The song, “Time Waits For No One,” was originally part of the 1986 West End musical Time. The version released on the musical’s official soundtrack was accompanied by layers of backing vocals, but this new, stripped-back song features Mercury’s voice alone, alongside a piano.
The powerful performance highlights Mercury’s incredible vocal range, five years before his death from AIDS, when Queen was at the height of its fame.
The song is accompanied by a music video filmed at the Dominion Theatre before the evening’s performance of Time began.
The video was cut together quickly in order to turn it around for that week’s broadcast of the music TV show Top of the Pops. Shortly afterwards, the footage was consigned to the vaults and would not be seen again for decades.
The newly-recovered song will be released by Virgin EMI on Friday (June 21). It was unearthed in 2017 by Clark, who wrote the musical Time, a space-age musical starring Cliff Richard. The musical was ridiculed by critics but ran for two years.
Clark was determined to find Mercury’s demo as he felt it had a quality that was missing from the finished version.
“When we first recorded it, I went to Abbey Road and we ran through with just Freddie and piano. It gave me goosebumps. It was magic,” Clark said on BBC Radio 2.“Then we got down to recording the track and we [added] 48 tracks of voices, which had never been done in Abbey Road before, then the whole backing.
“It was fabulous — but I still felt there was something about the original rehearsal.”
He revealed that the session was recorded in a “haze of late nights and fuelled by fabulous food, vodka and Cristal Champagne,” courtesy of Freddie’s personal chef Joe Fanelli.
Afters searching for a decade, Clark finally found the recording, isolated Mercury’s voice and brought in original keyboardist Mike Moran to record a new piano track.
The result is a stunning tribute to the Queen frontman and a treat for old and new fans alike. Clark said it was a perfect representation of Mercury’s “magic performance… he tasted every word.”