"Tie Your Mother Down
" is a song by English
. Written by guitarist Brian May
, "Tie Your Mother Down" is the lead
track on Queen's 1976 album A Day at the Races
. It was
released as a single
from the band's
1976 album, A Day at the
. On the album, the song is preceded by a one-minute
instrumental intro, which is actually a reprise of the ending of
": this was intended to
create a "circle" in the album, typical, for example, of Pink Floyd
started writing the song in Tenerife, while he
was working for his Ph.D. as an astronomer.
He composed the riff on a
Spanish guitar, and woke up early one morning and played it while
singing "tie your mother down," a line he considered a joke.
Later on, Queen vocalist Freddie
encouraged him to keep the line, similar to what
happened between John Lennon
with the line "the
movement you need is on your shoulder" from The Beatles
' song "Hey
". When performing the song during his solo shows, May has
often omitted the line, "take your little brother swimming with a
brick, that's all right," or at the very least mumbled through
promotional film was made for it directed by Bruce Gowers and was a performance clip shot at
Coliseum in Long Island, New York in February, 1977 during the band's first
US arena headlining tour.
Though it was a long-time live favorite and a US FM rock radio
favorite, the song had limited chart success, making #31 in the UK
and #49 in the US. Therefore it was included on the band's first
compilation in certain markets only; however, the song is featured
on the Queen Rocks
album, together with some of the band's heaviest songs.
In a BBC Radio 4
tribute program to
, May stated that a key
inspiration for the riff of this song came from Taste's
'Morning Sun' from their On The
(1970) album. The riff is also quite close in sound to
the verse riff from T.Rex
's song "Funky
London Childhood", from their January 1976 album, Futuristic Dragon
In a 1976 interview on Capital Radio
Mercury was asked why tie your mother down? He replied: "Well this
one in fact is a track written by Brian (May) actually, I dunno
why. Maybe he was in one of his vicious moods. I think he's trying
to out do me after 'Death
on Two Legs
- John Deacon: Bass
- Brian May: Guitar, backing vocals.
- Freddie Mercury: Vocals.
- Roger Taylor: Drums, backing vocals.
After its release in 1976, it was played by Queen
on every subsequent tour.
At the 1992 Freddie
Mercury Tribute Concert
, the song was co-performed by Queen and
guests Joe Elliot
. May sang the first verse and chorus
before handing over the vocal part to the Def Leppard
This song has also been played live a few times by Queen with the
. They played this
together for instance at Queen's Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2001, VH-1's Rock Honors 2006 and most recently in Foo
Fighters London Hyde Park performance in which they encored the
show with the song.
- Tie Your Mother Down Songfacts