News Of The World
We Will Rock You
Video Version (Fast Version)
On "Greatest Flix" there are two videos to this song. One uses the album version of the song, the other features the "fast" live version. This is very similar to the version on "Live Killers", but shorter at 2:25. Not especially interesting, just official! And it seems to start with a bit of the "intro" from "A Day At The Races" as well. This would have been played as a backing tape until the group started their stage performance, opening with "We Will Rock You". The sleeve says its from Nassau 1977, although that could just refer to the video footage and not the soundtrack. If you've not heard the "fast" version, you're still in for a treat though, as its completely different to the original album version.
BBC Radio Take, 1977
From the famous 1977 BBC session, which also included "Spread Your Wings", "My Melancholy Blues" and "It's Late". Starting off with the standard "slow version", this has a break in the middle for a brief reading from Siddartha (by Herman Hesse) before launching into a superb "fast version". Much better than any other "live" version, this is probably the definitive take. Roger's backing vocals are more noticeable than usual too. An absolute must, so its just as well its been very heavily bootlegged, although most bootlegs describe it as a live track (and it often has a crowd cheering dubbed over it). This is partly explained by the fact that when the "King Biscuit Flower Hour" radio series in the US wanted to broadcast a Queen concert, they had no real concert to broadcast. So they dubbed crowd noises over some BBC radio sessions instead, and broadcast that! Found on just about every other Queen bootleg, including "Rarities 1973-1977", "Rhapsody In Red", "Tribute" and even "Rock In Japan".
Live Version (Slow), Live Aid 1985
One of their most famous performances, and one of the best slow live versions of "We Will Rock You". The pounding drums at the start are accompanied by some very powerful guitarwork from Brian, making it sound even heavier than the more familiar live "fast" version. Very different, and again much better than the original album mix. Available on the official "Rare Live" video, and a great many bootlegs of varying quality.
Hardcore Mix / Jungle Mix
Both these mixes are on the same Italian (I think) 12". I haven't got this myself, but I think I can guess what it sounds like from the title. Apparently quite recent.
Also known as the "Rock Mix '92", and the "Hip Hop House Mix" on bootlegs. With a running time of 4:45 (and not 5:30 as it claims) this is about the best of the many unofficial dance remixes. Includes samples from "Bohemian Rhapsody" as well. Far superior to the Rick Rubin remix from Hollywood Records. On the bootleg CD "Mix-Up:A Tribute To Freddie Mercury". The original vinyl version is a DJ-only promo 12" (the "August 81 Mixes"), which also includes mixes of tracks by other artists (incl. Madonna and Talk Talk). Time 4:45
Music Factory Mastermix
Also known as the "MFM Mix", this is another unofficial remix. On a DJ-only compilation album, featuring mixes of other artists too. Has a really heavy bass, that is so low its almost inaudible, and seems slightly slower than the other mixes. If you like this sort of remix, then this is worth seeking out. Time 5:55
Rick Rubin Remix
The bonus track on the US remastered "News Of The World" CD, also available as a US 5-track CD single (not to mention appearing on various US promos) and a B-side to "No-One But You". Not a favourite of many people, both the Dakeyne Mix and the MFM Mix are infinitely better than this one. A dance mix, at 4:47, at least the second half of it's not too bad, featuring some sampled guitar from Brian and some nice heavy bass. Listen before you buy though, as you'll probably be disappointed. In all, Rick Rubin was responsible for seven different mixes of this track; the other six are described below, but are all derived from this original mix. Features Chad and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who should have known better.
An apt description, this is a remix of Rick Rubin's original, found on a 12" promo (as are all the Rubin mixes) and the 5-track US CD single. Only about two minutes long, this cuts out just when the original gets going, which is a bit of a shame. Rather pointless.
Big Beat A Capella
Another remix by Rick Rubin, taken from the CD single. If you didn't like the original, it's fair to say you won't like these. No vocals this time either.
Zulu Scratch A Capella
At least this version (which has the vocals but very little backing) is over quickly. On the CD single and 12", and exceptionally pointless. Time 1:25
Effects A Capella
On the 12" promo only. While this is again different to the other mixes, they do all sound the same by about mix number five or six, and unless you really, really love the original, you won't find these very interesting. Or even listenable.
An instrumental that includes the vocals? 12" only.
Clap A Capella
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse. 12" only.
"The Eye" Version
From "The Eye" computer game. Disc 1, track 10. Also known as the "Commentary Version". This is a live version (the slow version with the really powerful guitar intro, sounding awfully like the "Live At Wembley '86" version). It stops before the vocal begins, although there is a crowd cheering dubbed over it. Throughout is the voice of a character from the game, annoucing that the player is about to enter the arena to do battle. Surprisingly effective, and streets ahead of the Rick Rubin mixes. Time 0:58
We Are The Champions
Rick Rubin Mix
On the same CD single and 12" promo as the "We Will Rock You" mixes, and even worse. A few samples crudely dubbed onto the original, stretching it to a length of 3:29, although it feels longer. Absolutely abysmal. Time 3:29
I'm afraid all I know about this is it's title, and that it's a dance mix. Past experience says "approach with caution". I was offered it once, and haven't seen it since.
Featuring George Bush
A collaboration more bizarre than Nick Cave and Kylie, the origins of this one stem from the US marine corps. To celebrate the Gulf War victory, the US military commisioned a special CD in 1992. Bits of George Bush's "Gulf War Victory Speech" were dubbed over "We Are The Champions", and the disc sent out to troops who had served in the Gulf, as a commemorative gesture. In a plain white paper sleeve, this one track disc is getting quite hard to find now.
There are actually two versions of the video to this song, and the one not found on "Greatest Flix" has a slightly different soundtrack as well. Most recently spotted on "Top Of The Pops" repeats on UK Gold, there is a video to this that has the crowd clapping and singing along in the chorus, and they can be heard even more clearly as the song fades out (similar to the "Friends Will Be Friends" video). There is also some different guitar from Brian. Now surprisingly rare.
Brazil-only Official Live Version
On the Brazil-only mini-album "Thank God Its Christmas", from 1985. Included as it is an official release, not because it is particularly noteworthy (live versions of this are hardly a rarity). I confess I haven't actually got this though, so if someone out there who has thinks it is any different to the many other live versions, let me know.
Spread Your Wings
BBC Radio Take, 1977
Superior to the album version, this take has a different ending to normal, getting ever faster towards the end. Very good indeed, this energetic take is the second track from their seminal 1977 BBC session. Found on the same bootlegs as "We Will Rock You" and the rest of the session, and again some versions of this include a crowd cheering at the start and end.
The video to this song features an edit, being only 3:55 long instead of the usual 4:32. Found on the official "Greatest Flix" video.
Fight From The Inside
"The Eye" Version
From "The Eye" computer game. Disc 1, track 5. A full instrumental mix of the album version. Nothing is obviously changed, but the sound has clearly been altered to give the track a much cleaner and sharper feel. The result is a mixed blessing in my opinion. Though you can now hear every slide and fill perfectly, personally I think the dirty guitars and general rough edges were what made the song so appealing. Still recommended listening though, and John Deacon’s bass playing shines. Time 3:03
Get Down, Make Love
"The Eye" Version
From "The Eye" computer game. Disc 2, track 8. A full instrumental mix, unless you count the screams in the "harmonised" middle section. The instruments sound clearer than usual, as with the "Fight From The Inside" mix, but here it definitely works in the song’s favour. The middle section has been remixed, with Freddie’s vocal acrobatics much reduced. Time 3:49
Who Needs You
As if. Some bright spark realised Freddie's voice only comes out the one speaker, and so just recorded the other channel in mono. While Freddie's voice doesn't completely disappear, it is very faint. You can hear this for yourself if you alter your speaker balance control. On several bootlegs, and actually quite nice, but hardly a demo (or even an instrumental, really). Just alter your speaker balance to hear this one.
BBC Radio Take, 1977
From their last BBC session, and usually found on the same bootlegs as the other BBC tracks. This features the "weird" part of "Get Down, Make Love" in the middle (cutting out Brian's solo), as a sort of medley. Very distinctive, but I prefer the album version. The whole of this session really does deserve a proper CD release though.
Live Version, Unknown Origin
On the "Opera Omnia" bootleg. Unlike the BBC take, which goes into "Get Down, Make Love", this version is a full live take of the album mix. Brian's guitar makes it distinctive though, as the solo is different, and I think a touch longer too. The rest of the song is quite similar to the album take, and its only Brian's contributions that really justify including this here. Well, that and the general rarity of complete versions of this track!
The mammoth 6:27 album version was trimmed by nearly three minutes for release as a single. On 7" in the US and Japan, this edit is actually quite listenable and the song doesn't really suffer. Definitely one of the more successful edits, and a nice sleeve too, though the loss of some of Brian's finest guitar is a bit much for some. But still infinitely preferable to some edits, such as "Liar". Time 3:49
Hollywood Records Error Version
On early copies of the US remastered "News..." CD, the version of "It's Late" was missing the first few chords due to a mastering error. This appears to have been corrected now. Whether it counts as an edit or not is debatable, and its certainly not worth seeking out.
"The Eye" Version
From "The Eye" computer game. Disc 2, track 13. A straight extract, including vocals, from the album version. Has a good faded-in flanged intro, and goes from the second verse to the chorus. A nice taster, nothing more. But wouldn’t this have made a wonderful instrumental?! Time 1:08
My Melancholy Blues
BBC Radio Take, 1977
Has a slightly different vocal from Freddie, and ends with a laugh that I'm told "sends shivers down the spine". Throughout, Freddie is accompanied by Brian on guitar (notably absent on the album take) and the result is a superb version that is actually far superior to the album mix. In fact this applies to all the tracks from this session (except perhaps "It's Late"), making it essential listening for any fan. On the same bootlegs as the rest of the session.
Live Version, Houston 1977
B-side to "The Miracle", on CD single and 12" only. Issued to promote the "Rare Live" video, where it can also be found. Nice to have on CD, but its a pity they couldn't find something more interesting (like the above radio session even).