Sunday, March 14, 2010

Queen Song of the Week: Chorus? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Chorus, Part III

The Millionaire Waltz - Dr. May called this song "[Queen's] great musical excess," and it was recorded after BoRhap so take that into account when listening to this complex song! Here, John Deacon plays some truly spectacular bass (and remember, I'm not the biggest John Deacon fan), Freddie Mercury plays piano, and, of course, Dr. May and RT play guitar and drums, respectively.

The song itself changes key, time, and genre abruptly several times throughout. It begins with Freddie Mercury on the piano joined by Deacon's catchy bass riff (click here to hear someone playing the bass part over the rest of the song). Soon RT and Dr. May join in for some lovely layered harmonies and at the end of the first verse, Dr. May's guitar is featured for the first time. The second verse slows the tempo slightly with an emphasis on the band's harmonies. The next few bits of the song abruptly change style so often and so quickly it's futile for me to attempt to describe them! I can say that Dr. May's guitar solo is in waltz (6/8) time and mimicks a classical waltz sound.
The night after I heard this song the first time, I couldn't sleep because it was running through my head, especially the "Come back come back to me!" harmonies which are typical Queen utilizing the vocal overdubbing technique. This is one of the last songs to utilize the vocal capabilities of the band members so effectively and so much throughout the song. That's one of the reasons why I love this song. It's unfortunate that Queen got away from the complex harmonies right around the time that the music industry was likely developing tools which would make recording them much easier! I do wonder if the band strayed from vocal layering because of the impossibility of replicating the sound on stage. Especially since in the 1980s, Queen became one of the greatest arena bands of all time.

Queen did play this song live frequently through the 1970s, often as a medley with You're My Best Friend and Bring Back that Leroy Brown.

So there you go - three Queen songs and not a chorus to be found in any of them!

Happy Listening!


  1. all their songs are so complex. I love that about Queen. A chorus is such a cop-out. lol. Oh, and Mercury can *so* rock the court jester jumpsuit, can't he?

    can't wait to hear about your vacation!

  2. hey, did you see that dr. may is going to be a guest on meat loaf's new concept album?