20 August 1986 – Queen release ‘Pain Is so Close to Pleasure’ bw ‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ (from Queen’s twelfth studio album, ‘A Kind Of Magic’) on Capitol Records (USA). It didn’t chart in the US but peaked #26 on Dutch Top 40 charts and #56 on German charts

The song began with a riff idea by Brian May, then John Deacon and Freddie Mercury turned it into a song, with Deacon playing rhythm guitar. The song attempts to fuse together R&B with programmed pop, onto which Freddie added a distinct, beautiful falsetto vocal (this will be the last time he will ever sing a Queen song completely in falsetto).

As with most Freddie Mercury songs, the track has prominent keyboards and like all other John Deacon Songs, a prominent bass line. John originally got involved with this song after Brian, Freddie’s contributions were so significant that John insisted he also receive authorship credit.

“There’s a song called ‘Pain Is So Close To Pleasure’ which I started off, and I think again John and Freddie worked together on it. That’s really sort of a motown sounding track, very unusual for us.” – Brian May 1986 Interview

The B-Side track “Don’t Lose Your Head” a song composed by Roger Taylor and features British singer-songwriter and guitarist, Joan Armatrading in a vocal cameo. The song takes its name from a line spoken in Highlander.

This particular track further confirms that, while the singles on ‘A Kind of Magic’ are outstanding, the remaining songs will remain unknown for a reason. The majority of the song is repetitive, especially the lyrics, which are directly related to the ‘Highlander’ film.

Both Brian and John have been pushed aside in favour of a tinny- sounding synthesizer, while the programmed drums threaten to overpower a strong vocal performance by Freddie.

The line, “Don’t drink and drive my car / Don’t get breathalysed” was inspired by a drunk driving incident in 1985 which involved John and his Porsche. John normally preferred a Volvo, but he bought the Porsche for himself and went to visit Phil Collins of the Genesis at one of his London concerts. The two went out to enjoy a celebration afterwards, and John was pulled over on his way home. He failed his sobriety test and received a very expensive ticket.

The wonderful picture is Freddie and John working on ‘One Year of Love’ (another single from ‘A Kind of Magic’) in the control room at Mountain Studios in Switzerland.

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