Friday, July 16, 2010

Queen Song of the Week: Say It's Not True

In 2005, Dr. May and RT teamed up with Paul Rodgers (of Bad Company and Free) for a world tour. In 2008, they released a brand spankin' new studio album The Cosmos Rocks. While the Queen + Paul Rodgers tours in 2005 and 2008 were well received by fans, the album is considered by many to be a disaster of gargantuan proportions. Personally, I don't own it and I've only heard a few songs off it so I'll reserve judgment. The studio version of Say It's Not True appears on The Cosmos Rocks.

The version of Say It's Not True that's on The Cosmos Rocks is nice enough; however, my favorite version of the song is this one which is available on Queen: Return of the Champions, a live album from 2005.

What's the difference?

The studio version of the song from 2008 features RT, Dr. May, and Paul Rodgers sharing lead vocals: they each sing a verse. The live version from Return of the Champions features RT on lead vocals for the entire song. The latter version is also acoustic and more poignant than the former version which gets really heavy at the end. Lyrically, this is one of RT's strongest songs. Like in Man on Fire (reviewed here), he uses a metaphor and I really wish he'd attempt this more often because he truly excels at it. The tune of the song can be a bit monotonous, but I think RT does a good job of alternating the end notes to mix it up a bit. RT appears to enjoy singing this one live too because he sang it solo at the Band du Lac concert (see here for his performance and see here to purchase the Blu Ray).

RT originally wrote the song for Nelson Mandela's 46664 campaign against HIV/AIDS so obviously the subject matter is something near and dear to his heart. I think the tone of the song is better suited to his voice and he hits some rather lovely high notes in the live version of the song. You can also see he's getting a bit emotional at the last line ("Could be happening to you. Could be happening to me.")

In one of Husband's frequent rants about how he thinks RT takes himself so seriously, I tried to tell Husband that RT actually does some serious charitable work and isn't just all talk (or all lyrics, as the case may be). In response, Husband spat out, "Who does he think he is? Nelson Mandela?" To which I squealed, "Yes! He works with Nelson Mandela's 46664 campaign!"

I decided to feature Say It's Not True today because Sunday July 18 is Mandela Day 2010, a global initiative proposed by 46664 and the Nelson Mandela Foundation as a day to honour and celebrate Nelson Mandela and his legacy. Nelson Mandela Day includes a series of events involving interactive art, entertainment, music, film, educational outreach and community service with the hope of inspiring people around the globe to embrace their individual power to make an imprint and help change the world around them for the better. (This is taken straight from the 46664 website which I've linked at the bottom of the post).

RT wrote this song for Mandela Day in 2005. He and Dr. May then rerecorded it with Paul Rodgers for The Cosmos Rocks, but made the song available for free download on the 46664 website. Eventually they decided to release the song as a single and donate all the profits to 46664.

RT and Dr. May's work with 46664 isn't their first foray into charitable work. Following Freddie Mercury's death in 1991, they (along with John Deacon, long time Queen manager Jim Beach, and Freddie Mercury's long time friend Mary Austin) established the Mercury Phoenix Trust as a vehicle to distribute the money raised during the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert (see here to purchase and here to view the most famous bit, George Michael singing Somebody to Love). The Trust has continued to raise money over the past two decades and has a number of projects currently in the works. In 1995, RT, Dr. May, and John Deacon donated profits from the studio album Made in Heaven to the Trust.

For more information about the Mercury Phoenix Trust, visit their official web page here.

For more information about Nelson Mandela's 46664 Campaign, visit the official web page here.

Happy Listening!

And Happy Mandela Day 2010!

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