Queen are at Super Bear Studios in Berre-les-Alpes, near Nice, France

10 September 1978 – Queen are at Super Bear Studios in Berre-les-Alpes, near Nice, France, to record songs for the ‘Jazz’ album.

Tonight the most “tremendous electrical thunderstorm that lasted ages” (Peter Hince) gave “Dead On Time” a perfect ending!

Brian May’s “Dead on Time” is a breathless rocker of a song that rolls faster than any live rendition of ‘Sheer Heart Attack.’ It’s an astounding yet underrated song. It features some of the fastest and most aggressive guitar work by Brian, as well as intense, frantic drumming by Roger. Freddie’s superb runaway-train vocals keep up with the fast pace. The songs up-tempo supports the lyrics about a man rushing through his life. It was considered by fans to be an ideal live number, but was curiously never played in concert.

The song ends with the sound of a thunderbolt, followed by Mercury screaming “YOUR’RE DEAD!”

Queen always the innovative, phenomenal band, using all and any techniques to achieve remarkable and unique sound, were able to capture a live thunderstorm on tape!

The thunderbolt was actually recorded live by Brian on a portable recorder during a vicious thunderstorm. He was able to record thunder, lightning and rain effects. The album’s liner notes credit the thunderbolt; “courtesy of God.”

Interviewer: Was it hard to build up the solo speed in ‘Dead On Time’?

“I don’t think so. That was something I was quite pleased with, but really nobody else was. It’s something which nobody ever mentions very much. Fat Bottomed Girls I thought was okay, but fairly banal. I thought people would be much more interested in ‘Dead On Time’, but it didn’t really get that much airplay. The explosions at the end are a real thunderstorm which occurred when we were in the south of France. We put a tape recorder outside.”

Brian May – On The Record, 1982

This beautiful picture of the band during ‘Jazz’ sessions was taken by Christopher Hopper

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