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This article is about the tuy nhiên. For years of this name and other uses, see 39.

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B-side label of the US vinyl pressing of the "You're My Best Friend" single release

Song by Queen
from the album A Night at the Opera
A-side"You're My Best Friend"
PublishedQueen Music Ltd.
Released18 June 1976
RecordedAugust–November 1975
  • Progressive rock[1]
  • pop rock[2]
  • folk[3]
  • skiffle[4]
  • EMI
  • Elektra
Songwriter(s)Brian May
  • Roy Thomas Baker
  • Queen

"'39" is a tuy nhiên by British rock band Queen. Composed by lead guitarist Brian May, it is the fifth track on their fourth studio album A Night at the Opera. The tuy nhiên was also the B-side lớn "You're My Best Friend".

The tuy nhiên relates the tale of a group of space explorers who embark on what is, from their perspective, a year-long voyage. Upon their return, however, they realise that a hundred years have passed, because of the time dilation effect in Einstein's special theory of relativity, and the loved ones they left behind are now all dead or aged.[5]


May sings lead vocal on the studio recording of the tuy nhiên, one of his few lead vocals on Queen recordings.

May had asked bassist John Deacon lớn play double bass as a joke but a couple of days later he found Deacon in the studio with the instrument, and he had already learned lớn play it.[6]

May had been working on his thesis in astrophysics, but eventually abandoned his studies lớn pursue his career with Queen. In 2006, he resumed his studies and eventually completed his thesis, titled A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud, and received his PhD in 2008.[7]

Since Queen had named their albums A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races after two of the Marx Brothers' most popular films, surviving brother Groucho Marx invited Queen lớn visit him at his Los Angeles trang chủ in March 1977 (five months before he died). The band thanked him, and performed "'39" a cappella.[8]

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The tuy nhiên is the 39th album track released by the band when counting each album track from the debut album onwards.

Live performances[edit]

The tuy nhiên was a live favourite throughout the 1970s, often being used as a singalong in concert.[9] It was first performed in Edinburgh in September 1976 and remained in setlists until December 1979, although the tuy nhiên was briefly performed in 1984. Instead of May singing the lead vocals live, Mercury did. The Guardian later commented that live performances of the tuy nhiên were played as "a raucous, rollicking sea shanty."[10]

The version recorded at concert at Festhalle Frankfurt on 2 February 1979 is featured on the live album Live Killers.[11]

George Michael performed "'39" at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in April 1992.[12][13] Michael cited this tuy nhiên as his favourite Queen tuy nhiên, claiming he used lớn busk it on the London Underground.[14]

Later the tuy nhiên was included by Queen on the setlists of their Queen + Adam Lambert tours in 2012 & 2014-2015 featuring Adam Lambert[15] & both Queen + Paul Rodgers Tours, which were Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour & Rock the Cosmos featuring Paul Rodgers; as on the album, it is sung by May.

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I felt a little lượt thích that about my trang chủ at the time, having been away and seen this vastly different world of rock music which was totally different from the way I was brought up. People may not generally admit it but I think that when most people write songs there is more phàn nàn one level lớn them – they'll be about one thing on the surface, but underneath they're probably trying, maybe even unconsciously, lớn say something about their own life, their own experience – and in nearly all my stuff, there is a personal feeling.

— Brian May, on the meaning of "'39"[10]


Information is taken from the album's Liner Notes[16] except where noted

  • Freddie Mercury - Backing vocals
  • Brian May - Lead vocals, backing vocals, 12-string acoustic guitar, electric guitar
  • Roger Taylor - Tambourine,[17] bass drum, backing vocals
  • John Deacon - Double bass


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "A Night at the Opera - Queen | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  2. ^ Nicholson, Kris (8 April 1976). "A Night at the Opera". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "A Day at the Races - Queen | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  4. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo (21 November 2015). "Revisiting Queen's Masterpiece, 'A Night at the Opera'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  5. ^ "'39". Songfacts. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  6. ^ May, Brian. "Queen Legends". Queen.musichall.cz.
  7. ^ "Queen's Homage lớn Space Exploration: '39". Best Classic Bands. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  8. ^ Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock. Voyageur Press. 2009. p. 96.
  9. ^ Eder, Bruce. "'39 - Queen". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Old Music: Queen - '39". The Guardian. trăng tròn March 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  11. ^ Fricke, David (6 September 1979). "Live Killers". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  12. ^ "The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert". Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  13. ^ Bignardi, Francesco (9 November 2008). "Queen & George Michael – '39 (Freddie Mercury Tribute)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  14. ^ "A Night At The Opera". QueenZone.com. 17 August 2007. Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  15. ^ "Queen + Adam Lambert Set List: Calgary, Saddledome". Queen Online. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  16. ^ A Night at the Opera (Media notes). EMI Records. 1975. EMTC 103.
  17. ^ "Album Analysis: A Night At The Opera". Queensongs.info. Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2017.