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).
The song began with a riff idea by Brian, then John and Freddie 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
Unfortunately, the song didn’t chart in the US but it peaked #26 on Dutch Top 40 charts and #56 on German charts
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.
Source: ‘Queen – The Complete Works’ by Georg Purvis
Here’s the clip for ‘Pain Is So Close To Pleasure’ https://youtu.be/L2W2mU8R7-A
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 Townhouse Studio