Good Company (3:23)

Cover of A Night at the Opera

From A Night at the Opera and 5 other releases

“Good Company” was written and sung by Brian May. All vocals are by May, who also plays a ukelele, not to be confused with the George Formby Ukelele-Banjo (also known as banjolele) that he’d used one year previously in ‘Bring Back That Leroy Brown’.

The recording is remarkable for featuring an elaborate recreation of a Dixieland-style jazz band, produced by May using his Red Special guitar, along with various forms of effects processing.

May touched briefly on the “horns” in the song, in a 1982 interview with “On The Record”.

“”Yeah, that’s four different kind of guitars. I was very keen in those days on recreating that sort of atmosphere. I mainly got the sound with small amplifiers. I used John Deacon’s little amplifier and a volume pedal. For the trombone and trumpet sounds. I would record every note individually: Do it and then drop in. Incredibly painstaking! It took ages and ages. I listened to a lot of traditional jazz music when I was young, so I tried to get the phrasing as it would be if it were played by that instrument.”

The song is a narrative tale, told by a man who in young age was advised by his father to “take care of those you call your own, and keep good company.” In his younger years, the singer follows his father’s advice, keeping his friends and marrying a girl named Sally. However, after their marriage, he begins to lose interest in his friends, who gradually disappear. As he grows older, he becomes increasingly skilled at and dedicated to his occupation, working long nights and neglecting his family.

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