Freddie Mercury's Lost Version Of 'Time Waits For No One' Is Absolutely Stunning
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.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.