QUEEN THE MIRACLE COLLECTOR’S EDITION
33 years later Queen deliver Long Lost Original LP Cut of classic 1989 album
8-Disc Box Set: Vinyl LP/5CD/DVD/Blu-ray arrives, TODAY, November 18.
Order Now: https://Queen.lnk.to/TheMiracle
Includes ’The Miracle Sessions’, containing over an hour of unreleased studio recordings including six previously unheard songs – plus intimate fly-on-the-wall audio of the band at work (and play) in the studio
Widely recognised as Queen’s strongest album of the 80’s and one of their most inspired, the 1989 released The Miracle was a global success reaching No. 1 in the UK and several major European markets, even re-establishing the band in the US where it delivered a gold album. Brian May has often cited the title track as his favourite Queen song of all time.
The hugely prolific sessions for The Miracle began in December 1987 and stretched out to March 1989. It was to be one of the most consequential periods in Queen’s history. Fifteen months previously, on August 9, 1986, Queen’s mighty Europe Magic Tour had ended on a high, before an estimated audience of more than 160,000 at Knebworth Park in Britain. As the band left the stage that night – toasting the flagship show of their biggest tour to date – they could hardly have foreseen that Knebworth marked a line in the sand. This would be Queen’s final live show with Freddie and the first in a chain of pivotal moments that would lead towards a lengthy separation for the band.
It would take 15 months and a radical restructuring of internal band dynamics before Queen regrouped in London’s Townhouse Studios on December 3rd, 1987, to start work on their thirteenth studio album. For the first time, Queen would share songwriting credits equally, regardless of who conceived each song, a consensus of opinion that was to have fertile results. “Splitting the credits was a very important decision for us. We left our egos outside the studio door,” says Brian, “and worked together as a real band – something that wasn’t always the case. I wish we’d done it 15 years before.”
Said Roger: “Decisions are made on artistic merit, so ‘Everybody wrote everything’ is the line, rather than ego or anything else getting in the way. We seem to work together better now than we did before. We’re fairly up-and-down characters. We have different tastes in many ways. We used to have lots of arguments in the studio, but this time we decided to share all the songwriting, which I think was very democratic and a good idea.”
This show of unity was elegantly conveyed by band art director Richard Gray’s cover for The Miracle, which depicts Queen’s four faces merged into one. “The cover art represents the unity of the group at the time: a seamless merging of four people becoming one,” May has said. “We were also dealing with Freddie’s deteriorating health and pulling together to support him.”
While Freddie could no longer tour, Queen remained a band of staggering creative resourcefulness. As John Deacon implied, they instead channelled their live chemistry into the studio: “In the first few weeks of recording we did a lot of live material, a lot of songs, some jamming, and ideas came up.”
‘Party’ and raw rock ‘Khashoggi’s Ship’ “evolved naturally, straight away,” said Freddie. Inspired by something Anita Dobson would say, and later adopted for anti-apartheid protests, the massive ‘I Want It All’ was – though written before the band went into the studio – a forceful expression of Queen’s concert-honed heavy-rock powers. “We were never able to perform this song live with Freddie,” said May. “It would have become something of a staple core of the Queen show, I’m sure, because it was very participative – designed for the audience to sing along to – very anthemic.”
Says Roger: “Lots of the [Miracle] tracks have first-take stuff in them; we tried to preserve that freshness. We tried to capture all the enthusiasm that we had from playing together as a band.”
Queen’s writing also reflected their personal circumstances. The torn-from-the-headlines drama of ‘Scandal’ was May’s personal swipe at the press intrusion into the bandmembers’ respective personal affairs. Singled out by Deacon for praise, Freddie’s soaring album closer, ‘Was It All Worth It’, has in retrospect been interpreted as a reflection on the singer’s health.
One further ingredient in the mix was David Richards, who had worked with Queen since his billing as assistant engineer on Live Killers. After further credits on A Kind of Magic and Live Magic, Richards stepped up to co-produce The Miracle, praised by May for his “whizz kid” technical prowess.
The months in the studio birthed 30-plus songs, more than Queen could possibly need for one album. Ten tracks were selected to form the release, with others later appearing as B-sides or solo tracks, or carried over to the Innuendo and Made in Heaven albums. Five hit singles supported the album.
Says Brian: “We had all these bits and pieces of tracks, and some of them were half-finished, some of them were just an idea, and some of them were nearly finished, and it sort of happened on its own really. There are some tracks which you always want to get out and work on, and so they get finished, and there are some tracks which you think, ‘Oh that’s great, but I don’t really know what to do with it at this moment’, so they naturally get left by the wayside.”
Most of these left-over session tracks remained undisturbed in the Queen archives for the past 33 years.
For the Queen hardcore, meanwhile, one of the most highly anticipated elements of the new box set is The Miracle Sessions CD featuring original takes, demos, and rough takes of the full album plus six additional previously never before heard tracks including two featuring Brian on vocals.
Tantalising enough that this hour-plus disc offers the first official airing of such near-mythical songs as ‘Dog With A Bone’, ‘I Guess We’re Falling Out’, ‘You Know You Belong To Me’, and the poignant ‘Face It Alone’, released as a single in October. Add to that, the trove of sunken treasure spanning from original takes and demos to rough cuts that signpost the album The Miracle would become.
But perhaps the real gemstones of The Miracle Sessions CD are the spoken segments that bookend the musical takes. As the studio tape keeps rolling in London and Montreux, the four members are caught at their most candid, giving listeners the uncanny fly-on-the wall experience of standing amongst Freddie, Brian, John and Roger as they banter, debate, swap jokes and show both joy and occasional frustration.
With the band arriving at the studio with scarce mapped-out material these sessions found Queen at their most inspired and impulsive, and that atmosphere is mirrored in not just the music but the familial exchanges that punctuate it. As Freddie said: “I think it’s the closest we’ve ever been in terms of actually writing together.”
“Before we all pass out, can I just try this?”
Freddie Mercury (‘I Want It All’)
“I don’t want to do the fancy bits now…I’ll do them later.”
Brian May (‘Khashoggi’s Ship’)
Heard for the first time in Queen history, the spoken outtakes from The Miracle Sessions invite fans onto the studio floor to experience the band’s unvarnished dynamic, more natural and revealing than any ‘official’ press interview. These unguarded exchanges – by turns mischievous, encouraging, witty, even affectionately waspish – capture the band as they truly were during The Miracle’s late bloom, buzzing with renewed enthusiasm at their return to the studio, and driven by a rare chemistry that still threw up sparks.
Another first for the box set is the reinstatement of ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’. The Miracle was originally planned to be an 11-track album, but ‘Too Much Love’ was removed at the last minute due to unresolved publishing issues. Later, Queen’s original version was to emerge on Made in Heaven in 1995, featuring Freddie’s lead vocal. While the CD version of the album remains faithful to the familiar ten-song running order, the vinyl record in this Collector’s Edition marks the first time that ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’ has been presented as part of the album, in the exact position on Side One it was allocated in 1989.
Elsewhere, The Miracle Collector’s Edition brims with rarities, outtakes, instrumentals, interviews and videos, including the last interview John gave, from the set of the video for the hard-driving single ‘Breakthru’. The richly packed box set also includes a lavish 76-page hardback book featuring previously unseen photographs, original handwritten fan-club letters from the band, press reviews from the time and extensive liner notes, with recollections from Freddie, John, Roger and Brian on both the making of the album and some of their most iconic videos.
Featuring a plethora of fascinating insights into a hugely pivotal moment in Queen’s storied history, this is The Miracle fans have been waiting for.
Queen The Miracle Collector’s Edition
VINYL LP: The Miracle
Long Lost Original LP Cut
The Miracle as never heard before. Sourced from a master tape from March 1989, the Long Lost Cut reinstates ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’ as it was originally intended, in the exact position on Side One allotted in 1989, nestled between ‘I Want It All’ and ‘The Invisible Man’. The updated LP sleeve presents the album with a gatefold cover for the first time in its history.
CD 1: THE MIRACLE
The album as originally released on CD, remastered by Bob Ludwig in 2011 from the original first-generation master mixes.
CD 2: THE MIRACLE SESSIONS
A fascinating window into the band’s creative process featuring much sought-after original takes, demos and early versions, including the new single ‘Face It Alone’, among six previously unheard tracks, two of which feature vocals by Brian May.
Presented here for the first time ever: When Love Breaks Up, You Know You Belong To Me, I Guess We’re Falling Out, Dog With a Bone, Water, and Face It Alone.
Just as revealing – and sure to be prized by the Queen hardcore – are the spoken exchanges between the four members at the Townhouse, Olympic and Mountain Studios, giving listeners a unique snapshot of their friendship and working dynamic.
CD 3: ALTERNATIVE MIRACLE
Recreates the proposed follow-up to the album, Alternative Miracle. Originally considered at the time, this compilation of extra tracks from The Miracle, B-sides, extended versions and single versions was cancelled due to a heavy release schedule.
CD 4: MIRACU-MENTALS
Instrumentals and backing tracks of the ten songs that make up The Miracle.
CD 5, THE MIRACLE RADIO INTERVIEWS
The band discuss, in their own words, the creative process behind the album. The first interview, Queen for an Hour, was broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on 29 May 1989. Host Mike Read speaks with the band for what would be their final group interview. In this interview, Freddie suggests for the first time that his touring days are over.
The second interview presents Roger Taylor and Brian May talking with host Bob Coburn and taking live telephone calls on the popular US radio programme Rockline.
BLU-RAY / DVD: The Miracle Videos
The Miracle Videos includes the five promotional music videos and bonus content on both Blu-ray and DVD formats.
‘I Want It All’
‘The Invisible Man’
The Miracle Interviews:
Interviews with Roger, Brian and John on the set of the ‘Breakthru’ film shoot in June 1989, by Gavin Taylor.
John Deacon has given no further interviews since that day.
The Making of the Miracle Videos:
This feature contains behind the scenes footage of ‘I Want It All’, ‘Scandal’, ‘The Miracle’ and ‘Breakthru’ videos.
The Making of the Miracle Album Cover:
Queen’s graphic designer Richard Gray talks about and demonstrates how he made the ground-breaking The Miracle album cover.
COLLECTOR’S EDITION – 2022
Executive Producers: Brian May and Roger Taylor
All tracks written by Queen
Except: ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’ (May, Musker, Lamers),
‘My Melancholy Blues’ (Mercury), and ‘You Know You Belong To Me’ (May)
Content supervised by Justin Shirley-Smith, Kris Fredriksson and Greg Brooks.
Audio compilation and restoration Kris Fredriksson
Project managed by Emma Donoghue
In an always fascinating and sometimes amusing read, The Miracle Collector’s Edition hardback art book also looks back across two pages on how critics of the time responded to The Miracle on its original release.
QUEEN ‘The Miracle’
‘The Miracle’ sees Queen once again redefining Rock ‘N’ Roll on their own terms, stoically ignoring those too narrow-minded or stupid to get the point.
Vocalist Freddie Mercury has always attracted the greatest amount of flak from critics too busy crawling up their own posteriors to recognize the man’s tongue-in-cheek self-deprecating witticisms, or to acknowledge the fact that he’s one of the greatest Rock vocalists ever. Examples? Every single track, I’m afraid. ‘Breakthru’ and ‘Scandal’ prove that he can still reach the top notes with effortless ease, whilst ‘Rain Must Fall’ and ‘My Baby Does Me’ feature him scatting and crooning with soulful intensity. Beautiful.
No individual song credits this time, so it’s hard to evaluate the songwriting contributions of drummer Roger Taylor or bassist John Deacon, but I’ll bet that Deacon had more than a hand in the funkier moments of ‘Khashoggi’s Ship’. Meanwhile, ‘The Invisible Man’ sounds distinctly Tayloresque, with its eerie, shuffling rhythm passages and up-front bass work.
The arrangements are quite extraordinary, a result of the band’s ability to dabble in whatever musical genre they damn well please, doubtless fuelled by individual members’ excursions into fields as diverse as Opera and Metal. Both the title track and closer ‘Was It All Worth It’ feature the sort of ingenious orchestral twists and turns that have remained the band’s trademark since the heady days of ‘The March Of The Black Queen’ (‘Queen II’ – 1974) when ‘Nobody played synthesiser’.
...I could go on, but space doesn’t permit (‘Thank God’ – rest of RAW office). Let’s just say that Queen will always be the cultured satin-draped heart of Rock ‘N’ Roll ... and it feels so good to have ‘em back.
[Maura Sutton. Raw Magazine. May 1989)
QUEEN ‘I Want It All’ (Parlophone)
A long-standing institution they may be, but Queen still know how to take on today’s bratty young rockers when the urge takes them. In a typically extravagant return to form, Queen put their disco shoes away for a while and slip back into their own glorious brand of power metal.
There’s no other sound as hot and mellifluous as Brian May’s guitar, and here he spars with funny old Freddie in full camp and grind mode, as ‘IWIA’ builds to a stadium filling climax. Theatrical rock with guts.
[Neil Perry. Sounds. May 6, 1989]
CARRY ON CAMPING
‘THE MIRACLE’ is a good, old-fashioned, lovably preposterous Queen album. It’s a widescreen sprawl that flits from gurgling pulp-funk to high-stepping rockstomp to the kind of eccentric, epic melodramas that swelled the early albums.
‘The Miracle’ is fantastic entertainment – extravagant, potty, def Queen.
[Paul Elliott. Sounds. May 27, 1989]