After teasing the discovery of a previously unheard song featuring vocals from late singer Freddie Mercury earlier this summer, Queen finally unwrapped “Face It Alone” on Thursday (Oct. 13). The dramatic, emotionally affecting song was recorded during the 1988 sessions for the band’s penultimate album with Mercury, 1989’s The Miracle.
Recorded three years before Mercury died at 45 from AIDS-related complications, the wistful track opens with Mercury softly singing, “When something so near and dear to life/ Explodes inside/ You feel your soul is set on fire,” over guitarist Brian May’s banjo-like plucking. By the second verse, Mercury climbs into a more forceful, urgent register with the lines, “When something so deep and so far and wide/ Falls down beside your cries can be heard/ So loud and clear.”
The singer then leans into the melodic, solitary chorus, “You life is your own/ You’re in charge of yourself/ Master of your home/ In the end, in the end/ You have to face it all alone.”
In a BBC Radio 2 interview in June, May and drummer Roger Taylor revealed that they’d discovered the song while working on the massive re-issue of The Miracle. “We did find a little gem from Freddie that we’d kind of forgotten about,” Taylor, 72, told BBC Radio 2 host Zoe Ball in the chat. “And it’s wonderful. Actually, it was a real discovery.”
May said he and Taylor have been considering the release of the song for a while. “It was kind of hiding in plain sight,” May said. “We looked at it many times and thought, ‘Oh no, we can’t really rescue that.’” But they went back again this year and with some help from studio wizards May said they were able to spruce up what he described at the time as a “very passionate piece.”
The song — the first new track featuring Mercury vocals in more than 8 years — is the lead single from the upcoming Nov. 18 re-release of the band’s 13th album, which will be available as the 8-disc Queen The Miracle Collector’s Edition box set. The collection will feature an hour-plus disc of previously unreleased recordings, including six unpublished songs, according to a release announcing the box.
The set will also feature audio of the band’s “candid spoken exchanges on the studio floor in London and Montreaux,” giving a peek into the group’s “creative process and the joy, in-jokes and banter on their return to working together”; it will also reinstate the song “Too Much Love Will Kill You,” which was removed from the original album at the last minute due to publishing issues. Other extras include outtakes, instrumentals, a 76-page hardback book with unseen photos, original handwritten fan-club letters from the band, press reviews, videos and interviews, including the last chat with former bassist John Deacon.
Watch the “Face It Alone” lyric video below.