Friday, June 18, 2010

Queen Song of the Week: Brighton Rock

When I told Husband a few weeks ago that I was delving into the Queen catalog and starting to feature their more obscure tracks, he remarked that perhaps I'd better change the feature to the Queen Song of the Month so I wouldn't run out of songs. Oh, silly Husband! Here is a link of all the songs that I consider eligible for the Queen Song of the Week feature. I think we'll be just fine for a long time!

And incidentally, Queenpedia is an amazing website that I use all the time for information on songs, singles, lyrics, concerts - seriously anything Queen related you might want to know is on that website. I can't recommend it highly enough!

Brighton Rock was written by Dr. May and appeared on the band's 1974 album Sheer Heart Attack.

Every so often, hardcore Queen fans will start talking about a song that I've not heard yet. Yes, I'm sure this comes as a shock to many of you: there are bigger Queen fans out there than me. Much bigger. As in have catalog numbers of albums memorized and have tracked down folks like Freddie's personal driver and RT's longtime roadie in order to hear stories about the band firsthand from folks who were there. So occasionally these fans will reference a song as being particularly great. This usually prompts me to at least check out the song and see what all the fuss is about. Usually I am not disappointed.

Brighton Rock was one of those songs. On the QueenOnline website, folks were listing their top Queen songs. This song kept showing up on everyone's list and I was a little embarrassed that I'd not heard it. So I downloaded it (along with a few other more obscure tracks that we'll get to eventually), burned a disc, and played it in my car for about a week. That's all it took to convince me that this song is incredible. In fact, shortly after I downloaded it, I created a ring tone out of my favorite portion (click here to see how to create a ring tone) and months later, I still use this ring tone.

If you have ever seen a DVD of a Queen concert, you might find the guitar solo from the middle of this song rather reminiscent of Dr. May's guitar solo (click here to watch his solo at the band's 1986 show at Wembley Stadium). I remember seeing the concert for the first time and thinking, "How does RT know what beat to play when he accompanies Dr. May on the solo?" It never occurred to me that the solo was from an actual song! Dr. May explained in an 1983 interview that the solo has since evolved to the point that there really isn't anything left of the original song, but he still utilizes the same techniques which have the same effect. Since Dr. May wrote the song, the guitar part is pretty awesome, but I'm rather fond of the drums as well (considered by some to be one of RT's best performances). Check out the multitrack containing RT's drum part only here.

The song starts off with carnival sounds and someone whistling the same tune that ends the song Seven Seas of Rhye. Seven Seas of Rhye is the last song off the previous album Queen II and Brighton Rock is the first track off the Sheer Heart Attack album. In the early days of Queen, they found it interesting to segue one song, or even one album, into the next. The vocals of this song are particularly interesting with Freddie alternating between his falsetto voice and his regular voice in order to portray both the male and female characters in the story. When played live, RT occasionally sang the "female" part of the song. After the bridge, the lengthy guitar solo starts and continues for several minutes before the final verse ends the song.

Happy Listening!


  1. Brighton is my hometown, so I approve of this one!

  2. Haha AND it's a good song too :-P