THOSE WERE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES
This week Freddie Mercury would have been 76 years old. The reason why I chose this song is because he and I share the same birthday – 5th September. Also, the sheer beauty of it.
It starts off with what sounds like electronic congas under drums – possibly the toms from an 808. You never know. But the sonic clarity is beautiful. Then Freddie comes in with an almost soulful vocal, part spoken on the verse, and it’s very reflective. Lyrically written by Roger Taylor but credited to the band, it talks about the past and the present and their friendship – they’d known each other since the late 60s, as well as himself and his children and how it had changed him.
The thing that stands out to me is the musicianship.
John Deacon on bass showing some serious dexterity on the bass, sometimes playing two strings at the same time, showing his deep knowledge of his instrument.
Roger Taylor on drums. For me this is my favourite part of the track, it’s so simple, those congas/toms sound so sweet! Wow.
Brian May on guitar he has a lovely guitar solo full of bent notes that cry, literally. His Red Special guitar is a beauty.
Freddie also contributes keyboards to this, and it just fits naturally within the song…
Those were the days of our lives
The bad things in life were so few
Those days are all gone now but one thing is true
When I look and I find I still love you
You can’t turn back the clock you can’t turn back the tide
Ain’t that a shame
I’d like to go back one time on a roller coaster ride
When life was just a game
No use in sitting and thinkin’ on what you did
When you can lay back and enjoy it through your kids
Sometimes it seems like lately
I just don’t know
Better sit back and go with the flow.
Since I started writing this, the Queen passed away on the 8th September, and this came on the radio in the cafe when I had my breakfast as part of the somber programming that they switch to at this time. I’ve known this song for 31 years and it really hit home, it’s one of those songs that can get lost because it’s probably not listed as one of the top Queen songs, but it’s beautiful lyrics really spoke to me. Having lost my own grandmother this year at the age of 100, it makes you appreciate those around you a whole lot more, and to enjoy even the smallest things.
Words by Del Osei-Owusu