I was talking to Marc because he (innocently and understandably) also made that mistake, and that got me thinking.
The facts as we know them are:
- Keep Yourself Alive, Night Comes Down, Great King Rat, Liar and Jesus were demo'd in December 1971 at the Music Centre in Wembley.
- Keep Yourself Alive, Great King Rat, Liar and Jesus were subsequently re-recordedin 1972 at Trident in Soho.
From there, it'd naturally follow that 'Night Comes Down' was as well, even more if you consider:
- There's at least one confirmed story of a song for which Brian (the author) deemed the 1971 demo to be better ('Keep Yourself Alive').
- There's at least one confirmed story of a song the band ultimately rejected since they didn't like its [Trident] production ('Mad the Swine').
- It's always been well-known that Queen didn't like the drum sound on that particular album.
All of those, logically, would suggest that could be the case, but none of them are actual factual evidence at all. They've all got counterexamples:
- There are at least four confirmed cases of songs for which the Trident version was used instead of the Music Centre one (KYA, GKR, Liar and Jesus).
- There are at least nine confirmed songs for which the [Trident] production was ultimately (perhaps hesitantly) accepted: KYA, DAR, GKR, MFK, Liar, MTRNR, SAD, Jesus and the instrumental SSOR.
The 'they did re-record the other four, so why not that one?' argument seems to make sense at first, but it's actually a fallacy: Rog, Fred and Bri mime vocals on the videos for Bo Rhap, STL, TYMD, etc., and they also sing on the records. It would follow that if John's miming, he's also singing on the albums ... but he's not. I choose this particular example because I was someone who defended (rather passionately) the (completely wrong) theory that John sang on the records, even though there was absolutely no evidence (let alone sound evidence) of it.
Another example: Scotland is one of the home nations, and Queen played concerts in Scotland in the seventies; England is one of the home nations, and Queen played concerts in England in the seventies; Wales is one of the home nations, and Queen played concerts in Wales in the seventies. It would follow that, since Northern Ireland is also one of the home nations, Queen would've played concerts there as well. Right? Well, they didn't.
Indeed it's a bit of faulty logic, although most people never realise that - and it's happened to me many times as well so I'm not stoning anyone here. Truth is, the fact the other four were re-recorded proves nothing. Neither do the stories of 'Mad the Swine' being rejected and 'Keep Yourself Alive' not being as well-liked as the demo version. Someone who's less obsessive and/or who hasn't got a good memory (and I'm not saying mine is particularly brilliant either) can easily mis-remember the 'Mad the Swine' story and think it was about 'Night Comes Down' and/or Brian's quote about preferring the demo version of 'Keep Yourself Alive' and, again, mis-attribute it.
Before you know it, Wiki says it, Georg's excellent book says it, great websites such as QueenVault used to say it (although with keywords such as 'asummed' and 'rumours'), it's accepted as fanon (fan canon) on the Queensphere and it becomes quite tricky to debunk it, because you're automatically facing an uphill battle. Same for many other 'myths' such as Bowie having been asked to produce their first album, 'Hot Space' having been the inspiration for 'Thriller', 'Bo Rhap' having been recorded on sixteen-track featuring 180 vocal overdubs and subsequently having been played fourteen times by Kenny Everett.
John hated Hot Space. Frederick's favourite singer was not Paul Rodgers. Roger did not compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.