‘It started off so well…’25 January 1980 – ‘Save Me’ / ‘Let Me Entertain You’ (Live) released UK, Canada and Japan. Queen’s 15th single. The tender ballad is from their forthcoming, eighth studio album, ‘The Game’ (six months ahead of its release)
Brian May’s emotive ballad, ‘Save Me’, ends ‘The Game’ beautifully. It dates from Queen’s first foray into the Musicland facility in Munich, Germany.
“We actually wrote very separately in those days. We never really talked about what the songs meant. I think we were quite shy about what we were trying to say in them. We tend to talk about things more now… I wrote ‘Save Me’ – to cut a long story short – I wrote it about a friend, someone who was going through a bad time, and I imagined myself in their shoes, kind of telling the story. Someone whose relationship is totally messed up and how sad that person was.”
Brian succumbed to modern tech and added the synths, acoustic and electric guitars and the backing vocals to a powerful ballad beautifully interpreted by Freddie in the key of G major. Yet Brian was no Luddite and would soon concur:
“That was when we started trying to get outside what was normal for us. Plus we had a new engineer in Mack and a new environment in Munich.
Everything was different. We turned our whole studio technique around in a sense because Mack had come from a different background from us. We thought there was only one way of doing things, like doing a backing track: We would just do it until we got it right. If there were some bits where it speeded up or slowed down, then we would do it again until it was right. We had done some of our old backing tracks so many times; they were too stiff. Mack’s first contribution was to say, “Well you don’t have to do that. I can drop the whole thing in. If it breaks down after half a minute, then we can edit in and carry on if you just play along with the tempo.”
The song was performed live from 1979 to 1982. When live the song features a short piano entrance absent from the studio version.
It spent six weeks on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 11!
A video for ‘Save Me’ was made at Alexandra Palace, 22 December 1979 during the day, while Queen would perform a historic show in the same venue that evening. The video would be also be the last to feature Freddie without a moustache as he would sport it starting with the next video for “Play the Game.” (May 1980)
The B-side is Freddie Mercury’s ‘Let me Entertain You (Live)’ taken from Queen’s ‘Live Killers’ album.
By 1978, Freddie had transformed himself from a flamboyant yet mild-mannered vocalist into a defiant, outspoken singer of songs and lover of life. Above all, though, he was an entertainer, a salesman hell-bent on giving the audience its full concert experience by whatever means. Never before had Freddie’s attitude towards his ‘job’ been more perfectly documented then on this track. It’s a bawdy slice of good-natured rock ‘n’ roll written as a deliberate hard sell to audiences worldwide.
Borrowing its title from a song written by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim in ‘Gypsy’: A Musical Fable, ‘Let Me Entertain You’ finds Freddie ramping up the audience participation he had perfected on the 1977/1978 ‘News of The World’ tour. It became a live fan favourite between the latter of 1978 thru 1981.
Having got out of the 1970s intact, Queen were now , definitely – Rock Royalty. ‘The Game’ would go on to top the UK and US charts and would sell an estimated twelve million copies worldwide. Bring on the 80s….💛
The picture is from Queen’s iconic concert ‘Queen Rock Montreal’ November 1981
Here’s the amazing live clip from Montreal 81 (the best live version of this beautiful song)