Breakthru

Written by Queen

Recording information by Philipp (PraxisNothaft@t-online.de)

Recorded  somewhere between January 1988 - January1989.
Released in 1989 on the album The Miracle

General:
This song has a roller-coaster-beat(180 bpm) and is full of intelligent musicianship.The Intro originally was an unfinished song by Freddie,whilst the main song is basically written by Roger.They put it together and made it a Queen-song.

First, let´s take a look at the intro:
The Piano is played by Freddie. It´s recorded with two mics and mixed equivalent left and right. The backing vocals are done mainly by Freddie and Roger, but of course there´s also one voice by Brian. The basic track with three voices is mixed a bit right. The other vocals are done on two overdub-tracks. The lead-vocals are done by Freddie.
All tracks are reverbed, especially Freddie´s lead-vocals.
The cymbal roll belongs already to the...

...main song:

Drums:
In many parts of the song there´s a flanging, shaker like computer-line, which "supports" the Hi-Hat.
The rest is all Roger´s excellent drumming. Roger only used Hi-Hat, bass drum, snare drum, a ride cymbal and several crash cymbals...no toms.
The Hi-Hat is panned right. The crash cymbals are often panned right or they are changing between left and right.

Bass+computer bass:
Human bass:
John only plays his fast bass parts from 1:40 -1:59 and from 2:58 -3:45.
He also plays a bass-solo. He uses a compressor and is mixed into the center.
Computer bass:
There´s one basic track, which is almost playing throughout the song. This bass is only sometimes fading out to make place for John´s bass. In the Intro/Interlude/Outro it is panned from left to right for two bars, but apart from that it´s always in the middle. In the outro it is suddenly double tracked and playing left and(!) right for some bars. This computer-bass isn´t monotone like a drum-machine, but arranged note by note and then programmed on computer to bring it to life.The same is to say about the other computer tracks:
In Intro/Interlude/Outro there´s another bass-line, which has a distorted sounding tone and it is playing along with the basic bass-line.
And there´s also a short overdub in the intro with a clean bass-like sound, playing some high notes along with the basic line. This one also could be done with a human keyboard.
The computer stuff is done with Passport Master Tracks Software and used on a computer (in 1988/89), which is suitable for such music programs... like an Atari or something like that. Brian Zellis (Studio equipment co-ordinator) helped them with programming.

Keyboards:
There are three tracks:
The organ in the 1st verse, 1st chorus and 2nd verse is a preset from the Roland D-50 ('Rock Organ'). Probably played by Freddie.
Then there's a keyboard (Roland, Yamaha, E-MU, Fairlight or Korg), that is playing string-pad chords.

Guitars: (all played by Brian)
Let's take some close looks:
Intro: On the left side there´s a rythm guitar, playing two short chords. On the right side, the lead guitar plays some muted notes.
1st verse: The rythm guitar continues it´s extremely distorted chords fills (very in the background) on the right side.
1st chorus: A second rythm guitars comes to the 1st one. They´re playing left and right and are mixed louder now. In the end there´s a swelling effect.
Bridge: The lead guitar plays some smaller fills. Then at 1:54 Brian does some double-bends while the guitar goes from left to right and after this he does a crazy vibrato-bar attack.
One of the two rythm guitars plays chords very in the background with extreme distortion.
2nd verse: After the short muted lick, another lead guitar enters and plays those bluesy licks for the whole verse. One of the two rythm guitars plays some chords on the left side and then, in the middle of the verse, it goes into the middle.
2nd chorus: In the end of the verse, the second rythm guitar enters. The two rythm guitars play some pick scrap-attacks and are then playing their chords for the chorus.
Bass-solo: One of the two lead guitars plays some bends, very in the background.
Guitar-solo: There are two solo-guitars (left and right). At first they´re playing some double-bends with tremolo-picking. Then they´re playing scales. The right solo-guitar is panned into the middle after its scale. Meanwhile, the rythm guitars are playing some chords. One guitar also is playing some dead notes.
Choir: The two lead-guitars and the two solo-guitars are playing this little choir. They´re all panned a bit different in the stereo-panorama and they also change thier loudness. At first the right guitars are louder, but then they´re changing places with the left ones.
3rd chorus: The stuff about the rythm guitars is already said. At 3:53 a guitar is playing a chord with using the vibrato-bar, a filter and a cross-echo (the echo-repeats are changing between left and right). The lick in the end is already known.
SOUNDZ:All guitars are very distorted (hash-distortion style) and with lots of treble (-booster).The rythm guitars sometimes got a bit of delay. The other guitars are all reverbed. Brian uses also a number of other effects (can be seen above).

Vocals:
There´s one track with the "a-ha,a-ha"-voice, which could be done Roger.
The backing vocals got up to 5 voices and are done mainly by Roger + Freddie, but there´s also one voice by Brian.There´s one basic track and two overdub-tracks.
In the bass-solo and at the very end, the backing vocals are flanged and got a echo/delay. In the rest of the song the backing vocs are a bit reverbed. There´s also some panning around in the bass-solo. The lead vocals (Freddie) also got reverb/echo. In the interlude, the "now" has got some echo-repeats.