Queen is one of the most beloved and successful rock and roll bands of all time. Their talent is evident in everything that they do and they are, to this day, one of the bestselling bands in British history.
One of their main selling points as a band is that they have a very wide range of music that they can not only play, but play spectacularly. Their songs range from hard rock to piano-based pop and everything in between. It was difficult to pick their 10 greatest songs because they have so many hits, but here is our list of the 10 greatest songs in the history of Queen.
10. “Somebody to Love”
This was one of Queen’s more different sounding songs, as the rock band channeled their inner spirit of gospel music. The song achieved success in their native UK and also in the USA, where it reached #2 and #13 on the charts, respectively. Perhaps the most impressive part of the song is that Queen was able to create the wonderful sound of a 100 person choir using only three voices through voice layering. The song itself was written by frontman Freddie Mercury and is a soul-searching piece that asks what role God has in a life without love. Mercury often cited his love for Aretha Franklin as a big influence in the creation of this song.
9. “I Want to Break Free”
This is probably Queen’s most controversial song in their history. While the song itself is a fantastic piece, it is best known for its video. In the video, all the band members are dressed up as women, which parodied the British soap opera, Coronation Street. While the parody was acclaimed in the UK, it was hugely controversial in the USA and was actually banned from MTV. This banning stopped the song from reaching any higher than #45 on the USA charts. This song has also been regarded as an anthem of fight and strength against oppression.
8. “Radio Ga Ga”
This single was released just before “I Want to Break Free” and was massive hit across the world. In fact, the song reached #1 on the charts in 19 different countries and ranked high on the charts of numerous other countries. The song was recorded in 1983 and released in January 1984. It was a commentary on television and it overtaking radio’s popularity. It also had a bit to do with the introduction of the music video and MTV, which was now competing with radio as an important medium for promoting records. Ironically, the video for “Radio Ga Ga” was actually nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in 1984.
7. “Under Pressure”
This song was originally recorded in 1981 by Queen and David Bowie and was critically acclaimed and successful all over the world. In fact, the song was also rated #31 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 1980s. The song was played at each and every Queen concert from 1981 until they stopped touring in 1986. The song got great reception everywhere it went, and the bass line in the song is absolutely legendary and considered to be one of the best in the history of modern music. The bass line was also used by Vanilla Ice in his smash hit “Ice Ice Baby.”
6. “Another One Bites The Dust”
This single from Queen is one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved tracks in their entire existence. This song appeared on nearly every important music chart on Earth, and is credited as Queen’s best-selling single of all time with sales of over 7 million copies. It also came in at #34 on Billboard’s All-Time Top Songs list. The song also netted Queen an AMA and a Grammy nomination. The song has since been covered and parodied by numerous artists. You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
5. “We Will Rock You”
This song is a staple on any Queen playlist and is one of the band’s most famous songs. The song is not only the one of the best that Queen ever created, but is consistently ranked as one of the best songs of all time. It is common to hear it in sports arenas all across the world, and many sampled, parodied and covered versions of the songs have become popular over the years. The song itself is very simple in terms of its beat, as it is mostly acapella except for a brief guitar solo.
4. “Fat Bottomed Girls”
This song being ranked so highly on the list is likely a shocker to some, as it isn’t one of their most critically acclaimed and doesn’t knock the socks off of many individuals. But it has claimed a top spot because it is one of their most unique songs that is great song to sing along to. The song is different than others because it was formed around bluesy guitar tuning and is one of Queen’s only songs that was played in an alternative guitar tuning. Also, it was about 35 years early in predicting current big butt craze that is sweeping the music and pop culture industries.
3. “Don’t Stop Me Now”
Despite this song not being a huge hit originally, its longevity and airplay make it one of Queen’s best and most popular in the modern day. Musically the song is brilliant, as it builds on Mercury’s piano playing, with Roger Taylor and John Deacon providing a bass guitar and drums backing track. The song is also another example of Queen’s trademark style of multitrack harmony vocals throughout the chorus. The song has played in various commercials and shows for years, which contributed to its continued success. The song has also been ranked as one of the most “feel-good” songs of all time.
2. “We Are the Champions”
This song is a power ballad that was written by Freddie Mercury himself and is still one of the most recognizable rock anthems of all time. The song not only achieved commercial success all over the world, but a team of scientific researchers in 2011 also discovered that the song was the catchiest song in all of modern history. Since its inception, the song has become an anthem for victories at sporting events and in recent years, it has been covered by some of the biggest acts in music, such as Green Day and Katy Perry.
1. “Bohemian Rhapsody”
You would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t agree that this song is the best in Queen’s history. The song not only reached near the top of various charts, but it is still played regularly today and consistently appears on lists of the best songs of all time. The song itself is also a true masterpiece and years ahead of its time. The song is a six-minute “suite” that consists of numerous different sections including an intro, a ballad, an operatic passage and a hard rock section. Those unfamiliar with the song would have a hard time realizing the entire six-minute piece is all the same song as the sections are so different, yet blend so well when listened to together.