Another little known, but very fun, fact about David Bowie that has just started to make the rounds is that he designed the above Chrome-Finish Mini back in 1998-99 to celebrate the brand’s 40th Anniversary. Outstanding! You can read more about this car, including a collection of hilariously snarky quotes from Bowie, over at Jalopnik!
Do you remember where you were the first time you heard Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” ? I sure do. I was 14 years old, just hanging out in my bedroom, and when “Bo Rap” — as we used to call it — came on the radio, I thought it was the most mind-blowingly amazing thing I had ever heard in my life up to that point. In a lot of ways, it still is.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was the song that changed everything; a song that recalls a special moment in music history that — like the greatness of The Beatles — will never repeated. At The Q Awards, held October 20th, in London, Queen were presented with the Classic Song Award, marking the 40th Anniversary of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was originally released October 31, 1975.
To mark the occasion, and just in time for Black Friday Record Store Day, “Bohemian Rhapsody” will be released as a 12 inch limited edition vinyl, with the original B-side “I’m In Love With My Car,” on November 27th.
But wait, there’s more: on November 20th, Queen will also release Queen, A Night At The Odeon, Live At Hammersmith ’75, on CD, 2 LP vinyl and Super Deluxe Box Set formats, via Hollywood Records, and on DVD, SD Blu-Ray through Eagle Rock Entertainment. This show was the culmination of the 26-date Queen Invite You To A Night At The Opera UK tour, the first tour in which the band had ever performed “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Spirits were high within the band for this show; “Bohemian Rhapsody” – universally hailed as one of the most ground-breaking ‘pop’ songs ever released – was in the middle of its record-breaking nine week run at #1 in the UK charts. Their fourth album, A Night At The Opera (the most expensive record ever made to that point) was climbing the album charts on its way to the number one spot, which it achieved three days after this concert.
Queen guitarist Brian May recalled recording “Bohemian Rhapsody,” offering that “[It]was a great moment, but the biggest thrill for us was actually creating the music in the first place. I remember Freddie coming in with loads of bits of paper from his dad’s work, like Post-it notes, and pounding on the piano. He played the piano like most people play the drums. This song he had was full of gaps where he explained that something operatic would happen here and so on. He’d worked out the harmonies in his head.” Fascinating.
Queen spent days overdubbing the vocals in the studio using a 24 track tape machine. By the time they were done, about 120 vocal tracks were layered together. The opera parts alone took longer than 70 hours to complete. At the time, it was the most expensive single ever made and upon presenting it to their record label, they were told by various executives that 5 minutes 55 seconds was too long and the song would never be a hit. But after the song was played 14 times in two days by DJ and friend of Freddie’s, Kenny Everett, it was destined to be a hit. Hordes of fans attempted to buy the single only to be told by record stores that it had not yet been released. Here in the US, it was the same. American radio RKO managed to get a copy of the tape and started to play it across their stations, which forced the hand of Queen’s then-US label, Elektra, to release the song in its entirety.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was Queen’s first ever #1 single and the 1975 UK Christmas #1, holding the top position for nine weeks. It is also the first song ever to get to number one in the UK twice with the same version.
40 years after movie audiences began singing along to such hits as “The Time Warp,” “Sweet Transvestite” and “Dammit Janet,” The Rocky Horror Picture Show fans can own a piece of history with the newly re-mastered Absolute Treasures soundtrack. Due out July 31st on Ode Sounds & Visuals and distributed by The Orchard, the soundtrack will be available as a limited-edition Red Vinyl two-disc set, and CD and as a digital release, which includes a bonus track will be available on August 21st.
The red vinyl was created to honor the film’s legacy and the devotion from fans to create something unique to celebrate this historic occasion. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always had a mind of its own fueled by the insight and direction of its fans,” says producer, Lou Adler.
The influence of the cult classic, which has been entertaining movie audiences since its debut, now spans four generations. “I recently heard a story about a man who went to see Rocky in the early 70’s,” says Adler. “He later had a daughter who went to see Rocky in the 90’s, and she now has a son, who just turned 15, and is seeing Rocky in the 2000’s. Proves that what I always said: ‘Rocky Horror is a family film.’ Because The Rocky Horror Picture Show is generally screened at midnight, age is a factor. But as tweens become teens, they come to be the next generation of fans. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is in a way a right of passage.”
The digital release of Absolute Treasures will include the movie’s vocal version of “The Sword of Damocles.” According to soundtrack producer Richard Hartley, “There were two artists who recorded ‘The Sword of Damocles.’ Director, Jim Sharman and I were looking/listening for the ‘Glam’ rock sound of a Bowie and or a T. Rex. We wanted a falsetto voice for Rocky, because after all he was just born. The vocal performance in the film is that of an Australian singer. It was recorded live on the set–I think on the 19th of December 1974. And that’s the version that’s in the film. The one that has been included on soundtrack albums is the alternate take by one of the backing singers, which was used as something for the actor playing Rocky to mime to.”
The Rocky Horror Picture Show — the longest distributed theatrical release in motion picture history — debuted as a London theatre production in June 1973. The show came to America in 1974 with nine months of performances at Adler’s Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. On September 26, 1975, The Rocky Horror Picture Show held its U.S. premiere at the UA Westwood Theatre in Los Angeles.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW ABSOLUTE TREASURES track listing is as follows:
Science Fiction/Double Feature
Over At The Frankenstein Place
The Time Warp
The Sword of Damocles
I Can Make You A Man
Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul
I Can Make You A Man (Reprise)
Touch-A,Touch-A, Touch Me
Once In Awhile
Planet Schmanet Janet
Planet Hot Dog
Rose Tint My World
A. Floor Show
B. Fanfare/Don’t Dream It
C. Wild And Untamed Thing
I’m Going Home
Science Fiction/Double Feature (Reprise)
As the surviving members of Queen continue their seemingly endless celebration of the band’s forty year anniversary – which kicked off with last year’s Deluxe Reissues of their entire catalog – an all new box set of Queen Tunes is about to be made available for fans who don’t mind throwing down $350: the Queen Orb Gift Box. A “true electronic age marvel,” the Golden Orb contains an ornately decorated USB drive, which holds all 15 (re-mastered) Queen studio albums – in both 320kbps MP3 and 24-bit 44.1kHz WAV format (fully PC and Mac compatible) – as well as a massive photo gallery to waste hours and hours of time looking at and downloading to your FaceBook page. Buyers also get a gold-plated Queen crest pendant necklace inside a tiny red velvet pouch, and, of course, the Golden Orb itself, which is quite impressive on its own (just look at it!). And it comes in a fancy black velvet box for storage. Fancy!
Produced in a limited edition series of 5,000 numbered units, The Queen Golden Orb (which quickly sold out its limited first run last December) will be available to purchase on April 2nd, 2012 at This Link.
See more details and the album listing after the jump!