I love Queen. It’s no surprise that I do – my dad has always been a fan, and when I was little, their greatest hits album was in constant rotation at my house. My dad saw them at Madison Square Garden in the 70’s, and he’s always maintained that it was one of the best shows he’s ever seen (the other show that makes his list is David Bowie’s – BE STILL, MY HEART.)
My mom is a fan too – “We Are the Champions” is one of my mother’s favorite songs, and she would play it in the house for special occasions. It was the song Patrick and I woke up to when we graduated from high school, and when Patrick won the school spelling bee.
As I got older, I delved more into their catalog and loved what I heard. There are few singers comparable to Freddie Mercury. Brian May tears up whatever guitar solo he has, and Roger Taylor is an amazing drummer (I’m sorry, John Deacon. I’m sure you’re a great bassist).
What I love about Queen is how their songs will shift from being completely theatrical one minute to hard rock the next. Their sound is so distinct from any other classic rock bands on the radio; yet, even though Queen’s catalog is extensive, the radio plays only the same songs in rotation, especially “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Don’t get me wrong, I love that song, but it’s completely overplayed. (I thought my friends were going to murder me when I decided to sing it at karaoke night months ago. I think one of them actually yelled something along the lines of, “OH PLEASE GOD, NO.”)
As I was stuck in traffic today, Sirius XM was broadcasting their Christmas Eve 1975 BBC performance, and it was fantastic. My dad was right – when Freddie Mercury sings live, he sounds like he did in a studio. Incredible. The concert inspired me to choose five of my favorites to share with you. Some of them may be recognizable (I couldn’t help snagging a few from that album my dad always played), but I assure you that none of these are played with the regularity of “We Will Rock You” or “Another One Bites the Dust” (which are still awesome songs).
1. “Death on Two Legs (Dedicated To…)”
I love this song so much; in 2008, it was on repeat for months. Written about their former manager, the lyrics are so clever and deliciously nasty. I love the music, too, especially the ominous beginning. I send this song to any friends who are iffy about Queen.
2. “Lap of the Gods Revisited”
Freddie performed this during the BBC concert I was listening to, and it was just exquisite live. You can see it here.
3. “Now I’m Here”
This song features Brian May’s signature riffs.
4. “Tie Your Mother Down”
The first time I heard this song was back in high school; I remember watching the video and thinking, “Huh?” when I heard the lyrics. I’m still not sure what this song is about, but it sounds awesome.
5. “Somebody to Love”
Fact – when I typed “Somebody to Love” in youtube, the first result that popped up was a Justin Bieber song. That’s depressing. This is definitely one of Queen’s most recognizable songs, but I couldn’t resist adding it to this list. My love for this song extends back into high school, when I used to imagine myself covering this song in a music video (clearly, I was a focused student). This video was played during the Anti-Valentine’s Day sing-along I attended this year, and I flipped my shit when it came on. I still don’t have the range to sing it but I don’t even care – it’s one of my favorite Queen songs.
If you are not already a fan, I hope you decide to delve into their collection; you will not be disappointed.