Brian May on testing vocals in wake of Freddie Mercury death ‘Suddenly I was without him’

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It’s been almost 30 years since Freddie Mercury died and around the time Brian May had been working on releasing his first solo album Back to the Light, which the Queen singer had been very supportive of. Now as the 74-year-old prepares to debut a remastered version of the record, he has re-released one of its singles Resurrection. Brian said of the song with late rock drummer Cozy Powell: “It’s built on hope and passion and belief – and fireworks!!!”

Issued as a single in 1993, Brian found the track-tested his abilities as a vocalist after the loss of Freddie in November 1991.

The Queen guitarist said recently: “We really went to town on the overdubs.

“There’s probably more overdubs on it than there is on Bohemian Rhapsody!

“I was also pushing myself. It was a time when I wanted to know how far I could go.”

Brian added: “Suddenly I’m without Freddie. I’m trying to sing my own stuff.

“How high can I go? How intense can I go? How broad can I go in the vocals?

“I don’t think I could do that now, but I’m pleased with the place that I got to. It was the place I needed to get to at that time.”

The 74-year-old remembered quite the fight to hit those difficult top D notes.

Brian said: “I can still hardly believe I got that far – I made myself bleed doing it.”

While on his guitar playing, he said: “I used that Joe Satriani guitar for some of it -the big, metallic Joe Satriani guitar. It’s got a real bite to it.

“There was no limit and I’m tapping away, which I normally didn’t do in Queen.

“Queen is very melodic and although I had that sort of tapping thing in my vocabulary, there’s not often a place to use it in Queen.”

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Brian continued: “I just went for it all, and it’s reaching for the sky in terms of pushing my guitar playing as well. 

“The track also features a short but very intense Powell drum break – which – surprisingly – was recorded in my ‘French Room’ in my home studio. Cozy also pushed himself to the limit.” 

Resurrection’s fierce and fiery music video has been remastered for the reissue too.

On the making-of, he remembered: “I collaborated with the H-Gun [Labs] team to make a clip which took the track into a different universe, partly just because we could – but also, I guess, for me to express in metaphor the extreme psychological battle going on in my head which gave birth to the song.”

Brian added: “Cozy and I spent a day surrounded by chemical bonfires in a film studio in LA – being hooligans and heroes and having great fun.”

On Resurrection’s message today, he said: “That’s the one I want played at my funeral, probably, because it’s irresistibly, forcefully full of belief.

“It’s the kind of belief that you need to overcome the massive obstacles that get put in our way during our lives. I feel very proud of it.”

Resurrection is available to download and stream now, while the remastered reissue of Brian May’s Back to the Light album is available on August 6 on CD, Vinyl, Cassette, digital download and streaming formats and can be pre-ordered here.

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