Tie Your Mother Down (3:44)

Cover of A Day at the Races

From A Day at the Races and 80 other releases

“Tie Your Mother Down” is a riff-driven rock song by Queen and is the opening track to their 1976 album A Day at the Races. Written by guitarist Brian May, it was released as a single a year later to moderate success on the charts. On the album, the song is preceded by a one-minute instrumental intro, which is actually a reprise of the ending of “Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)”: this was intended to create a “circle” in the album, typical, for example, of Pink Floyd’s albums.

May started writing the song in Tenerife, while he was working for his Ph.D. in astrophysics. He composed the riff on a Spanish guitar, and woke up early one morning and played it while singing “tie your mother down,” a line he considered a joke.

Later on, Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury encouraged him to keep the line, similar to what happened between John Lennon and Paul McCartney with the line “the movement you need is on your shoulder” from the Beatles’ song “Hey Jude”. When performing the song during his solo shows, May has often omitted the line, “take your little brother swimming with a brick, that’s all right,” or at the very least mumbled through it.

A promotional film was made for it directed by Bruce Gowers and was a performance clip shot at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York in February, 1977 during the band’s first US arena headlining tour.


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