A Winter's Tale

Album: Made in Heaven (1995)
Charted: 6

Songfacts®:

  • This poignant look at winter was composed by Freddie Mercury after recording the Innuendo album, just two weeks before his death. The lyrics were inspired by the view through the window at Queen's recording studio on Lake Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Freddie wrote the song and recorded his vocals and keyboard parts live in one take. The frontman usually insisted upon music being completed prior to the vocal arrangement beginning, but realizing that he had little time left, he acknowledged that he had to speed up the process. His remaining bandmates subsequently completed the song, releasing it four years later.
  • Mercury penned the song in a 6/8 time signature. Several other of his best-known compositions, including "We Are The Champions" and "Somebody to Love" are in a 6/8 meter.
  • Guitarist Brian May recalled to Mojo:

    "Freddie wrote the song in Montreux, in a little house on the lake that we called The Duck House. The extraordinary thing is he's talking about life and its beauty at a time when he knows he hasn't got very long to go, yet there's no wallowing in emotion, it's just absolutely purely observed.

    So that's the way I wanted my solo to be. It was one of those things where I could hear it in my head, long before I actually got to play it. And when I recorded it, at my home studio, in my head I was there with Freddie in Montreux in those moments, even though this was happening long after he was gone."

Comments: 5

  • Michele Kurlander from ChicagoBoth Jim Hutton and Peter Freestone report that Fredfie made his last visit to Montreux just weeks before he died and Jim reported he wrote this song while looking out from the window of the condo he purchased on quai des fleurs not far down from the Studio- the place he and Jim were still decorating during that last trip- not from the Duck House past the town the other direction Freestone says that when he discovered he was losing his eyesight while there that s when he gave up on meds.

    If they are both right, he had to have recorded it in October or November just after returning to London where he died.
  • Daniel from BecclesIt's a truly great song, and was recorded some time in 1991, but it certainly wasn't 2 weeks before his untimely passing, it is widely known that the last vocals that Freddie ever recorded were on the song mother love, which was in may 1991, he was so ill by this point that he never returned to finish it, hence why Brian may sang the final verse.
  • Nina from UsaI can’t hear this song without crying. Just 2 weeks before he moved on he knew time was short. Yet the world gave him joy. In one take! It’s a gorgeous song from a dying man who really loved his life and his audience. Miss you Freddie.
  • Mary from ArizonaThis song reaches deep into my soul. Freddie's voice is so strong and passionate, despite the fact that he was so ill at this time. What an amazing and brave man he was. RIP Freddie. You are still missed decades after you left us.
  • Paul from Rothesay, Nb, NbWhat a magical vocal by Freddie, and such imagery. Knowing that this was one of his last recordings makes all the more poignant.
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