Quotes related to 'Queen II' album

About the album

On black and white concept: Well... that wasa concept that we develop in that time was... it doesn't have, any special meaning. But we were fascinated with this type of things... the wardrobe that we used at the time described it perfectly well...

Freddie Mercury; Conecte magazine, Mexico, 1981

Queen II had been quite an explosion for us in the use of the studio.

Brian May; The Queen Story, Radio 2, 6 November, 1999

There was no single breakthrough, really. I suppose we had a hit on the second album. We felt the second album was was a breakthrough in the way we approached writing and recording and then, which I thought we actually did better on the third album, so we'd actually sort of mastered the techniques on the third album, having explored them on the second. In a way I'm always quite surprised that we're not included in these sort of Glam Rock, um, things when they are making a programme about the days of glam rock they don't include us, and I'm very pleased about that.

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

I hated the title of the second album, Queen 2, it was so unimaginative.

Roger Taylor; Queen of the Orient, Record Mirror, May 24, 1975

About 'Father To Son'

The first track - "Father To Son" - starts off with an introduction. After it gets into the song and a few words are sung, it immediatly it goes into a six-parts orchestral kind of thing. It was really a big thrill for me to be able to do that, because I had never been allowed to spend that amount of time in the studio to construct those things before then. That was the fulfillment of an ambition for me, to get started on that road of using the guitar as kind of an orchestral instrument.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

All through his childhood, music had been Brian's main hobby, but we had thought of it only as a hobby even though we are a musical family. About the time of Queen II we started to see the possibilities that the group had, musically. We still think that Queen II was a masterpiece - and that's why Brian gave us the gold disc he got from that album to hang on the wall. We felt that that album contained much of the group's most emotional and heartfelt music, and to us it is full of obvious tracks of teenage conflict like Father to Son, which Brian wrote… I think all teenagers have emotional conflicts, and we can hear it in that song.

Harold May [Brian May's father]; The Queen Story, spring 1976

On Queen II there is a lot of stuff which I like because that was the beginning of doing guitar orchestrations, which I always wanted to do. The first track - Father to Son - starts off with an introduction. After it gets into the song and a few words are sung, it immediately it goes into a six-part orchestral kind of thing. It was really a big thrill for me to be able to do that, because I had never been allowed to spend that amount of time in the studio to construct those things before then. That was the fulfilment of an ambition for me, to get started on that road of using the guitar as kind of an orchestral instrument.

Brian May; On the Record, 1982

[The Who and Led Zeppelin] are probably in there somewhere, I think we liked, they were our favourite groups among a few others. But what we were trying to do differently from either of those groups really was this sort of layered sound. See, The Who had a sort of clang guitar sound, you know the open chord guitar sound. There is a bit of that in Father to Son, but our sound is sort of more based around the overdriven guitar sound which is what is used on the main bulk of the song. Also, what I wanted to do was this business of building up textures behind the main melody lines. So you have in the first entry of the vocal behind it there is a sort of orchestral thing, which is a nine-part guitar thing that was my expedition into sort of proper orchestrating of the guitar. So that was one thing. It's amazing how few people knew what we were doing. We wanted to make a kind of rock music that still had the power of, like, The Who or Led Zeppelin, but which had more melody more harmony and more texture than had been done before. That was one of the first songs we did it on and there's loads of harmonies, loads of guitar harmonies and loads of bits of melody.

Brian May; BBC Guitar Greats, 1982

[The ending solo] is just a little improvised playing along piece, but it's the way that I normally think, which is playing across the chord rather than playing in scales.

Brian May; Star Licks, 1985

I have a great affection for that second album, which never really became a world-beater because it was not perhaps as accessible as Bohemian Rhapsody. But if you listen to things like The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke or Father to Son, all the elements that people loved in Bohemian Rhapsody were there.

Brian May; Mojo, August 1999

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). 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

There's a place somewhere in the middle of Father to Son - I think it's the beginning of the second verse - when suddenly the whole of the army of guitars kicks in. And that, to me…  I remember hearing that back - and I'm not even sure how many guitars are on there, probably double figures - and for the first time, I heard that guitar orchestra coming back at me, and it was what I'd dreamed of since I'd heard Jeff Beck doing his Hi Ho Silver Lining. That's what I wanted, in my head.

Brian May; Classic Rock, February 2004

I remember playing the song Father to Son a lot. Brian couldn't make up his mind on some songs… And he kept changing the arrangement then wondering why I wasn't fitting in with him!

Michael Grose [Queen's first bassist]; Queen in Cornwall, 2011

About 'Funny How Love Is'

A very studio track and at the time we felt it was one number we couldn't make work on stage.

John Deacon; Queen File, 1975

About 'March Of The Black Queen'

I never ever really sit down at the piano and say, “right I've got to write a song now.” I feel a few things out and I get some ideas about them. It's hard to explain but there are always various ideas going through my head all the time. I scribbled down the words for Killer Queen in the dark on Saturday night and the next morning I got them all together and I worked all day Sunday and that was it, I'd got it. Certain things just come together, but others you have to work for. Now, March of the Black Queen, for instance, that was a song that took ages to complete, I wanted to give it everything, to be self-indulgent or whatever. But the whole band in particular, we don't go in for half measures and I'm pretty hard with myself. There are no compromises. If I think a song isn't quite right then I'll discard it.

Freddie Mercury; Melody Maker, 21st of December 1974

A long, six minute track and we spent ages and ages rehearsing this one, not very easy at all, I can assure you!

John Deacon; Queen File, 1975

I missed the fairies, too, but it seemed to be getting a bit out of hand, although I enjoyed writing those songs tremendously. I feel I've got to become more disciplined. I really loved getting carried away with all those images in songs like March of the Black Queen and Ogre Battle, but it's time to move on to other things now. So, as I said, I'm disciplining myself, but I do miss the fairies.

Freddie Mercury; unknown magazine, May 1976

We try to cover a lot of different styles, I suppose, a lot of different moods. I think, personally, one of my favourites is March of the Black Queen on the second album, which is going back quite a long way.

Roger Taylor; Capital Radio, December 1976

Those were the days of the 16-track studios and we have now 24- and 32-track. Before when we did so many overdubs on 16 track. It was like, we just kept piling it on and on. The tape went transparent because it just couldn't take anymore. I think it snapped in two places as well.

Freddie Mercury; BBC Radio One, 24th of December 1977

That's when we sort of first really got into production and went completely over the top. There's track on there called March of the Black Queen. I mean, the tape is literally transparent - the oxide is almost completely worn away, so many overdubs. It literally was transparent.

Roger Taylor; aborted documentary, 1977

There are so many clues about A Night at the Opera in the first three albums if you care to listen, you know. You know, people pretended to be so surprised about Bohemian Rhapsody but really if you listen to The March of the Black Queen so much of that equipment is in there. It harks back to Mantovani, cascading strings of Mantovani, I don't know if this is something which is known these days. But I remember Mantovani, he's an orchestra leader, and most of his stuff was violins, and there was a song called Charmaine. He had one violin play each note, and it's like a cascade. And it certainly intrigued me - I think I brought this into the fold. Other people had done similar things, I think they call it bells in traditional jazz. So we inducted it into our vocabulary. You can hear it in certainly The March of the Black Queen where we did it in a very different way: this is Mike Stone again, I remember him sitting there with a whole desk full of harmony vocals. Each note is the three of us singing probably three times, so you got nine voices on each fader. We're singing all the notes of the chord all the time, the way that you get the bell effect is by Mike switching them in. So that's the cascade effect. In Bohemian Rhapsody they're actually sung by that, they're sung, they're not switched. But the principle is the same.

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

Everybody gets so mixed up with all the other sides: the flash, the sexual ambiguity, the showmanship, the voice. It doesn't frustrate me, because I'm just pleased he's remembered. But it's when you delve deeper that you really get his musicality. Actually, at the bottom of it all was just a genius songwriter. We're re-releasing all the Queen albums at the moment, so we're being forced to listen hard to the remastering. And it's just staggering. His words got better quickly. There were some very overt lyrics. Don't Stop Me Now is a good example. He was having a good time, and that was very much a cri de coeur. Some lyrics we wrote together like I'm Going Slightly Mad, which was funny. We had fun coming up with daft things, all those ridiculous phrases. I'd say it was Freddie's actual musicality which was the cleverest thing of all, the notes, and his harmonic structure was quite brilliant. When he wrote The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, on the second album, he was crossing sections of six-part harmonies, and I thought: “Bloody hell, that is tricky stuff.” Then there's The March of the Black Queen, which is almost like prog-rock, and so outrageously complicated that I can't even remember the arrangement myself. When you write songs that complex, you have to work hard at it, and it did invoke a lot of head-scratching. But then he'd come up with Killer Queen or, later on, lots of simple things like Crazy Little Thing. He had it on all sides. Freddie evolved. I always called him “the man who invented himself.” I think the talent was innate, but he dug deep inside himself and forced it out. His determination was quite something.

Roger Taylor; Classic Rock, March 2011

Very long - it's in about eleven different sections. And the complexity of it is staggering.

Roger Taylor; Days of Our Lives, 2011

There's a place somewhere in the middle of Father to Son - I think it's the beginning of the second verse - when suddenly the whole of the army of guitars kicks in. And that, to me… I remember hearing that back - and I'm not even sure how many guitars are on there, probably double figures - and for the first time, I heard that guitar orchestra coming back at me, and it was what I'd dreamed of since I'd heard Jeff Beck doing his Hi Ho Silver Lining. That's what I wanted, in my head. There's a moment in Black Queen when something similar happens with the voices. They're all being punched in, and it's just these cascading guitars. It's like Mantovani - I don't know if anybody knows who Mantovani is anymore, but that kind of bell cascade effect was in the minds of both Freddie and I. I did it with guitars, and Freddie and Mike Stone did it with voices, actually punching them in from the desk. Suddenly you realise there are what it seems like thousands of voices coming at you from all sides.

Brian May; Classic Rock, February 2014

I've always liked big vocals. It was one of the striking points that I liked about them, plus the fact that they were very ballsy, they were over the top, they were very aggressive. They also had patent frustrations, the same as I did, ‘cause obviously I had a lot of production ideas, they had loads of musical ideas; they wanted to put all their musical ideas on to record, I wanted to put all the production ideas on to record. Obviously, we did the first album in downtime so we still never quite got it out of our systems, but when it came to Queen II, things like Dance [sic] of the Black Queen, it's got every conceivable musical and production technique on that song alone.

Royston Baker; BBC Radio One, unknown date

About 'Nevermore'

You can really hear Freddie flexing his muscles [on the second album], with his singing, with his piano playing... in every way, really. And, yes, particularly in The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke. With that and Nevermore there are really strong hints of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Brian May; Mojo, April 2004

About 'Ogre Battle'

Yes, there's a lto of backwards stuff there. We were like boys let loose in a room full of toys. And with the old analog machines, you could easily turn the tape over. Waht I would do sometimes is say to Roy [Thomas Baker, Queen's first producer],"Just give me that tape backwards on cassette, and I'll go home and learn it backwards. I would learn it backwards and play on it the next day. Sometimes the mistakes came out better than the actual things you'd planned. That's one of the things you lose in digital. And you can't do the stuff where you'd lean on the reels and it would go eeeooouuuggghhhh.

Brian May; Guitar World, October 1998

I've become more piano orientated anyway. Ogre Battle was written on a guitar but I've given that up. I'm getting into Love of My Life- and Lily of the Valley-type things. I've always listened to that kind of music.

Freddie Mercury; Sounds, January 1976

I missed the fairies, too, but it seemed to be getting a bit out of hand, although I enjoyed writing those songs tremendously. I feel I've got to become more disciplined. I really loved getting carried away with all those images in songs like March of the Black Queen and Ogre Battle, but it's time to move on to other things now. So, as I said, I'm disciplining myself, but I do miss the fairies.

Freddie Mercury; unknown magazine, May 1976

It's very curious because [the backwards intro] comes from the end of the song and we took it home, not being very familiar with the way studio tapes were done: it was a one-sided tape, it was a full track-tape - we thought it was a two-track tape and we thought we could take it off and put it on the other way around, and play the other side. I think Roger did this and took it home and it came up backwards and the first thing there was the gong and then all this backwards stuff. And the funny thing was that the riff is palindromic - it's the same backwards and forwards, more or less - so it sounded like the same riff but backwards and Roger, at first, thought that something had gone wrong with the tape and that the riff was still there. Anyway, it sounded so good we thought we'd put it. I think Mike did the edit - Mike Stone, our engineer who's been with us all along, and he did such a good edit, which is very difficult to splice, but he managed to get it the first time, so you can't even really hear the join because the riff is the same and it just crosses over from backwards into forwards without anyone even realising.

Brian May; Australian radio, 1977

Ogre Battle is so heavy. And I don't mean like heavy metal-heavy; just so heavy.

Nuno Bettencourt; Guitar World, August 1991

Freddie also wrote Ogre Battle which is a very heavy metal guitar riff. It's strange that he should have done that. But when Freddie used to pick up a guitar he'd have a great frenetic energy. It was kind of like a very nervy animal playing the guitar. He was a very impatient person and was very impatient with his own technique. He didn't have a great technical ability on the guitar but had it in his head. And you could feel this stuff bursting to get out. His right hand would move incredibly fast. He wrote a lot of good stuff for the guitar. A lot of it was stuff which I would not have thought of, because it would be in weird keys. He had this penchant for playing in E flat and A flat and F. And these are not places that your hand naturally falls on when playing the guitar. So he forced me into finding ways of doing things which made unusual sounds. It was really good.

Brian May; Guitar World, October 1998

This is heavy in that early Deep Purple way – which has a lot to do with Brian's guitars as well. And the drums are actually quite Metallica-esque – without the double kick but with the same kind of patterns.

Taylor Hawkins; Rhythm, September 2002

Freddie would write some of the riffs. He wrote the Ogre Battle riff on acoustic guitar, in all its detail. He had a very kind of feverish, frenetic quality about him when he was playing. Everything was very, very fast, and with great ferocity, and with all downstrokes. It's hard to describe. People don't realize what a good player he was. He had a lot of dexterity.

Brian May; AVC, 21st of March 2006

They had this massive gong in the studio that Roger hit. When we turned the tape over, the gong sounded great backwards and that sound was going to be at the beginning of the track. That got us wondering what the rest of the track would sound like backwards. Well, it sounded very similar. The riff is palindromic - it sounds the same forwards and backwards. So we decided to run the entire track backwards in the intro and then we seamlessly crossfaded it with the forwards track. I don't think it's even a crossfade - I think it's a butt edit and you can't even tell. I used my fingerboard pickup and bridge pickup out of phase for that tone.

Brian May; Guitar Player, January 2008

It's worth mentioning Freddie's acoustic. Freddie was really a good acoustic player. He was very modest about it, but he could really play the acoustic guitar very well in an inimitable style, very frenetic kind of, style. I remember he wrote Ogre Battle on the acoustic guitar. His fingers moved twice as fast as anyone else for the same speed of playing. Yes, I can still his kind of, horny fingers hitting the strings on this.

Brian May; Absolute Greatest, 2009

Freddie played the guitar very well. Certainly in the early days he used the guitar as much as the piano to write songs. His way of playing the riff in Ogre Battle was something to see, because he never used up-strokes; every one of those fast beats, about 16 to the bar, he hit with a down stroke, so it was an unusually frenetic kind of activity, Freddie playing that stuff on the guitar. Later on, he wrote almost exclusively on the piano.

Brian May; Queen in 3D, 2017

About 'Procession'

That's this Deakey amp [pointing out a small homemade-looking box with a roughly five-inch speaker]. It's a little one-watt amp that John Deacon built and brought into thye studio one day. I had done "Procession" with AC30s and it sounded just a little bit too smooth. I wanted it to sound more violin-like and orchestral. So I double tracked some of the layers using that little amp. Incredible. I've used it ever since on anything where there's a real orchestral type sound. And depending where you put the microphone in front of the amp, you can really tune the sound. It's very directional. It's a germanium transistor amp, which is transformer coupled-unlike things these days; that isn't really done anymore-with silicon transistors.

Brian May; Guitar World, October 1998

Procession is a multi-tracked thing which takes melody lines from Father to Son and re-arranges them.

John Deacon; Queen File, 1975

We did God Save the Queen and we did the beginning part for Tie Your Mother Down and we did Procession on the first [sic] album. Those little guitar pieces go back a long way. I had heard Hendrix's thing but his approach is very different really. The way he did those things was to put down a line and then sort of improvise another line around and the whole thing works on the basis of, er, things going in and out of harmony, more or less, by accident. It's very much a free-form multi-tracking thing, whereas my stuff is totally arranged. I make sure that the whole thing is planned and treated like you would give a score to an orchestra to do. It's a complete orchestration. So, it's a different kind of approach really but I enjoy doing those things. It's sort of indulgence really but, at the same time, I thought it would be funny for that Wedding March to come out that way. Because all our people, who know our music, would recognise that immediately as one of our treatments and anyone else in the cinema would think of it as a strange Wedding March. It's meant it to be a musical joke anyway, in the film, so it was just heightening that joke really.

Brian May; BBC Radio One, January 1983

The first double-tracked solo I did was on the demo for Keep Yourself Alive, then Procession on the second album was the first proper multi-tracked song. I was very into mediaeval and early English music at the time and recorded Procession with nine guitar parts. That's this Deacy amp. It's a little one-watt amp that John Deacon built and brought into the studio one day. I had done Procession with AC30s and it sounded just a little bit too smooth. I wanted it to sound more violin-like and orchestral. So I double tracked some of the layers using that little amp. Incredible.  I've used it ever since on anything where there's a real orchestral type sound. And depending where you put the microphone in front of the amp, you can really tune the sound. It's very directional. It's a germanium transistor amp, which is transformer coupled-unlike things these days; that isn't really done anymore-with silicon transistors. There's this guy, Dave Peters, who is one of the designers of the AC30 and a real expert on valve electronics and the early days of transistors. I'm working with him trying to reproduce the Deacy amp. Maybe we'll put it on the market. I have to talk to John about it, as it happens. Because John made the thing. And he's very kindly allowed me to use it ever since. It's pretty magical.

Brian May; Guitar, December 1991

I'm pretty sure I used it for making a demo of the multitracked Procession at home, probably because it wouldn't piss off the neighbours like a fully cranked-up AC30! I loved the sound it made so much that I eventually made the “proper” version in the studio the exact same way.

Brian May; Guitarist, July 2003

About 'See What A Fool I've Been'

An old blues number that I first heard on a Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee album.

Timothy Staffell; The Queen Story, spring 1976

I'm 99% sure it's an old Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee song, chosen because I play harmonica not dissimilarly to Sonny Terry. I don't think the words would have been intentionally changed - maybe because I didn't know them.

Timothy Staffell; Jazz Web, ~2000

It was a little bit out of the scope of our main thrust. It really represented us on stage in the early days, doing bluesy things, which was a lot of fun. From the beginning we knew fairly clearly what our direction was, although it was argued about all the time. We always went for the maximum colour and experiment and scope and breadth, and things like See What A Fool didn't really belong in that. In fact, it was an adaptation of an existing blues standard - you're going to ask me which one, and I don't know! I heard it on a TV broadcast.  It was one of those things where… I remember hearing how The Beatles heard Apache on the radio and wanted to do a version of it, but they weren't able to remember it properly so they put together an instrumental which became Cry for A Shadow, it was the same sort of thing. I heard this song once on a TV programme and remembered about a third of it and put together something which, in my mind, is the same thing. And I don't know how much accurately I did it because I still haven't found the original! It's funny. We were actually looking a few weeks ago to see if we could discover what the song was and who the original author was. I'd love to find out, because I'd like to pay the guy!

Brian May; Goldmine, 10th of August 2001

Ever since we used to play See What A Fool I've Been in the early days of Queen, I knew that I had borrowed the idea for the song from a performance I had seen on TV - of a visiting Blues company, which I remembered included Big Bill Broonzy, and Muddy Waters, Matt Murphy, and others. I only heard the song once, and there were no recorders to hand in those days (at least not where I lived !) What I remembered was just a chord sequence and a couple of lines - I worked it up into a song, actually for Smile before Queen, and it was a way for me to pursue an idea of using huge dynamics in a bluesy song to make it cut across heavy… if you know what I mean … it was one of the ingredients of the Dreams of Queen in the early days .... When it came around to doing the label for the song (we used a very rough take of it for an early B-side) I could only put for the composer credit: ‘Traditional - arr. May' because I didn't know who had done the song which had inspired me. I always said I would eventually find out who the missing author was and credit him. Well, it was much harder than I had thought. I looked in all the places I could think of, and many people have tried to find the song since then, but without success. I was beginning to think I dreamed the whole thing. We're talking about 30 years ago or more.

Brian May; Official Website, 4th of February 2004

About 'Seven Seas Of Rhye'

We wanted to do something which was melodic and harmonic, powerful in the texture of the voices, and I had this thing about guitar harmonies, which I wanted to do, and underneath all of that was the kind of raw, fairly dirty rock sound, and we wanted to combine all of those things, and we felt that no one ever had.

Brian May; The Queen Story, Radio 2, 6 November, 1999

I suppose that was our first proper hit in this country. I never understood a word of it, and I don't think Freddie did either, but it was just sort of gestures really, but it was, it was a fine song.

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

Apart from Killer Queen, which was obviously catchy, I don't think of our singles as being immediately commercial.  For instance, when Seven Seas of Rhye was a hit, I was very suprised.  It was only intended really to draw attention to the album I thought that Keep Yourself Alive was a much more commercial song.

Roger Taylor; Queen of the Orient, Record Mirror, May 24, 1975

I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the number, I had the basic tune worked out, but by the time we were ready to come out with the first album the song just hadn't come to fruition. So then we thought we might end the album with the instrumental and pick it up again at the beginning of Queen II. But there again, the concept just didn't work. It made no sense in the context of the album to have Seven Seas of Rhye at the beginning.

Freddie Mercury; unknown magazine, May 1976

My lyrics are basically for peoples interpretations really. I've forgotten what they were all about. It's really factitious, I know it's like bowing out or the easy way out, but that's what it is. It's just a figment of your imagination. It all depends on what kind of song really. At that time I was learning about a lot of things like song structure and, as far as lyrics go, they're very difficult as far as I'm concerned. I find them quite a task and my strongest point is actually melody content. I concentrate on that first; melody, then the song structure, then the lyrics come after actually.

Freddie Mercury; BBC Radio One, 24th of December 1977

I think Freddie had half-written the song and we thought it was a nice tail out to the first album, with the idea of starting the second album with the finished song. We'd lead in nicely. In fact, we ended the second album with this song and it had changed a little by then and we'd released it as a single because we thought it was fairly strong.

Roger Taylor; BBC Radio One, 24th of December 1977

That was a song which nearly went on the first album - in fact, there is a little taste of it at the end of the first album. We said, “we're gonna make something which they're gonna have to play,” and we went out and did it on tour and the single went into the charts without anybody playing it on the radio and they eventually did have to play it, and we felt it was fairly immediate anyway and wanted everything in there - everything but the kitchen sink is on that track. [The lyric] was Freddie's dream at the time, really. At the time he was interested in sort of folklore. I don't really know what it's about, to be honest. That was one of the very few tracks which Freddie's written which were actually basically guitar-oriented, because he was playing it on the guitar at that time, which he doesn't really do anymore. I remember him sort of playing it and saying, “Look, this is how it should be.” That was just the time that he started to take his piano-playing seriously and didn't wanna write songs on the guitar anymore.

Brian May; Australian radio, 1977

The whole world happens in the first twenty seconds, and you've almost heard the whole song in that time. Great big swooping things, then the vocal launches straight in… maybe that had something to do with it, and it was a good, catchy record, but we were hot at the time, and that obviously helped. The first version was just a little trailer, because the song wasn't actually finished then - the shape of things which might come, although it was very plain on the first album, with no vocals or orchestration.

Brian May; BBC Radio One, January 1983

I suppose that was our first proper hit in this country. I never understood a word of it, and I don't think Freddie did either, but it was just sort of gestures really, but it was, it was a fine song.

Roger Taylor; BBC Radio Two, 6th of November 1999

Its roots go back a long way because there's a little fragment of it on the very first album, the first Queen album, Freddie had this idea in his head but it wasn't really developed so we just put down what we had at the end of that album. And then we thought it would be a good basis for the single, and again, it was very collaborative - we all threw things in. But you know, throw all the harmonies, all the guitar harmonies, all the bombast, all the smoke bombs, it's all in Seven Seas of Rhye. A bit of humour at the end referring to an ancient English seaside song, with the fabulous Roy Baker playing stylophone.

Brian May; Absolute Greatest, 2009

It's a universal truth that more groups break up because of songwriting arguments than anything else in the world because the songs are your babies. I've probably never spoken about this before ever, but I remember the Seven Seas of Rhye thing was Freddie's idea - he had this slightly little riff idea on the piano, and I think all the middle-eight is stuff that I did, so we definitely worked on it together. But when it came to the album coming out Freddie went, “I wrote that,” and we all went, “OK.” It didn't seem like that big a deal but Freddie said, “You know, I wrote the words and it was my idea, so it is my song.” The sort of unwritten law was the person who brought the song in would get the credit for writing that song and the money for writing that song. Much, much later in Queen history, we recognised this fact.

Brian May; Days of Our Lives, 2011

We knew what we wanted, it was just a question of getting it. On the second single, Seven Seas Of Rhye, everything deliberately happens in the first 10 seconds – guitars, harmonies, vocals – and it worked. Radio picked up on it. But we went into the rest of Queen II thinking we should throw the kitchen sink at it. We were trying to push everything to its limit, like Freddie's song, The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, which could only have been a studio creation.

Brian May; Mojo, July 2019

About 'Some Day One Day'

Some Day One Day was born of my sadness that a relationship seemingly couldn't be perfect on earth, and I was visualising a place in eternity where things would be different... the acoustic “tickling” and the overlaid smooth sustained electric guitars were intended to paint a picture of that world. I was still at the point where people were telling me you couldn't overlay my kind of fully overloaded guitar on an acoustic rhythm. But of course, you can.

Brian May; Official Website, 28th of March 2004

I like [Soda Stereo's] version very much .... I hadn't heard it before ... very nice, and a big compliment to me.

Brian May; Official Website, 29th of October 2007

About 'The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke'

It was thoroughly inspired by a painting by Richard Dadd which is in the Tate Gallery. I thought, I did a lot of research on it and it inspired me to write a song about the painting, depicting what I thought I saw in it. It was just because I'd come through art college and I basically like the artist and I like the painting, so I thought I'd like to write a song about it.

Freddie Mercury; BBC Radio One, 24th of December 1977

That's one of our first major experiments in stereo, I think.

Roger Taylor; BBC Radio One, 24th of September 1977

I have a great affection for that second album, which never really became a world-beater because it was not perhaps as accessible as Bohemian Rhapsody. But if you listen to things like The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke or Father to Son, all the elements that people loved in Bohemian Rhapsody were there.

Brian May; Mojo, August 1999

John actually used [his amp] himself, multi-tracked, on his song Misfire on Sheer Heart Attack, and it features heavily in much of the more intricate arrangements I did for the Queen albums. Let's see... The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke was all triple-tracked and gated by hand using the old push-push buttons in the now defunct Wessex studios [sic]; God Save the Queen, Dreamers Ball, all those trumpet, trombone and clarinet sounds from Good Company... the solo on A Winter's Tale; I love these sounds - no electronic box can make this noise!

Brian May; Guitarist, July 2003

You can really hear Freddie flexing his muscles [on the second album], with his singing, with his piano playing... in every way, really. And, yes, particularly in The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke. With that and Nevermore there are really strong hints of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Brian May; Mojo, April 2004

With stuff like The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, Freddie was really coming into his own. With this album he had this crazy plan for this vast number of vocal counterpoints - a six-part harmony there, another six-part harmony overlapping. He didn't seem remotely bothered by the fact that there were only four of us to sing all these parts. We were working with a 16-track set-up, so we were constantly thinking about how many tracks we could bounce down without losing quality. It was a massive amount of work. We really were consciously trying to break the boundaries of what people thought they could do in the recording studio. That song was totally Freddie's thing, full of Olde English vocabulary - tatterdemalion, satyrs, pedagogues, ostlers and junketers. Some really astonishing stuff. Quaere is an odd word. I think it was used for purely artistic reasons in that song. But Freddie was seeking flamboyance in everything at that point. He was quite hetero at that time, but he was really becoming interested in transcending everything and that included sex. But, no, I don't think that lyric was about whether he was a puff. I would say it was about using language that went with that painting and being as flamboyant as possible.

Roger Taylor; Mojo, April 2004

[Having overlapping lines] was an idea I had for Keep Yourself Alive .... to creat [sic] a bit of extra urgency - though maybe I was compensating for the fact that I often write songs that are impossible to sing !! There is actually no room to take a breath when you sing this song ! I remember resisting the thought (from someone close to us) that the successive lines of vocal should be ping-ponging across the stereo .... that would have ruined it for me .... all these lines had to come up in the centre like a stream of bullets. Everything ELSE pinged-ponged around them !!! That's what I wanted. I don't remember discussing this with reference to The Fairy Fellers Masterstroke but I think Freddie had a similar thought in mind. This song, based on the Richard Dadd painting, had to have some quite mad elements.... I always loved that track.

Brian May; Official Website, 3rd of September 2004

Everybody gets so mixed up with all the other sides: the flash, the sexual ambiguity, the showmanship, the voice. It doesn't frustrate me, because I'm just pleased he's remembered. But it's when you delve deeper that you really get his musicality. Actually, at the bottom of it all was just a genius songwriter. We're re-releasing all the Queen albums at the moment, so we're being forced to listen hard to the remastering. And it's just staggering. His words got better quickly. There were some very overt lyrics. Don't Stop Me Now is a good example. He was having a good time, and that was very much a cri de coeur. Some lyrics we wrote together like I'm Going Slightly Mad, which was funny. We had fun coming up with daft things, all those ridiculous phrases. I'd say it was Freddie's actual musicality which was the cleverest thing of all, the notes, and his harmonic structure was quite brilliant. When he wrote The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, on the second album, he was crossing sections of six-part harmonies, and I thought: “Bloody hell, that is tricky stuff.” Then there's The March of the Black Queen, which is almost like prog-rock, and so outrageously complicated that I can't even remember the arrangement myself. When you write songs that complex, you have to work hard at it, and it did invoke a lot of head-scratching. But then he'd come up with Killer Queen or, later on, lots of simple things like Crazy Little Thing. He had it on all sides. Freddie evolved. I always called him “the man who invented himself.” I think the talent was innate, but he dug deep inside himself and forced it out. His determination was quite something.

Roger Taylor; Classic Rock, March 2011

If you look at [the painting], it's so complex, with many layers, which is what Freddie was trying to turn into sound.

Brian May; Classic Rock, February 2014

We wanted to test the studio to show ourselves how far we could go. There are a couple of tracks - Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, which isn't the greatest mix, but technically and vocally it's incredibly complex with these massed ranks of harmonies overlapping one another. It was a complex piece of music. The album really came from three years of being forged by hard work of rehearsals, playing together, working together. We all had our various influences, many of which are the same, and with our four personalities that's what came out. Freddie was fairly dominant in his writing at that point. He was the one writing the very complicated stuff. It's just the way his brain worked. He was on fire, really.

Roger Taylor; Classic Rock, February 2014

We knew what we wanted, it was just a question of getting it. On the second single, Seven Seas Of Rhye, everything deliberately happens in the first 10 seconds – guitars, harmonies, vocals – and it worked. Radio picked up on it. But we went into the rest of Queen II thinking we should throw the kitchen sink at it. We were trying to push everything to its limit, like Freddie's song, The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, which could only have been a studio creation.

Brian May; Mojo, July 2019

About 'The Loser In The End'

It was very early days, of course, and John wasn't writing, or at least he wasn't showing us what he was writing. Roger was in the very early stages. He was in a space all of his own, so his track in a sense is in a slightly different space on the album.

Brian May; Classic Rock, February 2014

About 'White Queen (as It Began)'

I have a very old, cheap Hairfred [sic] which makes that buzzy sound that's on "Jealousy" and "White Queen". I've never seen another one like it. I made it sound like a sitar by taking off the original bridge and putting a hardwood bridge on. I chiseled away at it until it was flat and stuck little piece of fretwire material underneath. The strings just very gently lay on the fretwire, and it makes that sitar-like sound.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

The sitar sound on White Queen is actually just my old buzzy acoustic guitar. I always keep the strings and bridge loose enough to stay buzzy - so it's easy for me to play it more or less the same way I play the electric highly amplified guitar. They both sing if you get it right.

Brian May; Official Website, 3rd of June 2003

White Queen - back in time again - I wrote this at College, where I led a relatively sheltered life, even though the University on the whole was a pretty rampant pace! I had been reading The White Goddess by Robert Graves, which explored the role of the idealised Virgin/Mother/Queen/ figure in art through history, and the name for our group, decided just around that time, fitted in with this perfectly - which was one of the reasons I was convinced to go with the name. The personal side is bound up with a girl (of course!) whom I saw every day at College, and was to me the ultimate goddess. It's incredible in retrospect, but because I held her in such awe, in three years I never had the courage to speak to tell her, or even speak to her. The song found its way on to tape much later, on our second album.

Brian May; Official Website, 28th of March 2004

I don't think many people have figured out that I do this “pre-bending” thing ... and I'm not aware of anyone doing it ... with the possible exception of Jeff Beck ... but he tends to achieve the same kind of thing but mainly with the whammy bar ... his Where Were You? must be the most incredibly piece of electric guitar recorded, ever. But as for me ... well, I also have to tell you I don't always get it right. It depends on a lot of things. As with any playing, but especially string bending, if you can't hear clearly what you are doing, you are sunk. So good monitoring is a vital requirement. We are fortunate in having a superb Monitor engineer, but of course there are still times when the acoustics of a hall or arena conspire to blur things, enough to make judgement of bends difficult. Secondly, it depends on knowing your instrument very well ... mine has been with me so long, that it is almost a part of me. I always use the same strings, and the guitar always gives me what I ask of it. So the “memory”, of how far a given bend will need to go to produce a bent note of a certain pitch, is at least partly in the muscles of the fingers. Its [sic] also, I think, updated by the few bends which you have just played, with “bio-feedback” allowing you to correct the pitch as you go along. But in the end, I think it has to be quite largely instinct. On a good day, everything is sweet and it's impossible to go wrong. On a bad day when you're not hearing stuff well, I find you can come off feeling that almost nothing was quite right!!! SO, like most things, you prepare, you plan, you think, you do everything to give yourself the best chance, but in the end, it's “In the Lap of the Gods” - and it helps to realise this .... “admitting powerlessness” is a powerful technique at the very least, and can become a whole way of life. I subscribe to that belief - and try to act on it when I can. By the way, thinking about it, my “pre-bends” go back a long way .... there are some (mutitracked!) on The Night Comes Down on the first Queen album ... and White Queen on Queen II ... and they are an essential part of the solo in Killer Queen. But Last Horizon has the hardest ones to pull off live!!

Brian May; Official Website, 1st of June 2008