We Will Rock You: The Best of Queen
Iconic band Queen has been on the forefront of everyone’s minds lately. The sudden resurgence in popularity is likely due to the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic about Queen front man Freddie Mercury that opened in October 2018. Although this is the first movie about the band’s development, Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury have been a huge part of pop culture from the moment their eponymous album debuted in 1973. The movie, which tracks Mercury’s life until the band’s Live Aid concert in 1985, is full of the band’s greatest hits.
Today, we’re going to explore some of Queen’s best songs, and the reason why they’ve stayed popular for decades.
Undisputedly Queen’s most popular song, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was first written in 1975 for the album A Night at the Opera. It’s one of their most unique songs and is truly one of the most bizarre records to hit the top of the charts. It’s six minutes long and contains a number of different sections including an intro (“Is this the real life?”), a ballad (“Mama, just killed a man”), and a rousing operatic section (“Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango”) that resolves with an epic guitar solo and a final quiet coda.
It reached #1 on the charts three times: when it was first released in 1975, after Mercury’s death in 1991, and again in 1992 after it appeared in the movie Wayne’s World. More than any other Queen song, “Bohemian Rhapsody” changed music forever.
Somebody to Love
Written for Queen’s fifth studio album, “Somebody to Love” begins with a rousing harmony that serves as an introduction to the rest of the gospel-inspired song. Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, and Brian May were able to sing almost 100 different parts, which were then layered using multitrack techniques to create the effect of a huge gospel choir. It’s said that Mercury’s interest in Aretha Franklin inspired him to write this song. The lyrics would be saccharine if not for the ripping guitar solo from May, which turned this song from a plaintive appeal into a confident anthem.
Don’t Stop Me Now
“Don’t Stop Me Now” was recently declared the happiest song in the world, according to a study from the University of Missouri. Originally released on Queen’s 1978 album Jazz, it did so well that they released it as a single a year later.
The song itself is built on Mercury’s voice as well as the line that he wrote for the piano. Mercury is backed up by a multitrack chorus, which is made with a similar vocal technique to “Somebody to Love”. Before the song gets too overwhelming, an awesome guitar riff from May cuts through the noise and gives the lyrics emphasis for the rest of the song, before it ending with a dreamy trail off.