Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

Friendly, general discussion about Queen
Old Man
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Re: Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

Post by Old Man »

Young Music Fan wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:19 pm
Even Under Pressure could do with a new special mix because as to what I've read, neither Queen or David Bowie were happy with it.
That is already existing on the US Sampler "Classic Queen" on Hollywood Records. This album features a different mix you find nowhere else. It sounds clearer and strangely has one of Freddie's ad libs missing.

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Young Music Fan
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Re: Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

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Old Man wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:52 pm
Young Music Fan wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:19 pm
Even Under Pressure could do with a new special mix because as to what I've read, neither Queen or David Bowie were happy with it.
That is already existing on the US Sampler "Classic Queen" on Hollywood Records. This album features a different mix you find nowhere else. It sounds clearer and strangely has one of Freddie's ad libs missing.
I think it's better but to me it's not definitive. It's on the right way to being great but it still sounds like there's room for improvement. And it would be nice to have all of Freddie's vocals!

Old Man
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Re: Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

Post by Old Man »

Young Music Fan wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:37 pm
I think it's better but to me it's not definitive. It's on the right way to being great but it still sounds like there's room for improvement. And it would be nice to have all of Freddie's vocals!
What is "definitive" for you? They can only work with "what is there". Queen always make use of the best people in the business. And they also have to give their blessing to any kind of mix.
I don't know, how for you the definitive version should be like.
But it's obvious, that the various later masters, remixes and edits offer the song in the way they want it to be heard.

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Sir Didymus
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Re: Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

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Old Man wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:30 am
Sir Didymus wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:41 pm

Couldn't disagree more. NLMD, MBG and Barcelona were all improved by their new versions imho. As were Let It Be Naked and Double Fantasy Stripped Down.
I think we can agree to disagree.

When you say, "MBG and Barcelona were all improved by their new versions", you mean that Freddie Mercury was unable to deliver a perfect product ? That any stranger can do better?
I wonder, why Mike Moran was not involved in the "Barcelona"-remake. I think it was a conscious decision in 87 to use synthesizers instead of a real orchestra. "Queen" have used orchestras before, so Mercury could have done it then. I don't believe the story, that this is "finally the album it should have been". It was an attempt to sell a successful product for a second time...even bringing in David Garrett....

In case of "Let it be naked" it should be noted, that it was Paul McCartney's idea to create a new "Let it be"-album, that goes back to the original concept of the "Get back/Let it be" project. Listen to the countless "Get back"-bootlegs. It was supposed to be a "live in the studio"-album without any overdubs. When the Beatles fell apart, Phil Spector was brought in and added choirs and strings. McCartney never liked that. So all this was removed, different takes were used - and nothing was added by "strangers". The result was very interesting - but had no more live atmosphere. Listen to the original Glyn Johns versions of "Get Back" - still the best way to listen to that chapter in Beatles history.
It's totally fine to have differing views, aye.

For me, I think the original Mr Bad Guy had a muddy sound mix, which has been widened and refreshed by the new master. Back to back both digitally and on vinyl, the new version has more bang for it's buck.

As for Barcelona, I adore the original, but the orchestral arrangements on the special edition are superior. I don't know why they chose to use synths instead of a real orchestra at the time, but I wouldn't be surprised if the decision was mostly financial - Polydor being well aware of the relative failure of Mr Bad Guy so not wanting to spend too much on making the record.

I agree, the Glyn Johns version of Get Back is brilliant, but in terms of released product, Naked was better than Spector's version.

Remakes/remixes don't always work out for the better. There's an argument that scraping the muffled production off the Manics album "The Holy Bible" makes the record too 'clean', for example. And something happened to "Diamond Dogs" on its last run round the block that made it sound rather lifeless in comparison to the previous remaster... but when it's done well, it works wonders.

Old Man
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Re: Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

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Sir Didymus wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:58 am

I agree, the Glyn Johns version of Get Back is brilliant, but in terms of released product, Naked was better than Spector's version.
Hey - we agree !!! Anything is better than Spector's screwed up mixes when it comes to the 70s.
Especially Lennon's solo work. I was so happy with the "Spector-free" version of "Plastic Ono Band".... ;)

Old Man
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Re: Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

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Sir Didymus wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:58 am
I don't know why they chose to use synths instead of a real orchestra at the time, but I wouldn't be surprised if the decision was mostly financial - Polydor being well aware of the relative failure of Mr Bad Guy so not wanting to spend too much on making the record.
It should not be forgotten, when this album was produced. By 1987 there was no cross-over market between classic and pop. You were either classic - or pop.

If Freddie had used an orchestra then, the album would have been rated as a classical music release, especially with Mrs Caballe on board. That also happened to Paul McCartney's "Liverpool Oratorio". It would have been filed under "classic", pop-radios would have ignored it. And it would not have entered the pop-charts at all. So the choice of electronic sounds opened the door to the bigger pop-world. Freddie could have easily paid the orchestra, if he wanted it.

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Leigh Burne
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Re: Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

Post by Leigh Burne »

The remix of Mr. Bad Guy walks all over the original.

Something about the re-worked version of "Made in Heaven" is a little off, but otherwise every track sounds leagues better for the new mix. And the remix of "She Blows Hot and Cold" from the compilation, with Brian's guitar added back in, blows the original away too.

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MusicalProstitute
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Re: Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

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Sir Didymus wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:41 pm
Old Man wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:41 am
It makes sense to remix records from the 60s and early 70s, when the sound suffers from the the technical limitations of the times. "The Beatles" are a great example, how fresh albums like "Sgt Pepper" or single songs like "Hey Bulldog" can sound, when they are freed from the left-right stereo.

When it comes to Queen, it would make sense to remix some of the 70s albums like 1, 2 and Jazz. Everything else is quite pointless, and that goes for most every artist's recordings from the mid-seventies onwards, cause by then stereo recordings had a high level, that has not been bettered since.

Remixing Freddie's "Bad Guy" doesn't make sense at all. The recorded sound was always good. The sound of the drum machines and synthesizers is exactly, what the artist wanted. And to use autotune and even change his performance is a "sacrilege". Some years ago Bowie's "Never let me down" from 1987 was also "reworked" by exchanging the backing tracks. The album is one of his worst, Bowie himself didn't like it. The new version sounds less like "80s", but the songs didn't get any better. Great music lives from the interaction between instruments and the vocals. If vocals are copied onto another backing track, there is no more interaction. It may be technically perfect, but the interaction is missing.

Same goes for "Barcelona". The idea of exchanging the synths with a real orchestra sounded promising. But the result was also pretty disappointing. It sounded lifeless...
Couldn't disagree more. NLMD, MBG and Barcelona were all improved by their new versions imho. As were Let It Be Naked and Double Fantasy Stripped Down.
Totally agree about the improved quality of the remastered MBG and Barcelona albums. They were truly atrocious before - tinny, thin, sound and cheap sounding keyboards on Barcelona especially. The recent version of MBG is an absolute revelation - his voice is so full and warm (as it should be); and Barcelona with full orchestra is stunning.

Old Man
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Re: Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

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MusicalProstitute wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:38 pm

Totally agree about the improved quality of the remastered MBG and Barcelona albums. They were truly atrocious before - tinny, thin, sound and cheap sounding keyboards on Barcelona especially. The recent version of MBG is an absolute revelation - his voice is so full and warm (as it should be); and Barcelona with full orchestra is stunning.
Feel free to like those reworkings. But they are not approved by Freddie Mercury.
As you will have seen in various videos, Freddie always sat behind the mixing desk. He knew how to get the great sound on "News of the world", he knew how to get the sound on "The Game" with Mack. And Mack could produce any sound, he already recorded one of the biggest drum sounds I ever heard on a Sweet-Album in 1976.
So when people like them recorded "Mr Bad Guy" the way they did, they wanted it exactly that way! There is no "they couldn't do it better then because of technical limitations" or "he couldn't afford an orchestra".

Believe it or not - the horrible drum machines of the 80s sounded that tinny and thin. And for a while that was fashionable!!! Same goes for the horrible 80s synths. They were fresh and new then, but sound old and cheap today. That goes for most every electronic effect in popmusic. When they are new, they sound like "the future", but very soon they sound like "the past". While good recorded music with analogue instruments like piano, guitar, strings and drums sounds timeless. So the idea of giving "Barcelona" a timeless orchestra sound is basically a good one, but is not what Freddie wanted. And I also wonder, why Mike Moran did not participate.

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MusicalProstitute
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Re: Freddie’s 2019 “Special” editions

Post by MusicalProstitute »

Old Man wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:26 pm
MusicalProstitute wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:38 pm

Totally agree about the improved quality of the remastered MBG and Barcelona albums. They were truly atrocious before - tinny, thin, sound and cheap sounding keyboards on Barcelona especially. The recent version of MBG is an absolute revelation - his voice is so full and warm (as it should be); and Barcelona with full orchestra is stunning.
Feel free to like those reworkings. But they are not approved by Freddie Mercury.
As you will have seen in various videos, Freddie always sat behind the mixing desk. He knew how to get the great sound on "News of the world", he knew how to get the sound on "The Game" with Mack. And Mack could produce any sound, he already recorded one of the biggest drum sounds I ever heard on a Sweet-Album in 1976.
So when people like them recorded "Mr Bad Guy" the way they did, they wanted it exactly that way! There is no "they couldn't do it better then because of technical limitations" or "he couldn't afford an orchestra".

Believe it or not - the horrible drum machines of the 80s sounded that tinny and thin. And for a while that was fashionable!!! Same goes for the horrible 80s synths. They were fresh and new then, but sound old and cheap today. That goes for most every electronic effect in popmusic. When they are new, they sound like "the future", but very soon they sound like "the past". While good recorded music with analogue instruments like piano, guitar, strings and drums sounds timeless. So the idea of giving "Barcelona" a timeless orchestra sound is basically a good one, but is not what Freddie wanted. And I also wonder, why Mike Moran did not participate.
I disagree. Freddie would rather be in and out of the studio as quickly as possible around that time. And Jim Beach has already stated Fred got bored with the MBG sessions and wanted to move on. It was Brian who was the band member who would sit around the studio after hours making things as perfect as possible, not Freddie.

And Mike would not need to participate. Although, he was part of the promotion of it all - so he must have been fine with it. Mike and Jim knew Fred better than any of us, so if they were good with it then it is fine by me.

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