Queen – As It Began: The BBC Archives (Godfather GR 225/226)


As It Began:  The BBC Archives (Godfather GR 225/226)

Disc 1:  Keep Yourself Alive, Son And Daughter, Liar, See What A Fool I’ve Been (BBC Session at Langham 1 Studio, London – July 25 1973).  Modern Times Rock And Roll, White Queen, Nevermore (BBC Session Forat Longham 1 Studio, London – April 3 1974).  Now I’m Here, Stone Crazy, Tenement Funster, Flick Of The Wrist (BBC Session at Maida Vale Studio, London – October 16 1974).  Intro:  Procession, Father To Son, Son And Daughter, See What A Fool I’ve Been, Ogre Battle, band introduction, Liar, Jailhouse Rock / Stupid Cupid / Be Bop A Lula / Jailhouse Rock, Big Spender / Bama Lama Bama Lou (BBC In Concert from Golders Green Hippodrome, London – September 13 1973)

Disc 2:  Intro, Father To Son, Ogre Battle, Son And Daughter, Keep Yourself Alive, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Modern Times Rock And Roll, Liar (BBC In Concert from the Rainbow, London – March 31 1974), Spread Your Wings, It’s Late, My Melancholy Blues, We Will Rock You (BBC Session at Maida Vale Studio, London – October 28 1977).  Bonus material:  Keep Yourself Alive, Great King Rat, Jesus, Liar (Queen demo tape, De Lane Lea Studio, London – September 1971)

As It Began is a competent collection of previously release Queen BBC sessions in excellent quality.  Between 1973 and 1977 Queen appeared on BBC radio seven separate times:  three times each with Bob Harris and John Peel, and once on “In Concert.”  Godfather present five of the seven beginning with the July 25, 1973 session for Bob Harris’ “Sounds Of The Seventies.”  Four songs were recorded at this session, scheduled right after the release of their debut album.  Both “Keep Yourself Alive” and “Liar” are instrumentally the same as the studio track but with different vocals, but “Son And Daughter” and “See What A Fool I’ve Been” were both recorded live in the studio.  The former is very interesting since it runs close to twice the length of the studio version and includes the earliest recorded reference to Brian May’s “Brighton Rock” guitar solo. 

The second session in this collection is the Bob Harris “Sounds Of The Seventies” April 3, 1974.  “Modern Times Rock And Roll” is played at a slower pace than the original and includes Roger and Freddie saying “rock and roll” by the end of the song.  “White Queen” is a brand new song and differs slightly from the Queen II version with a gorgeous guitar and piano duet instead of the acoustic guitar solo of the original.  “Nevermore,” another new song from Queen II, is given its only live rendition and this version is heavier with drums and guitars entering before the first verse.  “March Of The Black Queen” was also part of this broadcast but isn’t included since it doesn’t differ from the commercial version. 

The October 16, 1974 Bob Harris’ “Sounds Of The Seventies” session focuses upon Sheer Heart Attack material with four songs and is disappointing.  Queen didn’t bother playing the songs live, but brought in the instrumental tracks and re-recorded vocals over them.  “Tenement Funster” and “Flick Of The Wrist” don’t segue into one another as on the record and contain unique edits.  

The final session on the first disc contains the much released “In Concert” appearance at Golders Green Hippodrome on September 13, 1973.  This was broadcast without the final rock and roll medley.  Several years ago it surfaced and was released on Queen Will Be Crowned:  Live 1973 (Digital Queen Archves Q-005)

Present is the initial comments about “Keep Yourself Alive” not being played this evening.  Before “Son & Daughter” the announcer speaks about Brian May’s special guitar.  Queen’s upcoming tour is discussed before “See What A Fool I’ve Been” (the track is also restored to its proper position), Godfather is louder than the release from several years ago and would count as the second silver release of this complete tape. 

The second disc opens with the March 31, 1974 Rainbow Theater multitrack recording.  This isn’t a BBC “In Concert” recording, nor does it have any relationship to the BBC.  It was recorded for potential use for a live album and has appeared on many different releases.  Godfather uses the pre-LP copy that first surfaced a couple of years ago and was released by Wardour on Majestic Rock, a bonus disc for Dressed To Kill.  Nevertheless it is an amazing quality recording with some surface noise present.

The final BBC material is Queen’s last session, the four songs they played for John Peel’s “Sounds Of The Seventies” on October 28, 1977.  This is right when News Of The World came out and this is perhaps the best session they ever did.  All of the songs are preformed lived in the studio.  “Spread Your Wings” is taken at a faster tempo and speeds up at the end.  “It’s Late” includes a “Get Down, Make Love” interlude in the middle, and they play the fast version of “We Will Rock You,” which counts as the closest we have to an official studio version of the piece.

Two BBC sessions which can be found on other releases are not included on this title, their two appearances on John Peel’s “Sounds Of The Seventies” on February 5 and December 3, 1973.  If these two were included in lieu of the 1974 Rainbow tape, it would have presented all of the radio material in one convenient package. 

Bonus tracks include the initial four song demo Queen recorded at De Lane Lea studios in 1971.  The sound quality is the same as on the Digital Queen Archives release In The Beginnings.   Godfather omit the track “The Night Comes Down” which really didn’t belong with the tape anyway since it was only the studio track tacked on.  As It Began is packaged in the tri-fold cardboard sleeve and makes good use of the early Queen black/white motif.  There are photos of each of the band members inside and is interesting since all four wear heavy make up and mascara, a good photo document of their early glam rock roots! 

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