Quotes related to 'A Day At The Races' album

About the album

[intro] It was supposed to be the musical equivalent of that ridiculous staircase going around four side of a square, and it seems to always be going upwards. It's an Escher painting. It's supposed to be the equivalent of that because every part is going up, and each part fades into an ocatve below. It's also backwards, because I played it all descending.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

A Day At The Races was the fist album we actually produced. We kept Mike Stone, who had been assisting Roy, because we needed an engineer. At that time Roy got The Cars and we had come a long way together. I think between us and him we evolved that style of production which has now gone out into the world and got to other people. Mike Stone was involved form the beginning too, the harmonies, doing the guitars that way, getting ambience on the drums and making them sound bigger.

Brian May; Sounds U.K., January, 1984

[absence of Roy Thomas Baker] We finally got that organized. We just felt that, for this one, we needed a bit of a change. We were quite confident in doing it ourselves. The other albums we really co-produced, actually we always took a very keen interest. I think it turned out for the better.Taking more responsibility has been good for us. Roy's been great, but it's a progression. really - another step in our career. We simply felt that it was now or never.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

[absence of Roy Thomas Baker] It was all very amicable. Roy's been in and out of the country. He's heard some rough mixes. Who knows? Maybe he'll be back producing the next one! It's been tremendous pressure recording this album.

Roger Taylor; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

It's new, it's slightly different, but it still sounds like the Queen that used to be. A Day At The Races is definitely a follow-up to A Night At The Opera. Hence the title. We learned a lot from A Night At The Opera about studio technique.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

[being opposed to synthesisers] We've built up a terrible aversion to them, but you never know. To me, Brian always sounds better than a synthesizer.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

About 'Drowse'

`Drowse' is a very interesting song of Roger's. Roger is very rock and roll. It's got great slide guitar from Brian and Roger's done octave vocals. It's a very hum-able tune, actually, I sing it all the time.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

I suppose I seem to have a bit of a “rock ‘n' roll” tag. I have my quiet moments as well, and this is just a slightly more relaxed thing than usual. It's rather American, it turned out, but you never know until you've finished. You know, you can't sit back and judge it at all, until you've actually finished.

Roger Taylor; Saturday Scene, December 1976

It's about somebody dozing off and things going through his head, remembering back his long-lost youth, nostalgically.

Roger Taylor; Capital Radio, December 1976

For me, A Day at the Races was disappointing after A Night at the Opera and I'm trying to figure out the reasons. There was too much repetition. As well as that, Freddie and Brian devote so much time to their own material so that when one of the other guys writes a song, it doesn't get enough attention and comes out half-baked. Freddie, I think, should spend a little more time helping the other guys in the band develop their songs. Maybe they should all improve themselves in each other's trips a little more. They seem to me to be becoming less and less of a band.

Todd Rundgren; unknown printed medium, 1977

I remember writing it very well. I wrote it in the, in my bedroom at the Manor Studios in 1976 and I dunno about a quantum leap, but it was a bit different, a bit quirky and it was quite easy to record.

Roger Taylor; Fan Club Convention message, 2001

About 'Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy'

'Good Old-Fashioned Loverboy' is one of my vaudeville numbers. I always do a vaudeville track, 'though `Loverboy' is more straightforward than `Seaside Rendezvous', for instance. It's quite simple piano-vocals with a catchy beat; the album needs it to sort of ease off.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

It's in my ragtime mood that I get a chance to, to do on every album and this time, this is something I've come up with this time around.

Freddie Mercury; Capital Radio, 5th of December 1976

A little frilly number from the pen of Fred.

Kenny Everett; Capital Radio, 5th of December 1976

To me and to many others, he was a consummate songwriter. Not many people realised either what an excellent and innovative pianist he was; Rachmaninoff he wasn't, but in terms of the way he used the piano for composition, he was unrivalled. I also hadn't quite realised how much Freddie drew from his relationships the ideas he needed for his work. He wrote many songs about the people he loved, not to mention songs about those of whom he wasn't quite so fond! For example, I would often accuse him of holding deeply old fashioned opinions. Perhaps it was this which inspired him to write Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy? I still maintain he was old fashioned. Amongst his other eccentricities, Freddie in those days was a great letter writer. I have boxes of letters from him, from wherever he found himself in the world; where most people would be content merely to phone, Freddie would write as well. I understood that later in his life, he sadly stopped being so old fashioned.

David Minns [Mercury's then-boyfriend]; This Was the Real Life, 1992

About 'Long Away'

`Long Away' is a twelve-string thing written by Brian...very interesting harmonies.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

If I'm honest, I think I would like to be remembered for a few of the songs, none of which were really hits, but some of which had a lot of emotion in them: White Queen and Let Us Cling Together and Long Away off the A Day at the Races album. And We Will Rock You.

Brian May; Guitar Player, 24th of September 1982

Long Away is a Burns [sic] 12-string. I couldn't play Rickenbackers because the necks are too thin. I like a very fat and wide neck. My fingers only work in that situation. I always wanted to play a Rickenbacker - because John Lennon did. Roger collects extremely fucking rare guitars, and he has a Rickenbacker. But I can't play it.

Brian May; Guitar World, October 1998

Obviously, you have certain of your own babies, if you wrote the song, and you want them to be heard in a wide area. And if you miss that opportunity, it's kind of gone forever. In my case, there's things like Long Away, ‘39… which could've been a single, and part of me wishes they had been, because they would've been much more in the public consciousness. Songs become hooked into people's lives in a very wonderful way. You know, you hear a song, and it reminds you of a beach somewhere at a particular time with a particular person. Generally, if the song doesn't become a single, it doesn't have that opportunity to become part of life.

Brian May; The Making of A Night at the Opera, 2005

Ooh, that's a nice one to play. That's amazing! Maybe it's my favourite… I feel very proud of that, it had a big effect on me listening to that just now. I hope they play it when I'm gone.

Brian May; KLOS FM, 5th of May 2008

I used [a twelve-string electric] on Long Away. Funnily enough I think I bought it because I liked the pickups, but I fell in love with the guitar once I started playing around with it and the song materialised. The guitar actually inspired the riff that powers the song.

Brian May; Guitarist, February 2011

About 'Somebody To Love'

Somebody To Love' is Aretha Franklin-influenced. Freddie's very much into that. We tried to keep the track in a loose, gospel-type feel. I think it's the loosest track we've ever done.

Roger Taylor; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

Our time in the studio is spent recording, recording, recording. We're in there pretty much by ourselves now that we're producing ourselves, and it takes a lot of time. A lot of the album actually expands and grows when we're in the studio… take Somebody to Love, for instance - I knew I wanted a gospel choir feel to it, and I knew that we'd have to do it ourselves. Now what you've got on that track is a 165 piece choir effect - so you can imagine how long it took four of us to do it. We had to do it over and over. I know that it's a block harmony, but it was a type of singing that we hadn't done before; it had a different level. To get that section done, just that one section, took a week, but it was worth it. I don't think any of us ever want to look back on an album and say, “if only we'd done that it would have been better.” We want it right when we do it; if it means taking a long time, then we take a long time.

Freddie Mercury; unknown printed medium, spring 1977

From my point of view, OK, Bohemian Rhapsody, big hit, but I think a song like Somebody to Love is in my estimation, from the writing aspect, a better song.

Freddie Mercury; aborted documentary, 1977

Somebody to Love was hard to do because there are so many voices on the record that I didn't know if we'd be able to do it. I enjoy playing it now, but when we first started the tour, we were dreading it when it came round in the set. I suppose we have got over the barrier of reproducing tracks live. I mean, we'll have a go at anything. I've always thought of the band as a live band, but we've never really tried to recreate the records from the second album mainly because I don't think it's always wise to try and go that way; you tend to lose spontaneous and aggression, that spark. But at the moment we've got a good balance between the two.

Roger Taylor; Melody Maker, 1977

We had the, the same three people singing on the big choir sections, but I think it had a different kind of technical approach, because it was a sort of gospel way of singing, which I think was different to us, and this is me sort of going on about Aretha Franklin, and sort of made them go a bit mad. I just wanted to write something in that kind of thing, I was sort of incensed by the sort of gospel approach that she had on the earlier albums, although it might sound the sort of same kind of approach on, say, the harmonies, it is very different in the studio because it's, actually, a different range.

Freddie Mercury; BBC Radio One, 26th of December 1977

Multi-tracked using the same kind of technique as Bohemian Rhapsody, of course. It's almost the follow-up to Bohemian Rhapsody, ‘cause of these multi-voiced choir effects, but this time it's a gospel choir rather than a sort of English choir. It's all us, folks!

Brian May; Greatest Video Hits, 2002

It's a big vocal tour de force song, and it's a good strong song.

Roger Taylor; Greatest Video Hits, 2002

The song's about desperation.

Brian May; American Idol, 11th of April 2006

One of the hardest songs in our songbook.

Roger Taylor; American Idol, 11th of April 2006

Again, an immaculate backing track; it's Freddie and Roger and John, driven by his amazingly rhythmic piano. A great feel, just great feel; there's no… it's not been messed with, you know, and these days you have to Pro-Tool it and put everything in the right place before you let it out. But this is just real and futuristic playing. Done in bits as well, wasn't it? Because there's a couple of bits which we didn't even use, I seem to remember; well at least one bit we didn't use.

Brian May; Absolute Greatest, 2009

It's the massed choir, the massed gospel choir of the three of us. It's quite unusual like several of our songs, it's in the three/four, sort of six/eight time. And it's a long backing track too, with a lot of different moods to it, so I guess it was done in sections, yes. Yeah, I remember, actually. Freddie could really shine on this live pounding at the piano and it was a great, live track this.

Roger Taylor; Absolute Greatest, 2009

Freddie came up with a magnificent little sort of foray into white gospel, if you wanna call it that, and we really worked our harmonies on Somebody to Love.

Roger Taylor; Days of Our Lives, 2011

Freddie came in very well prepared with a lot of vocal parts and we just worked our way through ‘em and became something we called the sausage machine that we'd sort of follow our instincts and whoever was leading at the time. It's a very good feeling, I always remember thinking “This is gonna be something great.”

Brian May; Absolute Radio, 17th of August 2011

That was Freddie's favourite, I think.

Roger Taylor; Official Queen YouTube Channel, 16th of May 2016

We envisaged the A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races albums as companion pieces. I love the sound we achieved on A Day at the Races, especially on Somebody to Love but also The Millionaire Waltz.

Roger Taylor; Mojo, July 2019

About 'Teo Torriate'

The album ends with a Japanese thing, a track from Brian called `Teo Torriatte,' which means `let us cling together.' It's a very emotional track, one of his best. Brian plays harmonium and some lovely guitar. It's a nice song to close the side.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

[Brian]'s written a lovely Japanese song, which is at the end of the second side. It's got Japanese verses, actual Japanese verses which we had to do, we did a lot of research actually and we had our Japanese interpreter. We flew her over from Japan.

Freddie Mercury; Capital Radio, 5th of December 1976

We have some good Japanese friends. Our interpreter, when were in Japan, called Chika, helped me with the words, when we're there - that was one of the few things which actually did get done on tour - and she taught me how to pronounce the words. I just wrote the English and she translated it, roughly, and we worked on it until it sounded right. A plastic piano is a very strange little keyboard, it's my bud's Vox, actually, which they lent us, and I was fiddling around on, and from that, from fiddling around it came the basic idea of the verse for that song. When we came to record it, it was very difficult, and you can just hear it on the track beneath the ordinary piano, sounding extremely plastic.

Brian May; Capital Radio, December 1976

At the end of that song, Teo Torriatte, we did have a few friends in to sing. But mind you, it was just about six or so.

Freddie Mercury; Hit Parader, July 1977

Brian's best song.

Freddie Mercury; Music Life, 1979

If I'm honest, I think I would like to be remembered for a few of the songs, none of which were really hits, but some of which had a lot of emotion in them: White Queen and Let Us Cling Together and Long Away off the A Day at the Races album. And We Will Rock You.

Brian May; Guitar Player, 24th of September 1982

For the record, as far as I remember, I played piano on: Doin' All Right, Father to Son, Now I'm Here, Dear Friends, Teo Toriatte, All Dead All Dead. Notably NOT on Sail Away Sweet Sister - I got Freddie to learn it and play it with Roger and John for the backing track - I wanted his marvellous rhythm and percussive feel on piano - but yes on Save Me, Las Palabras de Amor, Flash and The Hero (plus organ on the Wedding [sic]). But from here on in we began using synthesisers and there were many excursions from us all into keyboard territory… The only pure piece of piano from this era from me is Forever - which was a doodle done live in the studio which I rescued for a bonus track later on.

Brian May; Official Website, 23rd of April 2003

Teo Toriatte (Let Us Cling Together) was the result of feeling “untimely ripped” from our lovely Japanese fans. I had never experienced anything like the love that was showered upon on when we were a young Rock Group in Japan. So suddenly, I felt I wanted to say (on behalf of Queen) that I missed them, and we would not forget. Of course, once a song is being born, all sorts of other ideas come into the head, and one becomes conscious that the song has other meanings. There are always strong personal feelings in my songs. And I like to make a song something universal, if possible - that's the kind of music that moves me. This means the song has to be, in some way, non-specific. But there are all sorts of ways around this ! One of my favourites in this area is a song which at first sight seems VERY specific - The song Maria from West Side Story. You might at first, if you just saw the film, or the stage show, think that the song only has a meaning inside the show. But the writers (being two men of genius - Stephen Sondheim, and the musical giant Leonard Bernstein) crafted it so wonderfully, that, once you have absorbed the idea that you have given the name Maria to the girl of your dreams, the song absolutely speaks your thoughts ... it's magic .... especially clever since the song is all about her name ... you know that magical feeling when even a name glimpsed in a newspaper, or on a mobile phone screen for that matter, can make your whole body feel an electric pulse! Well, the song gives you that! Well, I digress ... my song is about being parted from someone you love .... more than that, it would be hard to say ... it's in the song ... songs can say so much more than prose.

Brian May; Official Website, 3rd of September 2007

And Japan? It was so intense and emotional for us, it was very hard to leave. We grew completely attached to our Japanese team of interpreters and security, and by the time we'd said goodbye to them to get on the plane home we were all emotional wrecks. And, you know, that's never changed. Every time we've been back to Japan we feel this way. I wrote the song Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) about this strong bond we as Queen felt with the Japanese people. My lovely interpreter Chika Kujiraoka worked with me on translating half the choruses into Japanese. I think I never thanked her enough. And at some point, when we go back, we always sing a version of this song, and our fans, now a whole new generation, sing it with us, gently, and perfectly in tune.

Brian May; Queen in 3D, 25th of May 2017

About 'The Millionaire Waltz'

I think that holds the record. Ther's one bit in there which is sort or fairground effect in the background. I think there are three octaves for each part, and six parts. I'm not sure but there must be about 18 or 20 guitar tracks. It's a funny sound. It makes a peculiarly sort of rigis sound. I was really surprised. It sounded like a fairground organ.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

Actually I’d like to say that Brian did do a very good job on the actual guitars. He’s really taken his guitar orchestration to its limits, I don’t know how he’s ever going to out do that one actually. And John played very good bass on that. I think it’s good and we’re patting ourselves on the back again. I really think it’s worked out well especially from the orchestration point of view. Because he’s really used his guitar in a different sort of way, I know he’s done lots of orchestrations before.

Freddie Mercury; Kenny Everett, Capitol Radio, London, November 1976

`The Millionaire Waltz' is quite outlandish, really. It's the kind of track I like to put on every album. Something way outside Queen's format.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

It's comparable to `Bohemian Rhapsody', in the sense that it's an arranged, intricate number. There are several time-signature changes, though not quite so many vocal overdubs.

Roger Taylor; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

Brian has orchestrated it fully with guitars, like he's never done before. He goes from tubas to piccolos to cellos. It's taken weeks. Brian's very finicky. Anyway, this track is something that Queen has never done before-a Strauss waltz!

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

It's very out of the Queen format, really and we thought we'd like to do that on every album. I think I went a bit mad on this one. But it's turned out alright I think, it makes people laugh sometimes. I'd like to say that Brian did do a very good job on the actual guitars. He's really taken his guitar orchestration to its limits, I don't know how he's ever going to outdo that one actually, and John played very good bass on that. I think it's good and we're patting ourselves on the back again. I really think it's worked out well especially from the orchestration point of view, because he's really used his guitar in a different sort of way, I know he's done lots of orchestrations before.

Freddie Mercury; Capital Radio, 5th of December 1976

There's so much overdubbing: we're creating orchestras and choirs and things. I think we took that as far as it can possibly be taken on A Day at the Races, if you listen to The Millionaire Waltz, that was a complete sort of orchestra, with all its sections and choirs and stuff and I don't think we can ever go any further than that in that direction.

Brian May; Capital Radio, May 1977

Of course, a lot of my lyrics are tongue-in-cheek. I don't like being serious, because I tend to get too serious and drive me, and everyone around me, crazy. The lines “bring on the charge of the love brigade, there's spring in the air once again” in Millionaire Waltz are funny. It's so Julie Andrews.

Freddie Mercury; Hit Parader, July 1977

I think that because some of the complexities of some of our songs the tag “overproduced” is one that is easily applied to Queen, but it's just not true. If you look at it intelligently, there are certain kinds of songs that need that kind of attention, just as there are others that don't. On A Day at the Races you can find both examples: Millionaire Waltz needed that layered effect whereas Take My Breath Away needed the sparseness that we gave it, just piano and vocal.  What we don't want is anything second-rate. Our time in the studio is spent recording, recording, recording. We're in there pretty much by ourselves now that we're producing ourselves, and it takes a lot of time. A lot of the album actually expands and grows when we're in the studio. I don't think any of us ever want to look back on an album and say, “if only we'd done that it would have been better.” We want it right when we do it; if it means taking a long time, then we take a long time. I wanted an orchestrated sound, and Brian said that he was going to get his guitar to do all the orchestration. We set it out as though we'd hired an orchestra to come into the studio, and then Brian worked through each part - the cellos, the various other strings. It took a long time.

Freddie Mercury; unknown printed medium, spring 1977

Some of A Day at the Races is a baroque masterpiece - mainly the stuff that I didn't write - and I feel very proud of it. One of my favourite tracks is The Millionaire Waltz, which was recently used in a ballet by the legendary French choreographer Maurice Bejart. It's a great choice because it is so rich in invention. It staggers me, the stuff that Freddie put into it. The bass lines are phenomenal, and listening to what I did on it I can't even remember how I arrived at all that stuff. Sometimes there are ten different things going on at once - different guitars, with different sounds, going different places.

Brian May; Mojo, August 1999

Mike continued with us to even greater technical heights in the next album - A Day at the Races. Most people remember Somebody to Love, a skilful pastiche of a huge Gospel Choir made up of only three voices, Freddie, Roger and myself. Mike's expert ears and fingers kept all that in balance, with a magic “crystal” sparkle, but try listening to the less famous Millionaire Waltz from the same album, for an even more amazing painting in sound on a broad canvas - a beautiful example of Mike Stone's meticulous work.

Brian May; Official Website, June 2002

A very orchestral track. There aren't a lot of drums, but when they do come in they are colossal, have a huge sound and sound like timpani.

Taylor Hawkins; Rhythm, September 2002

I've worked with some great bass players and no one has quite had the same lyrical touch that John has. I think he's very underrated. I love what he played on The Millionaire Waltz.

Brian May; Guitar Player, January 2008

That song wasn't terribly popular with the critics – which is probably why I like it – and you never hear it on the radio. The different layers are just wonderful. Freddie at his best.

Roger Taylor; Mojo, July 2019

About 'Tie Your Mother Down'

[playing slide] Yeah, a glass one. That was on standard tuning.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

[song title] Well this one in fact is a track written by Brian actually, I dunno why. Maybe he was in one of his vicious moods. I think he’s trying to out do me after “Death On Two Legs” actually.

Freddie Mercury; Kenny Everett, Capitol Radio, London, November 1976

We start off with a track from Brian called `Tie Your Mother Down' which we've recently put in the live act. In fact, we played it at Hyde Park before we recorded it. I was able to come to grips with the song in front of an audience before I had to cut the vocal. Being a very raucous track, it worked well for me.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

Well, it wasn't about my mum really. It's really meant to be a story about a young boy's frustration and where it leads him, really. It's a simple as that, it's not as personal about some of the stuff we've done, it's more fun. I'll tell you the truth, I know what happened. Sometimes you get a little riff, and you just put some words with it, and then you don't even think about what they mean. Now I'm remember thinking, now this isn't a good enough title for this song, but everyone said: "Well actually, it sounds okay," and so we kind of lyrically built it around that. That's the truth, folks.

Brian May; The Making of Innuendo, Rockline 04 Feb. 1991

For instance on You Take My Breath Away, that's mostly Freddie, and the beginning and end of that song are real harmony showpieces without any rhythm section at all. But then, say, Tie Your Mother Down or something really hard like Liar or something like that - we're using very hard, blasting harmonies, really, in sort-of old English rock n' roll sense, with a rhythm section.

Roger Taylor; Interview in the USA, Boston, 1976

I think, strangely enough, [the most difficult A Day at the Races track to record was] Tie Your Mother Down, it's like a straight boogie track, bang your head against the wall type track, and for some reason we did find a little bit of difficulty in recording it.

Roger Taylor; Capital Radio, December 1976

We played it at Hyde Park [sic] before we recorded it. I was able to come to grips with the song in front of an audience before I had to cut the vocal. Being a very raucous track, it worked well for me.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, January 1977

I was on top of a mountain in Tenerife, playing some riffs while the sun came up, when the words to that song came into my head. I thought it was a crap title, but Freddie said it meant something to him, so he knows the answer, and who am I to argue?

Brian May; Q, July 1998

Tie Your Mother Down was built around a riff, which I'd had kicking around for a long time, and I know pretty much where I first played it: it was on top of that volcanic ridge in Tenerife, where I was doing my PhD studies. I had a little acoustic guitar which I'd bought down in Santa Cruz in Tenerife, where we'd lived, and I remember beating out that riff and enjoying it, enjoying the feeling of bending the string as part of the riff. And I sat there watching the sun go down and kind of singing along with it, but I didn't really have a song at that point.

Brian May; Absolute Radio, 17th of August 2011

Twixt Science and Art! Here I am at the fledgling Observatorio del Teide in Tenerife on an observing trip for my PhD - but in leisure time strumming as the Sun sets in a sea of clouds. This was the birth of the Tie Your Mother Down riff.

Brian May; Queen in 3D, 25th of May 2017

About 'White Man'

[playing slide]: The only tuning I've used apart from normal is to take the bottom string down to D, which I've used on "The Prophet's Song", "White Man", and "Fat Bottomed Girls".

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

[loud noise] I don’t know, it’s down to Mike Stone our engineer. We’re very bad in the studio for that actually, the poor engineer has to really suffer because we really want as much level as possible. We keep pushing the phasers up and he keeps looking at the meters and going ‘Oh it’ll never cut’. Then we give him the added task of going over to New York or wherever and saying ‘Make sure that cuts as loud as possible’.

Freddie Mercury; Kenny Everett, Capitol Radio, London, November 1976

`White Man' is the B side. It's Brian's song, a very bluesy track. Gave me the opportunity to do raucous vocals. I think it'll be a great stage number.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

It's Brian's song, a very bluesy track. Gave me the opportunity to do raucous vocals. I think it'll be a great stage number.

Freddie Mercury; Circus, January 1977

A real bitch to sing. It really requires a lot of my voice.

Freddie Mercury; Madison Square Garden, 2nd of December 1977

It's a real bitch of a song. It really gets to the nodules.

Freddie Mercury; The Houston Summit, 11th of December 1977

About 'You And I'

That’s the end of side one of “A Day At The Races”. That was a track by John Deacon, he’s contribution to this album. His songs are good and are getting better every time actually. I’m getting a bit worried actually.

Freddie Mercury; Kenny Everett, Capitol Radio, London, November 1976

`You And I' is John Deacon's track. It's very John Deacon, with more raucous guitars. After I'd done the vocals, John put all these guitars in, and the mood has changed. I think it's his strongest song to date.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

That was a track by John Deacon, his contribution to this album. His songs are good and are getting better every time actually. I'm getting a bit worried, actually.

Freddie Mercury; Capital Radio, 5th of December 1976

For me, A Day at the Races was disappointing after A Night at the Opera and I'm trying to figure out the reasons. There was too much repetition. As well as that, Freddie and Brian devote so much time to their own material so that when one of the other guys writes a song, it doesn't get enough attention and comes out half-baked. Freddie, I think, should spend a little more time helping the other guys in the band develop their songs. Maybe they should all improve themselves in each other's trips a little more. They seem to me to be becoming less and less of a band.

Todd Rundgren; unknown printed medium, 1977

About 'You Take My Breath Away'

[violin-like tone] There's a particular pickup combination which I use for the violin things: the fingerboard pickup and the middle one. Those two working in phase make a very mellow sound. And there's a point on the amplifier where it's just about to get distortioned, but not quite. Instead of using my pick, I tap the fingerboard with the right hand, and that just sets the thing moving. It sustain itself. you hardly need to even tap it any. If you even stand in exactly the right place, it feeds back in any position so I can just warble around and it's very smooth.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

This one I did myself, I multi tracked myself. So the others weren’t used on this for the voices. I played piano and basically, I don’t know how we managed to stay this simple you know, with all our over dubs and things. People seem to think that we’re over complexed, and it’s not true. It depends on the individual track really, if it needs it – we do it. So this is pretty sparse actually by Queen and our standards.

Freddie Mercury; Kenny Everett, Capitol Radio, London, November 1976

`You Take My Breath Away' is a slow ballad with a new twist. That's another track I did at Hyde Park, with just me on the piano. It was very nerve-wracking playing all by myself in front of 200,000 people. I didn't think my voice would come through. It's a very emotional, laid-back number.

Freddie Mercury; Circus magazine, 31 January 1977

For instance on You Take My Breath Away, that's mostly Freddie, and the beginning and end of that song are real harmony showpieces without any rhythm section at all. But then, say, Tie Your Mother Down or something really hard like Liar or something like that - we're using very hard, blasting harmonies, really, in sort-of old English rock n' roll sense, with a rhythm section.

Roger Taylor; Interview in the USA, Boston, 1976

The harmonies on that are supreme!

Kenny Everett; Capital Radio, 5th of December 1976

Freddie has a very powerful voice with a good range at both ends. I'm not so good in the low range, he's very good; he's also good in the high range. We use harmonies in very different ways, for instance on You Take My Breath Away and that's mostly Freddie and that's the beginning and the end of that are real harmony showpieces without any rhythm section at all. But then, say, Tie Your Mother Down or something really hard like Liar or something like that were using very hard blasting harmonies really, in a sort of old English rock and roll sense, with a rhythm section.

Roger Taylor; radio interview, 9th of February 1977

I think that because some of the complexities of some of our songs the tag “overproduced” is one that is easily applied to Queen, but it's just not true. If you look at it intelligently, there are certain kinds of songs that need that kind of attention, just as there are others that don't. On A Day at the Races you can find both examples: Millionaire Waltz needed that layered effect whereas Take My Breath Away needed the sparseness that we gave it, just piano and vocal.

Freddie Mercury; unknown printed medium, spring 1977

I couldn't come up with a Tie Your Mother Down because I'd done it with Death on Two Legs. I don't want to recreate the same formula. I could have written a vicious song, but that would have been too easy a comparison… I know I deliberately wrote You Take My Breath Away which is keeping with Love of My Life, but I wanted to do that.

Freddie Mercury; New Musical Express, 18th of June 1977

I don't know Freddie very well but I think he's real clever, musically. I think he knows that too and sometimes it seems as if there is an effort to convince other people about it, which I don't think is necessary. Some of the things Freddie has done have been excellent and others not so good. For instance, Love of My Life and You Take My Breath Away are both in the same mould, but I love Love of My Life and You Take My Breath Away brings me to the point of nausea. To repeat the formula is the wrong thing to do. It would have been much better if Freddie had moved on to something else.

Todd Rundgren; unknown magazine, 1977

There's a particular pick-up combination which I use for the violin things: the fingerboard pickup and the middle one. Those two working in phase make a very mellow sound. And there's a point on the amplifier where it's just about to get distorted, but not quite. Instead of using my pick, I tap the fingerboard with the right hand, and that just sets the thing moving. It sustains itself. You hardly need to even tap it. If you even stand in exactly the right place, it feeds back in any position so I can just warble around and it's very smooth.

Brian May; On the Record, 1982

One song I remember him writing specifically is on the Day at the Races album. Before recording it, he played it to me and I remember feeling shattered for days that anyone was prepared to write a song like that for me for that it is what he told me the lyrics were about. It was a worthwhile vindication for at the time, our friendship was under severe pressure from many quarters. It was ironic that later on in his career, I knew exactly about whom he had written subsequent songs. He was awfully clever like that.

David Minns [Mercury's then-boyfriend]; This Was the Real Life, 1992

Going into the recording of Races we just had come back from a sensational tour in Japan, and fallen in love with all things Japanese, including of course some of their music. The opening piano figure on which Breath is based is very deliberately on the Japanese Pentatonic scale. Freddie was also clever enough to leave the sustain pedal down at exactly the right moment so all the five notes could be heard beating with each other as the chord dies away. The vocals are based on the background chords which is why they achieve a similar effect when a spin is put on them.

Brian May; Official Website, 2003