It was 30 years ago that Queen singer Freddie Mercury died after losing his battle to AIDS. Like the rest of the band, Brian May knew his bandmate’s days were numbered. However, while working on tracks for his debut solo album, the Queen guitarist spontaneously began recording what would become a tribute song to Freddie, just before he died on November 24, 1991.
Brian has released a remastered version of his Back to the Light album and has been discussing the record track by track in a series of official YouTube videos.
The 74-year-old said of Nothin’ But Blue: “Yeah I think Blues is a part of me. This is a bit kind of fancy for blues if you like, but it’s definitely about the Blues.
“Again it came through [drummer] Cozy [Powell]. Cozy had down this track…just the beginnings of a backing track with some nice chords on it.
“And it immediately triggered me. I don’t know what happened but I was thinking about Freddie and singing about him.”
Brian continued: “And at that point when I’m in the studio, at that point doing this, we hadn’t lost Freddie.
“He was in his last days. But I had this feeling that it was about to happen. And it was. Just a couple of days after this Freddie went.
“And I was thinking Nothin’ But Blue was about how’s this going to be? What it’s going to be like? Just talking about my own feelings.”
The Queen guitarist also shared how there’s a hidden quote from one of Freddie’s songs in the track.
Nevertheless, Brian had recorded another version of Too Much Love Will Kill You with Freddie in 1989.
This one ended up being on Queen’s final album, 1995’s Made In Heaven, four years after the singer’s death.
Brian said: “I loved working with Freddie to do that vocal. We were aware that the song was becoming something different, and it meant something different. We were all aware of it. We obviously knew Freddie’s days were probably limited barring a miracle.
“So the song started to feel like something different. And we didn’t shy away from making it very big, very Queen-like. And I like it.”