25 January 1986 – Queen recorded an outtake, unreleased demo of ‘One Year Of Love’, written by John Deacon.
This romantic, tasteful soul-ballad was for the ‘Highlander’ soundtrack. It was included on Queen’s twelfth studio album, ‘A Kind of Magic’ which immediately went straight to the top of the charts upon its release.
The unreleased demo version of ‘One Year Of Love’ appears on an audio tape sourced by Peter Freestone
As for the track itself, dated January 25, 1986 from The Town House studios, it does differ from the final album version in a few ways. It features a keyboard-driven backing track, without the orchestra. A slight arrangement which includes a lead guitar (more than likely played by John) replacing the saxophone around the 1:43 mark 👉 https://youtu.be/itlzDoLB6JE
Freddie’s vocals sound like they are the same used on the final version (or they are very close to it). The backing track is similar to the album version.
Brian explained in an interview in 1986: “There’s a song called ‘One Year Of Love,’ which John wrote, and that was written around a different romantic interest. It’s about the Highlander as he is in the twentieth century when he’s just about to fall in love again, even though he said he wouldn’t – ha ha!
Oh, it’s a romantic song too..!”
For the final recording of this gorgeous ballad,
John invited a 10-15 head string-section to the Townhouse. Their arrangement is done by Lynton Naiff. With the exception of some fills, they´re actually only playing in the outro.
John also heightened the song’s romantic message by adding a saxophone instead of the usual guitar solo. He collaborated with session musician, Steve Gregory, whom also performed the unforgettable saxophone on George Michael’s 1984 number one hit “Careless Whisper”.
Since the decision was made to substitute the guitar components with the saxophone, Brian doesn’t appear on the final version of the song at all…
This is one of Queen’s most beautiful songs in their catalogue, in my opinion.