You're My Best Friend

Composer: John Deacon
Meter: 4/4 (12/8)
Key: C-major, (a-minor)
Form:

 Intro | Verse | Chorus | Bridge |
       | Verse | Chorus | Solo (Bridge + extension) | Outro I-II |

The "Opera" album features songs of numerous styles including a three-minute popsong: this is You're My Best Friend. Very unusually for the genre there is no section appearing more than twice. On the other hand, in terms of phrases and measures, we find numerous repetitions or variants. The form is cyclic and very similar to that of Spread Your Wings (1977). Another similarity between the two songs is the lack of (real) modulation.
The arrangement features 3- and 4-part vocal and guitar harmonies (no rhythm guitar), bass (melodic approach), drums, and electric piano. The latter seems to be a strange choice for a "no-synth" album. This is his second recorded song and the first one relesed on single (some six months after the album-release). Freddie's lead vocal features lot of "special effects" (voice, rubato-ized rhythms, ornaments, slided notes) resulting in a really passionate performance.

Walkthrough

Intro
Similarly to many Queen songs, the intro sets the key, this time to C-major. The intro is four measures long. The second pair builds the main riff of the Verse. Drums enter in the fourth measure.

| C1 | C1 | Dm/C | C  |
C:        | ii   | I  |

The repeated rhythm figure from measure 3 with syncopation:

.1 .2 .3 .4 .1
 *       ** * : chords
 *  *  *  *   : bass


Verse
The Verse is ten measures long. The phrasing of the lead melody is: ABA'A"A. The eletric-piano figure of the Intro is repeated until last measure. Note that the bass enters many times on the second eighth. The harmony:

C:
/---- 4x ----\\
| Dm/C | C   |
| ii   | I   |

| Dm/C | C G |
| ii   | I V |

The lead melody is harmonized in the 1st, 4th, and 5th phrases. Second Verse adds guitar fills and harmonies. Tune shapes:

The first and fifth phrase: oscillating
Second phrase:              falling
Third phrase:               inverted arch, note the onamented (oscillated) firts
and last syllables Fourth phrase:              oscillating and rising at the end

Chorus
The Chorus is twelve and a half measures long. The second phrase is an extended variant of the first one. The title phrase appears at the end. Second Chorus has modified melody and lyrics.

C/a:
 | Am |  D  | F  G | C  G  |
C: vi |  II |IV  V | I  V  |
a: i  |  IV |VI VII|III VII|

half
 | Am |  D  | F  G | E/G#   Am| G | F  | Fmadd6 |
C: vi |  II |IV  V |V-of-vi vi| V | IV | iv     |
a: i  |  IV |VI VII|  V     i ...

 | C  | -  |
C: I  | -  |

Note the D chord in measure 2 and 5 doesn't really sound like a secondary dominant of G (V-of-V) and it is followed by the subdominant. The phrasing is vague if you take the lead vocal.

Bridge
It's eleven measures long. The first measure is the same that started the Verse; the last two measures are the same that closed the Chorus. This clever re-cycling of subphrases is more characteristic for Freddie's and Brian's songwriting, but it seems John also could come up with something similarly smart. Tight four-part harmonies back the lead vocal during the first measures.

C:
el. piano:| Dm/C | C  #5    | 6   C7   |
voc.harm.:|      | C  E7    | C6  C7   |
bass      |      | C  G#    | A   A#   |
          | ii   | I V-of-vi| I V-of-IV|

| F  | Fm  |
| IV | iv  |

| G   E7   | Am  D    | G6 (7) | G    |
| V V-of-vi| vi V-of-V| V      | -    |
| C  | C1  |
| I  | -   |

Second Bridge is for the guitar solo. The first measure still has a lead vocal. The guitar solo is in measures 2-7 with a single backing vocal. After the solo, the backing harmonies recover first and the lead vocal joins in soon. Beyond the eleven measures there is an extention of four (2x2) measures spiced up with guitar harmonies. The last measure features the title phrase.

C:
| Fm6 | C  | Fm6 | c  |
| iv  | I  | iv  | I  |


Outro
It is eight measures long; last measure is sustained and faded out. The first four measures contain lead vocal, and the phrases, with a little modification, are taken from the Verse. The last measures (Outro II) are built upon V-I progression in varying inversions of the guitar harmonies. The rhythm (ta-daaa) is reminiscent of the outro of Killer Queen (1974) and the live version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love (1979). Beat map for the "ta-daaa"-s:

.3 .4 .1 .2
    * *

Harmony map of Outro:

C:
| Dm/C| C  |Dm/C | C  G|

| C  G|C  G|C   G|C    |