Contact Us

Top 10 John Deacon Queen Songs

Ian Tyas, Getty Images

Queen are one of the few classic-rock bands in which all four members individually participated in the songwriting process. Even though bassist John Deacon set himself apart as the group’s least visible and vocal participant (literally — he’s the only one who did not sing), this most private of rock stars was responsible for composing some of Queen’s biggest global hits. Just read on and you may find yourself amazed, as we delve into the Top 10 John Deacon Queen Songs.


jazz
10

‘In Only Seven Days’

From: Jazz (1978)
 
 

This sublime ballad showcases both Deacon's innate melodic sensibilities and direct, unguarded approach to penning romantic lyrics – something none of his Queen bandmates seemed quite so comfortable with. Usually overlooked on the second half of Queen's 1978 album 'Jazz' (which also includes Deacon's popular hard rocker ‘If You Can't Beat Them'), ‘In Only Seven Days’ features many of Deacon's classic songwriting traits.

 
news
9

'Who Needs You'

From: 'News of the World' (1977)
 
 

Further proof of Deacon's range can be found in this playful bossa nova from the second half of 1977's 'News of the World,' in which the bass player performs Spanish guitar alongside Brian May and is backed by a wealth of unusual percussion instruments that enhance the song's Latin flavors. 'Who Needs You' may not be classic Queen – it's more a curious departure – but it provides solid proof of Deacon's expanding ambitions and the directions it would take in the future.

 
game
8

‘Need Your Loving Tonight’

From: The Game (1980)
 
 

Unlike many of Brian May's guitar-driven creations, this punchy rocker from the band's only No. 1 U.S. album highlights Deacon's melodic flair. He plays ‘Need Your Loving Tonight’'s acoustic rhythm guitar to soften the sharp angles into a buttery-smooth arrangement, simultaneously suggesting his Beatles influences and the period's power-pop inspiration.

 
lap
7

‘Misfire’

From: 'Sheer Heart Attack' (1974)
 
 

The same facility for creating fluid electric/acoustic and hard/soft contrasts is evident in Deacon's very first composition for Queen, 'Sheer Heart Attack's' whimsical 'Misfire,' on which he plays almost every guitar part, including the solo. But 'Misfire''s greatest achievement was helping to establish Deacon's role among Queen's other three, and far more extroverted, musicians – the role of “secret weapon.”

 
One_Year_of_Love
6

‘One Year of Love’

From: 'A Kind of Magic' (1986)
 
 

As he does on a few other tracks found on our list of the Top 10 John Deacon Queen Songs, the most reserved member of the group bears his emotions here in ways his bandmates (especially Freddie Mercury) rarely dared. Moreover, this heartfelt ballad -- written to order for the movie 'Highlander' -- features a rare saxophone appearance (performed by session musician Steve Gregory, who also played on Wham!'s No. 1 hit 'Careless Whisper') and a lush string arrangement that heighten the song's romantic message.

 
A_Day_at_the_Races
5

‘You and I’

From: 'A Day at the Races' (1976)
 
 

Deacon's lone contribution to 1976's terrific 'A Day at the Races' LP launches with a rollicking piano part by Freddie Mercury before embarking on the sort of melodic mid-paced rocker that had become the bass player's style. But the upbeat love letter of 'You and I' also builds in intensity toward a densely orchestrated second half scored in the patented Queen tradition, complete with multi-tracked vocals and guitars.

 
Spread_Your_Wings
4

‘Spread Your Wings’

From: 'News of the World' (1977)
 
 

A rising appreciating of musical drama permeates 'Spread Your Wings,' which was released as a single in the winter of 1978 (and promoted with a snowbound music video shot in drummer Roger Taylor's backyard). It's the only Queen single without chorused vocals stacked behind Freddie Mercury's lead and delivered in a rare third-person narrative by the group, which encourages protagonist Sammy to follow his dreams.

 
break
3

‘I Want to Break Free’

From: 'The Works' (1984)
 
 

Even though ' I Want to Break Free' is closely associated with Freddie Mercury, Deacon composed the song for 1984's 'The Works.' Mercury barely concealed his gay lifestyle in the song's hilariously tongue-in-cheek video. But 'I Want to Break Free' is Deacon's creation and was a worldwide smash that almost everyone could relate to. Its message about freedom – be it personal, political, spiritual, etc. -- connected in almost every country except the U.S., where the video's crossdressing humor was totally lost on MTV and other mainstream outlets, which promptly banned it. So much for the land of the free …

 
You'reMyBestFriend
2

‘You’re My Best Friend’

From 'A Night at the Opera' (1975)
 
 

How do you follow a stratospheric hit like 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' which celebrates rock 'n' roll excess with fearless hubris? By coming back down to earth with Deacon's tender love letter to his wife. 'You're my Best Friend' was released as the second single from Queen's historic 'A Night at the Opera' album and marks the bassist's first single as composer. He was just learning how to play the electric piano when he came up with ‘You’re My Best Friend.’

 
Another_one_bites_the_dust
1

‘Another One Bites the Dust’

From 'The Game' (1980)
 
 

The band’s best-selling single ever not only was a No. 1 hit, it also crossed over to the r&b chart. Powered by a nonstop bass line by Deacon, ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ was inspired by disco giants Chic. At times the song sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, with traditional instrumentation (most performed by Deacon himself) surrounded by many distinctive sound effects conjured in the studio with the help of engineer Reinhold Mack. Tellingly, no synthesizers were used. But who needed them with a groove this massive and irresistible?

 

Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://ultimateclassicrock.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!