[ ]   [ ]   [ ]                        [ ]      [ ]   [ ]
Queen — '39
Album: A Night At The Opera
Avg rating:
7.5

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1365









Released: 1975
Length: 3:29
Plays (last 30 days): 2
In the year of '39 assembled here the Volunteers
In the days when lands were few
Here the ship sailed out into the blue and sunny morn
The sweetest sight ever seen.

And the night followed day
And the story tellers say
That the score brave souls inside
For many a lonely day sailed across the milky seas
Never looked back, never feared, never cried.

Don't you hear my call though you're many years away
Don't you hear me calling you
Write your letters in the sand
For the day I take your hand
In the land that our grandchildren knew.

In the year of '39 came a ship in from the blue
The volunteers came home that day
And they bring good news of a world so newly born
Though their hearts so heavily weigh

For the earth is old and grey, little darling we'll away
But my love this cannot be
For so many years have gone though I'm older but a year
Your mother's eyes from your eyes cry to me.

Don't you hear my call though you're many years away
Don't you hear me calling you
Write your letters in the sand
For the day I take your hand
In the land that our grandchildren knew.

Don't you hear my call though you're many years away
Don't you hear me calling you
All your letters in the sand cannot heal me like your hand

For my life
Still ahead
Pity Me.
Comments (110)add comment
 gmsingh123 wrote:

In the 70s when "News of the World" came out this song got a lot of airplay.  It seems like we now look at Queen like a "one hit wonder" instead of a thirty hit wonder.  Interestingly, when I saw Queen in concert when this album came out Freddie did the vocals.  Word had it that Brian was too shy to sing in front of an audience.
 
Most of the time, anyway. But there's a capture of May singing it live effortlessly.... and playing pretty much every single note of this insanely complex and beautiful guitar part. By himself. On a single guitar. I couldn't quite believe it the first time. 
Just love this song, from one of the first albums I ever bought. I think Freddie Mercury described this song as a throwaway or filler, as it definitely has a different sound than the rest of the material on the album. Thank you, Dr. May.
Cheers!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWgApS...
Best song ever about Special Relativity!
Definitely works better with Brian singing it. And choirboy Rog of course.
 pcicatar wrote:
It's my favorite Brian May song about interstellar space flight!  
 
george harrison?
It's my favorite Brian May song about interstellar space flight!  
 marysclark wrote:
sounds like Peter, Paul and Mary  : (
 
More Kingston Trio
A floor stomper for astrophysicists.   
There are so much "unknown" queen's hits you could air which would amazed ears instantly.
 MassivRuss wrote:
You can have Bohemian Rhapsody or Killer Queen, but this may be my favorite Queen song.
 

a poll at a webcomic asked what was ones favorite Queen song, and had a selection. 
The forum was filled with other songs , and '39 was brought up.
sounds like Peter, Paul and Mary  : (
Don't you hear me calling you...
 Steely_D wrote:
My astrophysicist college roomie is friends with Brian May (yeah, I know) and he appreciates that Bill accurately describes this tune as about time dilation.
 
Time is a malleable thing. It can be replayed over and over and visited upon, if only we had a device to actuate the movement. ........ I think Uncle Rico was looking for something just like that ......to go take state  
A sad and beautiful journey. 
My astrophysicist college roomie is friends with Brian May (yeah, I know) and he appreciates that Bill accurately describes this tune as about time dilation.
So these are not the Bay City Rollers?
 drjimmy wrote:
This is certainly not the original version off A Night at the Opera. In any case, I still like it.
 
Huh? This is certainly, specifically, the version from A Night At The Opera. Why do you think it isn't?
You can have Bohemian Rhapsody or Killer Queen, but this may be my favorite Queen song.
 norbertZ wrote:
 AhhtheMusic wrote:
Damn it!  After seeing Bohemian Rhapsody I don't think I could pick anything less than a 10 for any Queen tune forever more.  What an amazing story!!!  Each and every one of the guys in the band will have my undying allegiance..and Freddy (Farrokh Bulsara) rest his beautiful soul!

'39 is one of their greatest songs. It's one of my all time favourites together with Bohemian Rhapsody and Somebody to Love.

 Yep. Unbelievable that our rock stations completely overlooked this gem.

 AhhtheMusic wrote:
Damn it!  After seeing Bohemian Rhapsody I don't think I could pick anything less than a 10 for any Queen tune forever more.  What an amazing story!!!  Each and every one of the guys in the band will have my undying allegiance..and Freddy (Farrokh Bulsara) rest his beautiful soul!

'39 is one of their greatest songs. It's one of my all time favourites together with Bohemian Rhapsody and Somebody to Love.

Damn it!  After seeing Bohemian Rhapsody I don't think I could pick anything less than a 10 for any Queen tune forever more.  What an amazing story!!!  Each and every one of the guys in the band will have my undying allegiance..and Freddy (Farrokh Bulsara) rest his beautiful soul!
 Grayson wrote:
 I was wingman who insisted on more Peter Frampton less Queen. 
 
Same era, less lasting impact...But I can't wait until that Frampton biopic comes out!
So cheesy great. The only Queen song I ever liked. Queen brings up battles royale of '79, when my bestie, who had the fastest car in the county (ok, one of 'em) because her daddy worked on muscle cars, would insist on playing Queen at insane volumes in her Radio Shack's finest 8-track because it made her, well, totally insane. She could hit a road sign to her right at 80MPH with an empty Malt Duck bottle with Bohemian Rhapsody at 12... FROM THE DRIVER'S SIDE SEAT! Lobbed over the roof of the car. I was wingman who insisted on more Peter Frampton less Queen. Never won any of those battles when she was at that helm. We never wore seat belts, either. Jeez we were totally bonkers. 
spectacular -- thank you RP
10/10 Naturally... great tun from a classic album


{#Crown}
I actually like this better than Bohemian Rhapsody. Good song.
happy
This is certainly not the original version off A Night at the Opera. In any case, I still like it.
Almost operatic
 mattcol99 wrote:
I like the way, in interviews, you get the feeling Brian was a bit miffed that he released this song on the same album as Bohemian Rhapsody! No contest for which would be the single.
So a great, underlooked song.
 
In the 70s when "News of the World" came out this song got a lot of airplay.  It seems like we now look at Queen like a "one hit wonder" instead of a thirty hit wonder.  Interestingly, when I saw Queen in concert when this album came out Freddie did the vocals.  Word had it that Brian was too shy to sing in front of an audience.
I think this has become my favorite Queen song. Maybe because the other songs are so overplayed.
 phlattop wrote:
Damn. I would never have guessed this was Queen. Some late 60s folk group, sure. But Queen?

 
Same, I would have never guessed Queen.
With pleasure !!!
I like the way, in interviews, you get the feeling Brian was a bit miffed that he released this song on the same album as Bohemian Rhapsody! No contest for which would be the single. So a great, underlooked song.
 phlattop wrote:
Damn. I would never have guessed this was Queen. Some late 60s folk group, sure. But Queen?

 
My reaction exactly.
The whole theme of the movie Interstellar in this one song.
 phlattop wrote:
Damn. I would never have guessed this was Queen. Some late 60s folk group, sure. But Queen?

 
Brian May's guitar is pretty unmistakable. 
Damn. I would never have guessed this was Queen. Some late 60s folk group, sure. But Queen?
 
Baby_M wrote:
Probably the most touching and poignant song ever written about time dilation.

 
and nice time segue, Bill, to Jackson Browne The Pretender
"I've been aware of the time going by
They say in the end it's the wink of an eye"
on the subject of Time may I suggest Shona Laing 1905 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwRAmKtKEwE

 VV wrote:
Am I crazy? This almost sounds like early Bee Gees?

 
these are two different questions.
Queen play Hooters or vice versa?
 Proclivities wrote:

Well, Brian May did study astrophysics in the early 1970s.

 
Dr. Brian May was part of the New Horizons team, with the spacecraft that mapped Pluto and beyond. My college roommate was part of that group as well and he's traded pleasantries with Dr. May. WAY COOL
Am I crazy? This almost sounds like early Bee Gees?
 Proclivities wrote:

Well, Brian May did study astrophysics in the early 1970s.

 
Related image
 Baby_M wrote:
Probably the most touching and poignant song ever written about time dilation.

 
Well, Brian May did study astrophysics in the early 1970s.
Good Lord.......how long since I've heard this gem?!?
Many, many thanks.
Genius. Fabulous melody and harmonies. 
Great song! I can't say I've listened to it much before?
Love this song, loved this band when Freddie Mercury was with them. So glad I got a chance to see them live. 
This is so unlike their other songs... except maybe the falsetto in the background. Great change-of-pace.
Thanks for playing. 

This was such an eclectic album when it came out. It help turn RnR on its head. 

But that's what the 1970's were about. Push the musical envelope. Be different. Diversity reigned! . 

  
It's those little dittys that round up that album so beautifully.
what a night to be hearing this song.  good play, Bill. 
Totally underestimated song. Finally heard it on RP!! 100x Thanks!! Cheers! {#Cheers}
Thanks for playing this. Heard it from the shower this morning, I reflected on how different from the traditional Queen sound, until I heard that harmony...
Don't think I've heard this before now. What an unexpected gem from Queen. Thanks RP
Verry good memories
The norm for Queen was to be unconventional, and they did just that better than anybody else.
You'd think with a singer like Mercury, there would be no question he would do all the singing on every album, but he didn't. Far from it. Brian May does some good vocals on this song. Compliments the tune nicely.
 6 part harmonies from a 4 piece band....classic :)

 
 Baby_M wrote:
Probably the most touching and poignant song ever written about time dilation.

 
Exactly. Lovely. "For my life, still ahead, pity me."
 
pretty timeless, well-crafted, great harmonies. tbh I've always been a little surprised Queen was elevated to iconic supergroup level ... growing up in the late 70s and early 80s I thought even then they were considered a little over the top and campy. The Kinks were more of a supergroup than Queen. After Freddie died, I thought Queen had been relegated to to paleo-Brit-Rock kind of at the level of Status Quo. Then of all things Wayne and Garth adopted them and they became pop and relevant again. And a song like this justifies that.
I love this song. Always have, since I was 14 - which was a good deal of time ago. Brian May sings this so well, not even the great Freddie Mercury could carry it it as impressively when they played it live.
Amazing choice. Well done.
so many great songs on this album, typically overshadowed by Bohemian Rhapsody.  thanks for playing the deeper cuts!
 ccjemmett wrote:
The jewel of that great album. Did they know how much they owed to the Moodys? 
 
About 3 quid, maybe?  This sounds little more like The Moody Blues than it does The Four Freshmen.
First time I hear this song on Radio Paradise, and this makes me very happy.

The Today's playlist (I mean the last hour  {#Wink} ), is exceptionnally excellent!
Probably the most touching and poignant song ever written about time dilation.
Kinda hippyish... Like it! 
I love the Queen songs in which Brian May sings!
Probably my favorite Queen song, if only because it's not what everyone thinks of them for.
Thank you B&R: You are the only ones cappable of picking up a great song from the side A of an old album and put it here for others to enjoy. This was one of my favorite songs of Queen of all times, despite Freddie is not singing and I usually find Brian's songs a bit too sweet. But this one is great music and great lirics too!
Masterpiece !
 yay — always fantastic throwback for me to hear this.. {#Clap}
Wow!  I totally forgot about this song.  It must be decades.  Another reminder to visit my stored vinyl once in a while.  I loved this then.  Love it just as much now.  I need to expose my kids to this.  All they know is..well you can guess.
 ppopp wrote:
I love this. No record company would allow this be released today. Queen didn't give a hoot about what anyone thought. They just went ahead and did what they did best. And believe it or not, people love it. 

 
So true. I was talking to a friend just last night about how there are fewer and fewer acts with "moment" in the biz since the 60's and 70's.  Who today will be around 40 years from now? There are some great acts these days, but they are Zeitgheist. Who has the staying power of Queen, the Beatles, the Stones, or even Springsteen, U2, or Pearl Jam?  The type of breadth and creativity expressed in this song is perhaps a reason.
Damn, that was amazing. Ahem.
Haven't heard this in ages!  I guess I did about 18 months ago, when I wrote here how it reminded me of the Moody Blues and made me want to hear Death on Two Legs from the same record...Those thoughts haven't changed — gonna dig this thing out and JAM to it!
Don't think that was this.
The jewel of that great album. Did they know how much they owed to the Moodys? 
This is one the reasons that RP is the best radio station on the planet.
 
And you can see how much talent Queen had when you hear this.  
 fedtho wrote:

I thought this was my own "secret" favorite Queen song, but having read the comments, I now know I'm not alone {#Mrgreen}



This is one of my "secret favorites" too, fedtho. Didn't know it was in the library, but I'll be listening for it now.

I also thought for a long time Mercury was singing the lead on the studio version... May's voice is pretty close to Freddy's, but once I had been told, I could hear the difference.
(I actually don't remember which one of them sings it on the live album, as I know they both performed it depending on the circumstances. Uh... I *think* they did... maybe it was always May after all...does someone know this?)

As far as I know, Freddie always sang lead when they performed this one live. Here's a YouTube clip of them performing it in 1977, so you can get your live fix :)
How refreshing to hear this in lieu of the tired old standards...probably my favorite Queen song {#Clap}
 Sbed wrote:
There is a fantastic live version of it on a live album, different but great!
 
I thought this was my own "secret" favorite Queen song, but having read the comments, I now know I'm not alone {#Mrgreen}

@Sbed: you take it one step further down my alley as, for a very long time, I only knew the song as performed on LIVE KILLERS... that's the version that burned itself right into my DNA, and I admit I was actually pretty disappointed when I first heard the studio version. It did take me some time to fully appreciate all the subtleties one can hear there, most of which get drowned in the sonic wilderness of the live version.
I also thought for a long time Mercury was singing the lead on the studio version... May's voice is pretty close to Freddy's, but once I had been told, I could hear the difference.
(I actually don't remember which one of them sings it on the live album, as I know they both performed it depending on the circumstances. Uh... I *think* they did... maybe it was always May after all...does someone know this?)

Anyway, just great to hear it on RP !!!

Maybe Bill could consider the live version as an alternative now and then...?
Be it just to encourage people to give a listen to LIVE KILLERS, this testimony to Queen being the supreme live act they were (assuming it's still available at all...!?)
There is a fantastic live version of it on a live album, different but great!
I love this. No record company would allow this be released today. Queen didn't give a hoot about what anyone thought. They just went ahead and did what they did best. And believe it or not, people love it. 
seriously have not heard this in 20 -30 years,,,,,,how strange
 ScottFromWyoming wrote:

Wiki says:
In Queen's three-part vocal harmonies, May's was generally the lower-range backing vocal. On some of his songs he sings the lead vocal, most notably the first verse of "Who Wants to Live Forever", the bridge on "I Want It All" and "Flash's Theme", and full lead vocals on "Some Day One Day", "She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes)", "'39", "Good Company", "Long Away", "All Dead, All Dead", "Sleeping on the Sidewalk", "Leaving Home Ain't Easy" and "Sail Away Sweet Sister". 

 
Thanks---out of all those songs, I'm only familiar with "Good Company", as that's also on "Night at the Opera", and "I Want It All", which I probably haven't heard in at least 20 years.  I guess I never really considered Brian was also singing on "Good Company", and his ukulele strumming is awesome.






I'll check out some of those other cuts when I can,  
10! What else?
Whoah whoah whoah. . .Are parts of this not very, very similar to Blitzen Trapper's Furr?
Great Folk Rock Hippies{#Angel}
Times I've ever heard Bohemian Rhapsody -- about 4,167, through interminable FM rotation in the ancient days when I cared a shit to listen to "classic rock."  Times I've heard this on the same medium, or elsewhere. ZERO. And it's a pleasant surprise. Great melody. 


 
 treatment_bound wrote:


Really--I'm somewhat familiar with a good chunk of their catalogue (up through "The Game", anyway), and I can't think of another one.  I'd really appreciate it if you'd spend a few minutes and list some others here, as I always thought he came through splendily on '39 and would love some comparison.  

 
Wiki says:
In Queen's three-part vocal harmonies, May's was generally the lower-range backing vocal. On some of his songs he sings the lead vocal, most notably the first verse of "Who Wants to Live Forever", the bridge on "I Want It All" and "Flash's Theme", and full lead vocals on "Some Day One Day", "She Makes Me (Stormtrooper in Stilettoes)", "'39", "Good Company", "Long Away", "All Dead, All Dead", "Sleeping on the Sidewalk", "Leaving Home Ain't Easy" and "Sail Away Sweet Sister". 
I really wish Bohemian Rhapsody wasn't played so frequently and more of the other gems on this album would get some attention, such as this one.  
Fantastic song from an amazing album. Incredibly inventive and good-natured.
 JHZ wrote:

No, is the short answer. I think it is about 6 songs or so.
 

Really--I'm somewhat familiar with a good chunk of their catalogue (up through "The Game", anyway), and I can't think of another one.  I'd really appreciate it if you'd spend a few minutes and list some others here, as I always thought he came through splendily on '39 and would love some comparison.  

marvelous song from a magnificent album...

another great album by Queen followed in 1976 called A Day At The Races...  the title of the album followed suit with its predecessor A Night At The Opera, taking its name from the subsequent film by the Marx Brothers... 


A Night at the Opera Poster.gif



A Day at the Races.jpg

Long been a favorite Queen song of mine and I only recently read about the time travel theme...
 treatment_bound wrote:
Is the only Queen song where Brian May sings lead?
 
No, is the short answer. I think it is about 6 songs or so.
I have never heard this song before, thank you so much Bill. 

BUTCH
 
Probably my favorite Queen song. Thanks for playing!
I don't remember ever hearing this song! I came here now to comment on how much I like it, and see it's Queen! 
Facepalm. 
Is the only Queen song where Brian May sings lead?
Whoah, takes me way back, to when they were quite the act!  Always thought they sounded kind of Moody Blues-ish on this one...makes me recall and want to hear other obscure gems I used to love from this record that I've not heard in ages...Death on Two Legs, for one! 
 Imkirok wrote:
Good to hear something other than Bohemian Rhapsody from this album.
 
Me too! I'm taking full credit for this re my comments on the Bohemian Rhapsody page.  ; )
Damn. I thought this song was from the spanish metal band Mägo de Oz 
Saw this performed live at the Coliseum in Vancouver 1980 - what a show!
What is the theme of this set - Deeply Cynical Mining of Traditional Memes?
Good to hear something other than Bohemian Rhapsody from this album.