Tie Your Mother Down

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"Tie Your Mother Down"
Single by Queen
from the album A Day at the Races
B-side "You and I"
Released 4 March 1977
Format 7"
Recorded 1976
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length
  • 3:45 (Single)
  • 4:48 (Album version)
Label EMI (UK)
Elektra (US)
Writer(s) Brian May
Producer(s) Queen
Queen singles chronology
"Somebody to Love"
(1976)
"Tie Your Mother Down"
(1977)
"Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)"
(1977)

"Tie Your Mother Down" is a song by English rock band Queen, written by guitarist Brian May. It is the opening track and the second single from their 1976 album A Day at the Races. On the album, the song is preceded by a one-minute instrumental intro featuring a Shepard tone melody, which is actually a reprise of the ending of "Teo Torriatte": this was intended to create a "circle" in the album, typical, for example, of Pink Floyd's albums.

After its release in 1976, it was played by Queen on every subsequent tour.[1] At the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, the song was co-performed by Queen and guests Joe Elliot and Slash.[2] On several occasions in the recent years, Brian May and Roger Taylor have played this song live with the Foo Fighters, including performances at Queen's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2001, and the VH1 Rock Honors in 2006.

History[edit]

Brian May started writing the song in Tenerife, while he was working for his Ph.D. as an astronomer. He composed the riff on a Spanish guitar, and woke up early one morning and played it while singing "tie your mother down," a line he considered a joke. Vocalist Freddie Mercury encouraged him to keep the line, "Tie Your Mother Down" opens with an ultra-heavy, stripped down Brian May guitar riff.[3]

A promotional film was made for the song, directed by Bruce Gowers, based on a performance clip shot at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York in February 1977 during the band's US arena headlining tour.[4]

Though it was a long-time live favourite and a US FM rock radio favorite, the song had limited chart success, making #31 in the UK and #49 in the US. Therefore it was included on the band's first Greatest Hits compilation in certain markets only; however, the song is featured on the Queen Rocks compilation album, together with some of the band's heaviest songs.[5]

In a BBC Radio 4 tribute program to Rory Gallagher, May stated that a key inspiration for the riff of this song came from Taste's "Morning Sun" from their On the Boards (1970) album. The riff is also quite close in sound to the verse riff from T.Rex's song "Funky London Childhood", from their January 1976 album, Futuristic Dragon.

In a 1976 interview on Capital Radio, Mercury was asked why "tie your mother down"? He replied: "Well this one in fact is a track written by Brian (May) actually, I don't know why. Maybe he was in one of his vicious moods. I think he's trying to out do me after 'Death on Two Legs' actually." [6]

Personnel[edit]

Live performances[edit]

After its release in 1976, "Tie Your Mother Down" would go on to become the most frequent opening number for the remainder of the band's long career.[1][3] At the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, the song was co-performed by Queen and guests; Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott and Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash.[2] May sang the first verse and chorus before handing over the vocal part to Elliot.[2] On several occasions in the recent years, May and Roger Taylor have played this song live with the Foo Fighters, including performances at Queen's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2001, VH1's Rock Honors 2006, and in Foo Fighters London Hyde Park concert for the encore of the show.[7][8][9] On 5 September 2011, Jeff Beck performed the song with May and Taylor in celebration of what would have been Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday at an event titled 'Freddie for a Day' held at the Savoy Hotel in London.[10]

Live recordings[edit]

Covers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Queen on tour Queen Concerts. Retrieved 10 July 2011
  2. ^ a b c The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert: Tie Your Mother Down Retrieved 10 July 2011
  3. ^ a b Tie Your Mother Down Allmusic. Retrieved 31 August 2011
  4. ^ 1977 A Day At The Races North American Tour Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 31 August 2011
  5. ^ Queen Rocks, Vol. 1 Allmusic. Retrieved 10 July 2011
  6. ^ Tie Your Mother Down Songfacts
  7. ^ Foo Fighters joined by Queen legends NME. Retrieved 31 August 2011
  8. ^ Foos play biggest ever gig The Sun. Retrieved 30 August 2011
  9. ^ Queen & Foo Fighters "We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions" Live at Rock Honors 2006 VH1. Retrieved 27 May 2011
  10. ^ "Freddie Party - Savoy Set List". Queen Online. Retrieved 19 July 2012

External links[edit]