Brian May talks about lost cassette of guitar solos, made for him by Freddie Mercury

"I never throw anything away. I’m a bit of a hoarder. So it ought to be somewhere."

Brian May has spoken about a piece of Queen memorabilia that unfortunately seems lost to time, but reflected his and Freddie Mercury’s writing dynamic, and how they were “always pushing each other” to try things.

Talking to Total Guitar, May revealed that “one day Freddie had a big smile on his face when I came into the studio and he popped a cassette into the player and said, ‘Listen to this, darling. This is going to surprise you.’ And what he’d done was spend the whole morning putting together all the guitar solos that he could find in the work that we’d done, and he’d strung them all together.”

“It was quite amazing. And one of my big regrets is I can’t find that cassette,” May added. “I never throw anything away. I’m a bit of a hoarder. So it ought to be somewhere. But Freddie was very proud of the stuff that I’d done and that we’d done together.“

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May described the cassette as an example of him and Mercury’s intense but encouraging collaborative dynamic, saying: “there was a lot of interaction, and I think that was part of the magic that we had. We gave each other a lot of stick, really, but in a very positive way. We were always pushing each other to try things.”

Aside from the cassette, May also cited the writing of Bohemian Rhapsody and its solo as an example of this writing relationship, saying: “Freddie put a guide vocal on, and then we started doing all the multi-tracked vocal harmonies. There was already a rhythm guitar on there, of course. And somewhere during that process, we talked about where there would be a solo, and that part of it Freddie hadn’t mapped out.

“He said he wanted a solo in there, and I said I would like to effectively sing a verse on the guitar. I would like to take it somewhere else. I would inject a different melody. There was already a lot of colour in there, but I would like to have a free hand. And I could hear something in my head at that point – long before I went in there and played it.“

“I could hear this melody and I had no idea where it came from. That melody isn’t anywhere else in the song, but it’s a familiar chord sequence so it dovetails in quite nicely,” he added.

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