Queen was known for highly-produced, sweeping ballads such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” — but when artist/producer Dave Clark met Freddie Mercury at Abbey Road Studios in 1985, he wanted to hear a different side of the iconic singer.
They were there to record the title track from Mercury’s sci-fi rock musical “Time,” which became a thunderous rock anthem much like the others, peaking at No. 32 on the UK charts. But before they wrapped the session, Clark asked the legendary frontman to try a stripped-down version — just Freddie and a piano.
This bare-bones rendition, which they called “Time Waits for No One,” Clark tells USAToday, “gave me goosebumps.”
The newly released track is a compelling reminder of what pop music was before the era of Auto-Tune.
“It (became) a mega-production, which I was happy with and Freddie loved,” Clark says. “But I didn’t think about what we had originally done until a decade or so later, when I thought, ‘I’ve never felt that sort of goosebumps feeling that I got on that original run-through at Abbey Road with just Freddie and piano.’ ”
For decades “Time Waits for No One” sat in Clark’s archives, until spring 2018 when he decided to unearth the recording and polish it with a fresh piano backing track, performed by the original session pianist Mike Moran. Clark didn’t want the never before heard song to be overshadowed by Queen’s now Oscar-winning biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which premiered in the fall of that year, so he held on to the track until now.
Clark says the songs lyrics still resonate today.
“Freddie just wanted to have fun and live in the moment,” he says. In the studio, “he gave his all. If Freddie didn’t like something, he’d stop and say so. He was very meticulous. That’s why I was surprised we hit it off so well, because everybody said he’d be a nightmare to work with. But Freddie was great. We were both aiming to create something special and it certainly was special.”