But in this case, I just woke up with these words glittering in my head, immediately convinced that they would be right for this song, which in any case was from the beginning, in my mind, a nod to Freddie. I had the song mapped out and I felt a strange obsession with it, with its perpetually turning chord sequence - I had to put stops in it to make the verses happen - but behind it all is a kind of wheel-like succession of chords - something like the famous Pachabel sequence.
I actually did get Freddie to sit down and work on the words with me for a few moments, something he was very good at - but he was not feeling at all well, and we only got as far as making a first verse before he had to leave. Freddie was then unavailable for quite a while, battling with the awful thing that was consuming his body, and in the meantime I moved the song on. I used the verse we had agreed on in two halves .. it forms the beginning of the first verse and the beginning of the second. But the middle section at that time was just a chord sequence from a rough take, awaiting a story line. Suddenly one morning I had it ! By the time Freddie came back, the complete song was all ready for him, with a guide vocal from me.
The guide vocal went impossibly high in the last choruses - I’d done it in falsetto for the demo. (I remember I particularly liked the lines “I’ll top the bill. I’ll overkill” - very Freddie, I thought ! ha ha! So did he. But those impossibly high bits? “O-On with the show….” etc. I was already apologising but Freddie said, “No problem, Dear…” or something like that… maybe I’m falling into the usual trap of putting “dear” on the back of every Freddie quote… but no problem it was. He downed a shot of his favourite iced vodka (Stolichnaya!) and went for it. Got it first time. Ouch !
So, sitting here in the dressing room in Jacksonville, I’m thinking of those times. Wondering how Freddie would have been feeling if he were here. I know he would have been seething at the fact that not a single Queen poster is to be seen in the city …. so how were people supposed to know we were coming ?
Brian May on The Show Must Go On (via inthedarkicare