Read all 4 events for 23 August at diary.QueenSongs.info
Composer: Brian May
Album: Queen Rocks (1998)
Meter: 3/4, shuffle beat
Key: C Major, D Major - record transposed one whole step higher (D and E Major) .
| Verse | Verse' | Chorus | | Verse | Verse' | Chorus | | Verse | Verse' | Chorus-ext.|
This song has special place in the Queen canon as the one and only Queen song written and recorded after Mercury's death and with John Deacon on bass no less.
The form is simple with three cycles and without guitar solo or any multitrack guitar harmonies (a nice example of the "less is more" aesthetics). Each section changes a bit arrangement-wise (and also melody-wise) cycle by cycle, which is a classic Queen trademark. The most easily recognisable change is the lead altered between Brian and Roger.
changes section by section:
1st Verse : Brian on vocals, piano dominates, sparely played guitar. Only cymbals.
1st Verse': gradually more guitars. Still only cymbals.
1st Chorus: distorted/louder guitars, more drums.
2nd Verse : Roger sings lead, guitar with pedal effect called chorus (first heard on a Queen record since "Loser In The End". Lead guitar fills. More drums (hi-hat and snare drum)
2nd Verse': Backing harmonies. More drums.
2nd Chorus: Backing harmonies.
3rd Verse: organ/synth added, no backing harmonies, no lead fills. Only cymbals.
3rd Verse: no backing harmonies, lead guitar counterparts, more drums.
3rd chorus: backing harmonies, tad different from those in the second chorus
The dramatic intensity shows an arch like shape reaching its climax in the chorus settling down for its last phrase. The last chorus is the most intense of all.
The song modulates two keys up and back, which is a relatively infrequently used in pop/rock music. Brian admitted here the influence of Freddie Mercury mentioning "We Are The Champions" by name (Verse in c and Eb, Chorus in F).
The phrasing is throughout for squared except the chorus endings.
The melodic phrases are placed roughly in the middle two measures of each harmonic phrases. We have here many slash chords.
C: | C | G/B | C | - A/C#| | I | V | I | V/ii| | Dm | A/C#| Dm | - /C| | ii | V/ii| ii | - | | Dm/B| G7 | C | Am /G| | V | - | I | vi | |Am/F#| D7 | G | F/G | | | - | V | - |
These second Verses effectively work as pre-choruses as they "lift" the song to the climactic Choruses. This happens with growing dramatics in the lead vocals toward the end of the song.
C: | C | G/B | C | - A/C#| | I | V | I | V/ii| | Dm |A+/C#| Dm | - /C | | ii | V/ii| ii | - | | Bb | - | F/A | F | |bVII | - | IV | | | C | - | G/B | A7 | | I | - | V D: | IV | V |
The pivot modulation one whole step upwards is executed quite simply, (see the same pivot modulation in "Every Beat Of My Heart" by Rod Stewart). Note how the "flat side" Bb chord (bVII) in measure 9 subtly foreshadows the forthcoming "sharp side" modulation.
In both the second and third cycle a guitar fill in the second phrase straightens out the shuffle beat for a moment.
In contrast with the Verses the melodic phrases here cover the entire phrases. Each three chorus is ending different. The last one is the most extended also in the lead vocals.
D: /---------- 2x ----------\\ | D | F#7 | G | A (7)| | I | V/vi| IV | V | | D | F#7 | Bm /A| /G# | | I | V/vi| vi | V/V | 1st ending | D/A | - |Dsus4/A| A7 | - | /B | | I | - | - | V | - | - | 2nd: | D/A | - |Dsus4/A| - | A7 | /B | | I | - | - | - | V | - | 3rd: | D/A | - |G#dim | G6 |D/F# | - | G/A | - | | I | - | - | | - | - | | - | | D | D C/D G/D | D (2>3) | | I | I bVII IV | I |
Classic Brian May trademark is the pedal bass in the final phrase (here combined with the so called double plagal cadence). No shuffle beat here and the meter is 4/4.
The D(2>3) ending is also familiar from "Save Me".