The best Queen songs of all time
24 November 2020, 20:13
The Freddie Mercury film Bohemian Rhapsody has been a huge hit - but where should you start with the ultimate Queen playlist?
Seven Seas Of Rhye
An instrumental version of this piece of Freddie Mercury fantasy/whimsy appeared at the end of Queen's debut album, but the full-blown song followed several months later and was the band's first Top 10 hit. Its success convinced Freddie to take up music full-time.
Of course. Released on Halloween 1975 as a teaser for the album A Night At The Opera, this six-minute long, operatic, hard rock epic may be over-familiar now, but stop a minute to appreciate the instrumental skill, the vocal gymnastics and the sheer audacity of the scope. A brilliant single.
A supergroup of Queen and David Bowie? Yes please. At the time, both parties weren’t sure about the effectiveness of the finished product and it was never elaborated upon, but the public loved it and sent it to Number 1. Now, with both Bowie and Mercury no longer with us, it’s taken on a poignancy that can’t help but move the listener.
Somebody To Love
The vocals are as lush as Bo Rhap, but the lyric is more direct and relatable, as Freddie Mercury goes full on gospel for this 1976 single, taken from the album A Day At The Races.
The first big Queen hit from October 1974, the sight of Freddie Mercury on Top Of The Pops, clad in fur coat and black nail varnish was a lot of people’s first exposure to the band. Brian May’s solo on his trademark Red Special home-made guitar is impeccable.
We Will Rock You
After a Queen show at Stafford’s Bingley Hall in 1976, the crowd began to sing the football anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone. Both Brian May and Freddie Mercury were affected by this phenomenon and both wrote songs designed for audience participation. May’s brutal, direct stomp was to be a staple of sporting events for years to come.
We Are The Champions
Mercury’s response to the audience participation at Queen gigs was this take on the classic My Way - bad luck and hard times can’t dampen the spirit of the singer, who positively soars as he emerges triumphant. The best ever performance of this song was, of course, at Live Aid in 1985.
A hugely underrated Queen track, written by Brian May and their first single of the 1980s. Taken from the album The Game, it’s an emotional ballad that showcases Mercury’s voice and features a beautiful May guitar solo.
I Want To Break Free
Overshadowed by the hilarious video featuring the band in drag - Freddie complete with fake boobs and moustache - this is a hugely moving song by bassist John Deacon. When the band played it in South America, Freddie walked onstage in drag and was greeted by boos - Queen hadn’t realised that the song was a local anthem against government oppression.
Don’t Stop Me Now
The ultimate getting-ready-for-a-big-night song, this is one of Freddie Mercury’s most vivacious performances. That’s why the call him Mr Fahrenheit.
Another One Bites The Dust
Another killer penned by bassist John Deacon, this was Queen dipping a toe into the waters of disco and club culture, but there’s no denying that monster bassline. It has been scientifically proven that it’s impossible NOT to strut while listening to this song.