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7 June 1977 – ‘Long Away’ bw ‘You And I’ is released in the USA

7 June 1977 – ‘Long Away’ bw ‘You And I’ is released in the USA by Elektra records – Queen’s only released single to date with Brian May on lead vocal throughout the entire song!

Freddie and Roger took on the task of backing vocals duty. This was also the first Queen single released in Freddie’s lifetime that wasn’t sung by him.

Brian was the most ill at ease with stardom of the four band members. He was never comfortable with the trappings of a rock star lifestyle, and strove to balance his domestic and professional lives. Queen’s popularity increased and Brian found himself longing for the days of obscurity. He often channeled his frustrations and insecurities with stardom into a song, but it’s on ‘Long Away’ that he’s able to do so, as he often strove for universality in Queen songs, he composed this track so that his discomfort was masked by introspection, with a well-used astronomical allegory thrown in for good measure.

For the first time (but not the last) time on a Queen recording, Brian’s main guitar of choice wasn’t his trusty Red Special, but was a Burns twelve-string guitar, used to achieve the jangly, Byrds-esque sound. However, a Burns guitar wasn’t really his first choice. “I couldn’t play a Rickenbackers because the necks are too thin. I like a very fat and wide neck. My fingers only work in that situation. I always wanted to play a Rickenbacker, because John Lennon did (Bri admired Lennon). Roger collects extremely fucking rare guitars, and he has a Rickenbacker. But I can’t play it.” Brian May 1998

Brian recently said when a fan paid tribute to this lovely gem, “This song was never a single, much to my chagrin. But it’s nice to see it live on. I’m surprised this song means so much to you guys. Thanks – that means a lot to me.” He then acknowledged and corrected his statement because his beautiful song was released in America 🇺🇸

“Long Away” is a twelve-string thing written by Brian… very interesting harmonies.”
— Freddie Mercury, 1977

“If I’m honest, I think I would like to be remembered for a few of the songs, none of which were really hits, but some of which had a lot of emotion in them: ‘White Queen’ and ‘Let Us Cling Together’ and ‘Long Away’ off the ‘A Day At The Races’ album. And ‘We Will Rock You.’ — Brian May, 1982

The Washington Post described “Long Away” as “an affectionate recreation of the mid-’60s Beatles/Byrds sound,” and one of the best songs on “A Day At The Races” album.

Wesley Strick of Circus magazine, observed this song as “haunting” and “never smart-ass or strickly for laughs, “Long Away” – unlike most of Races – feels real.”

The single was released in the US, Canada and New Zealand but did not chart anywhere, it’s a shame because it really is a wonderful song.

The B-side is John Deacon’s lovely composition, “You and I.”

John had a knack for writing deliberately chart-friendly songs but the best example of his sensibility comes in ‘You And I,’ a superb song. His contribution to ‘A Day At The Races’ is a definite highlight of the album, thanks in large part to the perfect balance between piano, guitars and a tight rhythm section. It’s in the key of D major and is mainly piano-driven and features John on acoustic guitar.

“That was a track by John Deacon, his contribution to this album. His songs are good and are getting better every time actually. I’m getting a bit worried actually.

Freddie sat down with Kenny Everett in November 1976 for an interview, he broke down each song from ‘A Day At The Races.’ He said about ‘You and I’:

“That’s John’s contribution to this album. His songs are good and are getting better every time actually. I’m getting a bit worried actually.”

Kenny Everett: He’s the quiet one.

Freddie: “He’s sort of quiet, lots of people think that. Don’t underestimate him, he’s got a fiery streak underneath all that. I talk so much anyway, he like to let me do all the talking. But once people crack that thin ice, then he’s alright. (You can never stop him talking then).

The track ‘You And I’ is very John Deacon, with more raucous guitars. After I’d done the vocals, John put all these guitars in, and the mood has changed. I think it’s his strongest song to date.” (Freddie to Circus Mag in 1977)

No argument there, and there’s no doubting ‘You And I’ would have been a fabulous single release versus only a B-Side.

Here’s ‘Long Away’ 👇

Here’s ‘You and I’ 👇

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