LAMONT’S MUSIC NOTES-JULY 6, 2019…46 YEARS AGO TODAY QUEEN RELEASED THEIR FIRST SINGLE ‘KEEP YOURSELF ALIVE’. THE SONG WAS LARGELY IGNORED WHEN IT WAS FIRST RELEASED. THE MESSAGE OF THE SONG: STAYING ALIVE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN BEING RICH OR FAMOUS. IT BOILS DOWN TO “BEING YOURSELF” INSTEAD OF WHAT EVERYONE WANTS YOU TO BE.
THIS SONG HIGHLIGHTED WHAT WOULD BE A COMMON DENOMINATOR OF QUEEN’S STUDIO WORK: BRIAN MAY’S PERFECTIONISM.
ACCORDING TO BRIAN MAY IN AN INTERVIEW IN 1983:
“The first recording of it ever was in De Lane Lea when we did it ourselves and I’ve still got that recording and I think it’s very good and has something which the single never had. But THEY pressurized us very strongly to redo all the tracks and we redid ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ with Roy and it was pretty awful, actually. I thought it was terrible and I was very unhappy about it and I thought the De Lane Lea one was better and I eventually managed to persuade Roy that it was better as well. So, we went back in and did it again in a way that was a bit more true to the original. But there is no way that you can ever really repeat something. I have this great belief that the magic of the moment can never be recaptured and, although we ended up with something that was technically in the playing and perhaps even in the recording a bit better than the De Lane Lea thing. I still think that the De Lane Lea one had that certain sort of magic, so I was never really happy. As it turned out no one else was ever really happy either and we kept remixing it. We thought that it’s the mix that’s wrong, we kept remixing and there must have been, at least, seven or eight different mixes by different groups of people. Eventually we went in and did a mix with Mike Stone, our engineer, and that’s the one that we were in the end happiest with. That’s the one we put out.
But, to my mind ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ was never really satisfactory. Never had that magic that it should have had.”
IN 2008 ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE RATED ‘KEEP YOURSELF ALIVE’ # 31 ON IT’S LIST OF “THE 100 GREATEST GUITAR SONGS OF ALL-TIME”
HERE’S THE OFFICIAL VIDEO FROM QUEEN FOR ‘KEEP YOURSELF ALIVE’