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Hot Space (1982) - Queen - All about the album ...

About how the album "Hot Space" was created...

History of the album "Hot Space" (1982) by Queen

"Hot Space" is the title of the 10th studio album by the English band Queen. It was published in the spring of 1982 by EMI on the European continent and by Elektra in the States. This edition marks a change in the band's creative orientation - closer to disco rhythms, popular music, R&B.

A glimpse into history

The 18-month interval that followed between the release of "The Game" (1980) and "Hot Space" (1982) turned out to be the most striking and creatively successful for the band members: worldwide recognition of the album "The Game", two lead singles - parades, a tour of the South American continent - for the first time allowed the musicians to learn about the many loyal fans who came to their live concerts. And the performers could never forget this warm welcome: many years later they still returned in their interviews and memoirs to this bright time for all.

Cover and vinyl record of the album "The Game"
Cover and vinyl record of the album “The Game”

The profit was very solid, so Mercury was able to purchase a 28-room cottage in the most prestigious London area - Kensington. The cost of the house was more than 500 thousand pounds! Both alteration and furnishing with Japanese antiques required a lot of expenses, although the move became possible only 4 years after the purchase.

Mercury explained the situation this way: “Everyone who earns a lot of money spends it on a dream, and this house has become my dream. As soon as I saw richly furnished houses in Hollywood pictures, I wanted the same for myself, and it came true. But it's much more important to me to get it than to actually settle there. Lost all the charm of the call. This often happens to me: the fulfillment of a desire discourages all interest. I still like the house, but the most important thing is that I was able to do it. On sleepless nights, I think that in my 50s I will crawl there as a last refuge - and only then will I start living there. And now I still live in England for a maximum of 2 months - because of taxes.

Recording process

Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland during the recording of Hot Space, 1982. Photo: Peter Hince

After moving and touring, the stars did not really want to sit in the studio again - the air of wandering was intoxicating. But it was necessary to record a new album. Sessions began in the summer of 1981. Once again, the musicians found themselves on the record with raw material. It was the studio "Mountain" ("Mountain"), located in the Swiss Montreux. The performers already knew the studio - Jazz was recorded there in 1978.

The surprise for the team was a sudden tandem with David Bowie. As the musician later recalled, he looked at them, after which the traditional jam began, which gave impetus to the creation of the song. Everyone liked the motive, and it was brought to the end. It looked like inspiration.

In the fall of 1981, recording was required to stop for a while: a Mexican tour began, then the group flew to Montreal and recorded the first video concert “We Will Rock You” (released on VHS tapes in 1984) there. And only by the New Year it became possible to return to the recording of the album again, already in the studio of Munich (Giorgio Moroder "Musicland"). Although the holiday time could not but affect the dynamics of the record. First, Freddie went on a spree, then the rest could not resist the beauties of midnight Munich. And even the righteous Brian May did not remain indifferent to temptations. The Queens do not really like to remember those months, considering them not the best time.

Album idea and composition description

Freddie Mercury at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, during the recording of Hot Space, 1982. Photo: Peter Hince
Freddie Mercury at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, during the recording of Hot Space, 1982. Photo: Peter Hince

The idea for "Hot Space" was inspired by the success of "Another One Bites the Dust" from The Game. Barely perceptible funk overlaps with hard rock. It was decided to go even deeper - closer to pop dynamic rhythms. Until the end of the 70s, every release of the group's albums was marked: "No synthesizers". It all started with the fact that the media began to publish accusations of excessive use of synthesizers, although critics for the sound of this instrument simply accepted the overdubs of many guitar variations of Brian May.

But the synthesizer was still there. It first appeared in "The Game" (1980), using "Oberheim OB-X" (compositions "Play the Game" and "Save Me"). The band moved away from 1970s rock and the new album featured funk, funk rock, disco and R&B styles. Rock sounds were replaced by popular ones, not so hard. Subsequently, Taylor and May regretted such a reorientation and harshly condemned Paul Prenter, who in the early 80s acted as Mercury's personal administrator and tangibly influenced him with his predilection for the pop direction.

Staying power

The first composition - "Staying Power" (Stamina) - is unique in the work of the Queens, the arrangement of which is made by wind instruments. It was created by an American, a Turk by origin, Arif Mardin, who is known for his collaboration with Aretha Franklin, "Bee Gees" and others. -major. Mercury created the bass lines with the keys of the Roland Jupiter 8, which is why John Deacon plays the part on a Fender Telecaster. Roger Taylor gave direction to all the drums in the drum machine. And only Brian May remained in his place, playing his own "Red Special".

dancer

The bass section on "Dancer" was created by Brian May on a good old Oberheim OB-X. Disco and rock are mixed here, the theme started in the "Dragon Attack" from the album "Game" continues a little more freely. At the end, someone on the phone in German pronounces the phrase: “Good morning! It's an alarm clock." This recording is from a hotel in Munich where the music sessions were taking place at the time.

back chat

"Back Chat" (Disputes) is a composition by bassist John Deacon, a unique member of the band who grew up not on rock, but on the musical direction of soul. With the beginning of the arrangement, he generally sought to remove all signs of rock in order to leave a clean fragment of black music. But the rest didn't approve of this idea, and after a heated debate, it was decided to introduce a guitar solo, with slight variations that make the funk a little sharper.

body language

Created by Freddie "Body Language" (Body Language) - another original composition of the group. There is no guitar at all: weak, background chords and subtle sounds in the finale. The minimalist style is based on an Oberheim OB-X synthesizer bass riff and sexual fantasy-inducing phrases with distinctly audible sighs. The video for the composition complements the sound with the view of half-naked bodies. Freddie steps over them - in his usual form, without outrageous, in a leather jacket, and, not paying attention to the attractive poses of naked girls, sings pitifully, looking point blank at the camera: "Give yourself to me." Naturally, the video was banned, it was not broadcast on a number of channels.

Action This Day

"Action This Day" is one of Roger Taylor's compositions, and he does not drum it, but programs it on a drum machine. The very idea and chorus refer to Churchill's statement "Act today" - he wrote it on colorful sheets and pasted it on the most valuable and urgent papers. The saxophone-like solo in the middle was performed on Oberheim by Musicland's producer and sound engineer known as Mack.

Put out the fire

"Put Out the Fire" is a song by Brian May that protests against firearms and is close to the theme of the next song, about Lennon. She alone sounds traditional, in the manner of the "Queen" of the 70s. It was difficult for May to record the right solo part in this place. The team went on a binge at that time, the recording went on after heavy drinking, with a long and tedious fuss with all sorts of special effects, and suddenly May turned on a loud echo. I liked it, they attached it to the guitar, and the result was amazing sound reflections that drown out the playing itself.

Life Is Real (Song for Lennon)

"Life Is Real (Song for Lennon)" is a song addressed to the murdered Lennon. The percussive upper phono keys at the beginning refer to the famous musician's song "Just Like Starting Over" from his lifetime album "Double Fantasy", in which the ringing of bells is heard. The idea of the "reality of life" is associated with Lennon's "love is real" in "Love" (1970). The composition, created on the basis of the phono, copies the style of Lennon, who performed some of his songs not with guitar accompaniment, but with the piano. That rare case in the creative history of the Queens, when a song was created not from music, but from lyrics.

Calling All Girls

"Calling All Girls" (Call all the girls) is the second composition of drummer Taylor: he enthusiastically performs the guitar part, "starting" the instrument from the combo. A single was released and a video was shot, where the science fiction picture of George Lucas "THX 1138" is shown as a parody. Taylor and May were very outraged by the clip, and Taylor especially. They claimed the song wasn't about "fucking robots" at all. Although there are definitely robots in the clip, although the fuck is not visible at all.

Las Palabras de Amor

"Las Palabras de Amor" (Words of Love) is a composition by Brian May with a Spanish title as a sign of reverence for Latin American fans. It can be interpreted as a reference to the Falklands War that broke out at the time of the release of the album.

The author explained:

“The Queen period of minimalism is interesting to some, not to others. But this song is precisely minimalistic, and there is romance here. I played the keyboard part, and a number of ideas arose, rather, on the keys. This song is light, with such a mood.

cool cat

"Cool Cat" (Great dude) is the fruit of the co-creation of Mercury and Deacon, and the second here performs all the parts on the instruments. During the recording of the song, David Bowie joined the group, and he was asked to sing the second part of the solo. But in the end, he did not like his part, so this track was planned to be eliminated. However, despite this, the recording with Bowie's backing vocals for some reason ended up on the pilot copy of the American edition of the album, from where it quickly spread to bootlegs. It's an interesting experience. Bowie just says “Bam-bam-bam-bam” in the background, very obediently and diligently. Sometimes you can hear his whole phrases repeated after Freddie, which is very reminiscent of rap.

under pressure

«Under Pressure» (Under pressure) - the main hit of the publication, placed in the very final. He was born after the sudden co-creation of two of the most prominent musical phenomena of British rock - "Queen" and David Bowie.

The first experience was the composition "Feel Like" (Do not mind), and she was born in agony for a long time. Bowie, who had been friends with Mercury and Taylor for many years, found himself at Mountain Studios in Montreux after learning that Queen was recording there. It often happens that performers start a jam. The basis was "Feel Like", but nothing worked. But something else appeared, and Bowie created a text to this motive. The song was predominantly worked on by Mercury and Bowie, although the authorship was credited to everyone present in the studio.

As Freddie later recalled: “Everything turned out unexpectedly. Bowie and some friends suddenly dropped in on us during the recording... We jammed a bit on our songs and his songs... then we had a drink and the idea was to try something completely new. And so the composition was born. I remember David saying in the middle of the game, “Oh God! It seems to be what you need! Something important suddenly emerged from the joke. Decided to make a record in hot pursuit until they dispersed. The next day was almost a daily continuous session.

It is still not clear whose idea was the legendary bass move that determined the sound of the whole composition. Bassist John Deacon credited Bowie as the author, May and Taylor claim that Deacon created the riff. And Bowie writes that the riff already existed when he was accepted into the collaboration. Who exactly became the author remains unknown to this day.

The composition "Under Pressure" says that each of us is subject to the pressure of a common civilization and only love can free a person. The variation, published by the forty-five, turned out to be an absolute hit in England, Holland and Argentina, and in other countries took positions in the Top 10. In the US, she was given the 29th position.

Album release

"Hot Space" was published in May 1982, and the attitude towards it was immediately ambiguous. Old fans were not particularly satisfied with the departure from hard rock and the devaluation of their musical preferences. But, if we talk about the level of sales, the album was approved by a wide audience, and it turned out to be a leader in a number of countries, took 4th position in the UK, only in the States - 22nd Billboard position.

Cover of Queen Hot space Tour 1982
Cover of Queen Hot space Tour 1982

Michael Jackson, who was once a friend of the Queens, said that Hot Space was a big influence on his Thriller.

Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury, 1981
Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury, 1981

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