Let us strap down to do the impossible. In this article, we wish to bring you JustRandomThings’ picks for the best of Queen, as we list down the top 10 songs by the iconic British Rock band led by Freddie Mercury, John Deacon, Brian May, and Roger Taylor.
Queen band is no one-hit-wonder. The four members poured sweat, blood, and tears into their music and came out on top. Each member had their own personality, which we can see through their music. Undoubtedly, the frontman-Freddie Mercury is the most celebrated Queen member to date, even though the legacy of the band is still carried on by Brian May and Roger Taylor in 2018. Freddie Mercury was a one-man-show himself. His charisma, showmanship, style, and sexuality drew the spotlight to him, and not to mention his unparalleled vocal skills.
Brian May’s guitar notes still give goosebumps to date, along with Roger Taylor’s iconic drums. The void of Freddie Mercury is filled by singer Adam Lambert.
Queen is a Rock band by nature. But what made them special was partly their versatility in jumping through genres, and mixing them with Rock. It is no surprise that Queen’s most famous song “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a mix of Rock, Ballad, Pop Rock, Progressive Rock, and even Operatic. This is something not many bands attempt and pull off successfully. On another note, the band took showmanship to a whole extreme with their electrifying performances that included the boldest clothing. For example; “I Want To Break Free.”
Enough with the chit-chat, let us jump into the top 10 list.
Top 10 Best Songs by Queen
Disclosure: this list is purely based on personal taste and does not follow any rating metrics and neither does intend to hurt anyone else’s opinions. In fact, we encourage you to challenge our top 10 Queen song picks.
10) Who Wants To Live Forever
Penned by Queen’s Brian May in 1986, this song made into the band’s album ‘A Kind of Magic.’
The song starts off as an almost-ballad and continues to grow into a Slow/Progressive Rock track, hymned by Mercury’s soulful vocals. The song speaks about the distraught feelings of despair and demise felt when love is lost. Brian May was inspired by the movie to come up with “Who Wants To Live Forever.” The music video for this Rock-Ballad is complete with an orchestra.
“What is this thing that builds our dreams
Yet slips away from us?”
Love rarely lasts a lifetime and Queen seems to come to an agreement with this by ending the song whispering “Who waits forever anyway?”
09) Under Pressure
Talk about some vocals warmups being used in a song by Freddie Mercury. But what makes this song truly special is the meaning of this song, not to mention the special guest feature on the track-David Bowie.
“Under Pressure” made it into Queen’s 1982 album ‘Hot Space’ and the song is a mix of Classic Rock and Pop genres. The song speaks about the hard-knock life that we are all destined to face in this world. There is one stressor after another, and you can’t even maintain a shut-eye on it.
“It’s the terror of knowing what the world is about
Watching some good friends screaming
‘Let me out'”
The amazing beat, the great vocal combination of Mercury and Bowie, the song meaning make this song a top pick for us.
08) Radio Ga Ga
One more fact that makes Queen such an amazing all-around act is the fact that all the members of the band composed lyrics. As per the 2018 movie biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ the members would often get into heated arguments as to who’s songs get picked for an album.
Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor composed lyrics to “Radio Ga Ga” and it became an instant hit. The song speaks about how the radio as a medium of communication shaped up their youth. However, the television was getting popular and commercialized by this time, which made it look like the radio was getting outdated.
“You gave them all those old time stars
Through wars of worlds invaded by Mars
You made ’em laugh, you made ’em cry”
How effective was this song? Popular singer Lady Gaga fashioned her stage name inspired by “Radio Ga Ga.”
07) Somebody To Love
Have you ever heard of a perfect harmonization of Gospel music and Rock? Well, “Somebody To Love” is just the perfect mix of music, genres, vocals by all four Queen members, some exquisite guitar work, and crafty lyrics by Freddie Mercury.
This song is a conversation of a hard-working man with the Lord. He works till he can’t stand no more and he brings home some good bacon. But he has no one to share that with. But he is not about to give up. With his strength and his Lord’s blessings, he will continue his good fight.
“I have spent all my years in believing you
But I just can’t get no relief, Lord!
Somebody (somebody) ooh somebody (somebody)
Can anybody find me somebody to love?”
“Somebody To Love” was featured in Queen’s 1976 album ‘A Day at the Races.’
06) Killer Queen
No, this is not a self-tribute song by Queen. The songwriter-Freddie Mercury himself said that this song was about ‘high-class call girls.’ But how Freddie presents the exquisite qualities of this prostitute is what captures our attention.
“Killer Queen” is not a mere song of good lyrics, the song also uses an extensive set of instruments including piano, triangles, chimes, and even finger snaps for music. On top of that, all the members of Queen perform background vocal harmonization on this song.
“Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
“Killer Queen” is also the band’s first international hit, charting on top spots across the US, Canada, and Australia. The song was included in ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ from 1974.
05) The Show Must Go On
This song becomes special on its own as it is considered to be a dedication to Freddie Mercury’s undying passion for the game. Brian May composed the lyrics to the song with Mercury in mind in 1990.
“Inside my heart is breaking
My make up may be flaking
But my smile
Still stays on”
In 1990 Freddie Mercury was suffering heavily from complications arising from HIV/AIDS. Brian May at one point comments that Mercury could not even stand on his own during this time. Because of this, May was doubtful if Mercury could pull off the challenging vocals of “The Show Must Go On.” So when he presented his dilemma to Freddie, he has taken a shot of Vodka, and said “I’ll fucking do it, darling” and nailed the recording. What you hear below is the vocals by a man in the last days of his life, as Freddie Mercury passed away on November 24, 1991.
The song was placed on Queen’s 1991 album ‘Innuendo’ released just weeks before Mercury’s passing.
04) Love Of My Life
This is one of the most romantic songs on Queen’s portfolio. What makes this track stand out from the rest of love songs is that Freddie Mercury penned this song for his love-Mary Austin.
Mary and Freddie were undeniably in love and were moved in together when they got engaged. However, Freddie Mercury could not resist his bisexual nature and confessed this to Mary. This was a deal-breaker in Mary’s eyes and she broke off the engagement. However, till his death bed, Mary Austin stayed friends with Freddie, which was a massive beacon of light in his life. More of the story here.
“Love Of My Life” is included in one of Queen’s most famous albums ‘A Night At The Opera’ from 1975.
“When I grow older
I will be there at your side
To remind you how I still love you.
I still love you.”
The sheer emotional touch on this track by Freddie makes this song one of our favorites.
03) I Want To Break Free
Possibly one of Queen’s most notorious songs, “I Want To Break Free” was a cry out to break free from all the shackles of this world. There are several annotations for the meaning of this song, one of which is that the song speaks about Freddie’s struggle to come out as bisexual during the 80s. However, it is John Deacon who wrote the lyrics to this song.
Queen premiered a music video for the song where all the members dressed in drag clothing, which was too controversial for 1984. MTV banned the music video from TV.
“I want to break free from your lies
You’re so self satisfied I don’t need you
I’ve got to break free
God knows, God knows I want to break free”
This video has also developed a serious fetish among fans for Roger Taylor who is dressed as a naughty schoolgirl in high stockings and a mini skirt.
02) We Are The Champions
Okay, who has not heard “We Are The Champions”? If the answer is no, you might not have watched many sports events. This is possibly one of the best motivational/celebratory songs of all time.
Freddie Mercury composed lyrics to this song and the B-Side of the disc included yet another inspirational anthem “We Will Rock You.” The song made it to the ‘New of The World’ album in 1977.
The song roars about being victorious, and how never giving up is the key to success. No matter what obstacles are thrown in your way, you just gotta keep pushing through. Almost all live performances of “We Are The Champions” are filled with energy and vocal prowess by Freddie Mercury. The song has also been covered numerous times and is widely used as an empowering anthem at sporting events worldwide.
“But it’s been no bed of roses,
No pleasure cruise.
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race,
And I ain’t gonna lose.”
If you aren’t screaming the lyrics to “We Are The Champions” by now, Queen might not be for you.
01) Bohemian Rhapsody
So this might not even come as a surprise that our top pick for Queen’s greatest work is “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The song title barely makes sense and the lyrics make lesser sense. But it is considered one of the greatest songs of all time. This song almost put Queen out of a record label, however, is one of the best-selling songs by Queen. It has many genres mixed in the song, and possibly no one has deciphered the meaning of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the most revered songs in Rock even to date. The influence this song has had throughout time is quite visible in acts such as 65,000 people chanting the lyrics at a Green Day concert. Rolling Stones magazine ranked “Bohemian Rhapsody” at #166 on the ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list.
This masterpiece has a strange lyrical structure. Freddie Mercury included Rock, Pop Rock, Ballads, and even an ‘operatic bit’ in this hit and made it 6 minutes long. All the members join in with vocals, with Freddie taking the lead on his brainchild.
“I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very fright’ning me
(Galileo) Galileo, (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo figaro magnifico”
What and how Freddie was inspired to pen these words, we will never know. But whatever it was, the song still carries the name of Queen after 43 years of release.
There are our top picks for Queen’s songs, but this list is far away from complete. A few other notable mentions are “Innuendo,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “Another One Bites The Dust,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Seven Seas of Rhye,” “I Want It All” and the list goes on.
Take a look at the complete list of Queen’s songs, singles, and albums here.
Your favorite top 10 Queen songs list may differ from ours and we would like to hear yours. Comment your favorite pick of Queen songs or list down your top 10 best songs. And let us know why you picked what you picked.
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