Life happens. We make plans. Life happens regardless. Such was the case again this week as HERC's partner in crime, his editor and his muse, Mrs. HERC was under the weather most of the week and unable to scribble a few song titles onto a couple of cassette j-cards. There are plans made to have them done in two weeks as this week is their Anniversary Week and not much work is gonna get done. Life happens. HERC could not be more thankful his life has happened while hers was happening.
Making an appearance here on Mixtape Monday is the Crown Jewels tape, another single artist compilation, the final and undoubtedly the finest Queen mixtape HERC ever made. The tape itself is a TDK MA 110 and though HERC has never labeled it or marked it in any way, it is one of the few tapes he ever took the time to punch the inserts out so it can't be accidentally recorded over.
Originally, he typed up a tracklist on fluorescent yellow paper (above) before later going back and creating a different insert (below) complete with a diamond plate steel crown.
The visible water damage near the lower right of the Crown Jewels insert is from a tear of HERC's - honest truth on 9/11. This tape was one of the last tapes HERC actually dubbed. As such, it served only his two youngest children, his boys, on their daily drives to and from school as daughter Dev had moved on to high school and riding the bus. HERC had made quite a few Queen tapes before this one and considered himself fairly knowledgeable of each of the song's beginnings and endings. That knowledge and experience, coupled with the flexible yet simple abilities of his Pioneer CA-100 Tape Creating Amplifier, is heard on every transition between songs on this tape. There is maybe less than two seconds of silence between songs TOTAL - every track fades into the next or starts on the last note of the previous track. HERC has often said he would love to recreate this mix digitally but he just can't seem to find thirty minutes to cut so it would fit on a CD.
|1977||We Will Rock You||02:02|
|1977||We Are The Champions||02:59|
|1975||Keep Yourself Alive (long lost re-take)||04:04|
|1974||Stone Cold Crazy||02:14|
|1976||Somebody To Love||04:56|
|1975||You're My Best Friend||02:51|
|1986||A Kind Of Magic||04:24|
|1984||Radio Ga Ga||05:48|
|1984||I Want To Break Free||03:19|
|1980||Another One Bites The Dust||03:35|
|1989||I Want It All||04:40|
|1976||Tie Your Mother Down||04:47|
|1984||Tear It Up||03:25|
|1978||Fat Bottomed Girls||04:16|
|1980||Need Your Loving Tonight||02:49|
|1980||Crazy Little Thing Called Love||02:43|
|1986||Who Wants To Live Forever||05:16|
|1991||The Show Must Go On||04:38|
Without a doubt, Crown Jewels has been the most enjoyable tape to listen to for Mixtape Monday as Queen's music runs through three generations of HERC's family now, from HERC SR bringing home his prized "Bohemian Rhapsody" 45 not because he was in love with the intricate over-dubbed harmonies but because he himself was a proud Bohemian who had traced his roots back to the old country, one of several that no longer exist on any map; to HERC sneaking repeated listenings of the single, learning the joys of headphone listening and later paying the price for scratching the 45 and down to his children, each of whom has asked independently for Queen mixtapes, then Queen mix CDs and finally the entire Queen digital discography through the years. And then there's that tear stain, physical residue and a visual reminder of one of the saddest days ever as HERC tried to find solace through music.
Each of the albums pictured above contributed at least one track to Crown Jewels. It should be noted that HERC used a combination of 1991 remasters and original British pressings to make Crown Jewels - the songs in the playlist below are all from the 2011 remasters as featured on Spotify. Each album pictured above harbors even more of HERC's favorite Queen songs. But that will have to be another mixtape for another Monday.