Queen is heralded as one of the biggest names in the music industry. In 1985, their performance in Live Aid is regarded as one of the greatest in rock history. Despite Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991 and John Deacon’s retirement in 1997, Brian May and Roger Taylor have remained active and have occasionally performed several collaborations which include Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert.
In light of Gary Mullens and The Works’ upcoming tribute “One Night of Queen” on October 24 and 25 at The Theatre in Solaire, Gigsmanila relive some of Queen’s best hits.
1. Another One Bites the Dust
This song is credited as the band’s best selling single with sales over 7 million copies. The song has won an award for Favorite Rock Single on the American Music Awards and has garnered a Grammy Nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Group.
“I’d been wanting to do a track like ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ for a while, but originally all I had was the line and the bass riff. Gradually, I filled it in and the band added ideas. I could hear it as a song for dancing but had no idea it would become as big as it did. The song got picked up off our album and some of the black radio stations in the US started playing it, which we’ve never had before. Michael Jackson actually suggested we release it as a single. He was a fan of ours and used to come to our shows. —John Deacon (Queen Archives. April 1996.)”
2. Somebody to Love
Heavily inspired and fascinated with Aretha Franklin, Mercury wrote this song with the notion “what is God’s role in a life without love.” Despite being mainly focused on rock music, Queen proved to their fans that it could channel the spirit of gospel music.
“’Somebody to Love’ is Aretha Franklin-influenced. Freddie’s very much into that. We tried to keep the track in a loose, gospel-type feel. I think it’s the loosest track we’ve ever done.— Roger Taylor (queenpedia.com)”
3.We Are the Champions
To this day, the song remains as one of rock’s most recognizable anthems. In 2005, Sony Ericsson released a world music poll. ‘We are the Champions’ was voted as the world’s favourite. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2009. Simply put, the song became an anthem for any kind of triumph or success; especially during sporting events. It was the 1994 Fifa World Cup’s theme song. In 2011, a group of researchers dubbed it as the catchiest song in pop culture.
“Every musical hit is reliant on maths, science, engineering and technology; from the physics and frequencies of sound that determine pitch and harmony, to the hi-tech digital processors and synthesisers which can add effects to make a song more catchy. We’ve discovered that there’s a science behind the sing-along and a special combination of neuroscience, maths and cognitive psychology can produce the elusive elixir of the perfect sing-along song. – Daniel Mullensiefen (The Daily Mail, 29 September 2011)”
4. We Will Rock You
One of the songs written by Brian May, this was usually paired with ‘We are the Champions’. It became a rallying cry to nearly every sporting event back in its day sending the message “you will never beat us”. It was been used and covered by several artists, TV shows, films, and other forms of media all around the world. Brian May describes the song/s as a response to what happened when they played a gig at Birmingham’s Bingley Hall during their 1977 British Tour:
“We did an encore and then went off, and instead of just keeping clapping, they sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to us, and we were just completely knocked out and taken aback – it was quite an emotional experience really, and I think these chant things are in some way connected with that. – Brian May (Interview with Tom Browne for BBC Radio One, broadcast Christmas Eve and Boxing Day 1977)”
5. Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody is what made Queen what it is today. No matter which generation one is from, the song defies all barriers and creates a unity between the gaps. Mercury never explained the song’s exact meaning except that it was about relationships. To this day, the band still protects this secret.
“Freddie was a very complex person: flippant and funny on the surface, but he concealed insecurities and problems in squaring up his life with his childhood. He never explained the lyrics, but I think he put a lot of himself into that song. – Brian May (Black 2002)”
Queen has released 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles, and 10 number one DVDs. They received the Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1990, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
These are but a few of their greatest. Surely, there are a lot more songs from Queen that either inspired us, made us weep, or simply had a momentary impact.
Do you have anything else to share? Let us know your thoughts.