Queen Forever

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Queen Forever
QueenForever.jpg
Compilation album by Queen
Released 10 November 2014
Recorded 1973–2014[1]
Genre Rock
Length 75:03 (Standard Edition)
63:03 (Deluxe Edition Disc 1)
71:41 (Deluxe Edition Disc 2)
134:44 (Deluxe Edition Total)
Label Hollywood (North America)
Virgin EMI (U.K.)
Producer Queen, William Orbit
Queen chronology
Icon
(2013)
Queen Forever
(2014)

Queen Forever is a compilation album by the British rock band Queen. Released on 10 November 2014, it features tracks the band had "forgotten about" with vocals from original lead singer Freddie Mercury.[2] Original bass guitarist John Deacon is also on the tracks.

Drummer Roger Taylor spoke about the album in December 2013, stating that he and guitarist Brian May were "getting together...in the new year to finish what we've got there and then we're going to fashion some kind of album".[3] May announced the title as a compilation album in a radio interview on BBC Radio Wales on 23 May 2014 at the Hay Festival.[4] It is the first Queen album to feature unreleased material from Mercury (who died from complications related to AIDS in November 1991) since the 1995 album Made in Heaven and Deacon (who retired from the music business in 1997) since the 1997 compilation album Queen Rocks. The album was released by Hollywood Records on 10 November 2014.[5]

Material[edit]

Brian May has said that most of the material "comes from the 80's when we were in full flight. It is quite emotional. It is the big, big ballads and the big, big epic sound."[6] He has also stated that it is similar to Made in Heaven.[4] May had earlier stated that the album may end up being a mixture of old existing material and new material containing at least three unreleased songs, later stating possibly as many as five.[7] The material has been fleshed out with modern technology by May.[8]

Song information[edit]

Let Me In Your Heart Again[edit]

Originating from sessions for the band's 1984 album The Works, "Let Me In Your Heart Again" was written by May and originally recorded in Los Angeles in 1983. Speaking on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show in September 2014, May revealed that the band had initially found it impossible to complete the track, and that several different versions of the lyrics were written to make it easier for Mercury to sing. They abandoned the song, but it was eventually recorded by May's wife Anita Dobson (with May on guitar) and released on her 1988 studio album Talking of Love (Dobson reportedly used the Queen version(s) as a guide vocal). In preparing the track for Queen Forever, May stitched together parts from each of the existing Queen versions, before he and Taylor fleshed out the music track. Consequently, the final studio version contains very different lyrics from the Dobson version.

An alternative remix by William Orbit was released in November 2014 as a single in the UK to raise money for Product Red, an initiative founded in 2006 by U2 lead singer Bono for the purpose of engaging the private sector in raising awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Love Kills[edit]

It was stated by Adam Lambert at the start of the 2014 Queen + Adam Lambert Tour of North America that "Love Kills", Mercury's debut solo single from 1984, had been reworked by the band for inclusion on Queen Forever. The band then proceeded to play a stripped down ballad version of the track (the original version was noted for its heavily synthesized, disco-esque style).

Queen had previously reworked Mercury's solo recordings into Queen songs for their 1995 album, Made in Heaven. On that occasion, they had used his songs "Made in Heaven" and "I Was Born to Love You", as well as the unreleased solo recording "It's a Beautiful Day". When it became apparent that there was not enough quality unreleased Queen material to make a new full studio album, May and Taylor decided to utilise the same tactics.

Written by Mercury and Giorgio Moroder, "Love Kills" was originally recorded for the band's 1984 studio album The Works, but was ultimately rejected. It was then reworked as a Mercury solo track for inclusion in Moroder's 1984 restoration and edit of the 1927 silent film Metropolis. In 1985, the film was nominated at the 5th Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Musical Score, and the song itself was nominated for Worst Original Song. Nevertheless, the single reached number ten on the UK Singles Chart.

Interestingly, despite being released as a Freddie Mercury solo single, all four members of Queen appeared on the original release.

Speaking on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, May revealed that he had always wanted to turn the song into a ballad, but had never done so before Mercury's death. The new version is led by May's lead guitar, rather than Mercury's original synthesizers. May also plays bass guitar on the track, supplemented by Deacon's additional electric guitar as taken from the original source tapes.

There Must Be More to Life Than This[edit]

In the early 1980s, Mercury recorded three songs as duets with Michael Jackson, of which "There Must Be More to Life Than This", written by Mercury, was one. The sessions eventually fell apart and ended, and the material was never released (although Mercury stated several times he hoped they would find the time to finish the tracks).

Queen eventually recorded a version of the song in 1981 during sessions for their 1982 studio album Hot Space, but it was ultimately left off the record. Mercury later went on to re-record "There Must Be More to Life Than This" for his solo album Mr. Bad Guy (1985), while Jackson recorded one of the other songs, "State of Shock", with his family band the Jacksons, with Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones singing Mercury's parts (the song was released as a single in 1984, and later featured on the Jacksons' seventeenth studio album Victory, also released in 1984; interestingly, this album's title was also that of the third Mercury/Jackson duet, but has itself never been released).

After Jackson's death in 2009, May and Taylor made steps to secure the release of the duets, with a view to a 2012 release. However, according to Taylor, working with the Jackson estate was like "wading through glue". Ultimately, the parties were only able to reach an agreement for this one of the three tracks to be released.

The version released on Queen Forever was produced and mixed by William Orbit, containing the original 1981 backing track recorded during the Hot Space sessions, and features Deacon on bass guitar. An alternative mix made by May exists, but was rejected by the Jackson estate in favour of the Orbit mix.

Other material[edit]

The rest of the album consists of remastered versions of previously-released Queen songs. Rather than simply being the "greatest hits", however, the tracks are mostly deeper cuts personally chosen by Taylor and May. The songs were selected to loosely follow the concept of an album centred around the theme of "love".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 49/100[9]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[10]
Classic Rock (de) 8/10[11]
Daily Mail 3/5 stars[12]
The Daily Telegraph 2/5 stars[13]
Drowned in Sound 5/10[14]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[15]
Rolling Stone (DE) 3.5/5 stars[16]
State 3/5 stars[17]

Upon release, Queen Forever received mixed reviews from critics who thought there was no reason for fans of the band to purchase an album with songs that have been released many times in other Queen compilation albums. Thomas Erlewine gave a two and a half star review in AllMusic saying: "The hardcore fans might notice the difference but, apart from those three songs, there's not much reason for them to pick this up because Forever consists of songs they've purchased many times over." [18]

CD track listing[edit]

Standard edition[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Original album Length
1. "Let Me in Your Heart Again" Brian May Anita Dobson's Talking of Love 4:31
2. "Love Kills" (The Ballad) Freddie Mercury/Giorgio Moroder Giorgio Moroder's Metropolis Soundtrack 4:12
3. "There Must Be More To Life Than This" (with Michael Jackson) Mercury Freddie Mercury's Mr. Bad Guy 3:20
4. "It's a Hard Life" (2011 remaster) Mercury The Works 4:06
5. "You're My Best Friend" (2011 remaster) John Deacon A Night at the Opera 2:52
6. "Love of My Life" (2014 remaster; early fade-out) Mercury A Night at the Opera 3:33
7. "Drowse" (2011 remaster; early fade-out) Roger Taylor A Day at the Races 3:38
8. "Long Away" (2011 remaster) May A Day at the Races 3:32
9. "Lily of the Valley" (2014 remaster; single version) Mercury Sheer Heart Attack 1:39
10. "Don't Try So Hard" (2011 remaster) Queen (Mercury) Innuendo 3:39
11. "Bijou" (2011 remaster) Queen (Mercury/May) Innuendo 3:36
12. "These Are the Days of Our Lives" (2011 remaster) Queen (Taylor) Innuendo 4:14
13. "Las Palabras de Amor (The Words of Love)" (2011 remaster) May Hot Space 4:31
14. "Who Wants to Live Forever" (2011 remaster) May A Kind of Magic 5:15
15. "A Winter's Tale" (2011 remaster) Queen (Mercury) Made in Heaven 3:48
16. "Play the Game" (2014 remaster; without synthesizer intro) Mercury The Game 3:14
17. "Save Me" (2011 remaster) May The Game 3:46
18. "Somebody to Love" (2014 remaster; early fade-out) Mercury A Day at the Races 4:52
19. "Too Much Love Will Kill You" (2011 remaster) May, Frank Musker, Elizabeth Lamers Made in Heaven 4:19
20. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (2011 remaster) Mercury The Game 2:43
21. "I Was Born to Love You" (2011 remaster; Japanese bonus track) Mercury Freddie Mercury's Mr. Bad Guy and Made in Heaven 4:49
Total length: 75:03

Deluxe Edition[edit]

Disc 1
No. Title Writer(s) Original album Length
1. "Let Me in Your Heart Again"      
2. "Love Kills"      
3. "There Must Be More to Life Than This" (with Michael Jackson)      
4. "Play the Game"      
5. "Dear Friends" (2011 remaster) May Sheer Heart Attack 1:08
6. "You're My Best Friend"      
7. "Love of My Life"      
8. "Drowse"      
9. "You Take My Breath Away" (2014 remaster; without vocal reprise ending) Mercury A Day at the Races 4:38
10. "Spread Your Wings" (2014 remaster; early fade-out) Deacon News of the World 4:30
11. "Long Away"      
12. "Lily of the Valley"      
13. "Don't Try So Hard"      
14. "Bijou"      
15. "These Are the Days of Our Lives"      
16. "Nevermore" (2014 remaster; slight edit) Mercury Queen II 1:18
17. "Las Palabras de Amor (The Words of Love)"      
18. "Who Wants to Live Forever"      
Total length: 63:03
Disc 2
No. Title Writer(s) Original album Length
1. "I Was Born to Love You"      
2. "Somebody to Love"      
3. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"      
4. "Friends Will Be Friends" (2011 remaster) Mercury/Deacon A Kind of Magic 4:06
5. "Jealousy" (2011 remaster) Mercury Jazz 3:13
6. "One Year of Love" (2011 remaster) Deacon A Kind of Magic 4:27
7. "A Winter's Tale"      
8. "'39" (2014 remaster; single version) May A Night at the Opera 3:30
9. "Mother Love" (2011 remaster) Mercury/May Made in Heaven 4:47
10. "It's a Hard Life"      
11. "Save Me"      
12. "Made in Heaven" (2011 remaster) Mercury Freddie Mercury's Mr. Bad Guy and Made in Heaven 5:25
13. "Too Much Love Will Kill You"      
14. "Sail Away Sweet Sister" (2011 remaster) May The Game 3:33
15. "The Miracle" (2014 remaster; with crossfade) Queen (Mercury/Deacon) The Miracle 4:57
16. "Is This the World We Created...?" (2014 remaster; with crossfade) Mercury/May The Works 2:12
17. "In the Lap of the Gods... Revisited" (2011 remaster) Mercury Sheer Heart Attack 3:46
18. "Forever" (2011 remaster) May A Kind of Magic 3:21
19. "Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)" (2014 remaster; Japanese bonus track) May A Day At The Races 5:08
Total length: 71:41

Vinyl release[edit]

On 18 February 2015, it was announced that Queen Forever would be released in 4-LP box set featuring all the tracks on the deluxe edition and a bonus 12" single featuring "Let Me In Your Heart Again (William Orbit Mix)".

Record 1 / Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Let Me in Your Heart Again" Brian May 4:31
2. "Love Kills" Freddie Mercury, Giorgio Moroder 4:12
3. "There Must Be More to Life Than This (William Orbit Mix)" Mercury 3:20
4. "Play the Game" Mercury 3:14
5. "Dear Friends" May 1:08
Total length: 16:25
Record 1 / Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "You’re My Best Friend" John Deacon 2:52
2. "Love of My Life" Mercury 3:33
3. "Drowse" Roger Taylor 3:38
4. "You Take My Breath Away" Mercury 4:38
5. "Spread Your Wings" Deacon 4:30
Total length: 19:11
Record 2 / Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Long Away" May 3:32
2. "Lily of the Valley" Mercury 1:39
3. "Don’t Try So Hard" Queen (Mercury) 3:39
4. "Bijou" Queen (Mercury/May) 3:36
5. "These Are the Days of Our Lives" Queen (Taylor) 4:14
Total length: 16:40
Record 2 / Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Nevermore" Mercury 1:18
2. "Las Palabras de Amor (The Words of Love)" May 4:31
3. "Who Wants to Live Forever" May 5:15
4. "I Was Born to Love You" Mercury 4:49
Total length: 15:53
Record 3 / Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Somebody to Love" Mercury 4:52
2. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" Mercury 2:43
3. "Friends Will Be Friends" Mercury/Deacon 4:06
4. "Jealousy" Mercury 3:13
Total length: 14:54
Record 3 / Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "One Year of Love" Deacon 4:27
2. "A Winter’s Tale" Queen (Mercury) 3:48
3. "’39" May 3:30
4. "Mother Love" Mercury/May 4:47
Total length: 16:32
Record 4 / Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "It's a Hard Life" Mercury 4:06
2. "Save Me" May 3:46
3. "Made in Heaven" Mercury 5:25
4. "Too Much Love Will Kill You" May/Frank Musker/Elizabeth Lamers 4:20
Total length: 17:37
Record 4 / Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Sail Away Sweet Sister" May 3:33
2. "The Miracle" Queen 4:57
3. "Is This the World We Created...?" Mercury/May 2:12
4. "In the Lap of the Gods... Revisited" Mercury 3:46
5. "Forever" May 3:21
Total length: 17:49
Bonus 12” Single
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Let Me In Your Heart Again (William Orbit Mix)" May 6:42

On Side B of the Bonus 12" Single there is a Queen Forever Etching.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Italy (FIMI)[47] Gold 25,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[48] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[49] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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  4. ^ a b Brian May – BBC Wales Interview, Retrieved 25 May 2014.
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  13. ^ Brown, Helen (7 November 2014). "Queen, Queen Forever, review: 'a blatant stocking-filler money-grab'". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
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  49. ^ "British album certifications – Queen – Queen Forever". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Queen Forever in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search