"Time Waits For No One" - Previously Unreleased Freddie Mercury Performance

For the first time ever, after four decades buried deep in the vaults, a previously unreleased version of ‘Time’, recorded in 1986 by Freddie Mercury for the concept album of the hit musical of the same name, has finally emerged after two years of work by musician, songwriter and producer Dave Clark, a long-time friend of Freddie’s, using the song’s full title, ‘Time Waits For No One’. The track is set for release via Virgin EMI (Universal Music Group) on 21st June 2019, along with a new film video.

‘Time’ was the brainchild of Dave Clark, former leader of the 60's pop group The Dave Clark Five. The musical, which opened at London’s Dominion Theatre in April 1986, merged sci-fi, rock music and ahead-of-its-time special effects and multimedia. With a cast including Sir Laurence Olivier and Cliff Richard, it broke box records and played to over a million people during its two-year run.

For the show’s multi-million selling star-studded concept album, Dave had a song in mind for Freddie (‘In My Defence’), and despite industry naysayers claiming he wouldn’t do it, Freddie agreed to fly to London from his then home in Munich, Germany, to record the song at Abbey Road Studios in October 1985. Of Dave’s minimal band of four session musicians, Mike Moran, who had never met Freddie, was introduced on piano having known Dave for many years; such was the subsequent relationship born with Freddie that Mike went on to write ‘Barcelona’ with the Queen frontman years later. The 'Time' session was recorded in a haze of late nights and fuelled by ‘fabulous food, vodka and Cristal Champagne’, courtesy of Freddie’s personal chef Joe Fanelli.

When asked by Freddie if he had anything else, Dave replied with an affirmative, offering the musical’s title track, ‘Time’. In January 1986, they returned to Abbey Road Studios with a group of studio talents to record the song. The video for the song was filmed in three hours on a Tuesday at the Dominion Theatre and was quickly wrapped to allow the musical to prepare for that evening’s performance - it had opened earlier that month with Freddie attending opening night. Worried about capturing the full performance, it was a 4 camera shoot, which was cut together quickly in order to turn it around for that week’s broadcast of the UK’s hit music TV programme Top of the Pops. Going straight to video, not the original 35mm film it was shot in, the song was released on 6 May of that year, and the original footage was consigned to the vaults.

Dave Clark had always remembered that performance of Freddie Mercury at Abbey Road Studios from 1986. The original had sold millions, and in his own words ‘worked’. But the feeling he had during the original rehearsal, experiencing ‘goosebumps’, hadn’t dissipated over the decades, and he wanted to hear this original recording - just Freddie on vocals and Mike Moran on piano. After much searching through the vaults to find the version without all the backing vocals, he finally retrieved it from his tape archive in the spring of 2018.

Bringing in original keyboardist Mike Moran to record a new piano track, they stripped back the 96 track version to a version with just one: Freddie Mercury. But the audio needed a visual and Dave didn’t want to just cut old footage together. He had the negatives from the 4 camera shoot and the unprocessed film which was being stored.

‘Time Waits For No One’’ is a tribute to the musical force of Freddie Mercury; the performance, the drama, the vocal range, and after four decades waiting in the wings, is finally out for new and old fans alike; a stunning eulogy to the Queen frontman, produced and directed by one of his closest friends.

 
Carter Alan

Carter Alan

Hear Carter Alan every weekday from 10am - 2pm on 100.7 WZLX. Read more

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