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Monday, 6 June 2011

(Another) Chicken Bites (The Man) - Queen v Alan Hawkshaw

Free MP3 download: IronicHide - (Another) Chicken Bites (The Man).mp3

Another One Bites The Dust - Queen vs Chicken Man - Alan Hawkshaw
(Including samples from Kentrucky Fried Chicken advertisements)

Written by Alan Hawkshaw, John Deacon

Arranged by IronicHide

© EMI 1980, Thames International 1978 (Kentucky Fried Chicken 1967, 1987)

Previously, on IronicHide's One Song To The Tune Of Another: I'm making some mashups for ZooFights.

ZooFights is awesome, awesome to the max. And 1980s-themed.

When one of the contestants decided to use the tournament to host infomercials for its own range of Kitchen Brutalizers, well one of my mashups got used as the backing track. Slick, Rick.

Some of you may notice that my first ZooFights entry didn't actually include any music from the 1980s. Technically, one song was from '71, the other from '91. Which means, on average, the track was from '81.

Well, technically, Alan Hawkshaw's Chicken Man, otherwise known as the theme from Grange Hill, is from 1978. Congratulations, we can both use Wikipedia. 

Howsoever, I will forever think of Grange Hill as a 1980s show. Pointing out that it started in 1978 is liking pointing out that Margaret Thatcher was, technically, elected prime minister in May 1979. And you don't want to be like Thatcher, do you?

At least Another One Bites The Dust is from 1980.

Making a mashup for a beast engineered from two birds and a microwave (and keeping it bodaciously '80s) throws up a lot of possibilities: Birdhouse In Your Soul, Pollywanacracka, the theme from Count Duckula, Wings Of A Dove, You Will Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties, etc.

A good part of one day was spent in IronicHide's anti-technical audio suite (heretofore: my lounge), performing a difficult selection process: Playing different combinations of any two songs at the same time.

Another One Bites The Dust was held in my repository folder of 1980s Pop To Be Used In An Emergency When Nothing Else Is Working, which I'd cracked open after about half-an-hour. It's a great song to mash because it has so many identifiable and instrumental parts with many combinations of drums, bass, sound effects, treble-heavy rythm guitar and muted single-string riffs. Even the part I've used here with Freddy Mercury's voice doesn't carry a tune that prohibits use over another track. Oddly, for Queen and Mercury, the track does not have a convoluted lyric (something about 'machine guns' and 'not getting along') and relies on one simple hook.

Of all my bird-themed songs, Chicken Man came to me late. It was only a  coincidental reminder from the internet that confirmed its actual name (not "Grange Hill") and also told me that it was used as the jingle for a Spanish supermarket.

Knowing that the portrayal of Murducken would involve kitchen infomercials and the use of its beak, the deal was done and I got cracking.

Hawkshaw's piece is a quirky 4/4 tune, played through twice, the second time with more washboard rattles and percussion. To cut them out, I took out the second half entirely and repeated the opening 30-odd seconds.

Another One Bites The Dust had about six usable chunks cut out of it and arranged in a way that amused me, separately from Chicken Man but lasting for the same number of bars. When overlaying the two together, the Queen track was more adaptable, being in several smaller lumps, rather than just two. So the bit with the drums and bass was stuck toward the end, the track with just the drums, right at the end, the guitar-y bit moved in to the first half; y'know, just mucking around until it fitted but keeping the section with Mercury's voice (the post-chorus breakdown originally) where it was to hide any gap between the two halves of Hawkshaw.

Getting the fried chicken advert samples was a bitch and I'll say nothing more. I don't like their levels here, their recording or their placement. If you're ever playing with spoken word tracks, I've found a tremolo effect works very well in giving the human voice a natural tone or cadence.

Also, this was one of three tracks produced in two days flat for the fight against Bull Market. More on them at a later date, chuckles, we don't want to get you too worked up.

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