Keep Passing The Open Windows

Written by Freddie Mercury

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

Recorded in late 1983 at Musicland Studios, Munich, West Germany.
Released in February 1984 on the album The Works.

General:
A very nice and clever song, which was originally intended for the movie "The Hotel New Hampshire". It contains many of the classic Queen-trademarks, as well as more beat-driven passages. Many memorable vocals and sophisticated instrumental work!

Drums:
The basic drum-track (recorded as backing-track together with bass, piano and some guitar) features a very big drum-kit, containing bass-drum, a sharp snare, many toms and electric drums, some cymbals and a hi-hat (panned left).
Roger's drumming is very tight and he does really a great job (difficult stuff!).
Apparently they needed many mics for the kit and it occupied quite a lot of tracks. In the intro there are some cymbal-rolls overdubbed. Furthermore there's a collection of ride cymbals with different "pitches" to form a kind of melody.
Around 0:30 and 4:05 there were some clicks (Roger hits the rim of the snare with the stick: tack-tack-tack) added.

Bass:
The fast bass-riffs were probably played with a fretless bass.
The sound is very mellow and has lots of bass-frequencies.
Probably recorded via D.I and mixed into the center.

Piano:
Played by Freddie on the studios' Yamaha C7. The Piano was picked up with two mics (the low strings are slightly left, the higher ones are more right) and thus mixed stereo.

Keyboards:
There is a synth with a string-sound (with slow attack), that is playing little passages throughout the song.

Guitars:
Starring Brian and the Red Special (with some great licks).
The first guitar you hear in the song is a fill at 0:32. This is played through a VoxAc30-amp (distorted), a treble-booster and of course a delay.
This guitar appears several times throughout the song and is easy to spot.
The basic backing-track, however, is played on two other guitar tracks. This is all the distorted chord/rhythm-stuff (interludes,verses, bridge). Another guitar (high notes) joins at 1:43, 1:53, 2:38, 3:00 (feedbacks) and 3:15.
In the chorus and the outro there's another guitar which is panned around (sweeping from left to right and so on...) and fading in and out.
Brian is playing fast hammer-on/pull-off-licks here and is using (as well as on the other guitars) the Vox-amp. Furthermore this guitar is strongly reverbed and has tiny stereo delay (only noticable in the outro).
The solo-section:(3:18-4:00)
It starts with one guitar with lots of treble and mid-gain. Then two other guitar with a similar sound are continuing (one left,one right) and end in a break with lots of feedback. After this,a choir of three (and after some bars a fourth guitar is doubling) guitars is playing. The last part is done by a lead-guitar in the middle and three choir-guitar with lots of treble and gain (one guitar is left, the other two are right). Most of these guitars were probably recorded with a treble-booster and the Deacy-amp (a small hi-fi transistor-amp, built by John), which Brian used for such choirs with lots of treble.

Vocals:
The famous line in the chorus and the outro ("just believe, just keep passing the open windows"), was recorded separately (Freddie double-tracked his voice).
The backing-vocals in the bridge are done by Brian, Freddie and Roger (everyone double-tracked his voice).
The rest belongs to Freddie's lead-vocals. His voice is slightly stereo-delay on some places.

By the way:
The phrase "Just Keep Passing The Open Windows" is an important line from the book "The Hotel New Hampshire". Queen wanted to make a soundtrack for the film of the same name, but as their own album (The Works) was too time-consuming, they decided to stop the soundtrack-work. Keep Passing The Open Window is one of the songs that were written for the film.