Path: Queen - Royal Legend - Albums: Barcelona

Albums: Barcelona

The Recording of this album fulfilled Freddie’s great dream. He was pretty proud of his work, he had never even suspected that recording with his opera idol Montserrat Cabale could happen.
 In June of 1986 Freddie mentioned his obsession in opera and certain love in voice of Montserrat for in Spannish TV interview. This statement came to operatic diva and forthcoming meeting was just a case of matter for both managers.
Freddie and Montserrat met at hotel Ritz in Barcelona on March 24,1987. But Freddie didn't come with empty hands. He had written a song right for this occasion - Exercises In Free Love. Montserrat was excited in a minute.

Montserrat: "I walked into the room. Freddie's hands were so cold, and I was very cold too. So I thought, he is nervous too, that is good, because when people are nervous that means they are expecting something from the other one. So, later we stand up from the table and went to the corner of the room to the piano, and he was playing, and I was beginning to see his ideas. We could have gone on for hours and hours and hours. When we finished, we look at each other, and I knew it; that he has conquered me!"

On March 29, Montserrat appeared at London's Cover Garden in front of sell-out audience. Freddie was also there thus he can hear Exercises In Free Love as a special encore Montserrat had promised during his first meeting. This premiere on which Mike Moran played the piano ended in big ovation. After this event a dinner in Freddie's home came. Montserrat asked Freddie, if he wouldn't write a song about her hometown. Mike and Montserrat left his house in 5am after very long night full of ideas, which became a ground for Barcelona and The Fallen Priest songs.

David Richards: "With his dream finally looking like it was coming true, Freddie set to work preparing the music at a frantic pace. Everything had to be absolutely perfect for the day when Montserrat would come into the studio and sing her parts. Freddie had told us of a story where she had once stopped singing in the middle of a concert, announcing, 'I am very sorry, but I cannot continue. This orchestra is out of tune and therefore not adequate. Goodbye'. This made us very keen to get the best sound we could. Freddie insisted on trying out every vocal line and phrase, not only his own parts, but those of Montserrat too, imitating her parts in a very high falsetto voice."

Freddie said he is not confident with his own piano playing to accompany a performer such as Montserrat. He needed piano player able to do the gospel, blues'n'rock and also knowing progressive technology to create the orchestra. Mike Moran later showed himself as the right choice.

World premiere of Barcelona took place at the KuClub in Ibiza on May 30, 1987 during the Ibiza '92 Festival finale. Very warm receiving forced both artists to continue in collaboration, what ended up by Barcelona album.
In October the same year Freddie and Montserrat performed Barcelona, The Golden Boy and How Can I Go On at the LaNit event in front of  Montjuic Castle in Barcelona to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic flag from Korea.

In Spain, the album was released on 21st of September 1987 and promptly sold 10,000 of copies in the first three hours.

In 1992, Barcelona was selected as official Olympic theme and Montserrat sang it with Jose Carreras at the opening ceremony. In 1999, Barcelona was performed live again during the European Cup Final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich. This time Montserrat performed her part in car being slowly driven around the stadium and Freddie responded from the giant video screen.

After recording of Barcelona track Freddie in a car driving home said: "That's it! I've done it! I've got her voice on my music!"

Freddie about the record:
"It's so ridiculous when you think about it; her and me together. But if we have something musically together, it doesn't matter what we look like or where we come from. I just thought, and still thing, that Montserrat is remarkable and has a marvellous voice. I was willing just to go on liking it, never thinking she'd ask me to sing with her. It just snowballed. At first I thought it was only going to be the one track, but then she said 'Let's make an album'. I thought, 'My God, what am I going to do now?' You just don't turn the Super-Diva down. I thought I'd better put my money where my mouth is. I was such a different thing to do. I'm glad I did it. It was totally un-rock'n'roll, and something that really required a lot of discipline."
"I don't know how Queen fans will react to this. I'll soon find out. It's a very hard album to categorise. You can't put it under any label, can you? The worst thing they can call it is 'rock opera' - which is so boring."

Montserrat Cabale:
"Barcelona was an example of the high musical talent of Freddie. He was not only a popular singer, he was a musician, that could sit at the piano and compose. He discovered a new way to bring different music styles together. He is the first and only person to have done this."

Reviews:
Barcelona
Kerrang: It is sensational. Absolutely abnormal and refined.
Sounds: True music lovers will appreciate this album.
NME: Side A miss mind, but side B is true spring, finally something interesting
Record Mirror: It is the most curious talent combination. Freddie seat himself in armchair, while majestic Montserrat is flying around and wildly warbling and trilling. Unseen since Bohemian Rhapsody.

Other verisons:
Barcelona
Single Version (4:26)
It's an edit shorter about 1:10.
Extended Edit (7:05)
Quite a long for this song, it brings nothing new except some instrumental parts.
Edit Version (1:30)
Special edit for the Olympic Games TV broadcasting, very short.
Instrumental Version (4:26)
On 'Instrumentals' disc from  FM Box Set.
Early Version: Freddie's Demo Vocal (4:20)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. Demo version with alternative lyrics and Freddie's falsetto, filling the parts ready for Montserrat.
Freddie's Vocal Slave (4:21)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set.
Later Version: Freddie's Vocal Only (4:25)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. With Freddie's vocals and empty spaces left for Montserrat.

La Japonaise
Instrumental Version (4:46)
On 'Instrumentals' disc from  FM Box Set.
Early Version: Freddie's Demo Vocal (4:40)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. Demo with alternative and improvised lyrics.
A Cappella
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set.

The Fallen Priest
Edit Single Version (2:45)
Original b-side of The Golden Boy single. On 7", this track appears in edited form - down to 2:45 (instead original 5:45)
Instrumental Version (5:49)
On 'Instrumentals' disc from  FM Box Set.

Rachmaninov's Revenge (The Fallen Priest)
Early Version (4:45)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. Another version of The Fallen Priest, without Montserrat and with Freddie's falsetto.
Later Version: Freddie's Demo Vocal (5:50)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. With improvised verses.

Ensueno
Instrumental Version (4:00)
On 'Instrumentals' disc from  FM Box Set.
Montserrat's Live Takes
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. Montserrat together with Mike Moran in the studio.

The Golden Boy
Single Version
This is nothing else than 5 minutes long edit of album version.
Edited Version (5:13)
Found on The Best Of Tim Rice CD. In the beginning of this 5:13 long edit is retained instrumental intro, then comes chorus "And then he said to her"
Instrumental Version (6:05)
On 'Instrumentals' disc from  FM Box Set and on 12" and CD single. This mix has the main vocals edited out, while the backing vocals are still there.
Early Version: Freddie's Demo Vocal (3:50)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. Demo with alternative lyrics and main vocal without gospel.
2nd Early Version: Extract (2:55)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. Demo version with Freddie's hints on Mike Moran piano playing in the beginning, still without Montserrat. The vocals and lyrics are different. Freddie fills space for Montserrat with falsetto vocals.
A Cappella Featuring Gospel Choir (5:11)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. Without instruments.

Guide Me Home
Instrumental Version (2:38)
On 'Instrumentals' disc from  FM Box Set.
Alternative Version (2:54)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. Demo version with alternative lyrics and without Montserrat, again with Freddie's falsetto.

How Can I Go On
Single Version (4:01)
This song is segued with Guide Me Home on the album. For single release it needed to be 'stand-alone' song. Nothing new, the running time stays unchanged.
Instrumental Version (3:58)
On 'Instrumentals' disc from  FM Box Set.
Out-Take: Extract (1:31)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. Development of change from Guide Me Home to How Can I Go On.
Alternative Piano Version (3:44)
On 'The Rarities 2' from FM Box Set. Instrumental demo version with completely different arrangement.

Exercises In Free Love
Version Two, Montrserrat Caballe Vocal
With Montserrat's vocals. She sang this song as a part of her live medley.
Non-Album B-side
B-side to The Great Pretender single. It is a predecessor to Ensueno, without lyrics, just with Freddie's vocal falsetto as a vocal guide for Montserrat.

My opinion:
8/10
However I'm not sort of opera lover, this combination of Freddie's and Motserrat's voices is charming. It was a step to the unknown and Freddie has done it well, he also found new friend.
My favourite songs are La Japonaise, Guide Me Home, The Golden Boy.