Nobody Knew
by Carmine Appice (featuring Brian May)

Album: Guitar Zeus (1995)

Songfacts®:

  • This track features Brian May on guitar. It's part of the Guitar Zeus project put together by drummer Carmine Appice, whose contact list is filled with big-name guitarists like May, Ted Nugent, Slash, Richie Sambora and Neal Schon, all of whom contributed. "Nobody Knew" was part of the first Guitar Zeus album, which was issued in 1995, but limited in release for legal reasons. It didn't appear on streaming services until 2019, when the legalities were sorted out.
  • When Brian May recorded this song, Queen was inactive, as Freddie Mercury had died a few years earlier. Appice recalls going to an Aerosmith concert with May around this time and Brian telling him, "I'd love to get back playing again." May certainly did get back playing, reviving Queen with various lead singers, including Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert.
  • Carmine Appice wrote this song with Kelly Keeling, who handled the lead vocals. The song takes place in 2000, five years after it was released, and is a look at what's in store for humanity. "It's talking about the future," Appice told Songfacts. "It said, 'Nobody knows who is running the White House, it's painted all black now,' and then we got Obama, so it was sort of like a premonition that we were going to have a black president and the country was still going to have all these problems with pollution and destroying the Earth."
  • May played a wah-wah guitar on this track, which was unusual for him. "He plays different than most people," Appice said. "He plays really intricate, almost classical guitar parts. Queen, a lot of stuff they do has classical overtones to it. He's got a very 'bitey' sound, but I think what makes him special is his choice of notes.

    What I like about him on my record, he plays with a wah-wah, and he didn't have to really work it out, he just played. And I don't remember ever hearing him play with a wah-wah on Queen records. He gave me two choices: one with the wah-wah, one without. I took the wah-wah, and it was awesome."
  • Brian May said: "As soon as I heard the track, I thought it had a very haunting quality, evoking the '60s, but with a very modern slant. I also found the backing track very powerful and appealing, driven by Carmine's very recognizable style, so I was keen to play on the track straight away."

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