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, November 26, 1984 – Queen released their first and only holiday song, ‘Thank God It’s Christmas’ / ‘Keep Passing The Open Windows’ / ‘Man On The Prowl’ UK

In 1984, Queen ventured into the world of holiday songs with the standalone single “Thank God It’s Christmas.” But while Freddie Mercury, a powerful vocalist, it was his ability to pull back for that song that guitarist Brian May recalls so vividly.
In telling the story of its creation, May told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show, “Christmas songs are always recorded in the middle of July. You have to, to get them ready in time.”

This was Roger [Taylor]’s composition, mainly, except he didn’t have a chorus,” he said. “So I contributed the chorus and we worked on it together, to cut a long story short. And then, when it was almost finished, we presented it to Freddie, who loved it and did a beautiful vocal. I think it’s just the most understated vocal, and I love it, you know.”

The funny thing is, it doesn’t get that much attention in Britain as a Christmas single, because it doesn’t have a video,” he continued. “Everything’s about video these days and we never made a video for that song. It’s all in your mind. But I’m very fond of it. I think it’s a very different kind of Christmas song.”

But that all changed In 2019, Queen released a touching animated music video for “Thank God It’s Christmas,” depicting a snowy nightime winter scene in a city. Directed and animated by Justin Moon, its concept came directly from Brian May and Roger Taylor.

The video focuses on a nighttime street scene as glittery snow falls across the silent landscape and Mercury sings about the “long hard year” while giving thanks for Christmas. As the camera pans up it peeks into different apartments to reveal how each family is celebrating the season, ending with a group on the roof watching the Northern Lights streak across the sky.

Speaking about his thoughts behind the video Taylor says: “Ironically, Christmas tends to be such a stressful time for so many of us. So many emotions, joyful memories of past Christmas’ as delighted children and responsible adults / parents. It’s just a great relief when it finally happens.”

May adds: “The video goes a little further by including a subtle reminder that we as humans now need to feel a responsibility for the welfare of all creatures on Earth – not just for our own benefit, and that of our grandchildren, but out of respect for the rights of the animals themselves.”

Roger Taylor and Brian May’s composition, “Thank God It’s Christmas,” spent six weeks in the UK charts over the festive period of 1984 and 1985. It made a re-apearance in the charts in 1995 when it was released alongside Freddie Mercury’s “A Winter’s Tale” from the ‘Made In Heaven’ album

Here’s the beautiful clip
https://youtu.be/qw2TD91Nytg

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Queen Live !! November 26, 1979, The band performed at Apollo Theatre in Manchester, England. “Crazy” Tour

This is the first of two nights in Manchester. Because of technical issues with their lighting rig, the show began nearly two hours late.

The band opened with Let Me Entertain You and Tie Your Mother Down on the first night, as they had done at the previous few shows. They switched to the fast We Will Rock You for the second night to shuffle the deck a bit. On this tour, consecutive nights at a venue would never have the same setlist.

An audience recording of this show exists.

It’s a slight coincidence that Queen played in Manchester on November 26th in three different years – 1973, 1975, and 1979.

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I’ll carry on as long as I write music and people want to buy it. That’s important to me, but it’s not the be all and end all. I’m not going to be one of those old hams that keep going and going. I’d rather leave it at the top. I want to carry on doing what I am doing, but there’s a price to pay and I’m quite prepared to pay it. To me, what I do is priority and it’s what I love doing. Music is the thing that keeps me together. It’s like a shield for me – my musical abilities. I can fend off all kinds of things. So it’s like a battle all the time, but I don’t mind as long as I win through. I’ve built a structure, a kind of musical belief in myself, and that keeps me going. This is in my blood. The only thing I can do is to write music and perform, and that’s what I’m going to be doing – I think that’s what all of us are going to be doing, until we die…..

It’s not a question of having to keep doing it, of course – I’ve made a lot of money and I could live beautifully and wonderfully for the rest of my life – but the way I live is that I have to be doing something every day. I have a nervous energy that needs to be doing something. There’s a voice inside me saying, “Slow down, you’ll burn yourself out!” but I can’t stop. I basically write music and I want to keep doing that. I have a lot of songs and I enjoy doing them. You see, it’s come to a stage where before, I felt it was my work, my job, and though it’s still my work now, I don’t have to do it. I feel it’s something I enjoy doing and it’s very interesting. There are still lots of challenges ahead and I’m going to receive them with open arms.

Freddie Mercury

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“it may have been real life, but touring the world with Freddie Mercury felt more like fantasy-

We played our last shows with Fred in 1986, though at the time I never expected them to be our last shows – none of us did. None of us could foresee that he was going to get ill and die so soon. Saying that we missed Fred doesn’t even begin to explain what we felt at the time, and still feel today.

That was especially true when Brian May and I started work on our new album (Made in Heaven), which includes stuff we recorded when Fred was still with us. You can imagine what it was like, listening to him in the studio. Just thinking about it sends shivers down my spine. What a voice!” 💛

Roger Taylor Interview with Danny Scott

This fantastic picture of Freddie Mercury is from Queen’s concert @ Maimarktgelände in Mannheim, Germany 🇩🇪 21 June 1986 “Magic” Tour

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Brian and I were thinking about poverty going on all around the world and that’s why the track “Is This The World We Created” came about. I think for Live Aid we’re actually going to do that as a special thing, right at the end. It’s very odd, but we composed that particular song well before the Live Aid project, but it seems to fit in quite well. It was about the suffering and starvation of children all over the planet, and it matched the situation so well that we decided it was definitely one song we would do. I tell you, when it comes to that duet, this song is an integral part of what’s going on, and the song seems to convey a lot of what the event is about. I think that’s probably going to bring tears to my eyes when we do it. I’ll have to make sure I do it properly. It’s amazing. The first line is, “Just look at all those hungry mouths we have to feed.” I can’t believe it. It’s as if someone actually asked us to write a song for this event, but we had one already. Actually, it was Jim Beach’s idea. Because it was there, all written, and that’s why they’ve given us a special spot. I wouldn’t like to say I wrote all the lyrics, Brian helped, but I remember most of the lyrics of that song are mine, Brian probably did help with a line here and there.

—Freddie in his own words

This song was written as a last minute replacement for “There Must Be More To Life Than This” which had been written in 1981 and intended for the Hot Space album and again for The Works as the album closer. Freddie was reportedly inspired to write this song after viewing a documentary on television about poverty in Africa.

This beautiful song was part of the finale at Live Aid and sure fits our world now.

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐀𝐢𝐝 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞
https://youtu.be/riwDo7_GxjM

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