There’s a fantastic scene within the Bohemian Rhapsody film the place Freddie Mercury and the remaining of the Queen gang provide you with We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions. The concept, they are saying, is to put in writing songs that songs that the viewers can sing again at them; to make their viewers half of the track. It is a easy concept, nevertheless it clearly labored. It makes you marvel why extra bands do not strategy songwriting that approach.
To today, Queen have a bond with their viewers that is still robust. For each naysayer who bemoans they work they do with Adam Lambert, there’s one other ten who queue as much as defend the band: it is their legacy, they usually can do regardless of the hell they like. Most significantly, it is their songs.
Ahh sure, the songs. All 189 of them. From the Baroque-tinged arduous rock that shaped the bedrock of Queen’s sound, to their explorations in funk, prog, opera and fairly nicely every thing in between, when it got here to their creativity nothing was off limits. That such an eclectic vary of influences and passions have been put via the Queen grinder and got here out sounding like no different band is only one of the elements which have made them such an everlasting and widely-loved proposition.
With a fanbase as devoted and engaged as Queen’s, we knew precisely the place to show when it got here to pulling collectively the definitive rating of Queen’s best songs. We put every of the band’s recorded songs into an enormous ballot, you voted for them in your hundreds (we had near 50,000 votes – see what we imply about Queen followers?), and we put the outcomes into an enormous spreadsheet and carried out some calculations. We additionally referred to as upon some acquainted faces to listen to concerning the Queen songs that basically make them tick.
Listed here are the outcomes. There’s some shocking decisions, and a few not-at-all shocking decisions. Nevertheless it’s all Queen. And it is all superb.
- 1 50. Bicycle Race (Jazz, 1978)
- 2 49. The Fairy Feller’s Grasp-Stroke (Queen II, 1974)
- 3 48. Dragon Assault (The Recreation, 1980)
- 4 47. Liar (Queen, 1973)
- 5 46. The Millionaire Waltz (A Day At The Races, 1976)
- 6 45. Now I am Right here (Sheer Coronary heart Assault, 1974)
- 7 44. I’m In Love With My Car (A Night At The Opera, 1975)
- 8 43. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) (A Day At The Races, 1976)
- 9 42. Stone Cold Crazy (Sheer Heart Attack, 1974)
- 10 41. I Was Born To Love You (Made In Heaven, 1995)
50. Bicycle Race (Jazz, 1978)
Freddie Mercury’s nimble whip although this difficult rock tongue-twister presents Queen at their most ludicrously camp. The track itself is an exciting journey, with references to cocaine, Star Wars, Watergate and John Wayne, and a solo performed on bicycle bells. Musically, it is a fairly good illustration of the album that housed it: bonkers, scattershot, however above all, genius.
Having decamped to Switzerland to work on Jazz, this music’s inspiration was discovered from the Tour de France 1978 passing by way of Montreux, the situation of Queen’s favoured Mountain Studios. The inspiration for the video, that includes dozens of bare ladies driving cycles round Wimbledon Stadium was equally clear, and predictably resulted in its being banned in a quantity of nations. Which, of course, might be precisely what Queen needed within the first place.
“That Queen record Jazz had some weird shit on it,” Mike Patton told us in 2006. “If you listen to how dense Bicycle Race is, it sounds more dense, more deep, more rich than these ProTools systems that you can record 96 fucking tracks on. So that really impressed me – not to mention the music – but, how the fuck did they do it?”
49. The Fairy Feller’s Grasp-Stroke (Queen II, 1974)
Impressed by a Richard Dadd portray of the identical identify, this Queen II album monitor is an effective instance of how Mercury’s pure creativity could possibly be boosted by a bit of deft studio know-how. “I did a lot of research on it and it inspired me to write a song about the painting, depicting what I thought I saw in it,” he informed Radio One in 1977. “It was just because I’d come through art college and I basically like the artist and I like the painting, so I thought I’d like to write a song about it.”
All sounds easy sufficient – although of course, Queen being Queen, it was something however. Complicated sufficient to cease it ever being carried out stay, the monitor involves life with its layered instrumentals and kooky tales of fairy expeditions. Dubbed by Mercury as Queen’s “biggest studio experiment”, its use of multi-tracked harpsichord, piano, castanets and Hendrix-inspired panning has seen it held up as a milestone in Mercury’s songwriting profession.
48. Dragon Assault (The Recreation, 1980)
Allegedly John Deacon’s favorite Queen track and begrudged by Roger Taylor for being “very hard on the right wrist”, this One other One Bites The Mud B-side has develop into one thing of a cult favorite amongst Queen followers through the years. Penned by Brian Might, its minimalist disco-funk leanings are simpler to know whenever you study it was the product of a drunken jam session which ultimately made it onto tape.
“Roger and John swing convincingly, locking into an infectious groove that they adhere to throughout,” writes Georg Purvis in Queen: Full Works. “[This allows] Brian full rein on some dirty guitar licks while Freddie sings the minimal lyrics, long rumoured to be about his hard partying ways.”
47. Liar (Queen, 1973)
The second single to be launched from Queen’s eponymous debut, this track served as a perfectly dramatic car for Queen’s concord vocals, Brian Might’s guitar and the band’s means to inform tales with their music. This will likely have been Queen taking child steps, however the sound of their future is all right here: silks, satins, elaborate feathercuts, cod-Zeppelin riffs, wannabe Seashore Boys harmonies and a mad gospel breakdown.
“The first song I heard was Liar,” Paul Stanley told us of this song. “You only get one chance to make a first impression, and that was the song that made it for me. Obviously, they grew into something very different, but I remember hearing that song, and as far as the personality and the sonics of it, it was very impressive to me. Later on, it became something else which was equally impressive for other reasons – the diversity and the ability of everybody in that band to write a No.1 song is unmatched.”
46. The Millionaire Waltz (A Day At The Races, 1976)
This camp and quirky slice of whimsy from the pen of Mr Mercury is light-hearted as hell, however proof of the band’s in-depth expertise. Queen’s style for the overblown is given area to luxuriate right here, the pointed grandeur of this music main Taylor to crown it a religious successor to Bohemian Rhapsody.
A waltz that revels within the protagonist’s excessive life and riches, this music was truly written about their then supervisor John Reid, with Mercury telling comic and DJ Kenny Everett “It’s very out of the Queen format, really, and we thought we’d like to do that on every album. I think I went a bit mad on this one. But it’s turned out alright I think, it makes people laugh sometimes.”
45. Now I am Right here (Sheer Coronary heart Assault, 1974)
After a primary main hit with a pop track, Killer Queen, the follow-up single was a reaffirmation of the band’s heavy rock credentials. Now I’m Right here was constructed round one of Brian Might’s biggest riffs, and for such a kick-ass track, it was a surprisingly massive hit, reaching quantity 11 on the UK chart.
Written by Might whereas he was laid up in hospital after coming back from America – understandably eager to rejoin his bandmates who had began work on their subsequent album with out him – work started on this monitor whereas Might was convalescing. Lyrically, it mirrored the disconnect between touring the US with Mott The Hoople and his dwelling in a pokey bedsit in West London together with his girlfriend. “It came out quite easily,” stated the guitarist. “Where I’d been wrestling with it before without getting anywhere.”
The raucous exhausting rock of Now I’m Right here made it an ideal reside favorite. “It’s a song that I think they opened with when I saw them circa the Sheer Heart Attack album,” Porcupine Tree’s Richard Barbieri told us. “Although Freddie camped it up, and much of their material was delicate, when Queen rocked out they easily rivalled Zeppelin, Sabbath and Purple. It was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen.”
44. I’m In Love With My Car (A Night At The Opera, 1975)
Roger Taylor didn’t have his own hit song until Radio Ga Ga in 1984, but he certainly made a few quid out of the one he wrote for A Night At The Opera. Famously, when Bohemian Rhapsody was released as a single, I’m In Love With My Car was the B-side, earning Taylor an equal split of the royalties with Mercury: the source of some friction between the two.
For all that, I’m In Love With My Car was a great song in its own right. It was inspired by a Queen roadie who considered his Triumph sports car the love of his life, hence the note in the album credits: ‘Dedicated to Jonathan Harris, boy racer to the end.’ Taylor’s lyrics included much joking on this theme: ‘Told my girl I had to forget her/Rather buy me a new carburettor.’
Indeed, Brian May had dismissed the song as a joke when Taylor first played a demo for him. But the finished article was so good – a supercharged rock’n’roll number, played the way only Queen could, with Taylor the star of the show – that I’m In Love With My Car turned into a genuine Queen anthem.
43. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) (A Day At The Races, 1976)
A Day At The Races’ piano-driven finale, this track was written by May as a gesture towards the band’s dedicated Japanese fanbase. Having been warmly welcomed during their first visit to the country, May called the song “The result of feeling ‘untimely ripped’ from our lovely Japanese fans. I had never experienced anything like the love that was showered upon us when we were a young rock group in Japan. So suddenly, I felt I wanted to say on behalf of Queen that I missed them and we would not forget”.
With the lyrics translated by Chika Kujiraoka, Mercury’s sweetly evocative vocals made this a treasured fan favourite all over the globe.
42. Stone Cold Crazy (Sheer Heart Attack, 1974)
The furious Stone Cold Crazy – an influence on the future members of Metallica, and hence a cornerstone of the thrash metal movement – is as close to true heavy metal as Queen ever came.
While Mercury’s vocal on the 1974 original (the only Queen song credited to the whole band until the late ‘80s) was rather more playful and camp than Hetfield’s, that ripping machine-gun riff and speedy headbanging tempo still mark this out as an early metal classic.
“Man, what a chorus,” said Whitesnake’s Reb Beach of the track. “I love that song because the whole band rocks, then everything stops and Freddie uses that amazing voice of his to express a really wordy verse. Only he could have made that sound the way it did.”
41. I Was Born To Love You (Made In Heaven, 1995)
Initially a Freddie Mercury solo monitor recorded throughout one of Queen’s artistic hiatuses, his disco-tastic model was given the rock remedy by Might, Deacon and Taylor on Queen’s last album, accomplished and launched following Mercury’s dying.
Its disco origins imply it stays one of Queen’s poppiest tracks, and its place as one of Queen’s enduring favourites is probably made all the extra curious if you study Mercury thought-about it so throwaway that he almost junked it from his genre-bending solo album Mr Dangerous Man earlier than it was launched. Nonetheless, its heartfelt lyric and irresistible beat has made it a treasured fan favorite.