Queen Now I’m Here

Brian May penned some of the great­est Queen songs and this one is no ex­cep­tion, be­ing chock full of sat­is­fy­ing riffs, in­ter­est­ing chord pro­gres­sions and rock’n’roll style solo­ing, says Steve Allsworth .

Guitar Techniques - - PLAY: ROCK -

Now I’m Here was largely re­count­ing the rigours of ex­ten­sive tour­ing that the band car­ried out dur­ing the early 70s. This re­lent­less gig­ging was the foun­da­tion of the band’s even­tual suc­cess in Amer­ica, and was by no means easy. They have since re­counted their battle against the com­mon ‘east Coast’ style rock of The ea­gles and Steely Dan which was very much the sound of Amer­i­can rock ra­dio around that time. This was ob­vi­ously at odds with Queen’s flam­boy­ant style and clas­si­cally-in­flu­enced brand of rock. Now I’m Here is more of a straight-ahead rock tune, how­ever, much in the tra­di­tion of many of may’s other rock clas­sics such as Ham­mer To Fall, we will rock You, Fat Bot­tomed Girls and Tie Your mother Down. It was one of the first songs May wrote af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a se­vere bout of hep­ati­tis, which se­verely af­fected the Sheer Heart Attack ses­sions (1974). may has since ad­mit­ted that he was ner­vous the band would find a re­place­ment gui­tarist while he was re­cov­er­ing in hos­pi­tal, and he was determined to re­turn to work to stop that from hap­pen­ing. Clearly the band never even con­sid­ered re­plac­ing may, and even left space in the songs they were al­ready work­ing on for him to add his parts when he was healthy enough. even for a rock’n’roll track, it has Queen’s typ­i­cal mu­si­cal com­plex­ity, con­tain­ing four dis­tinct sec­tions and three tonal cen­tres. As such, the form is also non-stan­dard with the big rock riff al­most sound­ing like a cho­rus in it­self. Sim­pler Chuck Berry style el­e­ments can be heard through­out the verses and so­los, how­ever, with typ­i­cal dou­ble-stop licks and even a nod to the great man with the lyric “Go, go, go lit­tle Quee­nie” to­wards the end of the song. Prior to the al­bum, Queen also sup­ported the band mott The Hoople in Amer­ica, which pro­vided fur­ther in­spi­ra­tion for this song, ref­er­enced in the lyrics “Down in the city, just Hoople and me”. There’s also an ar­guable mu­si­cal ref­er­ence to their fa­mous hit All The Young Dudes (writ­ten by David Bowie), with its ris­ing who­le­tone/chro­matic fig­ure at the end of the cho­rus not sound­ing dis­sim­i­lar to the end of the verses in the Queen track (see the Tech­nique Fo­cus box­out). The orig­i­nal track was typ­i­cal of most songs of that era, in that it wasn’t played to click. Although the tempo moves around quite a lot, the non lin­ear na­ture of the tempo pro­vides added ex­cite­ment dur­ing the big drum in­ter­ludes and else­where. I’ve ob­vi­ously tried to stay rea­son­ably faith­ful to this, in or­der to re­tain much of the ex­cite­ment and en­ergy of the orig­i­nal. This track was ev­i­dently one of the band’s favourites, since it was played at vir­tu­ally ev­ery gig from 1974-1986. There are there­fore a num­ber of ex­cel­lent early live per­for­mances on­line (which show off the skills of drum­mer roger Tay­lor in par­tic­u­lar), so it’s worth check­ing out some of th­ese break­neck ver­sions.

That was a Brian May thing. We re­leased it af­ter Killer Queen and it’s a to­tal con­trast, just a to­tal con­trast. It was just to show peo­ple we can still do rock’n’roll - we haven’t forgotten our rock’n’roll roots. Fred­die Mer­cury

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.