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Album: A Day at the Races

A Day at the Races is a rock album by English band Queen released in December 1976. A Day at the Races was the band's first self-produced album after co-producing their first four albums with Roy Thomas Baker (for Queen, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack and A Night at the Opera) and John Anthony (Queen). A Day at the Races was recorded at Sarm East, The Manor and Wessex Studios in England and engineered by Mike Stone. The title of the album followed suit with its predecessor A Night at the Opera in taking its name from a film by the Marx Brothers. A Day at the Races peaked at number 1 in the UK, in Japan and in the Netherlands. It reached number 5 on the US Billboard album chart and was Queen's fifth US album to ship Gold in the U.S.. It subsequently reached Platinum status in sales in the U.S. Track listing Side one "Tie Your Mother Down" (May) – 4:47 "You Take My Breath Away" (Mercury) – 5:09 "Long Away" (May) – 3:34 "The Millionaire Waltz" (Mercury) – 4:54 "You and I" (Deacon) – 3:25 Side two "Somebody to Love" (Mercury) – 4:56 "White Man" (May) – 4:59 "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy" (Mercury) – 2:54 "Drowse" (Taylor) – 3:45 "Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)" (May) – 5:50 Bonus tracks (1991 Hollywood Records CD reissue) "Tie Your Mother Down" (1991 Remix by Matt Wallace) – 3:44 "Somebody to Love" (1991 Remix by Randy Badazz) – 5:00 Song information Tie Your Mother Down Main article: Tie Your Mother Down "Tie Your Mother Down" was written in Tenerife, when Brian May was earning his PhD in Astronomy in early 1975. He wrote it on Spanish guitar and thought he'd change the title and chorus later on, but Mercury liked it and they kept it that way. The song is preceded by a one-minute instrumental intro using a Shepard tone guitar figure, which is actually a reprise of the ending of "Teo Torriatte": this was intended to create a "circle" in the album, typical, for example, of Pink Floyd's albums. The ascending scale was created by recording a descending scale on a guitar and playing it backwards for the record. The main theme of the intro is the same as that of "White Man." You Take My Breath Away "You Take My Breath Away" was written by Freddie Mercury and based on the harmonic minor scale. All of the vocals and piano were done by him, and he performed it by himself at Hyde Park before recording it. There is a vocal interlude between this song and the next one that begins with a wash of vocals (repeating the words "long away") created by echoes (of a multitracked Mercury) regenerating in reverse, which gradually evolves into the repeated phrase "you take my (breath away)" and reintegrates into the next track, "You Take My Breath Away." Long Away Main article: Long Away "Long Away" was composed and sung by May. He used a Burns Double Six 12-string electric guitar for the rhythm parts instead of his Red Special. He'd wanted to use a Rickenbacker because he admired John Lennon, but he didn't get along well with the thin neck of the instrument. The Millionaire Waltz "The Millionaire Waltz" was written by Mercury about John Reid (Queen's and Elton John's manager at the time)[citation needed]. It's another multi-key and multi-metre song like Bohemian Rhapsody, using abrupt arrangement changes and including Brian May doing multi-tracked guitar choirs. You and I "You And I" is John Deacon's song on the album. It features him on acoustic guitar and Mercury playing Elton John-esque piano parts. It's arguably Deacon's only dark sounding song on any album. This song was never played live. Somebody to Love Main article: Somebody to Love (Queen song) "Somebody to Love" is the hit single of the album. It was Freddie Mercury's own favourite song.[citation needed] Like "Bohemian Rhapsody", the major hit from Queen's previous album, this song has a complex layering of vocal tracks, this time based on a gospel choir arrangement. It was the first single off the album A Day at the Races. It is a rock ballad on which band members Mercury, May and Taylor multi-tracked their voices to create the impression of a 3-voices gospel choir. The lyrics, especially combined with the gospel influence, create a song about faith, desperation and soul-searching; the singer questions both the lack of love experienced in his life and the role and existence of God. Staying true to Queen's guitar-driven style, it was also filled with intricate harmony parts and a solo by May. Mercury recorded a huge range of notes, going from a G2 (in the last choral verse) to a Ab5 (at the peak of his melisma on "ooh" over the choir break). It went to number 2 on the UK charts and number 13 on the U.S. singles chart. White Man "White Man" was written by May about the suffering of Native Americans at the hands of European immigrants. Its riff was used for the album intro, similarly to "Father To Son" and "Procession" some years before. This song would be the focal point for a Freddie Mercury vocal solo on the A Day at the Races tour and would serve as both a Mercury vocal solo spot and a Brian May guitar solo spot on the 1977-78 News of the World tour. The song is one of Queen's heaviest works, thematically and musically. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy Main article: Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy" was written by Mercury. The song starts with a piano and vocal introduction by Mercury, then continues, with the bass and drums adding on, at the start of the chorus. The second verse is sung, followed by another chorus. At this point, the drums, bass and guitar drop out, which then leads into the bridge, sung by Freddie Mercury and Mike Stone. Following the Brian May guitar solo, another verse is sung, and then the chorus ends the track. Multi-tracked vocals enhanced the song as well as May's guitar choirs. The song was once performed live on Top of the Pops in June 1977, with Roger Taylor singing the Mike Stone part. Most of the track was a concert staple on the "A Day at the Races" and "News Of The World" tours. Drowse "Drowse" was Roger Taylor's song in 6/8 having him playing rhythm guitar and timpani and doing all of the vocals. May played slide guitar during this and "Tie Your Mother Down" (the second guitar solo in the middle of the song). Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) Main article: Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) "Teo Torriatte" was Brian May's tribute to the Japanese fans. The song is notable for having two verses sung in Japanese; it is one of only three Queen songs (the others being "Las palabras de amor" from Hot Space and "Mustapha", from the album Jazz) in which an entire verse is sung in a language other than English. The song features a piano, a plastic piano, and a harmonium, all of which are played by Brian May. It is the only point in the album in which Mercury does not play piano. The album’s closing guitar melody is also its opening melody; the sequence was attached to the beginning of "Tie Your Mother Down", the first track on the album. May described it as "a never-ending staircase", otherwise commonly known, musically, as a Shepard tone. Singles In the UK the first track to be released as a single was Somebody to Love on November 12, 1976 (EMI 2565). It reached number 2. Tie Your Mother Down followed on March 4, 1977 (EMI 2593), reaching number 31. In the US, Somebody to Love was released on 10 December 1976 ( Elektra E45362) and reached number 13. It was followed by Tie Your Mother Down (Elektra E45385) in March 1977, which reached number 49. Both of these were released in Japan: in addition, Teo Torriatte was also released exclusively in Japan. Personnel Freddie Mercury: Lead Vocals, Piano, Backing Vocals Brian May: Electric Guitars, Acoustic Guitars, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Piano, Plastic Piano, Harmonium Roger Taylor: Drums, Percussion, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Electric Guitar John Deacon: Bass, Acoustic Guitar Mike Stone: Additional Vocal on "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy" Charts Country Charts Sales Peak position Weeks Certification Austria 8 12 Germany 10 Gold 350.000 Japan 1 Gold 200.000 Netherlands 1 100.000 Norway 3 17 Sweden 8 8 United Kingdom 1 24 2x Platinum 750.000 Canada Platinum 200.000 United States 5 19 Platinum 1.500.000 User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.