Albums: Back To The Light
Material for this album was gathered over 5 years. He started in the middle eighteens, but never found enough time to work in it.
'The Dark' is dated to the Flash era.
Another song 'Drive By You', written for Ford company advertising campaign, helped to put Brian directly to the top of his solo career. He had talked to Freddie about this before he died, knowing how ill he was. Brian had wanted to cancel the release. Freddie wouldn't have it, he just said "release it - what better publicity can you have?". It got to number 6.
Many songs from this album have exclusive b-side mixes or edits.
Collaboration with drummer Cozy Powell got right and the absolute flash point was BTTL tour in1993.
Original version of 'I'm Scared' was released only as a b-side of the 'Too Much Love Will Kill You' single, on the album You can find Justin's mix '92
Brian about the record:
"For me, this album was a sort of divide, a crossroads. In the beginning, I wanted to get back to basics and make an album on my own just to see what would happen. Now in the end, I've put out something because I actually do have something to say, and that it's worth saying. Over these five years, my life and feelings underwent a catastrophic change, and the music throughout this record reflects the entire process."
“First, there's total blackness, and then there's light at the end of the tunnel, and points where you see inspiration in someone else's life. If the album is appreciated by people who are into what I'm into, then that will be enough. Everything else will be a bonus."
"The song that begins the album, "The Dark," has a lot of Packs built up like a wall. At the beginning, I'm trying to give the impression of a very frightened child faced with a very impossible wall. So there's a lot of guitars on there. "
About I'm Scared
"I kept doing different versions of that, as I kept finding out that I was scared of more and more things. And I figured that most of us are. We just keep it inside. I think it's good to let all that stuff out sometimes. Do a bit of screaming. "
About Driven By You
"I thought advertising was a dirty word, and I didn't want much to do with it. But these ad guys threw some slogans at me and I thought, "Well, I can do it if I relate it to my own experiences and my own feelings." And the phrase "Driven By You" immediately jumped out as a description of the way I saw the power struggle between two people in a relationship. It just poured out. I wrote a version for me, and I wrote a version for the ad people. And it worked out great. It was a good kick up the backside for me too, because these people work quickly and do high quality work. On English television, the adverts are a lot better than the programming."
"The beginning of Driven By You is just one voice, put throught he Vocalist. I did it live, but it's only one take - great machines!"
About Just One Life
"I wrote that after going to see a memorial concert for an actor, a friend of my lady friend whom I'd never met. I'd never even seen his work, though he was pretty well-known in England. But by the end of the evening, I felt that I knew the guy. I wrote the song around that and realised that it related very closely to the stuff I was searching for in my solo work. So it became another germ which grew into a piece of the album. "
One of the three demos, which Brian played to his friends in 1998 as a preview of first solo albums. Evidenlty similar to the finished version as it has been written in 1980 (8 years is a long time for one song to keep it unfinished).
Back To The Light
On promo CD and 7". Nothing new, shorted down to 4:12.
(From Tonight Show with Jay Leno)
With announcement, a little bit faster and rougher.
On free CD from RCD Magazine, similar to the original except the middle section. Instead of known words from the album another colourful text is heard ("you put fat in the fire, you got s*** for brains..", "Well, f*** you").
B-side of the Resurrection single. This version doesn't segue into Resurrection and ends with fading piano.
It is an 4:30 long edit from the album. Without intro and following 15 seconds of instrumental part before the vocals.
The intro has been edited off, rest of the song seems to be the same as the full album version. The outro is a bit longer (it makes this version 5 minutes long), probably mixed by Hollywood Records.
On Cozy Powell's "The Drums Are Back" album with different name "Ride To Win". All instruments are same as on Brian's version.
Too Much Love Will Kill You
Recorded from US radio, available on the Resurrection single. Very similar to the Brixton Academy version. At the very begining Brian introduces Spike Edney on keyboards.
Live Version (without spoken intro)
The same version as above, but it doesn't contain Brian's introducing.
On CD single and Japan CD album release as a bonus track. Very good guitar work on there.
Piano Version One
Another instrumental version, not officially released. It happened inadvertently (by Hollywood Records) - first few copies of Too Much Love Will Kill You promo CDs have guitar version without guitar layer! They just forgot add it there. Some promos were released begore it being corrected.
Piano Version Two
This is a proper piano version, which Brian recorded while he was still writing the song, maybe as a guide for lyrics. The only one tape containing it was given away by Elizabeth Lamers (she's a co-writer) to a bell-boy at the hotel. The whole thing is quite different to the piano version mentioned above, the vocal intro is missing and doesn't have any guitar.
Sometimes called as "Alternate Take" or "Demo Version". From the same given tape. It has different Brian's vocals, particularly at the beginning and end.
The female voice, which accompanying Brian on this version behoves to Elizabeth Lammers. Vocals are identical to the extended version. Again from the given tape.
Driven By You
Edited Version (CHR Edit, English Edit)
Similar to the album version, 3:37 long mix doesn't have vocals at the end, only final 'Yeah' is heard.
With running time of 3:22, this edit has cutted out some guitar parts.
Only 5 seconds long! Only burst of guitar and "Driven By You" words at full volume.
Nearly identical 4:11 long version to the album song.
CHR Edit Shorter
On US promo CD. Identical to the Edited Version, though with "shorter" sign, this version is longer for about 20 seconds than Edited Version (or CHR Edit).
CHR Edit Shortest
On US promo CD. With running time 3:24, it is variation of Edited Version with final vocals added.
On US promo CD. Remixed by Brian Maye and Brian Malouf. Seems to sound identical, but the drums were mixed slightly stronger. Drums by Cozy Powell, bass by Neil Murray.
Rock Radio Edit
It is an 3:47 long edit of Radio Mix by Brian May a Malouf. It starts with first bang of drums and ends with last guitar chord.
Official release of the Radio Mix. On Too Much Love Will Kill You CD single and as a bonus track on US release of the album
Only 90 second long clip used in the original set of Ford car adverts. It has different vocals and lyrics.
Nothin' But Blue
B-side of the Back To The Light CD single and 7". Great instrumental take. On Cozy's album The Drums Are Back with name "Somewhere In Time".
On the album there is Justin's Mix '92. Probably older version of this song is on b-side of the Too Much Love Will Kill You single. Quite different with no crazy part with many voices telling what are they scared of.
Together with The Dark anf My Boy, probably something between single version and album version.
With running time of 3:07, this is album version edit, which make feel that it starts in the middle of the song (with drums).
Recorded live from UK TV in 1991, from the Richard Digance Show just before the album was released. Similar to tle album version or Brixton Academy version, quite nice take.
Just One Life
On the Driven By You CD single and as a bonus track on Japan release of the album. As good as the others guitar versions.
It's just Brian in the studio - a capella for about five and half minutes. In the beginning he mumbles "for my solo album" (probably Back To The Light). It's unfinished incoherent song.
This album confirmed to me that Brian's quitar is one of the cardinal unit of Queen music. He actualy said that he don't like to see people comparing his solo projects to Queen, but You can find so many known elements on Back To The Light album. The Dark affects very impressionaly and monumentaly, Love token is quite fun, Resurrection - truly jewel, Last Horizon - vocals: Red Special....
Superb in all respects, though Brian's vocal was not on that level we know after Another World album.
I have to say, this album was born after very hard time Brian left behind (he lost his father, then Freddie passed away, his personal life struggled...)