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Album: A Night At The OperaReleased: 1975
Queen guitarist Brian May wrote this. The song is about an astronaut who travels to a distant place at near the speed of light. Because of the time dilation that takes place at these speeds, he and his crew return home 100 years later. He has aged only a year but sadly finds that his wife has long passed on and that he is about the same age as his grandchildren, with everyone he knew before being dead for many years. May describes it as a "sci-fi folk song."
Brian May studied astrophysics, which gave him the impetus for this song. He considered sciene for a career, and when he dropped out of his astrophysics degree to start Queen, it caused a huge rift between him and his father, who believed Brian was throwing his life and career away - even though he had helped his son build his signature Red Special guitar as a youngster. It was only when his father saw Queen play in Madison Square Garden in 1978 that the elder May finally acknowledged that his son had made the right choice. A clearly emotional Brain May recalled this story in the Days of Our Lives documentary.
May based the song around a story by Herman Hesse called The River.
This was released as the B-side to "You're My Best Friend."
Queen's bassist John Deacon played an upright bass on this track.
Ingram Hill covered this for the 2005 Queen tribute album Killer Queen
The high pitched voice heard during the chorus and other parts is Queen drummer Roger Taylor, as can be seen from many of their live performances.
Brian May often performs this song, combining it with "Love Of My Life" to form a touching tribute to Freddie Mercury. He does this at most shows he plays - either with Queen (and guest vocalist) or solo/with Kerry Ellis. In a solo show in 1993 he played it as a medley with his solo acoustic song "Let Your Heart Rule Your Head."