As outlined in A Love Deluxe, the past year or so has seen me become just a little bit addicted to creating “fantasy” deluxe editions. You take an album, and use whatever extra material is available (B-sides, Single Edits, 12″ Remixes, Demos, Out-takes, non-album 45s) to piece together a multi-disc celebration of it.
Here’s a late entry to the pantheon; a comparatively slimline 3-disc expansion of Queen’s 1984 album The Works. It’s the one with Radio Ga Ga and I Want To Break Free, the one that followed the disco stylings of Hot Space, the one which was still their newest LP when they bounded purposefully onto the Wembley stage on the evening of July 13th 1985 at Live Aid.
Thus far, I have bought The Works three times. Firstly on vinyl in the late summer of 1984, one of my illogical purchases from that period, because it had been out for at least 6 months by then and I’d got almost half the album already (Radio Ga Ga on Now That’s What I Call Music! 2, I Want To Break Free and a pair of other tracks on the 12″ single). Hammer To Fall being released as the fourth and final single seems to have been the trigger for blowing £4.99 of my precious pocket money, or maybe I just took advantage of a lull in exciting new releases to return to it.
My other two copies are on CD, a standard 1990s pressing and a more recent (well, 2011) remaster which, unsurprisingly, is VERY LOUD INDEED.
The original album cover: are you sitting comfortably?
You might think, with four big hit singles and even a special festive 45 – Thank God It’s Christmas – released in 1984, there would be plenty of bonus material to be found in the form of B-sides and Remixes. Um, yes and no. Mainly no!
There were extended versions of Radio Ga Ga and I Want To Break Free included on the 12″ formats, but as yet nobody in charge of these things has deemed them worthy of a digital or CD release. A grand total of one….one (!)… unique B-side comes in the form of I Go Crazy.
The latter, plus a Headbanger’s Mix of Hammer To Fall and the single mix of I Want To Break Free were at least included on the 2-disc “Deluxe Edition” released in 2011 (as part of a 7-track Bonus EP as they called it). Thank God It’s Christmas turned up too. Small mercies, huh.
Most of these were hardly rarities (Greatest Hits II contained the 7″ versions of I Want To Break Free and Hammer To Fall as far back as 1991, Thank God It’s Christmas was on the tidying-up project Greatest Hits III in 1999).
Right chaps, get ready for the performance of your lives…
Although a more than decent success in the UK, debuting at #2 (kept off the top by the Thompson Twins’ Into The Gap) and staying high on the chart for most of the year, the campaign had ended in something of an anticlimax, with the aforementioned festive single stalling at #21 and Freddie injuring himself on the Works tour, causing it to be temporarily suspended. The band were also not part of the Band Aid single that overshadowed everything at the conclusion of 1984.
Nonetheless, when a spin-off concert was announced, Queen were on the bill. Live Aid would prove a pivotal moment in their already-impressive career, and change the way many people would view them in future (revisionism has tended to slightly overstate the impact of those 20 minutes, but not hugely…even on the day, it was generally agreed to be between them and U2 as the most memorable slot of the whole show).
Unlike the majority of participants, who simply turned up as though it were another edition of Top Of The Pops or a standard summer festival gig, Queen approached their allotted time with meticulous planning and military precision (even having a stop-clock running in the studio that they hired in order to fine-tune their act down to the last seconds). Needless to say it paid dividends.
Queen: They will rock you.
So, arguably one of the most crucial performances that Queen ever gave, yet aside from the full 20-minute set appearing as an extra on the Bohemian Rhapsody DVD/Blu-ray, where the hell could you find it on a Queen release? A question which led to the discovery that in 2018, the Band Aid Trust had issued (almost) all of the concert – both Wembley and Philadelphia legs – as a hi-quality download. Despite some omissions (all of Led Zeppelin, some of The Who and The Power Station), Queen were magically (ahem) completely intact! It even had the separate performance of Is This The World We Created? near the finale of the Wembley section – the bit where Paul McCartney’s microphone malfunctioned and an assembled cast signed off with Do They Know It’s Christmas? on a hot July evening.
SOMETHING COULD BE DONE.
Armed with more than 23 minutes of Live Aid material, I set about filling the rest of my fantasy bonus (third) disc of The Works with as many other non-album tracks as I could locate. As mentioned earlier, Queen are not especially generous with B-sides and the like. Even their “Singles Collection” CD boxes (often featuring a dozen or more discs) have only the A-side and B-side of each release. Yep, two tracks on a whole compact disc.
Some acts will gather up all the relevant versions and supplementary stuff on these types of sets. Not Queen. For instance, the box covering It’s A Hard Life (July 1984) to Scandal (October 1989) looked comprehensive, running to 13 separate discs, but totalled a mere 27 tracks, with maybe half a dozen of those being actual B-sides unavailable on the albums (and some of those are little more than instrumental remixes!). Thanks guys.
Undeterred, a reasonable track selection for this extra disc emerged.
01 I WANT TO BREAK FREE SINGLE VERSION 4.18
02 HAMMER TO FALL SINGLE VERSION 3.48
03 I GO CRAZY SINGLE B-SIDE 3.43
04 THANK GOD IT’S CHRISTMAS NON ALBUM A-SIDE 4.21
05 HAMMER TO FALL HEADBANGER’S REMIX
06 LOVE KILLS (THE BALLAD) STUDIO OUT-TAKE 4.13
LIVE AID, WEMBLEY STADIUM 13TH JULY 1985
07 BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY / RADIO GAGA 6.30
08 HAMMER TO FALL 4.09
09 CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE 3.56
10 WE WILL ROCK YOU 1.24
11 WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS 3.37
12 IS THIS THE WORLD WE CREATED? 3.02
The mix of Hammer To Fall seems exclusive on CD to the Deluxe Edition from 2011, while Love Kills (The Ballad) was released many years after the fact on the Forever compilation. Technically it’s a solo Freddie single, but this take was included on a Queen CD, so I will do the same.
And there you have it!
Hi Eric, really enjoying this series. Well done, some really great tracklists and designs. Nice idea to include the Live Aid audio here as it was a remarkable performance.
In terms of the 12″ mixes, the 1992 Box Of Tricks release – https://www.discogs.com/release/957443-Queen-Box-Of-Tricks – does include a CD called the 12″ Collection. All four singles from The Works had extended versions along with Man On The Prowl (three more minutes!) that was on the flip of Thank God It’s Christmas. The CD includes all of these along with Machines (Or Back To Humans) but that was not extended for 12″ release.
It also has a separate listing on Discogs – https://www.discogs.com/release/10700398-Queen-The-12-Collection – as it is occasionally sold separately. I am still on the hunt for an affordable copy.
The extended Radio Ga Ga also turned up on last year’s Now That’s What I Call 12″ 80s – https://www.discogs.com/release/18466378-Various-Now-Thats-What-I-Call-12-80s
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks nlgbbbbth! Ah,I trawled discogs for the Radio Ga Ga in vain, but now (…) I know it exists on CD, I might have to pick that compilation up!
Still cannot fathom why the Singles Collections boxes (all 4 of them) didn’t include all the mixes related to each release. I suppose they were meant to be replicas of the 7″ format.
Those Singles Collections were meant to 7″ replicas but really should have been released as 7″ sets rather than wasting all the space on a CD single. The CD version should have have every mix and B-side (bit like Bananarama). I just remembered that the version of Machines on the 12″ of I Want To Break Free was a special instrumental version and according to Queenpedia, it’s that version which is on the 12″ Collection.
A fantasy singles box is listed on that site – imagine if this became reality – take a look http://queenpedia.com/index.php?title=The_Singles_Collection
Forgot to say Keep On Passing The Open Windows Extended Mix seems MIA on CD. Great version too.
I really like this deluxe version of “The Works” that you have created. It is a shame that Brian May and Roger Taylor say “no” to every archival edition. There were plans for a “Live Killers” and “The Miracle” boxsets. I really would like to see a deluxe version of “The Works”. Maybe also for sentimental reasons, because it was the first album by Queen that I bought.
Maybe you could have included “Rock In Rio” concert. If I am not mistaken this concert was part of “The Works Tour”. I think that this was released on DVD a few years ago.
Queen’s performance at Live Aid was phenomenal. And I remember that British comedians Smith & Jones introduced them. Other great performances were by U2 and Mick Jagger & Tina Turner.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I am absolutely loving the 12″ mix of Radio Ga Ga that has been brought to my attention. I don’t think I ever heard it back in 1984. It makes one of my favourite tracks even better!
I Go Crazy is great fun too, at least Brian and Roger allowed that to go on the 2011 “bonus EP”.
I have never heard the 12″ mix of Radio Ga Ga. I would love to hear it, because it is one of my favorite Queen tracks.
Yes, a DVD with something like Rock In Rio would make this a perfect 4-disc set. I’m much happier with being able to add the excellent Radio Ga Ga 12″ to the tracklisting.
Have now moved on to A Kind Of Magic. A little more revelation, and more available material, with that one!
There is much more material available for “A Kind Of Magic” boxset. There is also a lot of material for a “The Miracle” boxset.
I have recently found on YouTube this channel with unofficial Queen live-shows :
There are several shows from “The Works” tour.