Category: john deacon

Queen: Freddie Mercury and Brian May, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, Budapest, July 27, 1986, via queenphotos.

I was just going to post this without additional commentary (no, I have not been taken over by a pod from outer space), but you know what? You really, really need to see this. Not even the Live Aid performance of this (WHICH I HATE THAT THEY LEFT OUT OF THE MOVIE) gives a hint at how gloriously chaotic “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” could get on stage

So here ya go, from Wembley a couple of weeks earlier than the Budapest photo above, on July 11. Here you’ll see Brian switching between three guitars (you see his black Telecaster above, which he typically used for the first solo), and both him and Freddie actively engaging keyboard player Spike Edney, who’s absolutely wailing on the piano for this. (Spike is still playing with Queen today!)

There’s a camera parked behind Roger, who really doesn’t get enough credit for how hard he pounds drums (as if Bonham is the only one who hits hard or something?), and Deacy’s shorts are so short that he looks like he’s wearing a big t-shirt and nothing else while he POGOS HIS WAY THROUGH. (Check right around 3:30 for several shots of him bouncing clear off the ground.) This ain’t just a rhythm section. Both of these fellas are bringing the pain

This clip cuts in just after Freddie laughs, “Everybody knows I can’t play the fucking guitar,” and opens with his holy invocation, “This is for all you crazy f*****s out there.”

Turn this WAY THE FUCK UP, and soak in it. Amazing stuff.

Queen rehearsing A Night At The Opera at Ridge Farm, summer 1975, via queenphotos

We need to speak more often about Freddie’s back. (Queen in Montreal, 1981, my edit of original via)

Queen in New Haven, CT, November 16, 1977 by Carl Lender, my edit of original via wikimediacommons

natromanxoff:

In Tokyo – 1981

soundsof71:

Queen, 1973. Check that makeup!!!

They was glam!

soundsof71:

Queen live at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, 24th December 1975, because that’s EXACTLY how you’re supposed to dress for Christmas Eve.

@classicrockwlw​ sent me a comment observing that these aren’t the outfits from Hammersmith, and of course they’re not! I can only blame it on taking Google’s word for this in my early days of posting Queen, and my hurry to make a joke in a caption. 

(And I do hope that this is how you’re dressing for Christmas Eve!)

I still haven’t been able to track down exact details, but I’ve at least found what appears to be the photo’s origin, an article in Circus Magazine with the title, “Queen Swings Both Ways”, a reference to the mix of lighter and heavier music on their latest album, A Night At The Opera.

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The quote is from Brian, who’s the only member of the band interviewed for this article. It’s a great read about the making of A Night At The Opera, how it felt to them in the days following its release in the context of their previous work, and what it might mean for their future. 

“Sometimes I feel that Freddie and I are going in different directions, but then he’ll come up ‘with something and I’ll think, ‘My God — we do think alike.’ When I’m working on one of his things I can tune in very easily to what guitar part he wants, and vice-versa. In terms of what we’re trying to do in songs, we are moving in different directions, but I think that could be a good thing.”

Head over to the invaluable Queen Archive to read the rest, here.

Do note though that the issue date listed there is impossible. They say April 1975, but Opera wasn’t released until November, and there are references to the American tour in January-March 1976, so it’s possible that this was in fact from the April 1976 issue. Circus’s online archive is notoriously spotty, though, so I’m still working on nailing that down.

Early 1976 makes sense, because Brian mentions that Queen changed their shows following the release of Opera.  He also describes meeting Jimmy Page after one of Led Zeppelin’s shows at Earls Court (May 1975), talks about Freddie having produced a single for singer Eddie Howells (August 1975) before the fall tour, and the author (Jon Tiven) makes specific reference to “Mercury donning short-shorts to add a bit of the hairy leg to Queen’s otherwise pristine presentation.” The earliest appearance of short-shorts onstage that I’ve found is February 5, 1976 at New York’s Beacon Theatre, here via queenlive.ca.

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For what it’s worth, we do have photos of Fred in shorts from 1975, but not on stage. I’m thinking of the fabulous red nuthuggers he wore while lounging at Ridge Farm that summer, where we also saw Deacy wearing the same shirt seen in the top photo. Indeed, both are prominently on display on the picture sleeve of the “You’re My Best Friend” single, which you can see accompanying my essay about it here.

As I tried to get more information about this photo (alas, nothing more yet), I did come across another wonderful photo from the same article! Many thanks to Aley Crooker Martin whose scan includes some text from the article, further helping secure the original photo’s provenance. 

It really is delicious, so when I get a chance, I’ll give it a proper edit for posting on its own:

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I’m still a very long way from sorting this all out, so if any others have you more details, get in touch! And thanks again to @classicrockwlw for getting me to take another look!

They was glam! Queen’s John Deacon, via queendeakyy

John Deacon

From Queen: A Visual Documentary by Ken Dean, 1986.

Queen, “You’re My Best Friend” BY JOHN DEACON. 

(The picture sleeve released in Yugoslavia in case you were wondering.)

John Deacon. That fluffy fella third from the left, seen at Ridge Farm in 1975, where the band was working on A Night At The Opera

Here’s another of him, via discodeaky (whose outstounding blog, these days known as @doktordyper, you should definitely get to know if you don’t). 

Fluffy.

He didn’t just play bass, though. When he happened upon a Wurlitzer electric piano (the Wurlitzer EP-200, NOT a Fender Rhodes as if often misidentified; they actually sound nothing alike), he asked Fred about it, who scoffed. “I refuse to play the damn thing. It’s tinny and horrible and I don’t like them. Why play those things when you’ve got a lovely superb grand piano?”

John’s response? “I took it home and I started to learn on the electric piano and basically that’s the song that came out, you know, when I was learning to play piano.“

(Quotes via songfacts, Wurlitzer detail via queensongs.info.)

The song we’re talking about is “You’re My Best Friend.” The first song he wrote when he was teaching himself to play the electric piano. 

And since Freddie refused to play the Wurlitzer, JOHN played the piano on the record that we know and love. 

He also layed down a righteous bassline (not at the same time, mind you), and the fact is, as often as we talk about John writing this really terrific song (the second single from the album), I almost never hear anyone talking about how well he PLAYED on it, too.

Not bad for a first try!

So, from the 40th anniversary re-release of A Night At The Opera, here’s the backing track for “You’re My Best Friend”. It includes some lovely vocals and some of Brian May’s sweetest guitar work (5 layers of rhythm, plus the lead, running through the legendary Deacy Amp, designed and built by John in 1972 and finally released commercially in 2010 – you can buy it online, at deacyamp.com!), but this stripped down version allows you to really hear what John was doing on piano and bass. 

TURN IT UP.

Freddie conceded that John was able to get a distinctive sound out of the Wurlitzer, but he was still having none of it. Not only did he ONLY play it on a grand piano in concert, in the official video release, we do indeed see Deacy at the piano, but it’s a GRAND PIANO, and NOT a Wurlitzer!!! Seriously, Fred was having NONE of it.

Whatever, man. It’s a heckuva track. Maximum Deacy, and don’t you forget it.

And in fairness to Fred’s dislike for the Wurlitzer, he slays this song vocally. The 1975 black nail polish look is also killer. 

By the way, John played keyboards on other tracks (notably “Another One Bites The Dust”), as well as guitar now and again (especially on his own songs for Hot Space), and really, that’s his story in Queen. Doing what he has to, and doin’ just fine, thanks for asking.

And fluffy.

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