Time was the brainchild of Dave Clark, whose first spectacular brush with fame was as the leader of 1960s favourites the Dave Clark Five, was the man behind Time. The show opened at the Dominion Theatre in London’s West End in April 1986. It starred Cliff Richard and a pre-filmed Sir Laurence Olivier. Mixing science fiction with rock music and futuristic special effects, it ran for two years.
The soundtrack album featured tracks by Richard, Julian Lennon, Ashford & Simpson, Dionne Warwick and others. Mercury first agreed to record a song that Clark had in mind for him from the show, ‘In My Defence.’ He flew from his home in Munich to record it at Abbey Road Studios in October 1985. Moran, the pianist among Clark’s session band, had never met Freddie, but they became firm friends. They went on to co-write ‘Barcelona,’ his hit with Spanish operatic soprano Montserrat Caballé. Mercury and Moran also penned most of the album of the same name.
Mercury enjoyed the ‘In My Defence’ recording so much that he asked Clark if he had any other material. The producer offered him the musical’s title song, and they returned to Abbey Road to record it in January 1986. Written with John Christie, the song’s recording featured 48 tracks of backing vocals, by Mercury, Christie and another friend, Peter Straker. Two x 24-track tapes were locked together, for the first time in Abbey Road’s history, resulting in a 96-track production.