The Miracle (album)
|Studio album by Queen|
|Released||22 May 1989|
|Recorded||January 1988 – January 1989|
|Studio||Olympic Studios and Townhouse Studios, London, England, and Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland|
|Singles from The Miracle|
The Miracle is the thirteenth studio album by the British rock band Queen, released on 22 May 1989 by Parlophone Records in the United Kingdom and by Capitol Records in the United States. The album was recorded as the band recovered from Brian May's marital problems and Freddie Mercury's AIDS diagnosis in 1987 (which was known to the band, though not publicised at the time). Recording started in January 1988 and lasted for an entire year. The album was originally going to be called The Invisible Men, but three weeks before the release, according to Roger Taylor, they decided to change the name to The Miracle. It was also the last album with a band photo on the front cover.
The album reached #1 in the UK, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, and #24 on the US Billboard 200 chart. The Miracle is estimated to have sold 5 million copies, indicating that despite lower sales in the United States, the band had excellent numbers in the world, even without touring. Allmusic would name The Miracle as Queen's best album of the 1980s, along with The Game. It would prove to be the band's penultimate album to be recorded with Freddie Mercury, as he died in November 1991, less than a year after the next album, Innuendo, was released.
- 1 Composition
- 1.1 Side one
- 1.2 Side two
- 1.3 Non-album tracks
- 2 Artwork
- 3 Singles
- 4 Critical reception
- 5 Track listing
- 6 Personnel
- 7 Charts
- 8 References
- 9 External links
"Party" began as a jam session between Freddie Mercury, Brian May and John Deacon. Mercury was at the piano and he started off the "we had a good night" section. From then on the three of them worked together and completed it. May sings lead on a small portion of the song near the beginning.
"Khashoggi's Ship" was started by Mercury with all four of them contributing to the lyrics and music. The song is about famous billionaire Adnan Khashoggi and a ship (the Nabila, now Kingdom 5KR) that he owned at the time and was one of the largest private yachts in the world. On the album, this track segues from "Party", to which it has a very similar lyrical theme. The song served as the reference to the name of the Khashoggi character in the We Will Rock You musical.
"The Miracle" is one of the most complex songs from the band's last years. Mercury and Deacon co-wrote the chords together. It is one of May's favourite songs. The entire band contributed with lyrical and some musical ideas and Mercury played piano as well as many synth-tracks, using a Korg M1.
"I Want It All"
"I Want It All" was composed by May in 1987. On the " Greatest Video Hits II " DVD, May commented that the song was inspired by his second wife, Anita Dobson's favourite motto, "I want it all, and I want it now!" The idea of having intro, verses, choruses and solos over the same chord progression was reused on their next album with another May song, "The Show Must Go On", which was made in 1990. Mercury sang lead vocals for most of the song, but Mercury and May share the lead vocals during the bridge. Mercury played keyboards, May played acoustic and electric guitars and Roger Taylor used double-kick bass drums for the first (and only) time.
"The Invisible Man"
"The Invisible Man" is Taylor's first song on the album. The lyrical idea came from a book he was reading after which the beat instantly came to his head. May and Taylor commented (Queen for an Hour interview, 1989) that Taylor wrote part of the song in the bath (similarly to what happened with Mercury and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" ten years before). Each of the four band members are name-checked in the vocals by Freddie throughout the course of the song: "Freddie Mercury" right before the first verse begins (done by Roger Taylor), "John Deacon" after the first verse, "Brian May" (repeated twice) before his guitar solo, and "Roger Taylor" (with the initial "r" rolled by Mercury to sound like a drum roll) after the final chorus; Taylor "answers" with a drum fill. The demo version contains a completely different middle-eight with Mercury singing alternate lyrics in the style of Elvis Presley. The whispered parts of the chorus are sung by Taylor.
"Breakthru" is the joint of two songs: "A New Life Is Born", by Mercury, and "Breakthru", written by Taylor with input by the others in the key change. Taylor's songs tended to be in flat keys, in the mid-80s, when he started writing at the piano instead of on a guitar. This song was released as a single and made the top ten in the UK over the summer of 1989.
"Rain Must Fall"
"Rain Must Fall" is a collaboration between Deacon (music) and Mercury (lyrics) (as confirmed by producer David Richards and, more recently, May on his website). Taylor recorded a lot of Latin percussion but most of that was edited out in order to have more space for vocal harmonies, guitars and keyboards, the latter shared between Mercury and Deacon in this piece.
"Scandal" was written by May about the British press, which had been controversial about his recent divorce, his relationship with Anita Dobson, and Mercury's rare public appearances due to his battle with AIDS. May played keyboards and did the guitar solo as a first take. Mercury's lead vocals were also a first take. Synth-bass is played by David Richards. May has since commented that the song is very close to his heart in spite of his life at the time going through a difficult phase.
"My Baby Does Me"
"My Baby Does Me" is another collaboration of Mercury and Deacon. Both of them had the idea of a simpler track in order to ease off the album. In a Radio 1 interview in 1989, both Mercury and Deacon claim each other constructed the bassline.
"Was It All Worth It"
"Was It All Worth It" was composed by Mercury. The song harks back to the band's intricately produced sound in the 1970s. Though the bulk of the song was masterminded by Mercury, all members contributed ideas and lyrics (for example – Taylor contributed the line "we love you madly!"). Deacon later cited the song as his favourite on the album. Taylor uses a gong and timpani. Despite it not being released as a single, it remains hugely popular among the Queen fanbase and often considered the more superior song on the album.
"Hang On in There"
This song was written by all four band members. May plays both acoustic and electric guitars, as well as keyboards, a job he shared with Mercury, who also plays piano. The song originally appeared as the B-side to the "I Want It All" single. In the song, Mercury hits an E5 twice. In the middle of the song just when the guitar riff comes and Mercury sings "hang on in there" twice, it is replied each time with a harmonised "hang on in there"; the first response are the multitracked vocals by May only, the second - a similar vocals purely by Taylor.
The only CD track that did not appear on a single release. It is a dark instrumental which conveys the horror and fear that Chinese Water Torture was known to evoke in victims. For the first time this track emerged during the last concerts of their 1986 Magic Tour as part of May's guitar solo. He also included it in his solos when he was back on tour with Queen + Paul Rodgers in 2005 and 2006.
Principally composed by Mercury (though, as all other songs from these sessions, credited to the band as a whole), this song is a tongue-in-cheek representation of a man who spends his life committing robbery. The song is performed mainly through spoken words, but occasionally has lines sung. This song appeared as the B-side to the "Breakthru" single.
"Hijack My Heart"
The song, credited to the band as an entity rather than one composer, was actually written by Taylor, who also provides lead vocals. It tells the story of a man who falls in love with a woman he meets, despite his original annoyance at her rudeness and mannerisms. It was the B-side to "The Invisible Man".
"My Life Has Been Saved"
Written by Deacon (originally as an acoustic track) about the state the world is in, this song was the B-side to "Scandal". A reworked version was later released on the 1995 Made in Heaven album.
The striking cover art utilised the Quantel Paintbox, then state of the art image-manipulation technology, to combine photographs of the familiar faces of the four band members into one morphed gestalt image, in line with their decision to dispense with individual credits and simply present their music as the product of Queen; the back cover went a step further with a seamless regiment of the bands' eyes. Derek Riggs, best known for illustrating Iron Maiden covers, claims that Queen "stole" the idea for this album cover from his cover for the single "The Clairvoyant". The reports that Freddie Mercury was a "headbanger", and a huge fan of "That metal stuff", may give this claim some credibility. Although the cover was well received at the time, it has appeared on several contemporary lists and websites dedicated to cataloging the 'worst album covers of all time'.
Five singles were released from the album, all in 1989:
- "I Want It All" was the lead single from the album, released in the UK on 2 May; it hit #3 in the British charts but made it to #1 in numerous other European countries. The song became an anti-apartheid anthem among youth in South Africa and also has been used to protest other causes. This well-known anthem has been heard as a rallying song for African youth. The song became Queen's first American rock radio hit since "Under Pressure" by peaking at #3 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Singles chart, but only reached #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
- "Breakthru", the second single, was released in the UK on 19 June; its video was filmed on a private steam train known as "The Miracle Express". The song peaked at #7 in the UK. The song was also released as a single in the US. Also appearing in the video was Debbie Leng, who was at the time Roger Taylor's girlfriend.
- "The Invisible Man", released in the UK on 7 August, hit #12 in the UK and was a hit throughout Europe; the video showed scores of computer-duplicated band members moving in unison. This song was later covered by the late Scatman John.
- "Scandal" was the album's fourth single, and peaked at #25 in the UK. It is a protest song about the way the tabloids dealt with May's relationship with Anita Dobson.
- "The Miracle", the fifth and final single from the album, released on 27 November in the UK, reached #21 on the British charts. Its video involved young Queen lookalikes (including a then-unknown Ross McCall) who performed a Queen-style stage show. The real band appeared only at the end jamming with their younger counterparts.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
The Sun-Sentinel wrote "With Freddie Mercury in vintage light-operatic form, here's an album (like so many of Queen's others) that should be used as a pop music how-to for aspirants. Combining the forces of rock, pop, metal, clever melodies and cunning stylisations, The Miracle never lets down. From one track to the next there is, as usual, no telling which way this band will go, affording even the most jaded ear a challenge."
Newsday (Melville, NY) wrote "On The Miracle, Mercury's voice is steady and solid, May's runs are as flashy and supple as ever. Most of the 10 songs, written collaboratively by the four members, stick pretty much to the band's formula of mini-suites: edgy pop with tempos that change half-way into the number and some delicious hooks."
Rolling Stone stated "The band hasn't been so bogged down by synthesisers and pinging drum machines since Hot Space. The Miracle is a showcase for Freddie Mercury and his love of sweeping, quasi-operatic vocals. And indeed, Mercury – especially on the title track – has never sounded better. One of his strengths is his ability to take even the schlockiest material and make it his own, and that gift comes in handy on The Miracle. Brian May is still in fighting trim, too – when you can hear him. May's role on The Miracle is, for the most part, limited to a quick, typically brilliant solo here and there. As a result, the album lacks the sense of dynamics that marked most of Queen's early work. Only on a few tracks ("Khashoggi's Ship" and "Was It All Worth It") does May really let it rip, and when he does, it's like the old Queen peeping out for just a moment and then turning tail. At least The Miracle offers little snippets of Queen's former majesty."
Allmusic stated "The Miracle packs quite a sonic punch, recalling the rich sounds of their past classics (1976's A Day at the Races, etc.). Split 50/50 between pop and heavy rock, the album was another global smash. Along with The Game, The Miracle is Queen's strongest album of the '80s."
All tracks credited to Queen.
|1.||"Party"||Mercury with May||2:24|
|4.||"I Want It All"||May||Mercury with May||4:41|
|5.||"The Invisible Man"||Taylor||Mercury with Taylor||3:55|
|7.||"Rain Must Fall"||4:20|
|9.||"My Baby Does Me"||3:22|
|10.||"Was It All Worth It"||Mercury||5:45|
|Extra tracks (CD versions only)|
|11.||"Hang On in There"||Queen||3:46|
|13.||"The Invisible Man" (12" version)||Taylor||5:28|
|Bonus track (1991 Hollywood Records CD reissue)|
|14.||"Scandal" (12" mix)||May||6:34|
|2011 bonus EP|
|1.||"I Want It All" (single version)||May||4:01|
|2.||"The Invisible Man" (demo version with guide vocal, August 1988)||Taylor||5:04|
|3.||"Hang On in There" (B-side)||Queen||3:46|
|4.||"Hijack My Heart" (B-side)||Taylor||4:13|
|6.||"Chinese Torture" (instrumental)||May||1:46|
|7.||"The Invisible Man" (12" version)||Taylor||5:28|
|2011 iTunes deluxe edition bonus videos|
|8.||"I Want It All" (promo video, 1989)|
|9.||"The Making of "The Miracle" promo video" (1989)|
|10.||"The Making of The Miracle album cover" (1989)|
- Freddie Mercury – lead vocals (all tracks), backing vocals (all but 5), keyboards (1-3, 6, 7, 9, 10), drum machine (1)
- Brian May – electric guitar (all tracks), backing vocals (1, 3, 4, 6, 10), keyboards (8, 10), co-lead vocals (4)
- Roger Taylor – drums (all but 9), backing vocals (1, 3-6, 10), percussion (2, 8, 10), drum machine (1, 7, 9), keyboards (5, 6), electric guitar (5), co-lead vocals (5)
- John Deacon – bass (all tracks), electric guitar (1, 5, 7), keyboards (7, 9)
- David Richards - keyboards (4-6), sampler (8), engineering
- Assistant engineers - Andrew Bradfield, John Brough, Angelique Cooper, Claude Frider, Andy Mason, Justin Shirley-Smith
- Mastered by Kevin Metcalf and Gordon Vickary
- Computer programming by Brian Zellis
- Album sleeve design by Richard Gray
- Original photography by Simon Fowler
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Gold||25,000*|
2009 Agora SA album reissue
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Platinum||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||480,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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- Q Magazine 08/01/1994
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|url=value (help) (in Japanese). 30 December 2007. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
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- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959-2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
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- "Austrian album certifications – Queen – The Miracle" (in German). IFPI Austria. Enter Queen in the field Interpret. Enter The Miracle in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
- NO certyear WAS PROVIDED for AUSTRALIAN CERTIFICATION.
- "Queen" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
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- Queen official website: Discography: The Miracle: includes lyrics of all non-bonus tracks except "The Miracle" and "I Want It All".
- Lyrics to B-sides "Stealin'" and "Hijack My Heart" at Queen official website (from The Singles Collection Volume 3)