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‘Time’/‘Time (Instrumental)’ (1986)

Following the success of Mr Bad Guy, Freddie was keen to expand his horizons. He remained alert to whatever new opportunities might come his way – be they of his own making or, in the case of ‘Time’, when an old friend came knocking.

The Dave Clark Five were the first British Invasion group to follow The Beatles to the US and appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. Their leader, singer-drummer Dave Clark, was a close friend of Freddie’s (and would be with him the day he died). So it was no surprise that, when Clark unveiled his epic and groundbreaking 1986 West End musical, Time, he turned to his pal for a contribution.

The show itself was a mammoth production, starring Cliff Richard and Sir Laurence Olivier. Though Freddie didn’t appear on stage, he sang the title song on the accompanying album, which also featured Stevie Wonder, Julian Lennon, Dionne Warwick and Leo Sayer.

Written by Clark and Jeff Daniels, ‘Time’ isn’t a million miles away from A Kind Of Magic-era Queen, and is perfectly suited to Freddie’s unmistakable vocals. An ambitious, powerful ballad, the song begins with Freddie, accompanied by piano, singing that “Time waits for nobody”, in a message of hope for a future based on brotherhood. Over four minutes, the song builds to a huge climax, with Freddie eventually joined by a rousing finalé of voices before he adopts a gospel style for the ending, reminiscent of elements of ‘Somebody To Love’.

Released hot on the heels of Queen’s ‘A Kind Of Magic’, Time gave Freddie another Top 40 hit in his own right, and, with its theatrical ambition, paved the way for his final solo projects.

Paul McGuinness