Brighton Rock


Score: 22
Played: 81


Sheer Heart Attack

Released: 24 Feb 2009


Brian May wrote "Brighton Rock" in 1973 with the intention of the song being included on Queen II, but as Queen was unable to record the song for their second album, it was included on their third album Sheer Heart Attack. The title is something of a pun: Brighton rock is a long, cylindrical sugar candy traditional to that seaside resort. The term was also iconic in UK pop culture as the title of a dark Graham Greene thriller/noir novel later adapted into a successful film starring Richard Attenborough as a teenage sociopath. The song tells the story of two young lovers meeting in Brighton on a public holiday. Jenny cannot linger because she is afraid her mother will find out "how I spent my holiday", but afterwards "writes a letter every day"; Jimmy, eager on the day, is not so happy with her "nothing can my love erase": now he is the one afraid of discovery by "my lady". The song was originally intended to be a duet but Freddie Mercury ended up doing both female and male parts of the vocals. The guitar solo was ranked number 41 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Guitar Solos". A brief whistled snatch of I Do Like To be Beside the Seaside appears over the noise that opens this track, the first on the album. This mirrors its previous appearance as the playout of Seven Seas of Rhye, the final track on their previous album. The song is probably best-known for its lengthy guitar solo interlude. This featured May's technique of using multiple echoes used to build up guitar harmony and contrapuntal melodic lines. The studio version only contains one "main" guitar and one "echoed" guitar for a short section, but live, he would usually split his guitar signal into "main" and two "echoed", with each going to a separate bank of amplifiers. Variations of this solo often featured during live Queen concerts, either as part of a rendition of Brighton Rock, a medley of it with some other songs (as witnessed on the News of the World tour where it segued after Freddie Mercury's multiple echoed vocal solo at the end of White Man, and Brian May's solo would segue into "The Prophet's Song" or "Now I'm Here"), or on its own as a guitar solo. Originally the solo was part of the song "Blag", from May and Roger Taylor's previous band Smile. May would then play it live in the Queen song "Son and Daughter", and this arrangement also appeared on a session for the BBC in late 1973. Later, the first half of "Brighton Rock" segued, via the guitar solo, to the closing section of "Son and Daughter", and as of the 1977 A Day at the Races tour was eventually played as a track in its own right until 1979. However, during the News of the World tour of 1977 and 1978, a shortened version of the song was played without the lengthy guitar solo during the beginning of the concert. Proof of that can be heard on bootlegs from the tour. In the late seventies, the guitar solo was adapted to include some bass and drums, including a timpani solo by drummer Roger Taylor (from October, 1978 to November, 1981). In 1980 and 1981, the solo was included as a medley with Keep Yourself Alive, before becoming a performance in its own right. During the recent tour of Queen + Paul Rodgers, a modified version, incorporating bits of "Chinese Torture" (from the album The Miracle) and the introduction from "Now I'm Here" was featured in the concerts. The live piece is often between nine to sixteen minutes long.


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[Verse 1] Happy little day, Jimmy went away Met his little Jenny on a public holiday A happy pair they made So decorously laid 'Neath the gay illuminations All along the promenade [Bridge] "It's so good to know There's still a little magic in the air I'll weave my spell" [Verse 2] "Jenny will you stay, tarry with me pray Nothing 'ere need come between us Tell me love, what do you say?" "Oh no, I must away To my Mum in disarray If my mother should discover How I spent my holiday" [Bridge] "It would be of small avail To talk of magic in the air I'll say farewell" [Chorus] Oh, Rock of Ages Do not crumble, love is breathing still Oh, Lady Moon, shine down A little people magic if you will [Instrumental break 1:36-4:34] [Guitar Solo] [Verse 3] Jenny pines away Writes a letter everyday We must ever be together Nothing can my love erase Oh no I'm compromised I must apologize If my lady should discover How I spent my holidays