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30 July 2021, 11:29
Queen also recorded the song, but Brian May's solo version was the first we ever heard at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
Queen star Brian May has released a stunning remastered video of his solo version of 'Too Much Love Will Kill You'.
Originally recorded by Queen in 1989 and intended for that year's The Miracle album, the song was shelved due to a legal dispute over songwriting credits.
Guitarist May, who had written the song with Frank Musker and Elizabeth Lamers, first performed it at 1992's Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
A studio recording appeared on May's solo debut Back to the Light a few months later, and the single was given a video directed by David Mallet.
May introduced the song at the tribute concert, saying: "My excuse for singing it is, I think, it’s just the best thing I have to offer."
Queen's original 1989 recording was eventually released on 1995's Made in Heaven, four years after Mercury's death.
It was the only song on that album to be released in its original form, without any further reworking by the surviving members of the band.
The song won the prize for the Best Song Musically and Lyrically at the Ivor Novello Awards.
Despite the common misconception that the song was written either in tribute to Freddie Mercury or about his HIV diagnosis, it was in fact written by May about the breakdown of his first marriage and his falling for his wife-to-be Anita Dobson.
"'Too Much Love Will Kill You' is a big, long story and the version that you hear on Back to the Light is the original," May explained.
"It has the original keyboard that I played when we were writing the song. Me and Frank Musker, and his lady friend at the time, were in a room and it was like a therapy session for me.
"I was just pouring out all these words because I felt like I was trapped. I was in a place that I could never, ever get out of. All I could do is write about it. This is the only song I wrote in that probably nine months or a year period."
He added: "The things that I struggle with are still there. 'Too Much Love Will Kill You' is a chronicle of what's actually buried deepest inside me. Every word on it, as I listen to it now, every word counts for me.
"Every word I would still stand by. It’s exactly how I am inside. I say 'am' in the present tense because I've come to the realisation that I haven't changed that much.
"It's the one opportunity I had in my life to tell it as I saw it. In a way, it's the most important song I ever wrote because it does sum up life's journey for me."
He continued: "The version I did is anchored to the source. There’s nothing in there which doesn’t just speak about the emotion of the original writing.
"There's no point in the original where the drums kick in and it becomes big. It never gets there. It’s all tentative and all quite delicate. And the raw emotion of the way I sing it is the way I feel. I wrote it, I feel it."
May said of the Queen version: "I loved working with Freddie to do that vocal. We were aware that the song was becoming something different, and it meant something different.
"We were all aware of it. We obviously knew Freddie's days were probably limited barring a miracle. So the song started to feel like something different.
"And we didn't shy away from making it very big, very Queen-like. And I like it. But if you want to hear what the song originally had poured into it, with the blood, sweat and tears of my life, then that's this version."
The 'Too Much Love Will Kill You' video launch comes ahead of the release of a remastered version of Back to the Light on August 6, which is available to pre-order now in various formats.
The reissue contains the companion Out of the Light, which features a guitar version of 'Too Much Love Will Kill You', as well as a live version recorded at The Palace Theatre in Los Angeles on April 6, 1993.