Flick of the Wrist
|"Flick of the Wrist"|
|Single by Queen|
|from the album Sheer Heart Attack|
|Released||21 October 1974|
|Format||Vinyl record (7")|
|Label||EMI (UK), Elektra (US)|
|Producer(s)||Roy Thomas Baker, Queen|
|Queen singles chronology|
"Flick of the Wrist" is a song by English rock band Queen, released as a Double A-side with "Killer Queen" in the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, the US and most other territories. It was written by frontman Freddie Mercury for the album Sheer Heart Attack.
Freddie Mercury never went on record as to whether the unpleasant character in the song is based on anyone in particular. The song includes Freddie Mercury singing octave vocals. When Brian May returned to work having recovered from his hepatitis, he had not heard the song before he recorded his guitar and backing vocals.
As it appears on the album, "Flick of the Wrist" is the middle song of a three-track series of songs which seamlessly overlap, segueing from one to the other: "Tenement Funster" to "Flick of the Wrist" to "Lily of the Valley". Each song was recorded separately and later mixed together to form the unbroken stretch of music. Because of this structure, the record company had to select points to separate each track on CD re-issues of the album. "Flick of the Wrist," in this way, starts with the crescendo ending of "Tenement Funster" and ends abruptly before the last line of the song "...baby, you've been had." This last lyric appears at the beginning of the next CD track, "Lily of the Valley".
The original, non-segued master recordings of "Tenement Funster," "Flick of the Wrist" and "Lily of the Valley" were used for some singles' flip-sides, such the Japanese 3-inch CD single re-issue of Queen's first EP ("Tenement Funster"), the Dutch AA-side version of "Flick of the Wrist" (see below) and the 1975 US-only re-issue of "Keep Yourself Alive" ("Lily of the Valley").
All the single versions and edits are from the original album recording.
The Dutch AA-side version features the complete song without the seguing, overlapping sections from "Tenement Funster" and "Lily of the Valley".
The UK AA-side version features almost the same complete version as the Dutch version, but with a few notes edited at the beginning. This version also features on the 1991 Japanese 3-inch CD single of "Killer Queen"/"Flick of the Wrist."
The US AA-side version (the same as issued in Canada) has a much more pronounced edit at the beginning, with the first 18 seconds of the song absent. It ends with a fade-out over the segue into "Lily of the Valley," where the latter's opening piano is heard.
The UK's 1987 3-inch CD single re-issue starts with the crescendo segue which ends "Tenement Funster." It ends with a fade-out before the song is properly over, missing the last line "Baby, you've been had."
On October 16, 1974, Queen recorded a BBC session at Maida Vale 4 Studios in London, England. One of the songs recorded was "Flick of the Wrist". This performance features parts of the original album backing track with new vocals by Freddie Mercury and a new guitar solo by Brian May.
- Freddie Mercury - lead and backing vocals, piano
- Brian May - electric guitar, backing vocals
- John Deacon - bass guitar
- Roger Taylor - drums, percussion, backing vocals
Dream Theater covered the entire three-song arc ("Tenement Funster," "Flick of the Wrist" and "Lily of the Valley") for their album Black Clouds & Silver Linings and it appears on the Special Edition.