Quotes related to 'A Kind Of Magic' album

About the album

...the album isn't really a soundtrack album. It started off, a lot of the ideas come from the movie, but really, once the movie was delivered, once the film was out of the way we just concentrated on making it a Queen album.

Brian May; A Kind Of Magic, published by Tabak Marketing Limited, 1990

We saw, I think, 20 minutes of the "Highlander" film before it was finished, and we all went out going "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can hear this, I can hear this", and we all had songs in our heads from that point. I wrote the love song that I wrote for the movie in the car coming home from that first showing, because I was so inspired, so ignited by what I saw. So it's easy.

Brian May; A Kind Of Magic, published by Tabak Marketing Limited, 1990

On production of the album: Yes we did but with the help of Mack, who is our co-producer for the last two to three albums. Also with the help of David Richards, who is a new face in a way, except that he's been our in-house engineer in Montreux Mountain Studios, which are our studios, and he really came into his own on this. He did most of the work that related directly to the film, and did a wonderful job. Very bright young man.

Brian May; A Kind Of Magic, published by Tabak Marketing Limited, 1990

About 'A Kind Of Magic'

Really A Kind Of Magic was from The Highlander. It was a line in the movie and we had all the rough cuts from the movie and we were watching the different scenes while we were writing the music, and the line just stood out. They used it several times.

Roger Taylor; The Queen Story, Radio 2, 6 November, 1999

We fight a lot and hard, we all are pigheaded, no one does give in, most of all Roger and Freddie roar at each other over and over again. The new single brought a lot of fights, so we released Roger's song in Europe and in the States Freddie's song Princes of the Universe. We will see who wins.

John Deacon; Popcorn, 1986

We all have our own ideas of how a song should be, because, I mean, a song can be done in so many different ways, depending on who's doing it, but sometimes I just feel it's not right, like in case of Roger's track, which is Magic, he did it in a totally different way, which is quite good, but I just felt that there was another commercial streak and I just realised that he was going away to LA for about a week, so I just got hold of it, and I just changed it around completely, and when he came back, I said, “well, what d'you think?” And he said, “oh, I like it!” It's a completely different song, but sometimes you can see something else in other people's songs, and I don't mind them do that to my songs. We all help each other in away, but that's what then takes a lot of time.

Freddie Mercury; video interview, 1986

Sometimes it's pretty hard to keep up with all the ideas that keep coming out. I mean, especially from Freddie: I remember one day we were working on A Kind of Magic and he said, “I want to hear a herd of wildebeests swinging from left to right.” I said, “Oh, yeah, fine, how am I gonna do this?” And I spent another two days thinking about it, realising what he wanted - he wanted he wanted some kind of effects, stereo effects, and so eventually we came up with these magic effects that went swinging around, but he would, in one hour, come up with three-days work, really, in ideas, and then the job was to put it all down.

David Richards; video interview, early 1990s

The first time I worked with him, actually, was for A Kind of Magic. It was Roger's song, but Roger went away for two weeks to Los Angeles, and Fred said, “I want to have a look at this song of Roger's, I think it's got potential but I don't like the way it is at the moment, I'm gonna totally change it and rearrange it!” OK, fine!

David Richards; video interview, late 1990s

The track, as conceived by Roger in the beginning, was quite sort of lugubrious and heavy and Freddie totally lightened it up to make it a commercially accessible kind of thing, putting in this riff thing and making little sort of mantras out of little pieces.

Brian May; Greatest Video Hits II, November 2003

Basically the song is a précis of the story of the Highlander and the line is an actual line in the movie. That was where the song came from, and it's sort of about an immortal, I suppose… It was written for the movie and it became very popular on stage. I remember when we played it on the 1986 tour, which is our last ever tour, it used to go down incredibly well, this one, and it had a very good end to it. Originally, it was much more filmic, and in fact it was used at the end of the movie as the closing credits, as I remember, and it was much less sort of dance-orientated and it had much more broken-up tempos, it was sort of grander concept, generally more filmic, but we then re-worked. I know Freddie particularly believed in this song, and we re-worked into a single, really, for the album and, funnily enough, they played it on the jukebox in the second Highlander movie, which we didn't really have anything to do with but by that time it'd been a big worldwide hit so I suppose they wanted to get it in.

Roger Taylor; Greatest Video Hits II, November 2003

There is another version of it, which Roger initially put together, which is more rocking, and I think it appears somewhere, doesn't it? Freddie got a bee in his bonnet about it at some point, didn't he?, and said, “look, you guys just bugger off and I'll make it a hit?” And he chose his favourite bits, I mean, particularly the little bass riff I think, you know, he wanted it catchy and poppy, and did a very good job.

Brian May; Absolute Greatest, 11th of November 2009

Inspired by the movie Highlander, the title being a line from the script in the movie. It's a great line, I think, and the song was born out of that really, out of that one line. Freddie was the one who put this… he sort of, took the original and put the disco beat in, he put the dance into it, yes, because it wasn't really a dance record at all. It sort of, tells the story of the movie really, in cryptic, short form.

Roger Taylor; Absolute Greatest, 11th of November 2009

About 'Don't Lose Your Head'

I was in the Townhouse studio making The Key album [sic] and Queen were in the next studio to me, and Roger Taylor came over and asked me if I would just walk over to his studio and say these words on the song, which I did, and then after I'd finished, the next thing I knew was Roger walking in with a MASSIVE bunch of flowers!

Joan Armatrading; The Guardian, 15th of May 2018

About 'Friends Will Be Friends'

Freddie's written a song called "Friends Will be Friends", and I think Freddie and John worked on it together. It's something which I took to heart very much as well because it's kind of traditional Queen sound. It has this... If you can remember "We are The Champions" or "Play The Game", it's in that kind of mould, it has all the Queen trademarks. And yet it's a new song and a new idea, and that's something I instantly related to. Very nice, very good track. It sounds very complete.

Brian May; A Kind Of Magic, published by Tabak Marketing Limited, 1990

This album [A Kind of Magic] also furnished another of the band's crowd-pleasing anthems, namely Friends Will Be Friends. The co-composition credit on this track and on Pain Is So Close To Pleasure was merely because John Deacon insisted that Freddie's contribution be recognised and acknowledged. John's honesty and integrity would not have allowed him to do otherwise.

Peter Freestone; An Intimate Memoir, 1st of November 2001

Obviously written as a collaboration between Freddie and John, very much on the lines of a sort of anthemic style and certainly imagining that the audience would sing along, which they did.

Brian May; Greatest Video Hits II, November 2003

It's amazing how many people I know have depression issues (including me, of course). And FWBF has been pretty much overlooked since its time .... I like it too … and for Freddie it was something quite important … at the time of writing it he was also in a very sad place. I don't think Freddie suffered from depression as such, but he was in a lot of emotional pain, and in this song he was determined to make something that would have some power to cheer people through bad spots. The verses are very original, I think … little anecdotes which are pure Freddie, but the chorus, which in a way might seem the simplest part, gave him much pause for thought. And we all chipped in ideas, when asked! I think my most notable contribution was to turn the words around at the end, so that “FWBF” comes last instead of second to last.... Freddie was tickled by that. But Freddie definitely saw this as something like Champions - something that could be a uniting force for our listeners.

Brian May; Official Website, 30th of July 2006

About 'Gimme The Prize (Kurgan's Theme)'

There's a song called "The Prize", and that is a song which is based around the Kurgan's theme, which... The Kurgan is the bad guy in the "Highlander" movie, and I wrote this piece for him, and then once the film was out of the way I was able to make it into a complete song.

Brian May; A Kind Of Magic, published by Tabak Marketing Limited, 1990

About 'One Vision'

On backwards sounds: It’s not actually, well some of it is backwards, yeah, you’re right, and some of it’s sort of harmonized, slowed down, and tape trickery in general.

Roger Taylor; Queen Off The Record, radio interview with Mary Turner, 1986

Queen is a very democratic arrangement. Regardless of who writes the song, or comes up with the original idea for it, everyone will tend to have a degree of input, guided by whoever wrote it. In the case of One Vision it was very much a co-effort with no-one taking sole composer credit, which made it a little more complicated as regards putting it together because no one had the final say.

Reinhold Mack; International Musician & Recording World, February 1986

The ideas for the song started in the studio. It's not always the case that everyone's around at the same time and so maybe Freddie will come in and put an idea down, then Brian might listen to it and put some more guitar-orientated things on tape. Roger actually already had a complete song ready, and so he recorded a rough idea of that. Everyone works in a different way; for instance John is very organised and has a mathematical mind, so when he comes into the studio, he has a fairly precise idea of what he wants to do. On the other hand Freddie will often come in with absolutely nothing worked out and he'll just say, 'Give me five minutes', and maybe come up with something great. He's very good in that way. And so, over the course of a week we recorded a whole series of ideas ending up with four or five songs-worth to choose the best from. Out of that came One Vision.

Reinhold Mack; International Musician & Recording World, February 1986

The weird introduction was done with the Kurzweil 250. Freddie had said that he wanted lots of strange noises and swirling sounds, but hadn't actually come up with anything definite. I came into the studio early one morning, and started playing around with sampling some of his vocal lines into the Kurzweil and playing them back with a downward pitch change, with various effects.

Reinhold Mack; International Musician & Recording World, February 1986

Where we did get into tracking was the choral backing vocals. They're basically a three-part harmony with an occasional fourth part, and each part was sung and recorded three times, by three people, which gives a very full final sound. I used AKG 414s for all the vocals, including Freddie's lead vocal.

Reinhold Mack; International Musician & Recording World, February 1986

Freddie was on the phone and he wanted to go back in the studio and do some more recording. So, in the end, we went back to the studio and we actually recorded another single. It was his idea, really, that we should go in and actually write a song together. In fact, I was late getting to the recording sessions ‘cause I was actually on holiday at the time. It's credited as a Queen composition but, to be honest, I would say it was mainly Roger, Brian and Freddie who did most of the writing.

John Deacon; video interview, ~1985

Some of it is backwards, yeah and some of it's sort of harmonized, slowed down, and tape trickery in general. There's a line and it says - and I think some people attribute it to some kind of devil worship -, the line is: “God works in mysterious ways.” That's what it's saying.

Roger Taylor; Off the Record, July 1986

We began using synthesisers and there were many excursions from us all into keyboard territory. My main contributions on principal parts were (in no particular order) in: Scandal, Was It All Worth It, Hang On In There, Too Much Love Will Kill You (which was done with Frank Musker up in his house in the Canyon in L.A. when we first sketched the song), No-one But You (again done on my own, originally for use on my solo album), One Vision (my first ramblings on a Kurzweil gave rise to the opening section), I Can't Live With You, The Show Must Go On (that sequence just got thrust into my head playing around with Roger - I will never know where it came from, but it completely took me over for a long time while the song was in development), and of course, Who Wants to Live Forever.

Brian May; Official Website, 23rd of April 2003

Freddie appreciated the fact that he never had to wait to do something creative. He did not mind my placeholders, like the backward piano in Another One Bites the Dust, the guitar slide down in Princes of the Universe, the intro to One Vision or Fred Mandel's keyboard solo in I Want to Break Free years later.

Reinhold Mack; The Ultimate Illustrated History, 1st of October 2009

Now, this song was a true collaboration as well, I would definitely say, we all brought stuff to this, the four or us. And we allowed people in to make a documentary of us making it so I think we all kind of showed off in the video. But it was very useful to have the footage when it came to making the, sort of, promo video. But really we got in… brought all sorts of stuff. You know there's… obviously the riff is my kind of thing, you know, and we all pitched in and produced ideas. Freddie had lots of vocal ideas most of which were unprintable. We did have a laugh doing it, it was great, we had some fun. And it's not often that we really wrote a song together, truly. This is a good example.

Brian May; Absolute Greatest, 11th of November 2009

I have here as a transcript of [Frederick's] original lyrics: “one heart, one soul, one sex position; one shrimp, one prawn, one clam, one chicken”, yeah, and the only bit that actually survived was “fried chicken” at the end. I think he went through the entire Chinese menu. I wrote a sort of a bunch of lyrics which was a sort or poem and, actually, I sort of plundered it for A Kind Of Magic and this song. You'll notice the similarities in there, being “one of” a lot of things. It was a sort of Martin Luther King pastiche, so that's where all the one stuff came into it.

Roger Taylor; Absolute Greatest, 11th of November 2009

I had a sort of set of lyrics that I think I used for two songs, actually, with sort of amendments, but I think it started with those lyrics and we literally wrote the song between ourselves in the studio around these lyrics. That really was a proper collaboration: Brian came up with the riff, John came up with the bass bit and Fred came up with the Chinese menu - he was reading at the end, which is why we kept “fried chicken” in the end.

Roger Taylor; Absolute Radio, 17th of August 2011

About 'One Year Of Love'

Then there's a song called "One Year Of Love" which John wrote, and that was written around a different romantic interest. It's about the Highlander as he is in the 20th century when he's just about to fall in love again, even though he said he wouldn't - har har! That's a romantic song too.

Brian May; A Kind Of Magic, published by Tabak Marketing Limited, 1990

About 'Pain Is So Close To Pleasure'

There's a song called "Pain Is So Close To Pleasure" which I started off, and I think again John and Freddie worked together on it. That's really sort of a motown sounding track, very unusual for us.

Brian May; A Kind Of Magic, published by Tabak Marketing Limited, 1990

This album [A Kind of Magic] also furnished another of the band's crowd-pleasing anthems, namely Friends Will Be Friends. The co-composition credit on this track and on Pain Is So Close To Pleasure was merely because John Deacon insisted that Freddie's contribution be recognised and acknowledged. John's honesty and integrity would not have allowed him to do otherwise.

Peter Freestone; An Intimate Memoir, 1st of November 2001

About 'Princes Of The Universe'

[appearance of Christopher Lambert on video taken from the movie] No, he came along and made the video with us. It was a lot of fun. He's great, A very nice guy.

Brian May; A Kind Of Magic, published by Tabak Marketing Limited, 1990

We fight a lot and hard, we all are pigheaded, no one does give in, most of all Roger and Freddie roar at each other over and over again. The new single brought a lot of fights, so we released Roger's song in Europe and in the States Freddie's song Princes of the Universe. We will see who wins.

John Deacon; Popcorn, 1986

I love the film, I gotta say, I think it's a timeless film, I'm so glad we got involved with it. I love the video, I love the song. A lot of people thought this was my song. It's actually Freddie's song, although a lot of interaction went on into the creation of it. We had certain periods in the studio when things would just be burning and we would try something live, we'd have everything set up and then there would be another idea, and we tried it, and another idea, and then Freddie get very excited, “Now try this, try this, try this.” And that was all happening making this track, and I think comes across. I always enjoyed Freddie's expeditions into heaviness. He had the ability to be very powerful and these riffs are his, they're not mine. And this lovely kind of Disney-esque chorus in the background, like, epic, it's very Ten Commandments, isn't it? [The solo] is a piece of the studio track where we're just blowing and experimenting and having fun - very imperfect but I like it, it was a one-off, sometimes amidst all the sort of studio perfection that you can achieve it's nice to just use pieces of utterly live stuff with the excitement that you get. Very complex song from Freddie, you know, there's all kinds of stuff in there, you know, very filmic.

Brian May; Greatest Video Hits II, November 2003

We sort of made it up in bits. I didn't think it was a single - I think as a sort of big, loud, bold impressive sort of statement, it's great, but I don't think it was ever gonna be a massive hit single ‘cause, you know, it's sort of so quirky and odd.

Roger Taylor; Greatest Video Hits II, November 2003

Freddie appreciated the fact that he never had to wait to do something creative. He did not mind my placeholders, like the backward piano in Another One Bites the Dust, the guitar slide down in Princes of the Universe, the intro to One Vision or Fred Mandel's keyboard solo in I Want to Break Free years later.

Reinhold Mack; The Ultimate Illustrated History, 1st of October 2009

About 'Who Wants To Live Forever'

It's a very good film [Highlander] by the way, I think. Very dramatic, very heavy and also has a very nice romantic subplot. There was a song which was written for that called "Who Wants To Live Forever." The hero of the movie discovers in his first battle that he can't die, and unfortunately he finds that he falls in love with this girl, and everybody tells him that it's a bad idea if they stay together because eventually she must grow old and die, and he won't. But nevertheless he does, he stays with her and she does grow old and she dies in his arms and she says "I never understood why you stayed with me" and he says "I see you just the same as I saw you when I first met you" and she's old and she's dying. I was very moved by that and I wrote this song called "Who Wants To Live Forever (When Love Must Die)." That's another part of the movie.

Brian May; A Kind Of Magic, published by Tabak Marketing Limited, 1990

We began using synthesisers and there were many excursions from us all into keyboard territory. My main contributions on principal parts were (in no particular order) in: Scandal, Was It All Worth It, Hang On In There, Too Much Love Will Kill You (which was done with Frank Musker up in his house in the Canyon in L.A. when we first sketched the song), No-one But You (again done on my own, originally for use on my solo album), One Vision (my first ramblings on a Kurzweil gave rise to the opening section), I Can't Live With You, The Show Must Go On (that sequence just got thrust into my head playing around with Roger - I will never know where it came from, but it completely took me over for a long time while the song was in development), and of course, Who Wants to Live Forever. 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. Of course there are many other smaller contributions, but in many cases later on we would work together on the programming of a keyboard part (eg Days Pf [sic] Our Lives). This is a benefit of the new technology which allows us to keep the original feel of a demo keyboard part but update the actual notes as the song is developed - I've used it many times in my solo work - giving an impression that I can play better than I actually can!!! Luckily the guitar still has to be PLAYED LIVE – so my best job is safe for a while at least!!!

Brian May; Official Website, 23rd of April 2003

Queen were working in Studio 3 at Abbey Road and I was working in Studio 1 and Brian May came down to see how we were getting on and he stood there and at the end he said, “You do all that in one [pass]?” I said, “Yeah”… He said, “I can't believe it! That would have taken us about three days to do this three-minute piece, layering and layering this and that.”

Eric Tomlinson [sound engineer]; Malone Digital, July 2005

Biographical? Autobiographical? Such an interesting study. The more I see of songs and their writers, the more I tend towards the opinion that ALL songs have these elements in them!!! As far as I remember, I used an early sampling keyboard to record that part. I had sampled a note which I had sung, and the keyboard created a whole spectrum of notes. But whether this got on to the Queen record, or not, I am not quite sure. Listening to it now, it sounds more like a DX7 sound. But I played it … in one take, complete with all the changes at the end .... and by a miracle, when we first tried fitting the recorded track to the pictures as they were edited together, the pictures and the track completely locked together … every change of mood, every beat .... I actually think my sampled sound is on the version which my (then tiny) daughter, recorded. By the way, the song was born in a car, as my manager drove me back home from viewing the rushes of Highlander … including the sequence in which Connor McCloud [sic] falls in love with his Bonnie Heather, is warned that it will lead to misery, but does not listen. I saw her die in his arms, and him carrying her body up the hill. At the time, my Dad was dying of Cancer, and my marriage was breaking up. After about 5 minutes, the song was almost complete in my mind.

Brian May; Official Website, 30th of August 2008

It's funny: it was uncanny because I went away and wrote the song and obviously didn't see the rushes for ages again afterwards, put it down very roughly with a keyboard, but the form of it when we played it back with the movie, when we eventually got it on video, it just fitted exactly so luckily they didn't re-cut anything. And all the mood changes worked like magic and you can't predict that that would happen, you know, it wasn't done to picture. And I still see it and can't believe the way it fits.

Brian May; Absolute Greatest, 11th of November 2009

I think this one of the best songs Brian ever wrote, and again, inspired by the movie, Highlander. I think the sequence of the movie, with the music, is one of the scenes that lifts the movie from out of the… not ordinary, it was never ordinary, it's a good movie. It's just a… it's a very special theme, music blending perfectly with what's happening on the camera and very moving.

Roger Taylor; Absolute Greatest, 11th of November 2009