Tie Your Mother Down
|"Tie Your Mother Down"|
|Single by Queen|
|from the album A Day at the Races|
|B-side||"You and I"
"Drowse" (USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand)
|Released||4 March 1977|
|Label||EMI Records (UK)
|Queen singles chronology|
"Tie Your Mother Down" is a song by the British rock band Queen, written by lead guitarist Brian May. It is the opening track and the second single from their 1976 album A Day at the Races. On its original release as a single in 1977 the song peaked at 31 in the UK Singles Chart, however more than 20 years later it was released as a double a-side to "No-One But You (Only the Good Die Young)" where it reached 13 in UK Singles Chart. On the album the song is preceded by a one-minute instrumental intro featuring a Shepard tone melody, which is reprised in the ending of "Teo Torriatte": this was intended to create a "circle" in the album, typical, for example, of Pink Floyd's albums.
After its release in 1976, it was played by Queen on every subsequent tour. At the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, the song was co-performed by Queen and guests Joe Elliot and Slash. On several occasions in the recent years, Brian May and Roger Taylor have played this song live with the Foo Fighters, including performances at Queen's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2001, and the VH1 Rock Honors in 2006.
Brian May started writing the song in Tenerife, while he was working for his Ph.D. as an astronomer. He composed the riff on a Spanish guitar, and woke up early one morning and played it while singing "tie your mother down," a line he considered a joke. Vocalist Freddie Mercury encouraged him to keep the line. "Tie Your Mother Down" opens with an ultra-heavy, stripped down Brian May guitar riff.
A promotional film was made for the song, directed by Bruce Gowers, based on a performance clip shot at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York in February 1977 during the band's US arena headlining tour.
Though it was a long-time live favourite and a US FM rock radio favorite, the song had limited chart success, making #31 in the UK and #49 in the US. Therefore, it was included on the band's first Greatest Hits compilation in certain markets only; however, the song is featured on the Queen Rocks compilation album, together with some of the band's heaviest songs.
In a BBC Radio 4 tribute program to Rory Gallagher, May stated that a key inspiration for the riff of this song came from Taste's "Morning Sun" from their On the Boards (1970) album. The riff is also quite close in sound to the verse riff from T.Rex's song "Funky London Childhood", from their January 1976 album Prince of Players (The Alternate Dandy in the Underworld).
Queen comments on the record
|“||Well this one in fact is a track written by Brian actually, I dunno why. Maybe he was in one of his vicious moods. I think he’s trying to out do me after Death On Two Legs actually.||”|
|— Freddie Mercury|
|“||I'll tell you the truth, I know what happened. Sometimes you get a little riff, and you just put some words with it, and then you don't even think about what they mean. Now I'm remember thinking, now this isn't a good enough title for this song, but everyone said: 'Well actually, it sounds okay,' and so we kind of lyrically built it around that. That's the truth, folks.||”|
|— Brian May|