“Made in Heaven” is Queen’s final studio album, released in November 1995. After Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991, the remaining band members John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Brian May worked with Mercury’s pre-recorded vocals to create the last Queen album with all four members having contributed.
The album feels and sounds like a late 80’s Queen album with Freddie singing every song and sounding much healthier than he does on “Innuendo” as alot of this album has been taken from prior recordings. Only three songs were recorded by Freddie prior to his death: “A Winter’s Tale”, “Mother Love” and what would become “You Don’t Fool Me”. The song list includes:
* “It’s a Beautiful Day” – a previously unreleased song written and recorded by Freddie Mercury at Musicland Studios in Munich, 1980.
* “Made in Heaven” – a track from Mercury’s solo career, appearing on his album ‘Mr. Bad Guy’ in 1985. Taylor, May and Deacon reworked it (over Mercury’s piano and vocals) to make it a Queen track.
* “Let Me Live” – the first single features a gospel-style choir for the opening. Freddie, Brian and Roger each then sing a verse.
* “Mother Love” – the last song Freddie Mercury recorded and co-wrote with Brian May, who on his website discussed the writing process he and Mercury had (writing both separately and together, and conscious of the nature of the song and the lyrics). May sang the last verse since Mercury wasn’t able to do it.
* “My Life Has Been Saved” – composed by John Deacon in 1987-1988.
* “I Was Born to Love You” – originally recorded (piano, vocals, synths) by Mercury on 25th May 1984, for his ‘Mr. Bad Guy’ album.
* “Heaven for Everyone” – a track Roger Taylor wrote and tried out with Queen in 1986, but then dropped and recorded it for The Cross (his other band, where he was lead singer and rhythm guitarist instead of drummer).
* “Too Much Love Will Kill You” – a typical power ballad composed by Brian May (with Frank Musker and Elizabeth Lamers) sometime between the Magic and Miracle sessions. They wrote it in the US and Freddie Mercury sang on it.
* “You Don’t Fool Me” – one of the last tracks recorded for Made In Heaven. It reminds me of a more mellow ‘Scandal’.
* “A Winter’s Tale” – the last song Mercury composed entirely (“Mother Love”’s music is by Brian May). He did the vocals and keyboards for it and completed the last verse around two weeks before he died.
The overall feel of the album is one of reverence, reflection and references to our existence. Only the song “I Was Born to Love You” has an up-beat tempo. The production is of a superb quality considering the difficulties the band faced.
Unfortunately, I dismissed this album at the time as I was into other mid-90’s music and Queen felt long dead. The title, “Made in Heaven”, was just too corny and I still felt (up until recently) that it was just an attempt to hold onto something that wasn’t there anymore. It was only when I went back into a Queen phase (12 years later) that I even considered buying it. But it was very popular in the UK at the time with the first single “Heaven for Everyone” reaching No. 3 and the album going four times platinum selling 1.5 million copies.
Overall, this is a worthwhile coda to Queen’s career. I find it very easy to listen to and reflect in turn on their impact on my life.