Friday, January 22, 2010

Queen Song of the Week: It's Late

I've decided to do a weekly feature. Well, it is going to start out as a weekly feature, i.e. I'll do it today, probably remember to do it again next Friday and after that all bets are off. When I tell people I like Queen, the response is usually, "Oh yeah, they're pretty good." This is code for: "I've heard Bohemian Rhapsody too many times to count and maybe also one other song (usually Under Pressure or Another One Bites the Dust, you get the idea)."

This KILLS me because the Queen catalog is so much more amazing than these few songs. To give you an idea, I have burned several CDs of my favorite Queen songs to keep in my car. Each CD has 18-20 songs and neither Bohemian Rhapsody or Another One Bites the Dust have ever been on one of these CDs). Now, not to say these aren't great songs - BoRhap especially (oh to be a fly on the wall in the room when Freddie Mercury pitched it to the rest of the band, "And here's where the opera bit comes in.") - but my point is do not be afraid to dig deeper into their catalog. You will not be disappointed!

So my weekly feature: the Queen song of the week. It's easy - I link to the song and you check it out.

This week, I've picked what is possibly my favorite Queen song: It's Late from News of the World, written by Dr. Brian May. It's Late was released as a single in the U.S. in 1978 and peaked at #72 on the Billboard Charts.

I think it rivals BoRhap as a showcase of the band members' individual talents as well as the strengths of the group: amazing singing by Freddie Mercury (complete with a high note at the end that doesn't even sound human), strong and layered harmonies, great guitar solo by Dr. May, thunderous drums by Roger Taylor (and a truly spectacular transition back to the main beat following the guitar solo), and John Deacon on bass (granted, I'm not much of a John Deacon fan personally, but he certainly did contribute to the group dynamic in his own way). At more than 6 minutes long, it is truly epic, but I always feel like it ends too soon (and usually back the CD up to play it again). If you saw "Observe and Report" (and if you haven't do not run out to see it - it was a truly horrendous movie), you'll recognize this song from a scene near the end of the movie. When I saw the movie I'd not yet heard this song, but I knew immediately that it was Queen. It's that distinctive of their sound.

The video is a compilation of photos by David R. Fuller and you'll probably see me using his stuff a lot. He does an amazing job of setting a song to photos when no music video per se is available.

Happy Listening!

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