39 - Wikipedia

2021 Song Draft- Round 5 Pick 6- Run-Sew-Read selects- ’39; by Queen.

  This song is on Queen’s 1975 album ‘A Night at the Opera’, and was the B-side of ‘You’re My Best Friend’, released as a single in June 1976. I love the Queen hits, and am fascinated with Freddie Mercury. But this song by Brian May is hands down my favorite Queen song. In the studio version, Brian is the lead singer on the song. I’ve heard live recordings of Freddie performing the lead vocals at concerts, and Brian is my choice for lead on the song. I say it’s Brian’s song. The song: https://youtu.be/kE8kGMfXaFU

  Brian is a founding member of Queen and its lead guitarist. He’s also an astrophysicist who started working on his PhD in 1970; got waylayed by his band’s success, and ultimately completed his PhD in 2007. From 2008-2013, he was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University. He’s active in astrophysics research and animal rights. He’s been awarded a CBE by Her Majesty The Queen, for his contributions to music and charities, and been portrayed by an actor in an Oscar-winning movie about his band (Bohemian Rhapsody, 2018). I wonder how many of those achievements the 10-year-old Brian May put down when his teacher told the class to write about what they want to be when they grow up.

  I hadn’t heard ‘39′ in years, probably not since the album was popular. And then maybe 12 years ago, I started listening to Radio Caroline ( http://radiocaroline.co.uk ), the pirate radio ship that streams from the UK. They occasionally play it, and it’s been in my playlist ever since.  

A discussion was had with an earlier draft pick, about plagiarism. Here’s my recent find in that vein. In East Germany (GDR) before the Berlin Wall came down, their government produced and sanctioned music for the youth that sounded like the music coming from the western countries, but instead contained lyrics of appropriate messages for the mandated East German way of life, i.e. , socialism. One such song was this one, ‘Alt Wie Ein Baum’, by the Puhdys, that came out in 1976. Queen released ‘39′ in 1975. Hmmm. You can decide what you think of the similarities. I instantly heard ‘39′. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkU2E_nSeNg My information about the East Germany music scene came from this most interesting blog post. https://www.messynessychic.com/2021/07/06/the-soundtrack-to-a-lost-country-rock-music-in-the-gdr/  

This song pick came from a category I created of ‘acoustic’ songs. Among other contenders I considered for this pick before ultimately deciding on ‘39′, were Mr. Rock and Roll by Amy MacDonald, Rambling Man- Laura Marling.

28 responses to “2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 5 PICK 6- RUN-SEW-READ SELECTS’ ’39’- QUEEN

  1. pretty much what Christian says… brand new to me, and a surprise Brian was singing. He had a decent voice, but it wasn’t much needed when you had Freddie around. I really liked their “I’m In Love with My Car” from same era, which was also a b-side. Saw a doc on drummers this week, where they interviewed Roger Taylor… interesting guy, and as you might expect, he’s aged gracefully. Seems like a tenured English professor now more than a rock star.

  2. I remember this one and liked it back in the day. Glad to be reacquainted with it. I did listen to that German song, which sounds to me like a blatant ripoff! Dirty and sneaky to steal others’ music and then spin the lyrics in a nationalism that oppresses the population. Wonderful choice, Diana, and interesting info about the song-stealing.

  3. Like others I was not familiar with this song. Sounds a bit different from the more well known ones and it was neat to hear Brian May on lead vocals

  4. I like how you put it – he got waylayed by Queens success 😀. I heard an interview with him on Fresh Air many years ago – seems like a really fascinating interesting humble guy. It still blows my mind that he was the guitarist in one of the biggest bands in the world a d also a bonafide astrophysicist !

    • Just went back and listened again after reading this and found the link above that explained it a bit more – like the song even more now

Comments are closed.