‘Never Boring’ Freddie Mercury solo box set detailed

Global release on Hollywood Records & Mercury Records on October 11th

Iconic. Incomparable. Irreplaceable. But never, ever boring. Freddie Mercury’s spirit is every bit as central to the fabric of popular music today as it was during his unforgettable lifetime. The spectacular global success of the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, with global box office takings now close to one billion US dollars, was a powerful testament to Mercury’s presence as the ultimate rock frontman with Queen. But now comes a unique release to showcase the full range of his musical talents and passions, and their indelible imprint on the worlds of pop, opera and far beyond.

Set for release by Hollywood Records in North America and Mercury Records in the rest of the world on October 11th, the Never Boring box set brings together for the first time a specially-curated selection of Freddie Mercury’s music, visuals and written and spoken words. It is a collection to jog the memory of fans, old and new, as to why Mercury remains such a beloved figure, nearly 30 years after his death. The set reminds us that Mercury was an exceptional singer, songwriter, performer and human being whose special kind of magic is captured in this exceptional collection of his solo work.

The package is meticulously compiled and produced by Queen’s longtime sound team Justin Shirley-Smith, Kris Fredriksson and Joshua J Macrae who also co-produced the Bohemian Rhapsody film official soundtrack album which became one of the biggest selling albums of 2018/2019. The album has remained high the UK charts since its release in November 2018 and in the US became Queen’s biggest selling album in 38 years.

Taken from the very best original source material available, the full Never Boring collection contains three CDs with 32 tracks; a Blu-ray and DVD featuring 13 promo videos and interview; a 120 page 10”x10” hardback book full photos, many of them rare and unpublished, as well as thoughts and choice quotes from Mercury himself, and an introduction from Rami Malek, who earned an Oscar for his portrayal of Mercury in the film. Specially created insert packaging includes a double-sided poster containing an image of Mercury and an original work from synesthetic artist Jack Coulter inspired by the song “Mr Bad Guy.”

The three CDs include a new 12 track compilation of many of Mercury’s greatest solo performances; a newly mixed 11 track special edition of Mr. Bad Guy; and the nine track 2012 special edition of Barcelona featuring full orchestra. The Blu-ray and DVD of Mercury’s promos and his stage performances with Montserrat Caballé include eight that have been painstakingly reassembled from the original 35mm film rushes to give them the best-ever visual and sound quality.

Never Boring 12 track compilation, Mr. Bad Guy (Special Edition) and Barcelona (Special Edition) will also be available individually. A Never Boring Limited Edition Picture Disc will also be available.

Much of the music and the promo videos featured in the Never Boring collection date from the period from late 1984, when Mr. Bad Guy was recorded in Munich through to Mercury’s last ever on stage performance, at a special festival on the steps of Montjuïc in Barcelona on October 8 1988. It was a festival specially staged in the presence of the King and Queen of Spain to welcome the Olympic flag to Barcelona.

“I had a lot of ideas bursting to get out,” Mercury once explained, “and there were a lot of musical territories I wanted to explore which I really couldn’t do within Queen. I wanted to cover such things as reggae rhythms and I did a couple of tracks with an orchestra.”

The set includes the recently discovered track “Time Waits For No One” produced by Dave Clark which has recently taken the internet by storm and a haunting little known track “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow” immortalized in a new animated video by award winning duo Beth David and Esteban Bravo.

For all the 2019 special edition tracks on Never Boring and the Mr. Bad Guy album, sound team Justin Shirley-Smith, Joshua J Macrae and Kris Fredriksson have taken the very best original source material available. They went back not to previously remastered and mixed tapes, but to the original source multi-track tapes, so that they could build a new mix true to Mercury’s original versions, now taking advantage of the time, resources and technology that Mercury may not have originally had available to him in the 1980’s. All offer ultimate quality, first generation vocals showing off Mercury’s incredible vocal range.

The special edition of the Barcelona album had been reworked in 2012 using similar methods, but what was missed by many at the time was that the 2012 edition replaced the previous instrumental tracks with new, live symphonic orchestration and percussion, rather than synthesizers and drum machines used on the original album.

Specially arranged by Queen orchestral arranger Stuart Morley, the 80-piece Prague FILMharmonic Orchestra now performs the symphonic score, while Rufus Taylor — the son of Queen’s Roger Taylor — plays drums on “The Golden Boy” and “How Can I Go On,” a track that also features John Deacon’s bass guitar. The special edition of the Barcelona album is now waiting to be rediscovered by fans of Mercury and Montserrat.

The same painstaking care in rebuilding the audio tracks has been used to bring all of Mercury’s original video promos to life again.

To recreate the new promos from Mercury’s original storyboards, eight of the promos have been totally reassembled from the original 35mm film rushes to give them the best resolution and sound quality possible. This required the team to go through all the film rushes to find those that exactly matched the footage originally chosen and used by Mercury, and then to recreate any special effects used at the time. Some of the promos have needed substantial restoration, with artists manually restoring frames that were damaged or missing.

Bonus videos include the first performance of “Barcelona” by Mercury and Montserrat Caballé in front of a live audience at the Ku Klub (now Privilege Ibiza) in May 1987; the extended version of “The Great Pretender,” which includes backstage footage of Mercury’s very special backing singers preparing, they being Roger Taylor, Peter Straker and Mercury in drag; and a rare Time interview with Mercury and Dave Clark.

Roger Taylor’s contribution as a backing singer on The Great Pretender is not the only link to Queen on Never Boring. Taylor also plays percussion on “Love Kills” which also features Brian May on lead guitar and John Deacon on rhythm guitar. As mentioned, Deacon also plays bass on “How Can I Go On” and May contributes guitar to “She Blows Hot and Cold.”

The entire Never Boring package reflects Mercury’s eclectic tastes and love for life. As he himself said, “Some people can take second best, but I can’t. I look upon it as defeat. If you’ve got the taste of being number one, then number two isn’t good enough.”

Never Boring brings to your life a piece of Freddie,” actor Rami Malek says. “I hope you’re able to sit with this collection and let the music, images and excerpts of Freddie Mercury’s life inspire you, like it did me. I hope you remember that your uniqueness is a gift, and what you do with it is your gift to the world. I hope like Freddie, you’re able to smile in the eye of a storm, focus on life’s silver linings, live boldly, and most importantly, live a life which is Never Boring.”

Published to coincide with the release of the Never Boring comes a newly updated edition of the book Freddie Mercury: A Life, In His Own Words. Compiled and edited by official Queen archivist Greg Brooks and Queen visuals producer Simon Lupton, this new expanded edition contains over 8,000 words of text not present in the original print. The additional material has been drawn from sources not available or known to the authors at the time of compiling the original work, much of it never before published before and sourced from newly discovered interviews given by Mercury for magazine and newspaper articles that were ultimately not used, as well as from rare radio programmes or Queen Specials found on precious old cassette recordings and reel-to-reel tapes discovered within the Freddie archive.

The nearest thing to a Freddie Mercury autobiography as it is possible to achieve, A Life, In His Own Words is a meticulously assembled collection of moving, witty, and often irreverent quotes from the man himself. Told across 20 chapters and 194 pages, this is Freddie’s life in his own words – delivered in his own inimitable, unpredictable, invariably funny, often poignant, and always entertaining way.

3 CD/1 BD/1 DVD | LP

CD 1: Never Boring

  1. The Great Pretender
  2. I Was Born To Love You
  3. Barcelona
  4. In My Defence
  5. Love Kills
  6. How Can I Go On (Single Version)
  7. Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow
  8. Living On My Own (Radio Mix)
  9. The Golden Boy (Single Edit)
  10. Time Waits For No One
  11. She Blows Hot And Cold
  12. Made In Heaven

CD 2: Mr. Bad Guy (Special Edition)

  1. Let’s Turn It On
  2. Made In Heaven
  3. I Was Born To Love You
  4. Foolin’ Around
  5. Your Kind Of Lover
  6. Mr. Bad Guy
  7. Man Made Paradise
  8. There Must Be More To Life Than This
  9. Living On My Own
  10. My Love Is Dangerous
  11. Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow

CD 3: Barcelona (Special Edition)

  1. Barcelona
  2. La Japonaise
  3. The Fallen Priest
  4. Ensueño
  5. The Golden Boy
  6. Guide Me Home
  7. How Can I Go On
  8. Exercises In Free Love
  9. Overture Piccante

Blu-ray/DVD: Never Boring

  1. Made In Heaven
  2. The Great Pretender
  3. Living On My Own
  4. Barcelona
  5. I Was Born To Love You
  6. Time Waits For No One
  7. In My Defense
  8. Living On My Own (Radio Mix)
  9. The Golden Boy (La Nit performance, Barcelona)
  10. How Can I Go On (La Nit performance, Barcelona)
  11. Barcelona (La Nit performance, Barcelona)
  12. Freddie Mercury & Dave Clark “Time” Interview
  13. The Great Pretender (Extended Version)
  14. Barcelona (Ku Klub performance, Ibiza)

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.

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