Read all 4 events for 23 August at diary.QueenSongs.info
Composer: Roger Taylor
Intro (AA')| Verse 1 | Bridge (BBBB) | AA'| Chorus |
AA' | Verse 2 (AA'AA')| Bridge | AA'| Chorus |
AA'-AA'| Solo (AA'AA'AA'AA)| AA'
The song is one of the most foreshadowing effort of the entire Queen songbook. After the punk experimentation Roger introduced the band into the territory of funk, which was a key element of the band remained popular in the eighties (except in the US). Economic arrangement, repetitive backing track, minor key, lack of complete chords most of the time. There are many lead guitar fragments in the mix, many of them jazzy/funky flavoured.
But we will find also some more Roger-esque details, for example the verses with completly altered melody.
Taylor and Mercury sings the lead vocal in the verse and bridge respectively while the chorus is sung by both of them.
This transcription uses double frequency 4/4 beats compared to what comfortable is for toetapping.
The song starts with the simple tight rhythm pattern that dominates the whole son except the choruses.
m.4 adds simple drum-pad fill. In m5 enters the four bar main guitar hook in an altered form compared to what is played afterwards. This hook is played one and a half time then abandonded by a funky dissonant chord (voicing: G#-D-G), and also a tad modified version of the drum-pad fill. Note that in this context it is christal clear that this fill closes on a downbeat.
Before the choruses and verses and the final solo returns the guitar hook as an instrumental connector.
The first verse is 24 measures long. The fragmentary lead vocal consists of two measure sub-phrases with upbeats. These subphrases can be gouped into three 8 bar phrases.
The lead vocal is prdominantly minor pentatonic with a couple "blue" flat fifth degree.
The arrangement is purely rhythmic with only some bass slides down from D (?) in the uneven numbered subphrases. These slides can be heard several later places in the song, but just very faint.
There is a "wake-up" whistle in m.21., which also appear soon before the solo and also in the end of the track.
The title phrase (its two fragment) returns twice before the solo and once more closing the song.
The second verse is very different from the first:
- the lead melody is completly altered
- rhythm guitar added
- it's only 16 measures long with two non-fragmentary 8 bar phrases. The pattern of subphrases is ABCB'. Both the last syllable of phrase A and the B' phrase is added upper harmony in thirds.
The only thing we can write into the harmony table is the E notes that are played on the downbeats.
/------------- 4x --------------\\
| E1... | E1... | E1... | E1... |
The guitar hook combines a fix bass note (E) and semi-chromatic descending upper line: E-D-C#-B-A-A#,
which is tad modified in the even numbered riffs: E-D-C#-B-A#-A. This concept is reminiscent of the "More Of That Jazz" riff, (which is reminiscent for...).
The Bridge could be also treated as pre-chorus. It is also riff-driven where the riff follows the lead vocal. The 16 bar section consist of four 4 bar phrases. The vocal phrases are tad varying in terms of rhythm which is full of 3+3+... type syncopation.
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1...
* * * * * * * * * * * : lead vocal
* * * * * * * * * * * : rhythm guitar
* : the first downbeat of the section.
In the second half of the section there are drum-pad fills added which are close variants of that of the intro, but strangely this time they sound disorenting off-beat and for first listen its hard to belive they still close on the downbeat. Note the two natural harmonics notes in the third phrase (only once) also sounding off-beat despite they both fall on strong beats.
...3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4...
* * * * * * * * : lead vocal
* ** * : drum fill
* * : guitar natural harmonics
Harmony wise there is not too much to analyse again. The most emphasized notes of the section are C and E. The lead vocal from scalar fragments 4-5-6-7-8 degrees of the homekey (e-minor).
The backing track of the chorus is also riff-driven. The way how the riffs-fragments are built around two neigbour notes is reminiscent of other Taylor riffs. The phrasing is 4+4+4+6 A B A'C. The harmony is on the border of turning to major.
| A1 | - | - | - |
| 4th | - | - | - |
| E1 | - | - | - |
| 1st |
| A | - | - | - |
| IV | - | - | - |
| B | - | G | - | - | |
| V | - | III | - | - | |
The voice leading of the B > G transition:
F# > G : top vocal line (Taylor)D# > D : bottom vocal line (Mercury)B > G : bass
The lead vocal is harmonized in parallel fourths in the third phrase, also the thirds are added in the second cycle (... "time tonight...").
The first chorus ends with triplet guitar powerchords while the second chorus closes whith a guitar fill with 3+3+3+3+4 grouping of notes.
Solo - outro
The solo is built on four 8 bar cycle of the double phrase riff. The solo is relatively fragmentary and mostly pentatonic, with many doublestops. The solo section closes with a quckly oscillating synth-like sound. After this the arrangements is clearing out to the basic riff. May drops in the same crazy chord that we heard already before the solo: G#-D-F# (M3rd, m7th and 9th degrees of e-minor respectively).
The last riff is abandonded abruptly one bar before its end.