Discography

Live Killers

Live Killers

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Album Details

LIVE KILLERS By Greg Brooks and Gary Taylor Queen’s first live album, was recorded at various venues during the European tour of 1979, between January and March. It was produced by the band and engineered by John Etchells, who also recorded the concerts. Live Killers was the first Queen album to be mixed at the band’s own recording studios, Mountain Studios in Montreux Switzerland, and also their first double album. It is no secret that certain band members were not entirely satisfied with the final mix of the album, but even so the fans loved it and it was a significant hit when released in the UK on June 22nd 1979. It reached No 3 in the UK charts and achieved gold sales status. Elektra Records released the LP four days later in America, where it peaked at No 16 and also gained gold sales status. The front cover features a photo of the band taken by Koh Hasebe on the Japanese tour in 1979, and shows the band at the end of the show almost in silhouette, against the massive Pizza Oven lighting rig, as it descends to the stage and faces the audience. The inner gatefold sleeve features many photos from all of the bands previous tours and shows off many of the bands stage costumes. In 1985, an abridged version of Live Killers appeared in Japan and Australia, retitled Queen Live. This time it was a single disc album and featured different artwork to the original gatefold release. The LP also emerged in Brazil and South Africa in 1985, to coincide with tours in those territories at the time. A similar version was also released in New Zealand in 1985, titled Live In Concert, while Queen were touring there. These LPs have since become somewhat collectable. Although there are a great many bootleg recordings in circulation from this tour – originally on cassette and vinyl, and most recently on compact disc – these single disc albums are official EMI/Elektra product. Until recently, many fans regarded Live Killers as the best Queen live album to date. However, with the recent release of two further dazzling concerts on CD/DVD - Queen On Fire – Live At The Bowl, 2004 and Queen Rock Montreal, 2007 - many devotees have been forced to reconsider their views on the best Queen live collection. Those lucky enough to attend any of those wonderful performances in Europe in ’79 will confirm that the 2-disc Live Killers set truly does capture the sheer power, unparalleled energy and excitement Queen generated on stage during this time. While many regard it as the best concert representation so far released, it does still have some curious omissions. Somebody To Love, If You Can’t Beat Them, Fat Bottomed Girls and It’s Late are all absent, despite featuring in several shows on that tour, and being great favourites with those in attendance. Such was the scale of the Queen show in 1979, Killers could, it seems, easily have been a triple album. The ‘79 European tour – Queen’s biggest up to that point - began in Hamburg Germany on January 17th and comprised twenty-eight shows in seven countries over a six week period, concluding with three shows in Paris (all of which were filmed) on February 27/28 and March 1st. The other territories visited on this leg of the tour were Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, France, Spain, and Queen’s first and only gigs in Yugoslavia. The album begins with a mightily powerful accelerated version of We Will Rock You, followed by an equally exhausting rendition of the song with the most fitting lyrics of all for a Queen live show, in Freddie’s Let Me Entertain You. Then the listener experiences another meticulously rehearsed Queen medley; Death On Two Legs; Killer Queen; Bicycle Race all follow in a seamless string, and then Roger offers a blistering vocal for I’m In Love With My Car, the song he wrote and which he sings while simultaneously playing drums. This for many was a highlight of the show, and this particular recital, in the opinions of many, was never surpassed at any other venue on that tour. Queen and John Etchells really did give the fans the very best recordings on Live Killers from the many concerts recorded during this period . Freddie’s little known and somewhat experimental Get Down Make Love comes next, and then John Deacon’s much loved You’re My Best Friend, and so ends Side One of the original vinyl disc. Side Two commences with Freddie demanding, “You are now gonna sing!” and of course his willing audience is happy to comply. Brian’s Now I’m Here is a fast paced rendition which finds the band firing on all cylinders, and the audience too. This version is one of the most powerful ever recorded, and then in the next instant the tempo slows dramatically as Freddie plays sing-along with the fans. “A little bit of nonsense” is how Brian refers to the next song, which he wrote. Dreamer’s Ball is a delightful piece from the Jazz album of the previous year, and is the perfect way to slow things down a bit. Again the masses sing along with Freddie and again he appreciates it, and tells them so. Roger and John leave the stage after this, leaving Brian and Freddie alone, seated on stools at the centre/front of stage in order to perform an acoustic recital of Freddie’s exquisite ballad from A Night At The Opera. Nothing in the Queen set, before or since, can compare with Love Of My Life performed in concert; a genuine duet between singer and audience. Again, for those who were present on this tour, and indeed subsequent ones, this breathtaking performance from Freddie is a priceless reminder of the exceptional rapport they each shared with Freddie. As ever, he draws the crowd into singing along with every line, in an effortless and greatly emotional ‘duet’ that remains as moving today as the day it was recorded. This live version of Love Of My Life, coupled with the aforementioned Now I’m Here, was issued as the first and only UK single from the Live Killers album. Released on June 29th, a week after the LP came out, and with minimal promotion, it only managed to climb to No 63. The same pairing was released in Japan too, in May, and some European countries, but also failed to make much impact. In South America it would be another story entirely, with the single reaching No 1 in Brazil and Argentina and becoming Queen’s biggest ever successes in those territories. Two other recordings from the album – We Will Rock You (fast) and Let Me Entertain You – later featured as B-sides to the Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Save Me UK singles. Elektra in America instead issued We Will Rock You (fast) c/w Let Me Entertain You as the only Live Killers single, and then Spread Your Wings as the B-side to Crazy Little Thing Called Love. This pairing was a Japanese single too, in January 1980, and featured yet another rather lovely and collectable sleeve. And finally, also in Japan, the Live Killers version of Roger’s Sheer Heart Attack was featured as the B-side to the Save Me single in April of the same year. A mammoth roar erupts as Freddie concludes Love Of My Life, and so deafening is the response that Brian has difficulty making himself heard. At this point on Live Killers, Brian introduces the three band members back onto the stage, one by one, with the loudest reaction of all reserved for the man on “maracas and sometimes vocals – Mr Freddie Mercury.” Quickly the show resumes with a lovely stripped down version of ’39 (also from the Opera LP), and this in turn is followed (with Roger back at the drum kit) with Queen’s first ever single, Keep Yourself Alive. The band are now more or less half way through the concert. “This is Don’t Stop Me Now” Freddie imparts, casually, and so begins an accelerated account to the familiar version on the Jazz album. This song has to be one of Queen’s best known and best loved songs of all, and in concert it was just as well regarded. With Freddie singing as well as playing piano, and with an immensely powerful drumming accompaniment and backing vocal from Roger, this is surely one of the most exciting and exhilarating Queen live performances ever recorded. Live recitals of this song seem to posses a vibrancy and edge not present on the studio cut, and, as you can hear, the adoring European fans are with Freddie and the band every inch of the way. Side Three of the original four-sided Live Killers album is where we are now, and many have argued that it is, and remains, among the finest 23 minutes of Queen live material from this period ever captured . Next up, and with little time to draw breath, is John Deacon’s News Of The World track, and single, Spread Your Wings. Again, Freddie delivers this with faultless efficiency and again the crowd accompany him as loudly and vigorously as ever. Like Love Of My Life, on the first half of the album, this song offers an opportunity for the audience to shine as brightly as the band, and with Freddie steering them, this they do beautifully. The crowd is word perfect, in tune, and yet never does it interrupt the main flow. Even Freddie is impressed, as you can hear, as the enthused masses join him with “spread your little wings and fly away, fly away, far away…” No sooner has Wings ended, Freddie introduces “something a bit special now.” The piece in question is Brian May’s epic Brighton Rock, which, as Freddie also explains “is from the Sheer Heart Attack album” of five years earlier. Many have suggested this is among the strongest recordings on Live Killers. It is certainly memorable, and it features a menacing vocal from Freddie, matched by equally aggressive guitar from Brian, with the trusted ever-present powerhouse rhythm section of John and Roger behind it all. This truly is a monster recording of Queen at the very pinnacle of their concert best. The show nears its end now, and Side Four kicks off with a brief taster of a little known track called Mustapha, from the Jazz album. Here we find Freddie singing not in English, or even Japanese, but in Arabic. This is just a brief prelude to the main event, because in the next moment Freddie is at the piano for the opening notes of Bohemian Rhapsody. This of course is Queen’s best known composition, not least because of the legendary accompanying video, and in concert it was equally adored. It first appeared in the Queen live show in November1975, as part of a medley, and thereafter it appeared in every concert - in one form or other. Brian’s Tie Your Mother Down comes next, and is as manic as any Queen live performance you will hear. An equally frenzied rendition of Roger’s Sheer Heart Attack follows, and by now the band has once again given very nearly its ALL to the audience. Only a few minutes remain before the band can collapse exhausted once again in their dressing room. All that remains is a second encore and this comes with the instantly recognisable drum introduction to the normal version of We Will Rock You (in contrast to the fast version that started the concert). Rock You then segues into We Are The Champions, and as the fans sing along with every word, they know the end of another Queen extravaganza is imminent. All too soon it is over. “Thank you. Goodnight everybody. You’ve been a tremendous audience. See you soon!” Freddie signs off, the British National Anthem God Save The Queen rings out, Queen leave the stage, the concert is over and so too Live Killers. Producers: Queen Engineer: John Etchells assisted by David Richards Recorded At: Various Venues-European Tour Date Recorded: July-October 1979 Artwork Concept: Queen Award Status: Gold (UK) Platinum (US)

Did You Know?

1. Recorded during Queens European tour - January-March 1979 2. While mixing album they were approached by movie producer Dino de Laurentiis to write music for a planned feature film – they agreed to assist 3. First official Queen live album – and their first double release 4. Features South Americas biggest hit single which remained at No.1 in the chart for over twelve months (love of my life) 5. Special single album release was issued in South Africa with all proceeds going to Kutlawamong School for the deaf and deaf blind in Bophuthatswana to build a new wing of the school

Track Listing

Single

We Will Rock You (live)

Second single from the album Live Killers
Single

Love Of My Life

First single from the album Live Killers

Lyrics

12. 39

In the year of thirty nine assembled here the volunteers In the days when the lands were few And the ship sailed out into the blue and misty morn The sweetest sign ever seen. And the night followed day, and the story tellers say The score brave souls inside For so many a lonely day sailed across the milky seas Ne'er looked, never feared, never cried Don't you hear my call though you're many years away Don't you hear me calling you Write your letters in the sand For the day I take your hand In the land that our grandchildren knew In the year of thirty nine a simple ship came from the blue The volunteers came home that day And they bring good news from a world so newly born Though their hearts so heavily weigh Now the earth is old and grey, to a new home we'll away But my love this cannot be For so many years have gone now I'm older but a year Your mother's eyes in your eyes - cry to me Don't you hear my call though you're many years away Don't you hear me calling you Write your letters in the sand for the day I take your hand In the land when our grandchildren knew Don't you hear my call though you're many years away Don't you hear me calling you All your letters in the sand cannot heal me like your hand All my life, still ahead, pity me

4 Comments

Live Killers

marcelo

Just one word: amazing!

Alex

Spetacular show!

Fermin

'39 incredible song...i listen first time with 10 years old...my olders brothers like top much Queen...and my too

Elora Madriz

Ahh.... This was the first Queen album I've ever bought, and it certainly won't be the last.

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