The Night Comes Down

Written by Brian May

Recording information by Philipp (

Recorded in December 1971 at De Lane Lea Music Centre, Wembley, London, UK.
Released in July 1973 on the album "Queen"

One of their first recordings and definitely the oldest Queen-recording to appear on an official release. It comes from Queen's demo-recordings at De Lane Lea studios. You can already hear Brian's harmonies and his skilled guitar-techniques as well as the group's potential all around. It's a very interesting song with some good music and an intelligent arrangement.
And it's well-produced, too. The sound has a certain atmosphere.

Everything's played by Roger.
The drum-sound is much clearer and more "real" than the drum-sound of the Trident-recordings. The bass-drum is in the middle and the snare-drum is slightly panned right. The hi-hat is right, too. There are two cymbals, one left one right. They have a very "mushy" and bright sound. Maybe the mic was put a bit farer away. The toms also have a distinctive stereo-arrangement. Check it out!
There's also a cow-bell. It is left, whilst its reverb is mixed right. At the start of the first verse you don't hear the cowbell at all, whilst the reverb is already there. Then the cowbell is also fading in. All in all the drum-arrangement is very cleverly done. The rhythm of the pattern in the outro allmost sounds like a hip-hop-beat.

John played a Fender Precision Bass. Played over an amp and then picked up with mics. The sound is very rumbling and "bassey". John play some great lines, especially in the intro and the outro. You can hear the bass much better here than on the other songs of the first album.

All guitars are played by Brian.
All in all, there are six guitars: Two acoustic guitars, three electric harmony-guitars and one electric rhythm guitar.
Both acoustic guitars (+bass) are playing the intro, however, one of them only does some doubling. One guitar is a an acoustic guitar with steel strings, the other one is a classical guitar with nylon strings. There's lots of reverb in the intro. The guitars were picked up with several mics. One in front of the sound-hole and maybe another one behind the guitar. There also seems to have been a mic for the scratching noises. In the verses the guitars are clearly discernible. Then there are the three harmony-guitars. One is left, one's in the middle and one's right. The one in the middle is rather subdued, but the other two are quite loud. These guitars are played on the Red Special through a VoxAc30-amp with lots of gain and sustain. He probably also used a treble-booster.
The guitars are smoothly fading in. This is done with a volume-pedal or the volume-control of the console. In the outro, the middle guitar play a very high note with lotsa feedback, whilst the ones on the stereo sides are doing wild phrases. At the very end of the song there's a slightly distorted guitar, also played with Brian's fireplace and the Vox, which is doing the end-chords.

Freddie sings the lead-vocals which are mixed into the centre.
He recorded a second verse for a harmony at the end of the second verse.
His voice has some delay and reverb.
The backing-vocals are three-part harmonies, sung by Brian, Roger and Freddie.
They're all recorded twice, once for the left and once for the right channel.

By The Way:
The demo-version of this song was used for the album. Some have hypothesised that must have meant they weren't happy with the Trident version, but it's worth wondering whether or not there was ever a Trident version to begin with. Granted, the band re-recorded the other four demos (Jesus, Liar, Great King Rat and Keep Yourself Alive) but that doesn't guarantee at all that they re-recorded this one as well. Maybe there wasn't enough time to re-do it and that's why they kept the demo?