Song of the Day: Seven Seas of Rhye by Queen

Seven Seas of Rhye” is a song by British rock group Queen. It was co-written by Freddie Mercury and Brian May, but credited to Mercury only. An abbreviated instrumental version appears as the final track on the group’s debut album Queen (1973), with the full version on the follow-up Queen II(1974). However, only a less-developed instrumental version was featured on the former. The completed version served as the band’s third single, the earliest-released song to appear on their Greatest Hits album, with the exception of some versions where their first single, “Keep Yourself Alive”, is included.

Lyrics:
Fear me you lord and lady preachers
I descend upon your earth from the skies
I command your very souls you unbelievers
Bring before me what is mine
The seven seas of RhyeCan you hear me you peers and privy councilors
I stand before you naked to the eyes
I will destroy any man who dares abuse my trust
I swear that you’ll be mine
At the seven seas of Rhye

Sister I live and lie for you
Mister do and I’ll die
You are mine I possess you
Belong to you forever

Storm the master marathon I’ll fly through
By flash and thunder fire I’ll survive
I’ll survive I’ll survive
Then I’ll defy the laws of nature
And come out alive

Begone with you you shod and shady senators
Give out the good leave out the bad evil cries
I challenge the mighty titan and his troubadours
And with a smile
I’ll take you to the seven seas of Rhye

……

Initially Seven Seas of Rhye was simply an “instrumental musical sketch closing their first album”. An expanded rendition, planned for inclusion on the album Queen II, was publicly premiered when Queen were offered a sudden chance to appear on Top of the Pops in February 1974, and was rushed to vinyl a mere 2 days later on 23 February. It became their first chart entry after gaining airtime on BBC Radio 1, peaking at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, which in turn persuaded Freddie Mercury to take up Queen as his full time career.

The song became a live favourite throughout the band’s career.

The song features a distinctive arpeggiated piano introduction. The piano runs are sampled in “It’s a Beautiful Day (reprise)”, on the album Made In Heaven.

The version on Queen II ends with a cross fade, instruments blending into several people singing “I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside”, accompanied by a stylophone played by producer Roy Thomas Baker.  Its inclusion here on the final track of Queen II is briefly mirrored via whistling during the first few seconds of “Brighton Rock”, which opens their next album, Sheer Heart Attack.

In a 1977 radio interview, Freddie Mercury described the subject of the song as a “figment of his imagination.” In the Queen musical We Will Rock You, the Seven Seas of Rhye is a place where the Bohemians are taken after they are brainstormed by Khashoggi.

Several other of the Queen singer’s early songs feature the mysterious land of Rhye, including Lily Of The ValleyMy Fairy King and The March Of The Black Queen:

Lily Of The Valley

Lyrics:

I am forever searching high and low
But why does everyone tell me ‘no’?
Neptune of the seas, an answer for me please
The lily of the valley doesn’t know

I lie in wait with open eyes
I carry on through stormy skies
I follow every course; my kingdom for a horse
But each time I grow old
Serpent of the Nile, relieve me for a while
And cast me from your spell, and let me go

Messenger from seven seas has flown
To tell the king of Rhye he’s lost his throne
Wars will never cease
Is there time enough for peace?
The lily of the valley doesn’t know

——

My Fairy King (This is the song which may have inspired Freddie Mercury to change his last name)

Lyrics:

Aah, aah
In the land where horses born with eagle wings
And honey bees have lost their stings
There’s singing forever, ooh yeah
Lion’s den with fallow deer
And rivers made from wine so clear
Flow on and on forever
Dragons fly like sparrows thru’ the air
And baby lambs where Samson dares
To go on on on on on on

My fairy king can see things
He rules the air and turns the tides
That are not there for you and me
Ooh yeah he guides the winds
My fairy king can do right and nothing wrong

Ah, then came man to savage in the night
To run like thieves and to kill like knives
To take away the power from the magic hand
To bring about the ruin to the promised land, aah, aah

They turn the milk into sour
Like the blue in the blood of my veins
Why can’t you see it
Fire burning in hell with the cry of screaming pain
Son of heaven set me free and let me go
Sea turn dry, no salt from sand
Seasons fly no helping hand
Teeth don’t shine like pearls for poor man’s eyes, aah

Someone, someone has drained the colour from my wings
Broken my fairy circle ring
And shamed the king in all his pride
Changed the winds and wronged the tides
Mother Mercury Mercury
Look what they’ve done to me
I cannot run, I cannot hide
La la la la la la la la la la la la

——

March Of The Black Queen

Lyrics:
Do you mean it
Do you mean it
Do you mean it
Why don’t you mean it
Why do i follow you and where do you goYou’ve never seen nothing like it no never in your life
Like going up to heaven and then coming back alive
Let me tell you all about it –
And the world will so allow it
Ooh give me a little time to choose
Water babies singing in a lily-pool delight
Blue powder monkies praying in the dead of nightHere comes the black queen, poking in the pile
Fie-fo the black queen, marching single file
Take this, take that, bring them down to size

Put them in the cellar with the naughty boys
A little nigger sugar then a rub-a dub-a baby oil
Black on, black on ever finger nail and toe
We’ve only begun – begun
Make this make that, keep making all that noise
Now I’ve got a belly-full
You can be my sugar-baby, you can be my honey chile, yes

A voice from behind me reminds me
Spread out your wings you are an angel
Remember to deliver with the speed of light
A little bit of love and joy
Everything you do bears a will and a why and a wherefore
A little bit of love and joy
In each and every soul lies a man
And very soon he’ll deceive and discover
But even till the end of his life, he’ll bring a little love

I reign with my left hand, I rule with my right
I’m lord of all darkness, I’m queen of the night
I’ve got the power – now do the march of the black queen
My life is in your hands, I’ll fo and I’ll fie
I’ll be a bad boy – I’ll be your bad boy
I’ll do the march of the black queen

Walking true to style
She’s vulgar ‘buse and vile
Fie-fo the black queen tattos all her pies
She boils and she bakes and she never dots her “I’s”

Forget your singalongs and your lullabies
Surrender to the city of the fireflies
Dance with the devil in beat with the band
To hell with all of you hand in hand
But now it’s time to be gone – forever

……

Queen

Origin London, England, United Kingdom
Genres Rock
Years active 1970–present
Labels Capitol, Parlophone, EMI, Hollywood,Island, Elektra
Associated acts Smile, The Cross, Queen + Paul Rodgers, David Bowie, Adam Lambert
Website queenonline.com
Members Brian May
Roger Taylor
Past members Freddie Mercury
John Deacon
See also: Early members

image by MiguelCoimbra

…too much good music at once!

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