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"'39" cover
Song by Queen
Album A Night at the Opera
Released November 21 / December 2, 1975
Recorded August-November 1975
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:30
Label EMI / Hollywood
Writer Brian May
Producer Roy Thomas Baker
A Night at the Opera track listing
"You're My Best Friend"
"Sweet Lady"

'39 is a song by English guitarist Brian May and first recorded by his band Queen for their album A Night at the Opera in 1975. May sings lead vocals on its skiffle-like arrangement, featuring three- and four-part harmony vocals — including passages of falsetto during the middle bridge section, which culminate in a high-A note sung by Roger Taylor (May commented in 2005 that Taylor actually refused to sing the note he wanted, so he got him to sing a lower note then used varispeed to up the pitch). Image File history File links Queen_A_Night_At_The_Opera. ... For other uses, see Song (disambiguation). ... Queen are an English rock band formed in 1970 in London by guitarist Brian May, singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor, with bassist John Deacon joining the following year. ... A Night at the Opera is a 1975 album by English rock band Queen. ... is the 325th day of the year (326th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 336th day of the year (337th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Bob Dylans folk-rock album, Blonde on Blonde Folk-rock is a musical genre, combining elements of folk music and rock music. ... In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. ... For other uses, see EMI (disambiguation). ... Hollywood Records is a record label owned by Disney. ... A songwriter is someone who writes the lyrics to songs, the musical composition or melody to songs, or both. ... For the Australian film composer, see Brian May (composer). ... In the music industry, a record producer (or music producer) has many roles, among them controlling the recording sessions, coaching and guiding the musicians, organizing and scheduling production budget and resources, and supervising the recording, mixing and mastering processes. ... Roy Thomas Baker is a English record producer who helped create a number of extremely popular pop and rock records in the 1970s and 1980s. ... A Night at the Opera is a 1975 album by English rock band Queen. ... Youre My Best Friend is a song penned by John Deacon and performed by Queen. ... Sweet Lady is a heavy metal song by the British rock band Queen. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... For the Australian film composer, see Brian May (composer). ... Queen are an English rock band formed in 1970 in London by guitarist Brian May, singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor, with bassist John Deacon joining the following year. ... A Night at the Opera is a 1975 album by English rock band Queen. ... // January 2 - New York City U.S. District Court Judge Richard Owen rules that former Beatle John Lennon and his lawyers can have access to Department of Immigration files pertaining to his deportation case. ... Doghouse Skiffle Group Skiffle is a type of folk music with a jazz and blues influence, usually using homemade or improvised instruments such as the washboard, tea chest bass, kazoo, cigar-box fiddle, musical saw, comb and paper, and so forth, as well as more conventional instruments such as acoustic... Falsetto (Italian diminutive of falso, false) is a singing technique that produces sounds that are pitched higher than the singers normal range, in the treble range. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... See also: 2005 in heavy metal music 2005 in music (UK) Musical groups established in 2005 Record labels established in 2005 Albums released in 2005 January 1 - In most of Europe, copyright expired on a number of classic pop and rock-and-roll songs recorded in 1954 and earlier, including... Technics SL-1210MK2 turntable pitch control slider A variable speed pitch control (or vari-speed) is a control on an audio device such as a turntable, reel-to-reel, tape deck or CD player that allows the operator to deviate from a standard speed (such as 33â…“, 45 or even...

"'39" is the 39th song in the Queen studio album chronology. It is unclear whether this was deliberate or a mere coincidence.

It is one of the very few Queen songs where the guitars are not played in standard tuning, instead sounding one semitone higher than standard. In music, standard tuning refers to the typical tuning of a string instrument. ... A semitone (also known in the USA as a half step) is a musical interval. ...

May jokingly suggested that bassist John Deacon play an upright bass to reinforce the skiffle feel of the song. Only after seeing that Deacon had taught himself how to play one in the studio did the band agree to use the instrument. "'39" was released as the B-side to You're My Best Friend, so the two singles from A Night at the Opera comprised one composition from each of the four members of Queen. For the motorcyclist, see John Deacon (motorcyclist). ... Side and front views of a modern double bass with a French bow. ... Youre My Best Friend is a song penned by John Deacon and performed by Queen. ...


The song's lyrics are a science fiction short story which concerns twenty volunteers who leave a dying Earth on a spaceship in search of new worlds to settle. They return to report success, 100 calendar years later, with only a single year passing from the volunteers' perspective (thanks to time dilation). The lyrics imply that the song's protagonist faces his daughter upon return to Earth: For so many years have gone/though I'm older but a year/your mother's eyes from your eyes/cry to me. This, and the fact that all his peers and friends have died, are a terrible grief to the protagonist, as the final words insist: For my life/still ahead/pity me! Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... This article is in need of attention. ... Time dilation is the phenomenon whereby an observer finds that anothers clock which is physically identical to their own is ticking at a slower rate as measured by their own clock. ...

To provide 100 years' time dilation on Earth in only one year of spaceship time, the velocity of the spaceship must close to 99% of the speed of light. The speed of light in a vacuum is an important physical constant denoted by the letter c for constant or the Latin word celeritas meaning swiftness.[1] It is the speed of all electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, in a vacuum. ...

Brian May described the song as follows:

It's a science fiction story. It's the story about someone who goes away and leaves his family and... because of the time dilation effect, when you go away, the people on Earth have aged a lot more than he has when he comes home. He's aged a year and they've aged 100 years. So, instead of coming back to his wife, he comes back to his daughter and he can see his wife in his daughter... a strange story. I think, also, I had in mind a story of Herman Hesse, which I think is called "The River". A man leaves his hometown and has lots of travels and then comes back and observes his hometown from the other side of the river. He sees it in a different light, having been away and experienced all those different things. He sees it in a very illuminating way, 'cause I felt a little bit like that about my home at the time as well, having been away and seen this vastly different world of rock music... totally different from the way I was brought up, and I had those feelings about home.

Also it is interesting that the penultimate line of the first verse doesn't rhyme with the previous (day - seas). If instead a rhyming word "way" is substituted for "seas", the penultimate line would indicate the volunteers travelled across the Milky Way - the galaxy. Hermann Hesse Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877 – August 9, 1962) was a German author, and the winner of the 1946 Nobel Prize in literature. ... For other uses, see Milky Way (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Galaxy (disambiguation). ...

Cover versions

  • '39 was covered by Ingram Hill on the 2005 tribute album Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen.
  • The intro of '39 was used by the German band Puhdys for the intro of their own song Alt wie ein Baum (As old as a tree) in 1976.
  • Brian May and Roger Taylor played the song with the Foo Fighters live at the O2 in November 2007.

Ingram Hill is a rock band from Memphis, Tennessee. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... A tribute album is a recorded collection of cover versions of a specific artists songs. ... Die Puhdys (IPA: [ˈpuːdis]) are a veteran German rock band, formed in Oranienburg, in what was then East Germany, in 1969, although they had been performing together, with various lineups, as the Puhdys since 1965. ...

Live recordings

On live versions of the song Freddie Mercury would often sing the lead vocal part instead of Brian May, along with Roger Taylor playing a tambourine and a bass drum at the same time, singing the high pitch notes. Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British musician, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Queen (inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001). ... For the Australian film composer, see Brian May (composer). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... “Buben” redirects here. ...

The song can be found on the following live albums:

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