Freddie Mercury’s final Queen album while alive, Innuendo, was released in 1991, the year he died. The iconic singer was battling in his fight against AIDS as the band made the record together, the year before. And now Brian May has shared the “unforgettable’ time Freddie recorded The Show Must Go On, summing up his tenacity and resilience during his final months.
May said: “We didn’t discuss what the meaning of the song was, but it was of course evident in the background that it was an attempt to give a voice to the feelings that Freddie’s valiant fight against AIDS created in all of us, and even in Freddie.
“He was too low in energy to create it himself.
“But I had one unforgettable special afternoon working together with him on solidifying the lyrics of the first verse of this embryonic song about a clown whose make-up hid his pain, before he slid out to attend another treatment.
“That gave me enough lyrical material to later expand into the eventual two verses.”
The Queen guitarist continued: “I finished mapping out the song, sang the whole thing as a demo, including the added ‘Wings of Butterflies’ section, which somehow appeared in my head very late one night, and I played it to him when he was next in the studio.
“The melody called for some very demanding top notes, and I’d only been able to ‘demo’ them in falsetto.
“I said to Freddie, ‘I don’t want you strain yourself – this stuff isn’t going to be easy in full voice, even for you!’
“He said, ‘Don’t worry – I’ll f***ing nail it, Darling!’.”
The 73-year-old added: “He then downed a couple of his favourite shots of vodka.
“Propped himself up against the mixing desk, and… delivered one of the most extraordinary performances of his life.
“In the final mix of The Show Must Go On, when you get to ‘On with the Show’, you are listening to a man who conquered everything to deliver his finest work.”
Tragically, Freddie’s untimely death meant he never had the opportunity to sing The Show Must Go On live.
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However, the track that embodied his spirit made its on-stage debut in April 1992 at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, just a few months after his death.
Elton John sang lead vocals, while Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi guested on the guitar.
Today Adam Lambert continues to sing The Show Must Go On live with Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor during their tours.
In fact, from today fans can view their 2018 London’s The O2 performance of the track on Queen’s official YouTube channel.
The performance features on Queen and Adam Lambert’s first live album, Live Around The World.
The record is released on October 2 later this year.
And fans can chose from CD, CD/DVD, CD/Blu-ray and Vinyl versions.
Queen and Adam Lambert: Live Around The World can be pre-ordered here.
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