John's involvement towards the end

Serious discussion about the band known as QUEEN.

John's involvement towards the end

Postby Snackpot » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:56 am

Is it just me that gets the impression that after the AKOM John kinda checked out creatively? His contribution in terms of song-writing that had been increasing (although arguably peaked long before AKOM) seems to have waned. He was there and played and contributed but I get the impression that he was just happy to go with the flow and didn't really have the desire to fight for his way in the creative process any more and like the early days Brian, Freddie and Roger became the creative power houses of the group.

Maybe this is why he would take long holidays. On the 'making of' documentary for One Vision he said that the band had got in the studio to create the song whilst he was on holiday. So even then with the apparent shot-in-the-arm Live Aid gave the band to get back into the studio he seemed relative unaffected, happy for work to progress without him.

By some accounts The Works was one of their most bad-tempered periods in the studio and we know that Brian and John would clash on the basis of John often not liking the sound of Brian's guitar on his songs. Maybe after that John just couldn't be bothered. He'd turn up, play and go home but he wasn't as invested creatively in the band as he once was.

I dunno this is just the impression I get.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby sebastian » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:34 am

Starting on 'SHA' and going all the way to the post-'Innuendo' sessions, the amount of songs per album he wrote were 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1.5, 1, 2, 2*, 0.2, 0.5

* I'm counting 'My Life Has Been Saved' as part of 'The Miracle' since it was written and recorded for that album and first released as a B-Side.

It could be said, then, that his peak was 1980 (four songs, including the band's biggest hit), then he dropped for 'Hot Space' and 'The Works', recovered again for 'Magic' and 'Miracle', opted out again for 'Innuendo' and then did a bit more in the 1991 recordings, on which he was more involved and it was Roger instead who sort of withdrew.

Never having met him, I cannot testify to that, but some people who did know him commented on how uncharacteristic of him was to suddenly take up smoking in 1983. He also claimed a few times that he wasn't at all fond of 'Hot Space' and even claimed it was the worst part of their career, whilst the tour in South America was one of the best and had happened shortly prior to that.

There's a correlation between John's and Brian's input from 'The Miracle' onwards, which might be coincidental (or not): Brian claimed he (Brian) was somewhat absent during 'The Miracle' and did not contribute much (as it happens, he wrote two great songs which were singles, but two songs is half of Brian's usual quota) but then did a lot more for 'Innuendo'. Coincidentally, John was the opposite: a lot of input on 'The Miracle' sessions and very little (creatively speaking) on 'Innuendo'.

After Frederick passed, John and Roger started off the project and their letters to the fan club implied was very much hands-on at that point. Ashley Alexander (who engineered the first post-1991 sessions at Abbey Road, assisting Noel Harris) said John produced some of the keyboard parts Mike Crossley played. When Brian joined the project in '94, John suddenly started going on holidays in France, and later on there were two teams: Brian and Justin working at Brian's hill, and Roger, John and Josh doing their bits a few miles away at Roger's mill.

When tying loose ends at The Town House, Ashley's recollections seem to imply Brian was very involved (even spending an evening with Dave doing the famous 'Track No 13') whilst he rarely mentions John. It was Roger, not Brian, who got in touch with John for 'No-One But You'. As soon as Brian's solo career failed and he suddenly was eager to be part of Queen again (after years of emphatically saying he would not do that), John was out of the picture.
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.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby BitterTears » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:23 pm

Think that's the problem with this in that we don't know way more than we do know and by filling in blanks ourselves we can create pretty convincing scenarios of what may or may not be the case (influenced by our own personal bias of what we think about the characters involved)

To illustrate, it never quite sits well with me when people cite John's absence as some sort of protest as to what Roger and Brian are doing with the Queen name post 'No One But You'. Of course, it absolutely DOES fit in with that narrative but so would many other scenarios.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby sebastian » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:40 pm

Yeah, I'm not saying John and Brian hated each other. I've no way of knowing if they did or not...

However, we can measure some other stuff, such as:

- Brian was a bit absent on 'The Miracle', and John was more hands-on then.
- Brian was much more hands-on on 'Innuendo', and John was really withdrawn for that album.
- John was very involved in the 1993 sessions, which did not feature Brian at all.
- Brian was very involved in the 1994 sessions, which often lacked John's input as he was in France.

All of those could be a coincidence... we can speculate, guess, analyse, etc., and we may never ever know what actually happened, but it's not a B/W situation.
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.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby TheHero » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:43 pm

What I think is that John got tired of the publicity involved with being in the music business in the 80s. Then when Freddie died, he realised it was time to call it a day. He had enough money, so he would rather live a normal family life instead.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby Welshqueenfan » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:59 pm

I always had the impression that john didnt like brian much and its probably the reason he didnt go on tour with QPR, ect, also the fact that freddie was no longer around. My reasons for thinking this are the songs that john wrote hardly have brian on guitar, he either played it himself or didnt have any or very little at all.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby Jimi » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:29 pm

I remember a passage in the Peter Hince book Queen Unseen where he talks about telling the band he was giving it up to become a full time photographer. He references telling John and he got the impression that John was almost envious of his ability to 'walk away' . Maybe this was the start of it. I think it was around 1984 but I could be wrong. I could empathise with that. Some people just fall out of love with what they do.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby Kes » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:14 pm

Remember that bit on the One Vision documentary, where Mack says about when you eventually get the other three to turn up, "One who leaves a note saying they've gone skiing!" Well, the one was apparently John.

Consequently, I think the first track that any of them worked on for The Miracle was Party, which explains maybe why the track seems so rushed and sparse.

John's tone for most of the Queen For A Day interview with Mike Read seems to be like he's had enough of it, which a lot of us think it was Freddie that was pretty much his sole motivator towards doing anything with Queen by then.
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby sebastian » Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:48 pm

Welshqueenfan wrote:My reasons for thinking this are the songs that john wrote hardly have brian on guitar, he either played it himself or didnt have any or very little at all.


Now that's simply not true...

Even if we count his collaborations with Frederick as predominantly his (musically, at least), then there are 21 pieces John penned for Queen, of which:

- 20 (95.24%) have guitar
- 17 (80.95%) feature Brian on guitar
- 14 (66.67%) have strong guitar solos played by Brian

Only four of John's songs lack Brian:

- Execution of Flash, which also excludes Fred and Rog
- Arboria, which also excludes Fred and Rog
- Cool Cat
- One Year of Love, which had him on the demo

If that counted as evidence for John disliking Brian, then we could establish Roger hated John, based on the fact his 'News' material do not feature him, nor do other songs such as 'In the Space Capsule,' 'In the Death Cell', 'Escape from the Swamp' and 'Action This Day' - that's more than the Deacon songs which are Brian-less... and we could also claim Roger hated Frederick, since seven of his album tracks (plus 'Hijack My Heart') did not feature him at all.
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.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby Kes » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:25 pm

Yet two of his "solo" songs did. :-)

I agree with your point, but the way. Just saying although at times they didn't all get on, I think they all appreciated they had something VERY special in Queen. A vehicle in which they could get their creativity across far more effectively than they could under their own names.
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby eiricd » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:30 pm

John's last convention video from 94 is him and Brian, working on mih. Short and awkward, but hardly any bad blood
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby sebastian » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:21 am

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.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby nickguy1 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:53 am

John not having Brian on his songs is like Roger not having everyone else (apart from Brian) on his songs. He probably has a sound in his head and the best person who could deliver that sound onto tape is him hence there are some songs he rather do on his own.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby sebastian » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:17 am

nickguy1 wrote:John not having Brian on his songs is like Roger not having everyone else (apart from Brian) on his songs. He probably has a sound in his head and the best person who could deliver that sound onto tape is him hence there are some songs he rather do on his own.


And, again, there were only four of John's songs not featuring Brian. Four. That's it. Two of those were part of the Flash Gordon OST and didn't feature Rog or Fred either, and another one was part of the Highlander OST and featured him on the demo. Four songs in twenty years... barely enough for an EP.

John was absent from a few songs written or co-written by Frederick: The Kiss, The Ring, Ming's Theme, Body Language, Bijou, Is This the World We Created ... does it mean Fred hated John?
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.
 
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Re: John's involvement towards the end

Postby Sir Didymus » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:19 pm

Would Deacon be on May's solo material if they didn't get on?
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