex Noise Gates: Sarm, The Manor.
    • AMS Delay: The Manor.
    • dbx Noise Reduction: Sarm.
    • Dolby Noise Reduction: Sarm.
    • EMT 140 Plate Reverb: Advision, Sarm, The Manor.
    • Eventide
      • Flanger: Wessex.
      • H-910 Harmoniser: Wessex.
      • Omnipressor: Sarm.
      • Phaser: The Manor.
    • Marshall Time Modulator: Wessex.
    • MicMix Master Room Reverb: The Manor.
    • UREI Little Dippler Filter Set: Sarm, The Manor.

Myths, Legends & Ongoing Debates:

  • Simultaneous Sessions: With all the publicity surrounding Opera and Races as 'the Marx Brothers albums' and even some off-handed comments made by Brian and some other people claiming that, in retrospect, it could've been a good idea to release them as a double album, there have been people assuming sessions for both records took place more or less at the same time. They didn't: nearly eight months had passed from the moment Opera's final mixes were delivered to the mastering engineer to their earliest Races rehearsals. Despite their similar titles, Opera and Races aren't any closer to Opera and Heart Attack, or Queen and Queen II, etc.
  • Somebody to Love Co-Authorship: The Spanish translation of the band's official biography, As It Began, mistranslated the bit where they mentioned 'Somebody to Love' and made it look like Roger and Frederick had written it together. As a result, many fans in Spain, Mexico and South America (and possibly some in other territories such as Costa Rica, Panama and Cuba), mistakenly believed so, which even led to the myth growing and people claiming Roger had to have arranged the vocals because he'd sung in a choir as a child. Sure, I can drive - that automatically means I can manufacture a car!