Brian May shares Freddie Mercury connections to Back to the Light at album launch – WATCH
Brian May says he 'will be fit' for Queen tour due to 'heart rehab'
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Today marks the album launch of Brian May’s remastered debut solo record Back to the Light. The Queen guitarist has been hosting his Bri-TV via Instagram live since the early hours of this morning and invited Express.co.uk on for a special guest chat. During our Zoom conversation (which can be viewed below), the 74-year-old spoke of Freddie Mercury’s connections to the album.
Freddie famously gave his blessing to Brian for Driven By You to be a solo track rather than a Queen song, while Too Much Love Will Kill You took on a whole new meaning when sung by the late star on the band’s final album.
Brian told Express.co.uk: “It always used to get complicated because you’d write a song and then you’d think, ‘Well is this too personal to put on a Queen album?’ – this kind of toing and froing.
“And sometimes the song would get adapted a bit to become a Queen song like I think Headlong and I Can’t Live Without You.
“There were quite a few songs that could have been solo songs for me but ended up being Queen tracks. But really as I was developing more stuff there was no way of making it into Queen stuff, it was destined to be solo stuff.”
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Brian remembered how Freddie liked Too Much Love Will Kill You and recorded the Queen version in 1989, which was released posthumously on 1995’s Made in Heaven.
The guitarist said: “I don’t think I knew what was in Freddie’s head at that moment because he knew things that we didn’t know at that time.
“And he said, ‘Look I love this song, we have to do the Queen version of it.’
“Of course, my version was done so there was no need to be careful, we could just say, ‘Okay, This is a Queen production, it’s going to be big and bombastic’, full of high energy stuff, which you don’t get on [my solo] version at all.”
Brian continued: “Freddie put his heart and soul into it, but what was in his head when he was singing it, we can only guess because it was no longer a song about my personal experiences and my conflicts and my pain in my head.
“It was a song that related to Freddie and that’s how songs are sometimes, they transform themselves into something new.
“By the time Freddie had gone, that song had that different meaning for me.
“So when I performed it at the Freddie Tribute concert solo, with my heart in my mouth, it was all about Freddie – had to be. Kinda a no-brainer really.”
During the chat, Brian also shared how remastering Back to the Light came about during Queen and Adam Lambert’s last tour in Japan.
The star had a conversation with the head of Universal Records about how his entire solo career wasn’t available to digitally download or stream, let alone buy on CD anymore.
Brian’s work outside of Queen hadn’t been available for 15-20 years, so he knew he had to get it back out there.
In fact, the 74-year-old is already at work remastering his second solo album, 1998’s Another World, which should be released within the next year.
Asked what his favourite track on Back to the Light is, Brian said: “I think right now Resurrection because there’s a lot of darkness out there.
“It’s powerful and it’s full of energy and optimism, which is what the whole journey was about.
“Trying to find that belief that I could get out of the hellish, dark place I was in and find the light again, so resurrection does it for me!”
Back to the Light is out now and available on CD, Vinyl, Cassette, digital download and streaming formats and can be ordered here.
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