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Montreux Celebration

Queen & Montreux

Queen had already recorded six albums and conquered the world when they first arrived in Montreux just after the end of the Jazz Festival in July 1978 in order to record their 7th album at Mountain Studios. The name of this album recorded in the Studio was : "Jazz".

The group quickly discovered that Montreux offered a truce against the media's curiosity, allowing them to write and record relatively quietly.

It was during the recording sessions in Montreux that the Tour de France crossed the city, inspiring Freddie Mercury to compose "Bicycle Race" and Brian May, for "Fat Bottomed Girls".

One evening, during a recording session, a violent storm broke out in Montreux, guitarist Brian May quickly emerged from Mountain Studios and recorded the sound of thunder. These sounds will then appear on the song "Dead On Time".

The four members of the group were very happy with the results of the recordings made in Montreux on the album Jazz, released in November 1978. Shortly afterwards, from January to March 1979, they mixed "Live Killers". (See video below).

They especially appreciated the collaboration and work of their sound engineer David Richards.

So, in the summer of 1979, they decided to buy the Mountain Studios altogether, in which they would compose and produce some of the most beautiful pieces in their repertoire. When David Richards, their sound engineer and producer, asked them what they intended to do with the studio, Freddie Mercury would have replied: "Throw it in the lake, my dear !"

In December 1980, Roger Taylor went to Mountain Studios in Montreux to record his first solo album "Fun in Space". For the record, the drummer of the Pretenders as well as Rod Stewart's drummer came to Montreux to encourage and support him during this recording. This album, composed of 10 tracks, was released a few months later, on April 6, 1981. His second album, "Strange Frontier", also recorded at Mountain Studios with David Richards, was released on June 25, 1984. Freddie Mercury makes some appearances on the keyboard and in the choirs while John Deacon plays the bass on "I Cry For You" and "It's An Illusion".

In July 1981, David Bowie was in Montreux and had dinner with Claude Nobs, the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival. Claude suggested that they should visit Queen who was recording at the same time at Mountain Studios. David Bowie was then invited to sing the choirs to a Queen song called "Cool Cat". The recording was not kept, at his request, because he was not satisfied. At the same time Queen, relatively unhappy with another song called "Feel Like", played this song for David Bowie. This was followed by a wild jam session in a very festive and relaxed way and atmosphere until the end of the night. John Deacon and his legendary bass riff gave birth to the hit "Under Pressure" which was released as a single in October 1981 and ranked #1 in sales in several countries including the United Kingdom. This song was Queen's first collaboration with another artist and was released a year later, in 1982, on the album "Hot Space". The song has been credited in the name of the five musicians. The royalties are therefore divided into five.

Then follow the recording of those albums in Montreux :

  • "A Kind of Magic" from September 1985 to April 1986
  • "The Miracle" from January 1988 to January 1989
  • "Innuendo" from March 1989 to November 1991, an album that will be the last studio recording during Freddie Mercury's lifetime.
  • Then "Made in Heaven", Queen's 15th album in 1995, produced with the vocal parts recorded by Freddie Mercury before his death.

On November 26, 1996, Brian May and Roger Taylor came specially to Montreux for the inauguration of the statue of Freddie Mercury, you will find more information about this event HERE.

On December 2, 2013, the two musicians, Brian May and Roger Taylor, return another time to Montreux for the inauguration of the Museum : Queen - The Studio experience which took place in the former premises of Mountain Studios at the Montreux Casino.

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Queen - Mountain Studios 1979

This video was recorded at the Mountain Studio in Montreux while Queen was working on the mixing of their next album "Live Killers" in June 1979. The original video was included in the documentary "The Champions" in 1979 and the documentary "Days Of Our Lives" in 2011. Unfortunately, these are the only sequences currently available.

Queen Boat Party in Montreux 1986

A nice little story : It was absolutely necessary to find a solution so that Queen stands out from the other bands invited to perform at the 1986 Golden Rose and for the press to talk about them.

Their manager, Jim Beach, has cleverly found a dazzling solution. Rent a boat, organize a reception and invite all the press. Some stripteaser from the Hungaria Night Club, located between the Bavaria restaurant and the Mountain Studios, were invited to join Freddie's guests and fans on the boat.

Later in the evening they were asked to dance to the rhythm of the music and more precisely to undress. Of course, this stroke of genius was meant for the press to reported this event and talk about Queen ! And it worked perfectly ! They all related the story. Short video below.

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Montreux Celebration is supporting the Mercury Phoenix Trust who is fighting HIV/AIDS worldwide.
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