In the age of Auto-Tune, it’s a pleasure to have proof that certain greats had no need of pitch correction.
Playback.fm, a free online radio app, stripped the beloved Queen hit of everything but the vocal wave form, then synched it to footage from four concert films and a rare recording session, above.
Their practice was to record two takes of each background part—high, medium and low—in unison, yielding an eighteen voice backing choir. Bassist John Deacon, inventor of the Deacy amp, left the singing to his bandmates, though he did compose several of their top ten hits including "You're My Best Friend" and "Another One Bites the Dust."
Cowing though it may be, don’t let these accomplished musicians’ abundance of talent keep you from singing along. Remember that in 2011, a team of scientific researchers voted “We Are the Champions” the catchiest song in pop music history, thanks in part to Mercury’s “high effort” vocals. As participant and music psychologist Daniel Müllensiefen observed:
Every musical hit is reliant on maths, science, engineering and technology; from the physics and frequencies of sound that determine pitch and harmony, to the hi-tech digital processors and synthesisers which can add effects to make a song more catchier. We’ve discovered that there’s a science behind the sing-along and a special combination of neuroscience, math and cognitive psychology that can produce the elusive elixir of the perfect sing-along song.
When the audience is allowed in at the three minute mark, you can pretend that that thunderous applause is partly due to you.