Good Company (Queen song)
|Song by Queen|
|from the album A Night at the Opera|
|Released||21 November 1975|
Roy Thomas Baker
|A Night at the Opera track listing|
Composition and lyrics
One of the main features of the song is that it contains a recreation of a jazz band in Dixieland style which was provided by the May's Red Special guitar played through the Deacy Amp. This is one of the few Queen songs without Freddie Mercury participating at all.
The song tells a story about a man who was advised in young age by his father to "take care of those you call your own, and keep good company". The young man accepts the advice, marrying a girl named Sally and also keeping his friends. However, he began losing interest in his friends after the marriage and they gradually disappear. As he is older, he is becoming more skilled and dedicated to his occupation by working long nights and neglecting his family.
In the end, all his efforts is rewarded and he begins his own Limited company (it also serves as a pun; the word "company" mainly serves as a meaning of friends, companions). Dedicated more to his business, he hardly noticed that his wife left him.
The song ends with a speaker as an elderly man, puffing on his pipe and pondering the lessons of his life, which he has no one left to share with.
|“||The horn lines on "Good Company" were done on four kinds of guitars. I was very keen in those days on recreating that sort of atmosphere. I mainly got the sound with small amplifiers. I used John Deacon's little amplifier and a volume pedal. For the trombone and trumpet sounds. I would record every note individually: Do it and then drop in. Incredibly painstaking! It took ages and ages. I listened to a lot of traditional jazz music when I was young, so I tried to get the phrasing as it would be if it were played by that instrument.||”|
|— Brian May, 1982|
|“||Yes, it's all guitar all those instruments. That was a little fetish of mine. I used to listen to Traditional Jazz quite a lot, in particular, the twenties revival stuff which wasn’t actually Traditional Jazz but more arranged stuff like The Temperance Seven who were recreating something which was popular in the twenties, sort of dance tunes really. I was very impressed by the way those arrangements were done, you know, the nice smooth sound and those lovely changes between chords. Because they were much more rich in chords than most modern songs are. So many chord changes in a short time, lots of intermingling parts. So I wanted to do one of those things and the song just happened to come out while I was plunking away at the ukulele and the song itself was no trouble to write at all. But actually doing the arrangements for the wind section, as it was supposed to be. There’s a guitar trumpet and a guitar clarinet and a guitar trombone and a sort of extra thing, I don’t really know what it was supposed to be (chuckles) on the top. I spent a lot of time doing those and to get the effect of the instruments I was doing one note at a time, with a pedal and building them up. So you can imagine how long it took. We experimented with the mikes and various little tiny amplifiers to get just the right sound. So I actually made a study of the kind of thing that those instruments could play so it would sound like those and get the authentic flavour. It was a bit of fun but, it was a serious serious bit of work in that a lot of time went into it.||”|
|— Brian May, 1983|
The key of the song is F# major, which is relatively rare in the Queen song catalogue. There are total of seven verses in the song and three of them are instrumental. The first instrumental partly imitates the verse tune. There are only two choruses which have mainly the same chord progression as the verses. The B phrase has also the same lead melody. The song also contains two solos which are mainly verse-themed, and a bridge that is separated by it.
- Brian May - lead and backing vocals, electric guitars, banjo ukulele, guitar jazz band
- Roger Taylor - drums
- John Deacon - bass guitar