Queen’s News of the World (1977) album turned 40 years old this year. I was five years old when it came out. It would be six or seven years more until Queen were firmly on my radar, and so would begin a lifelong love of the band.
To celebrate the anniversary of the album’s release, Queen are releasing a box set on Friday 17 November that includes a number of recently unearthed out-takes and rarities.
Among the rarities is this hybrid version of “All Dead, All Dead” (side 1, track 4) featuring alternative lyrics and vocals from Freddie Mercury.
What I didn’t realise, all these years of listening to the song, is that the song was written by Brian May about the death of his childhood cat.
It’s a beautiful song, even if does have the ‘wrong’ lyrics.
The box set is released on Friday 17 November costing £109.99.
For all these years that I’ve been a fan of the rock band Queen, and Queen II (1974) is one of my favourite albums of theirs, I had no idea that the song “The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke” was actually describing a painting by English artist Richard Dadd.
Something I didn’t realise was that in May’s original design for the guitar, which he built with his father, he had included an ‘F-hole’, like a violin. The article shows an arch top guitar that Andrew Guyton from Guyton Guitars built for him featuring that F-hole.
What is not featured on the video is that Brian May Guitars now make a large number of variations of his iconic guitar, including the original (in a variety of finishes), a mini guitar, an acoustic and now a bass.
I remember as a teenager making sketches of a bass guitar version of the Red May Special. I wonder if I still have them? I dreamed that one day I would build my own… maybe one day. Now I see that both Brian May Guitars and Guyton Guitars have built bass versions and they are quite beautiful pieces of craftsmanship.
There’s a new book scheduled to be published by Hal Leonard next month with the snappy title Brian May’s Red Special: the story behind the home-made guitar that rocked Queen and the world. More information on the Queen website.