QUEEN released their single “Tie Your Mother Down” which was written by Brian May. It is the opening track and second single from their 1976 album A Day at the Races.

On its original release as a single on 4 March 1977, the song reached number 31 on the UK Singles Chart, but more than 20 years later it was released as a double side to “No-One But You (Only the Good Die Young)” where it peaked at No. . 13 on the UK Singles Chart. On the album it is preceded by a one-minute instrumental intro featuring a Shepard tune melody, which is repeated in the ending of “Teo Torriatte”: this was meant to create a “loop” on the album, similar to, for example, Pink Floyd’s albums.

Upon its release in 1976, the song was played by Queen on every tour that followed. At The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert 1992, the song was performed by Queen and guests Joe Elliot and Slash. On several occasions in recent years, Brian May and Roger Taylor have performed the song live with the Foo Fighters, including performances at Queen’s induction ceremony into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and the VH1 Rock Honors in 2006.

Brian May started writing this song in Tenerife, while he was working on his Ph.D. as an astrophysicist. He composed the riff on a Spanish guitar, and got up early and played it singing “tie your mother down,” a line he took as a joke. Freddie Mercury encouraged him to stay afloat. “Tie Your Mother Down” opens with a very heavy and rough guitar riff.

A promotional film was made for the song, directed by Bruce Gowers, based on the video clip of a performance at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York in February 1977 during the band’s US headline tour.

Although the song is a longtime live favorite and US FM rock radio favorite, it has had limited chart success, peaking at #31 in the UK and #49 in the US. Due to this, the song was included on the band’s first Greatest Hits compilation in select markets only; However, it is featured on the Queen Rocks compilation album, along with some of the band’s heaviest songs.

In a BBC Radio 4 tribute program to Rory Gallagher, May stated that the main inspiration for the song came from Taste’s “Morning Sun” from the album On the Boards (1970).

Queen commented on the song: “Well this song is actually a song that Brian actually wrote, I don’t know why. Perhaps he was in a violent mood. I think he tried to beat me after “Death On Two Legs” actually. — Freddie Mercury

“ I’ll tell you the truth, I know what happened. Sometimes you get in a little bit of a bind, and you just say a few words, and then you don’t even think about what they mean. Now I remember thinking, now that’s not a good enough title for this song, but everybody said: ‘Actually, that sounds okay,’ and so we did the lyrics like that. That’s the truth, friends,” Brian May added.

Personnel: Freddie Mercury – lead and backing vocals, Brian May – electric guitar, backing vocals, harmonium (album version only), Roger Taylor – drums, gong, backing vocals, John Deacon – bass guitar

Upon its release in 1976, “Tie Your Mother Down” became the most frequent opening number for the remainder of the band’s long career. At the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert 1992, the song was performed jointly by Queen and guests; Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott and Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash. May sings the first verse and chorus before providing the vocals to Elliot.

On several occasions in recent years, May and Taylor have played the song live with the Foo Fighters, including performances at Queen’s induction ceremony into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, VH1’s Rock Honors 2006, and at the London Hyde Park concert. courtesy of the Foo Fighters for the encore of the show. On 5 September 2011, Jeff Beck performed the song with May and Taylor to celebrate Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday at an event titled ‘Freddie for a Day’ held at the Savoy Hotel in London. [sources/photo special]