Music

Freddie Mercury's Lost Version Of 'Time Waits For No One' Is Absolutely Stunning

The previously-unreleased recording was made at Abby Road months after Queen's iconic Live Aid performance
IMAGE Wikimedia Commons
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Freddie Mercury's legacy continues to grow, even years after his death. On Thursday morning, Universal Music released a song and video for a previously unreleased version of "Time Waits for No One." It's a stripped-down performance of the song with Mercury's vocals accompanied only by a lonely piano. It's beautiful and haunting, especially compared to the theatrical, choir-backed 1986 original track.

As Universal explained in a statement with the release, Mercury's friend and producer Dave Clark made sure this recording was dug out of the vault:

Dave Clark had always remembered that performance of Freddie Mercury at Abbey Road Studios from 1986. The feeling he had during the original rehearsal, experiencing ‘goosebumps,’ hadn’t dissipated over the decades, and he wanted to hear this original recording—just Freddie on vocals and Mike Moran on piano. After much searching through the vaults to find the version without all the backing vocals, he finally retrieved it from his tape archive in the spring of 2018.

As Clark explained to Yahoo! Entertainment, the recording was made months after Live Aid, when Mercury was still "buzzing" from the band's performance. Cutting away the backing vocals, drums, and guitars turns the track into more of a tragic and beautiful ballad. It also hones in on the range and detail of Mercury's voice. The original version sounds like a classic Queen rock opera, building into massive full-band performance. Here, it's just Mercury and the piano.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.ukMinor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Justin Kirkland
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture. Prior to Esquire, his work appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, and USA Today. He is from East Tennessee and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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