Read all 4 events for 23 August at diary.QueenSongs.info
Composer: Freddie Mercury
Album: Made In Heaven, 3rd track
Intro | Verse (Freddie) | Chorus | | Verse (Roger) | Chorus | Bridge | | Verse (Brian) | Chorus | | Solo (Verse) | Chorus'| Intro'- choir break| Outro I-II |
This is the kind of piano songs that were missing from the late period of the band. Songwriting-wise this was not really a late period song perse. We don't know much about its origin except it is mainly a Mercury-penned song.
The lead singing is shared between three of them, remember: since the Game album we have not heard singing Brian and Roger too often.
The harmony is simple, there's no modulation, hardly any chord inversion. Beside the six diatonic chords we have only one trick chord (bVI) in both the verses and choruses (plus a lonely bVII before the solo). The phrasing is four-squared except some extended phrase endings. Both Chorus and Bridge have middle-eight feel in them.
While the music is relative simple the arrangement has some "big" moments. For example the gospel choirs (featuring girl vocalists) that had precedents like "Somebody To Love" or "The Golden Boy". This analysis will omit the details of the choir arrangement.
The song starts with a 3-4 count in, then we have four phrases of big choirs singing around the tonic and the subdominant chord. Gospel feel is supported by handclaps and organ chords.
/---------- 4x ---------\\ | C | - | F | - | | I | - | IV | - |
A variant of the intro is reprised before the gospel break.
The Verse has simple harmony and 4+4+4+4 phrasing. The harmony of the first phrase is a variant of the intro. The remaining phrases have static 1 chord/measure harmonic rhythm. Note the diatonic chain of fifths in the third phrase.
C: | C | - G | F | - | | I | - V | IV | - | | C | Em | F | G | | I | iii | IV | V | | Am | Dm | G | C | | vi | ii | V | I | | F | Ab | G C| C | | IV | bVI | V | I |
There is a nice interplay between lyrics and music in the third phrase - at last in the second and third verses. The positive/negative contrast between the two subphrases is reflected in the ascent/descent of the tune. Similar interplay can be found in "In The Lap Of The Gods... revisited".
In the Roger-Verse in m.13-14 we can find melodic flat-3rds.
The solo is built upon the framework of the Verse and it also overlaps well the next Chorus. The 9th measure substitutes the Am chord with A. The harmonic rhythm is slightly changes in the last two measures. Brian May's was still in top form at writing catchy melodic solos. The triadic figures in the second half of the section (A, G, F, Ab) creat a romantic feel.
The first chorus is a very square eight measures long. The antiphonal lead tune is shared between the backing vocals and Mercury.
| F | - C | F | - C| Ab | - | G C| C | | IV | - I | V | - I| bVI | - | V | I |
The second chorus is nine measures long as it extends the last measure with multitrack guitar harmonies (C chord).
The last chorus ends with the bVI > bVII > I progression which is a Game-era Mercury trademark:
m.5. ...| Ab | - | Bb | - | ...| bVI | - | bVII| - |
This ten measure bridge is an extended middle eight sung by Roger. The first phrase re-uses the diatonic chain of fifths progression off the Verse. The second phrase parellels the first, it changes the ii to II (V/V) and holds back the V > I resolution till the end of the section.
| Am | Dm | G | C | | vi | ii | V | I | | Am | D/F#| G * | * | * | * | | vi | V/V | V | - | - | - |
The harmony of the G* measures combines the G pedal bass with diatonic ascending parallel harmonies oscillating between G(7) and Am (see also the Brighton Rock canon). Creating climactic effect the harmonic rhythm speeds up from 2 to 4 chord/measure. Strangely this speed up is executed in two steps, check out how exactly!
Gospel Choir Break
It is introduced by a re-intro subsection with four phrases. Then the arrangement abruptly changes to acapella with handclaps. The second cycle adds guitar power chords and Bians lead singing starts the last phrase acapella again. Then the rock returns and starts the outro.
The outro I section consists of five cycles of the I > IV progression. Short melodic fragments are recycled including the opening notes of the guitar solo. The sixth phrase prolonges the tonic chord and echoes the title phrase (more precisely: one of its numerous variants). Outro II repeats a piano hook 3-4 times while fading out.