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.