A previously unreleased track from Freddie Mercury, the 1986 ballad “Time Waits for No One” from the concept album for the stage musical “Time,” dropped on Thursday — complete with a music video of the late star singing the tune.
Songwriter, producer and longtime Mercury friend Dave Clark spent two years working on the stripped-down track, with just Mercury’s distinctive voice crooning above a piano. The original recording had 96 tracks, including 48 for backing vocals.
Mercury, who died in 1991 at age 45, has seen a resurgence in popularity since the release of last year’s Oscar-winning biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“Time” was the brainchild of Dave Clark, former leader of The Dave Clark Five. The 1986 West End musical merged sci-fi, rock music and ahead-of-its-time special effects and multimedia. With a cast including Sir Laurence Olivier and Cliff Richard, it broke box records and played to over a million people during its two-year run.
For the show’s multi-million selling star-studded concept album, Clark tapped Mercury to record the title song at Abbey Road Studios in October 1985 and January 1986. (The singer flew from his home in Munich to London for the recording session.)
Mike Moran, a longtime Clark session musician, met Mercury that day and played piano on the track — then went on to write “Barcelona” with the Queen frontman years later. According to Clark, the “Time” session was recorded in a haze of late nights and fueled by “fabulous food, vodka and Cristal Champagne,” courtesy of Freddie’s personal chef Joe Fanelli.
Dave Clark further recalled: “We got on great…if I didn’t like something I’d say, and vice versa…we were both aiming for the same thing: to make something special.”
Starting off as a rhythm track, the session recorded 48 tracks of backing vocals (Mercury plus John Christie and Peter Straker), 2 x 24 track tapes locked together — which had never been done before for that amount of backing vocals at Abbey Road — and the final version of “Time” comprising of a huge production of 96 tracks.
The video for the song was filmed in three hours at London’s Dominion Theatre and was quickly wrapped to allow the musical to prepare for that evening’s performance.
For the new version, Clark searched the vault to find Mercury’s original vocal track and then brought in Moran to record a new piano track.
Watch the new video above.