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Written by Roger Taylor
Recording information by Philipp (PraxisNothaft@t-online.de)
Recorded in late 1983 at The Record Plant, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Released in January 1984 as a single and in February 1984 on the album The Works.
That song is really a classic. It is bathed in technology, but in opposite to the Hot Space-stuff whose songs also got lots of synths and computers, this song was praised from all sides... probably because it wasn´t funky.
Apart from that, its musical arrangement is extremely intelligent.
There are several drum-computer-tracks, that are doing the 16-note rythm:
In the 1st chorus and in the end of the 2nd chorus, there´s a tambourine drum-computer-line. In the rest of the song we hear a computer Hi-Hat, that is mixed left. And there are maracas, which are mixed right.
Bass-drum and Snare-drum are also synthetic, but played by Roger on synth-drum-pads. Then there´s a track with (real) crash cymbal-overdubs.
Bass-drum and snare have got a delay in most parts.
There are two kinds of handclaps:
The "clap-along"- part, which is obviously synthetic,and some real handclaps in the 2nd chorus (doing the downbeat together with snare-drum).
Here, man and machine are sharing the job, too:
At first there´s a track with John, doing one of the highlights in his bass-playing. It´s sometimes very in the background, but his tasteful sliding and slapping is extremely sophisticated. He uses a fretless bass, which probably went through a compressor and directly into the desk.
The computer-bass is programmed and arranged by Fred Mandel. It´s hard to say how those fast blubbering lines were done, but I suppose that it´s a kinda random-programm: With a keyboard you play a note and the bass is playing that note randomly in different octaves. In the part after the 2nd chorus, the bass is reduced to one note in 16-rythm and heavily filtered.
Synths: (Roger, Freddie & Fred Mandel)
- One keyboard (Roland?) that is playing the string-pad-carpet.
- There´s a E-piano track, which is playing chords and those spacey ascending octave-notes.
- Another keyboard, doing the harpsichord-sound chords.
- A synth, that is playing those filtered, sweeping choir-sound effects.
- One very clean guitar, that is playing in the chorus.Has got lots of treble (-booster) and a compressor
- The solo-guitar. Has a compressor, delay and is played with slide.
Roger used a Vocoder to do those roboter-backing-vocals.
The other backing-vocals are done by Freddie, Roger and Brian.
The lead-vocals are sung by Freddie. His voice got a bit of delay and in the pre-chorus it´s doubled. In the part around 4:30 his voice got lots more echo
Most voices and instruments are reverbed or delayed...it would go to far to list every little detail.
By the way:
As he started to write this song, Roger didn´t think of the possibility that it could become a hit. So he wrote it like a regular pop-song. Freddie, however, realized its qualities and pushed Roger to make it more sophisticated. Freddie also made some changes with the song himself.