9 August 1982 – ‘Staying Power’ is released as the B-side to ‘Back Chat’ in the UK

The Freddie Mercury penned track has a driving soul rock atmosphere with a “hot and spacey” horn arrangement by Arif Mardin (a music producer who worked with hundreds of artists across many different styles). The electro-disco was enhanced by Roger Taylor’s use of the Linn LM-1 drum machine, while Freddie provides the Oberheim synth; Brian May’s trusty Red Special is still in evidence and John Deacon plays rhythm guitar rather than bass here.

This is the only Queen song with a horn section.

Peter Freestone shares a fun anecdote of getting the ‘Staying Power’ master tape safely to Arif and back to the band….

“As far as the creation of tracks for the album Hot Space, ‘Staying Power’ sticks in my mind. One particular night I was told that the following morning I was booked on the eleven o’clock flight to New York to take a slave/master tape of ‘Staying Power’ to Arif Mardin in the Atlantic building.

I gave Arif the tape about six p.m. He worked overnight so that he could record the brass arrangements he had written in order that I should be able to leave the morning after to return it for further work by the band in Europe.

Passing through the security metal-detector and the hand baggage X-Ray on four separate occasions was no fun, trying to get officials to believe that what I was carrying was what it was and could not be exposed to possible electronic damage. “Please! It must be taken round the outside!”

Needless to say, I never let the package out of my sight. In existence, there must still be a version of the track with the alternate words which Freddie composed for ‘Staying Power’ … to ‘F**king Power. If you follow the lyrics through, he sings, ‘I’ve got…,’ he substituted ‘f**king’ for ‘staying.’

Only Freddie

Freddie Mercury during the ‘Hot Space’ tour