Written by Mercury at the piano, “Somebody to Love” is a soul-searching piece that questions God’s role in a life without love. Through voice layering techniques, Queen was able to create the soulful sound of a 100 voice choir, with that of only three voices; Mercury, Brian May, and Roger Taylor. Deacon did not sing on the album’s track. Mercury’s fascination and admiration for Aretha Franklin was a major influence for the creation of this song.
This is a new documentary focusing entirely on the track, exploring the recording, the video, it’s success and it’s meaning. It features brand new interviews with Brian and Roger, and takes them back to Monmouth Studios in Wales where the track was recorded. It also features some rare excerpts from the 24-track tapes, although many of these feature interviews over the top, or are mixed with other versions.
In a radio special about their 1977 album News of the World, May said he had penned the lyrics thinking of them as ironic and tongue-in-cheek, but their sense was completely changed when Freddie Mercury sang them.
The first version of “Keep Yourself Alive” was recorded in summer 1971 at De Lane Lea Studios. It was produced by Louie Austin and includes the intro played on Brian May’s Hairfred acoustic guitar. All of the song elements were already present, including call-and-response vocals by Freddie Mercury (verses) and during the break, where Roger Taylor sang a line and Mercury answered it. This demo version remains Brian May’s favourite take of the song.