The Prophet's Song

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"The Prophet's Song"
Song by Queen from the album A Night at the Opera
Released 1975
Recorded 1975 at Sarm East Studios
Genre Progressive rock[1] Hard rock
Length 8:21
Label EMI, Parlophone (Europe)
Elektra, Hollywood (US)
Writer Brian May
Producer Queen, Roy Thomas Baker
A Night at the Opera track listing

The Prophet's Song is a song by British rock band Queen, originally released on their fourth studio album A Night at the Opera in 1975.

AllMusic has called the song "mystical prog rock".[1] Its review of the song also called it an epic as fascinating as "Bohemian Rhapsody" and one of Queen's finest studio achievements.[2]

Background[edit]

"The Deluge", frontispiece to Gustave Doré's illustrated edition of the Bible. the flood myth inspired Brian May's writing of the song, after he dreamed about the story.

"The Prophet's Song" was composed by Brian May (working title "People of the Earth"). On the show In the Studio with Redbeard, which spotlighted A Night at the Opera, he explained that he wrote the song after a dream he'd had about a great flood while he was recovering from being ill while recording Sheer Heart Attack, and is the source of some of the lyrics. He spent several days putting it together, and it includes a vocal canon sung by Freddie Mercury. The vocal, and later instrumental canon was produced by early tape delay devices. It is a heavy and dark number with a strong progressive rock influence and challenging lead vocals. At over eight minutes in length, is also Queen's longest song with vocals, though the untitled instrumental track from Queen's last studio album, Made in Heaven, is about 14 minutes longer.

May plays a non-standard Queen instrument, a toy koto, during the introduction and closing "wind" sections of the song.

As detailed by May in a documentary about the album, the speed-up effect that happens in the middle of the guitar solo was achieved by starting a reel-to-reel player with the tape on it, as the original tape player was stopped.

The dream May had was about The Great Flood, and lyrics have references from Book of Genesis and the Noah's Ark account.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "A Night at the Opera". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "The Prophet's Song". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 August 2015.