Read all 5 events for 16 December at diary.QueenSongs.info
Composer: Freddie Mercury
Keys: Eb-major, (B-major)
| Verse | Chorus | Bridge 1 | Chorus || | Bridge 2 I-II | Solo (Chorus ext.) | | Verse | Chorus'|
"Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy" is the last example of Mercury's vaudeville/musichall influenced pieces. He started the series with "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" (influenced by the Pointer Sisters!) and partly "Killer Queen", then continued with "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon" and "Seaside Rendezvous". The end of this series marked one of the important changes that characterize Queen's post-Races period.
In the song we can find many of Queen's trademarks: catchy melody, playful arrangement, nice harmonies, a guitar solo with the distinct guitar sound and style, and high built-in lead melody content. The home key (Eb-major) stays clear most of the time throughout the song.
The non-model-like song form has a long non-repeated content, while we have four choruses (one of them is instrumental).
We have two verses before the first and the last Chorus. This section is square eight measures long and consists of two parallel phrases that start with the same melody and harmony.
Eb: | Eb | Ab Gm Cm | Fm(7) Bb7 | Eb Bb7 | | I | IV iii vi | ii V | I V | | Eb | Ab Gm Cm | Fm(7) Abm Bb7| Eb Bb7 | | I | IV iii vi | ii iv V | I V |
The first phrase is dominated by chain of fifths root motion (See also the intro of "Don't Stop Me Now"). The step to the dominant for the end of both phrases creates pre-tension, for the next phrases/sections start with the dominant, it's a usual compositional trick, just like the use of 'iv' chord to create chromatic lead (C-B-Bb) (see the ii-iv progression in "Love Of My Life" - Outro). The harmonic rhythm varies much during the phrases.
The first verse starts with only piano and lead vocal, the low-volume mixing is tad disturbing. Sliding-mode guitar enters on the downbeat of the second phrase and plays a counter-tune which is the lullaby-motif that we will hear in Bridge 2. The same type of clever foreshadowing appears in "Under Pressure" (the counter-melody of backing vocals appears later in the lead vocal). The guitar becomes double-tracked, then goes into harmony for the end of the section.
Bass and drums enter on the last beat before the Chorus.
The second verse has just a few extras: stepwise descending counter-vocals with separate lyrics in measure 2, tick-tack-noise plus a clock-bell. Those counter vocals foreshadow the last Chorus, (with stepwise ascending bit).
This is the most focused section of the song that catches one's ear almost immediately.
Eb: | Eb Bb7/D | Cm Gm Ab | | I V | vi iii IV | | Eb Bb7/D | Cm G7/B | | I V | vi V-of-vi| | Cm Gm Cm Gm | Fm(7) Abm Bb7 | Eb | | vi iii vi iii| ii iv V | I |
The Chorus is seven measures long. The first two phrases harmonic-wise show an AA' form similarly to the Verses, but the lead melody is different. The last phrase with three measures breaks the square phrasing. The lead melody and the harmony of the last two measures are close variants of those closing the Verses and Bridge 1.
The piano accompaniment uses syncopated ragtime-esque rhythm figures (also in Bridge 1) which are primarily responsible for creating the vaudeville-feel of the song:
1 2 3 4 1 * * * * * ** * ...
The backing vocals are harmonizing the lead vocal most of the time during the first two phrases. It's a nice but quite straightforward arrangement that slavishly follows both the lead vocal (with hardly any appoggiatura) and the chord progression. The last measure closes with a diatonic walk down from Eb to Ab.
The second Chorus is closed by a repeated piano figure taken from the next section (Bridge 2). This figure makes the second Chorus one measure longer.
The solo-Chorus has different chords from measure 6. The guitars play some appogiaturas.
m.6. | Fm (Abmaj7) | Gm Abm (9>8) | | ii | iii iv |
| Eb Bb/D Cm G(7>b2)| Fm(9) Ab Bb7| | I vi | ii IV V |
The guitar solo is not just one of Brian's most melodic but also one of his most sophisticated arrangements with antiphonally alternating harmonies and solo guitars. Among the guitar harmonies we can find simple inversion-changing ones and some tightly harmonized melodies, all these spiced with stereo imaging and with the sweet tone of the Red Special. The rhythm of the solo in measure 3 is shuffled a little bit. The end of the rising figure in measures 3-4 gets off-beat:
1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . 1 . . . 2 : beats 5 4 3 2 3 4"0"1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 8 8 : degrees in c-minor
The last Chorus features extra conter-vocals with different lyrics (see last Verse). The last phrase is modified:
Eb: half | Cm Gm Cm Gm | Fm Abm | Bb7 | Eb || Eb | vi iii vi iii| ii iv | V | I ||
Measure three has hocket vocals. The song ends on a first beat.
In the middle of this ten-measure long section the harmony modulates to bVI (B), the pivot chord is the Abm (iv of Eb, vi of B), a relatively unusual modulation for Mercury. For the end of the phrase the tune modulates back into Eb-major.
| Abm | Eb/G | Eb: iv | I | | Abm Gb7 | B Gb7 | B Gb7 | B Bb7 | Eb: iv... ...bVI V | B : vi V | I V | I V | I | | Eb | Ab * C7 | Fm(7) Abm Bb7 | Eb Bb7 | | I | IV V-of-ii ii iv V | I V |
The vocal harmonies are mostly antiphonal here. Let's take a quick look at the "to go-romancing" harmony.
to go romancing Lead : Ab Ab Eb C G (E) #1 : ... Ab Ab C Bb #2 : Ab, C Eb Bb G #3 : Eb, Ab, C G E B.gtr: Ab G F Eb G C
Special effects: vibrato onthe last syllable, a lovely slide up and tight harmony on the "MAN" syllable from "roMANcing". The "to go rom..." syllables articulate the same chord in different inversions.
The rhythm piano applies the same ragtime figure (e.g. in m.4) that we saw in the Chorus. The bass plays a 3+3+2 rhythm figure in measure 2. The ending of the section is basically the same as the Chorus (and Verse).
The second bridge consists of two subsections. The first one is characterized by slowed down harmonic rhythm, frequent use of 3+3+2 and 3+5 accents, spare use of drums (just a few beats), tight harmonies, and a mellow guitar counterpart with sustained tone. This section of eight measures is introduced with the piano motif that both melodically and rhythmically foreshadows what is to come soon.
The tune of the first two measures is a 4/4 variant of Brahms's "Rock-A-Bye Baby" in 3/4 (two 3/4 measures are compressed into one 4/4 measure with 3+3+2 accents). The bass figure in measure 4 seems to continue Brahms' tune while the lead vocal in measure 5 starts with the beginning of the tune again. The introducing (and accompanying) piano figure is not from the lullaby, but its high notes parallel its lead tune (intervals: 8, 4, 6, 5, 5 respectively)
piano G Eb Eb' C' Bb vocal G, Bb G F Eb
Strange coincidence that Brahms' tune also modulates to bVI although not the same way. (Talking about melodic similarity: "I can dim the lights and..." from the verse much reminds me of a guitar motif in "Innuendo").
Eb: | Eb | - | Bb7/F | - | | I | - | V | - | | Eb | Bbm7 | F7/A | Bb7/D C(7>8)| | I | v | V-of-V | V V-of-ii|
The harmony seems to steer away slightly from Eb toward F-major (then f-minor).
Interesting harmonies in measure 3-4 (Bb7 in 2nd inversion):
Long hot summer nights lead: C Bb Bb Ab F F ? Eb D C Bb Ab gtr: Ab___________Eb D bass: F______________
The second subsection breaks the sentimental tone of the first. The first phrase (with AA' sub-phrasing) has unisono "Greek tragedy" choir (starring Mike Stone). The second phrase (1 and a half measure) uses the familiar from other sections ii-iv-V progression, this time with a non-variant melody. The last syllable joins with the next section (solo-Chorus)
| Fm(7) | - | Eb: ii | - | f: i | - | half | Fm7 Abm | Bb7 (6>5) | Eb: ii iv | V |