Breakthru (song)

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"Breakthru"
Single by Queen
from the album The Miracle
B-side Stealin'
Released 19 June 1989
Format Vinyl record (7", 12"), cassette tape, 5"CD
Recorded 1988
Genre Rock
Length
  • 4:08 (Album version)
  • 5:45 (12" extended version)
Label Parlophone, EMI, Capitol
Writer(s) Freddie Mercury/Roger Taylor (credited to Queen)
Producer(s) Queen and David Richards
Queen singles chronology
"I Want It All"
(1989)
"Breakthru"
(1989)
"The Invisible Man"
(1989)

"Breakthru" is a song by the British rock band Queen. Credited as being written by Queen, it was released in June 1989 from the album The Miracle. The single reached #7 in the UK, and peaked at number 6 in the Netherlands and Ireland, but failed to chart in the US. The song is remarkable for its video where the group is performing the song on an open platform of a fast-moving steam train.

Song[edit]

The album version of the song begins with 30 seconds of slow vocal harmony. It was apparently written by Freddie Mercury for a different song which ended up never being released, "A New Life Is Born".[1][2] It then abruptly changes to a fast-paced rocker, that was written by Roger Taylor. Other song versions were created by either extending or cutting the introduction.[3] On the Queen for an Hour interview conducted in 1989, Mercury said that this was a great example of two separate bits coming together to make a final track. He commented on how the band had about 30 tracks to work with and only completed a handful, working on all of them at least somewhat.[4]

Video[edit]

A regular (demonstration) run of loco 3822 along Didcot Railway Centre's main demonstration line.

The video of the song was filmed within two days on the preserved Nene Valley Railway, near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, England. The group members mentioned in the interviews that despite the hot summer weather, the event brought a nice refreshment to their studio work. It also helped heighten guitarist Brian May's spirits, as he was going through a bout of depression from the intense scrutiny surrounding his first marriage and Freddie Mercury's health starting to falter as a result of AIDS. The steam locomotive No. 3822[5] and an open platform were rented by Queen from the Didcot Railway Centre in Oxfordshire and repainted for the video. In particular, the group named the train "The Miracle Express", and this name was reflected in large red letters on the sides of the locomotive.[6] The idea of using a train in the video was suggested by Taylor and was inspired by the rhythm of the rapid part of the song. During the introduction ("new life is born"), the video features Taylor's then-girlfriend Debbie Leng,[7] with a black mask painted around her eyes, waking up and getting up on the rail track. The commencing of the fast part coincides with the scene of the train breaking through a polystyrene wall painted as a brick wall; the wall was constructed in a tunnel, under an arch of a stone bridge. The group was dissatisfied with this part because polystyrene could not stand the enormous air pressure buildup in the tunnel from the incoming train and the wall started breaking before the physical impact. The rest of the clip mostly shows the moving train with an attached open platform whereon the group performs the song. May, Deacon and Taylor are playing guitars and drums, whereas Mercury is moving around the whole platform with his trademark bottomless microphone stand while singing. Leng appears in some scenes on the platform and further in the clip.[8] The train was reportedly going at a speed of between 30[8] and 60 mph[9] (intermediate values were mentioned in interviews), and thus the group insured itself for 2 million pounds against bodily damage. The clip cost £300,000 to make.[9]

Personnel[edit]

Distribution[edit]

The single was distributed in 1989 as 7-inch and 12-inch records, 5-inch CDs and tapes, with a Parlophone label in most countries. The label was from Capitol in the US. The B-side either contained the song "Stealin'", was only used as an addition to "Breakthru",[10] or was blank as in some UK 12" records. Other 12" records and 5" CDs contained two versions of "Breakthru" and one of "Stealin'". Most covers contained a photomorph of four heads of the group members; the faces were merged at one eye of each face creating a five-eyed merged face. A strip showing eyes only was cut of this picture for most covers.[11]

The song was included into the following albums and compilations: The Miracle, Greatest Hits II, The Platinum Collection, Box of Tricks, Greatest Video Hits 2 (disk 1), Greatest Flix II (VHS) and Queen: The eYe (electronic video game released in 1998 by Electronic Arts).

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
Total
weeks
Australian Singles Chart[12] 45 1
Canadian Singles Chart[13] 80 3
Dutch Singles Chart[14] 6 14
German Singles Chart[15] 24 12
Irish Singles Chart[16] 6 4
Italian Singles Chart[17] 24 ?
New Zealand Singles Chart[18] 45 1
Swiss Singles Chart[19] 28 4
UK Singles Chart[20] 7 8

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil; Hince, Peter and Mack, Reinhold (15 November 2009). Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock. MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-7603-3719-6. 
  2. ^ Unreleased Queen Tracks. Ultimatequeen.co.uk. Retrieved on 2011-03-02.
  3. ^ The Miracle. QueenVault.com (1989-03-15). Retrieved on 2011-03-02.
  4. ^ 1989 Radio Interview with Queen hosted by Mike Read
  5. ^ Didcot Railway Centre. Didcot Railway Centre. Retrieved on 2011-03-02.
  6. ^ Peterborough Tourist Attractions: Sightseeing and Attractions in Peterborough Area, England, UK. Peterborough.world-guides.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-02.
  7. ^ http://www.queenpedia.com/index.php?title=Breakthru_-_Promotional_Video
  8. ^ a b Freestone, Peter & Evans, David (2001). Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Memoir by the Man who Knew Him Best. Omnibus Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7119-8674-9. 
  9. ^ a b Sky, Rick (1994). "4". The show must go on: the life of Freddie Mercury. Carol Pub. Group. ISBN 0-8065-1506-6. 
  10. ^ Georg Purvis (1 April 2007). Queen: Complete Works. Reynolds & Hearn. ISBN 978-1-905287-33-8. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Breakthru as an a-side. Pcpki.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-02.
  12. ^ Australian-charts.com
  13. ^ Collectionscanada.gc.ca
  14. ^ Dutchcharts.nl
  15. ^ Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche. musicline.de. Retrieved on 2011-03-02.
  16. ^ The Irish Charts – All there is to know. Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved on 2011-03-02.
  17. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: Q". Hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  18. ^ Charts.org.nz
  19. ^ Swisscharts.com
  20. ^ Queen – Breakthru'. Chart Stats (1989-08-26). Retrieved on 2011-03-02.

External links[edit]