10 Best Queen Songs
The best Queen songs, whether they're charging hard rock, piano-based pop, or epic mini-symphonies, go a long way in explaining why the group is without a doubt one of the most diverse, eclectic and wide-ranging bands to earn their way into the hearts of music lovers around the world. In honor of what would have been late singer Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday today (Sept. 5), we present our list of the 10 Best Queen Songs:
Don't let the impeccably produced, eclectic pop records they're most famous for make you forget the fact that Queen could rock the heck out when they felt like it. None other than the mighty Metallica gave this song their seal of approval years later by recording a cover and playing the song from time to time at their own concerts.
After confirming their international super-stardom in the mid-'70s with some of the more ornate and poppish songs you'll find later on this list, it seems possible Queen wanted to prove they could still bring the riffs. Here, they combine the assault of those early records with their newfound studio wizardy to create one of the most enduring staples of the band's live concert setlists.
After two records focused largely on hard and progressive rock, Queen broke through to the mainstream with this ode to a high-priced call girl from their third album. It features a jaunty piano part and healthy doses of the multi-tracking and vocal harmonizing methods that would go on to become big parts of their signature sound.
The range and diversity of Queen's music is nearly unmatched in the rock world, a fact proved to astonishing degree by the wide range of artists that performed at the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert following the singer's death. Broadway stars rubbed shoulders with rock legends, metalheads and pop heroes, and everybody was able to find a great Queen song that fit their style perfectly. Whatever you may think of George Michael's public image, try not to get swept up in the moment when he leads 72,000 on the chorus of 'Somebody to Love.'
Freddie Mercury reportedly wrote this song during a 10-minute flash of inspiration, using his (self-described) limited guitar abilities to create a fantastic rockabilly number worthy of Elvis Presley himself. He plays the role of "the King" to the fullest vocally as well, crooning in a low register so playful you can practically see the curled lip and slicked-back hair.
Is there anything we could write about this song that would possibly explain its appeal, or tickle your eyes as much as that gorgeous a cappella intoduction -- "Arrrrrrrrre you gonna take me home tonight? Ohhhh, down beside the red firelight" thrills your ears? Together with its partner on wax, 'Bicycle Race,' this song may have done as much for the cycling industry as anyone this side of Lance Armstrong.
Queen team up with art-rock hero David Bowie to create a song so infectious, sturdy and undeniable that it was able to stand up to, and ultimately outlast, one of the most heinous and large-scale assaults on musical good taste that's ever been foisted on the world. We've got nothing against sampling when it reveals new angles of the original music (shout out to Public Enemy!), but as nice a guy as Vanilla Ice seems now, man did 'Ice Ice Baby' suck.
Queen bassist Roger Deacon steps into the spotlight, recording nearly all the instruments for this disco-rock classic after reportedly hanging out in the studio with 'Good Times' creators Chic. Mercury contrasts the menacing low groove of the song with one of his most impassioned and fiery vocal performances, creating a masterpiece of tongue-in-cheek boastful taunting.
Obviously, either of these songs could be on a list of the best Queen songs all by themselves, but it feels weird to talk about one without the other. Without these living, breathing, audio representations of motivation and victory, where would the sports world be? Here's a question we'd like answered: What did baseball, basketball, hockey and football players listen to when they won the world title before 1977?
Was there really a question what would top the Best Queen songs list? This multi-part epic, painstakingly created with razor blades on state of the art machinery that could still barely match the sounds in Freddie Mercury's head, has gone on to become universally accepted as their masterwork. Each facet of the band's wide range of talent and ambition is revealed in one of 'Rhapsody''s six completely different sections. It's video was equally groundbreaking, and we've never ever met a person capable of shutting this song off before it ended.