"We are a very competitive group. We are four good writers and there are no passengers."
— Freddie Mercury as quoted in the Freddie Mercury Solo Collection
Is this a Trope page? Is this just fantasy?Famous British rock band fronted by Freddie Mercury (vocals, piano and other keyboards), with Brian May (guitar, vocals and keyboards), Roger Taylor (drums, vocals, also guitar and bass on studio recordings) and John Deacon (bass, keyboards and guitar on some studio recordings), known for their style which combines hard rock, massed vocal harmonies (from Mercury, May and Taylor; Deacon only supplied backing vocals live), Brian May's complex, intricately arranged and highly overdubbed guitar work, catchy pop melodies, surreal humour and flamboyant, theatrical performances (which the band was steered towards chiefly by Mercury).All members of the band were songwriters, approaching wildly different styles, from straight-up Hard Rock and Arena Rock to Glam Rock, Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal, disco/Funk, pop, rockabilly, New Wave and Synth Pop, going all the way between 1 and 6 on the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness. While all bandmembers shared an eclectic approach to songwriting and a tendency for experiments, generally speaking:
Mercury was responsible for many of their ballads ("Love of My Life", "My Melancholy Blues"), pop songs and stylistic experiments ("Killer Queen", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Somebody to Love" etc.).
If you're headbanging to an incredibly guitar-heavy Hard Rock tune it's probably been written by May ("Prophet's Song", "Tie Your Mother Down", "We Will Rock You"). May was responsible for his fair share of Tear Jerker ballads, too ("Leaving Home Ain't Easy"; "All Dead, All Dead", "Who Wants To Live Forever") and acoustic folk-, '30's jazz- or skiffle-influenced songs ("'39"; "Good Company"; "Dreamers' Ball"), often featuring ukelele-banjo.
If the song is more old school rock-ish and its lyrics deal with things like rebellion, passion, living a life outside the rules etc., it was probably penned by Taylor ("Tenement Funster", "I'm in Love with My Car", "Sheer Heart Attack", "Fight from the Inside").
The other band members have observed that Deacon was less influenced by bands like Led Zeppelin or The Who than the rest of them and had preferred Soul and American Funk music in his youth. As a result a lot of his songs have a kind of Motown pop style ("You're My Best Friend", "Misfire") or a funky, bass-driven sound ("Another One Bites the Dust", "I Want to Break Free"). He also wrote several ballads, including "Spread Your Wings", "You and I" and "Friends Will Be Friends" (the last one in collaboration with Freddie, with whom he also co-wrote "The Miracle").
Songs that combine several of these elements were often writing collaborations.
The band was formed in 1970, and technically ceased to exist after Mercury died of AIDS in 1991. Unwilling to continue without a key member, the band stopped all activity besides a posthumous album with Mercury's previously recorded vocals and one single in 1997. Deacon officially retired from the band soon afterwards. May and Taylor have continued to record and tour in collaboration with other musicians under the "Queen + ..." moniker, which resulted in one album with Paul Rodgers as singer. The album was greeted with critical disdain and a fan backlash over the perceived nature of Rodgers as a Replacement Scrappy, despite May and Taylor repeatedly pointing out that he was only a featured artist and not a replacement for Mercury. (Ho hum.) Rodgers parted with the band in 2009, and subsequently the group performed with former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert in 2011 and 2012.They have many well-known songs. Here's a few of them:
I Want It All, a tune recorded after Freddie Mercury's AIDS diagnosis and not performed live until after his death. Though regarded by some as a Protest Song and/or LBGT anthem, it's probably more recognizable in recent years as a corporate jingle, especially after being used by Chase in 2008.
Freddie Mercury's debut solo album had been initially supposed to feature Jeff Beck on guitar and Michael Jackson (who'd just released Thriller) dueting on a song. Oh, if only...
Queen itself, arguably, since all members were considered to be one of the best (and apart from Freddie, one of the most underrated) at what they did.
Ambiguously Brown: Freddie. His real name was Farrokh Bulsara, and he was born in Zanzibar, East Africa to Parsi parents, and went to boarding school in Bombay, India. According to Wikipedia, he was named one of the 60 most influential Asian heroes of the last 60 years.
It probably doesn't help that Taylor grew a mustache before joining the band because men often mistook him for a woman due to his long hair and effeminate look.
Audience Participation Song: "We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions" and "Radio Ga Ga" spring to mind, though this works with a lot of their output. Freddie left the first lines of "I Want to Break Free" to the audience, and he himself explicitly stated that "Love of My Life" had been "turned into a duet" with the audience as early as the Live Killers album. And then there's the obligatory singing "contests" Freddie had with his audience, where he sang a sequence of notes, and the audience had to match it. On the Live Killers album, Freddie himself commented it with "You buggers can sing higher than I can, I tell you". Brian May and Roger Taylor imagine that songs like "I Want It All" and "The Miracle" could have ended up like this as well if Freddie hadn't become too ill for the band to keep touring.
My God, the Live Aid appearance!
Badass Boast: "Princes of The Universe", "Gimme The Prize", "We Are the Champions" (no time for losers) and "Seven Seas of Rhye".
The lyrics also contain bits of A God Am I. Given that the first two are from Highlander this should not be surprising.
Khashoggi's Ship, for the six of us who've heard it. Just partying with a famous arms dealer, gun-wielding giants be damned . . .
Badass Mustache: Freddie Mercury. As one November ad says, it turned Freddie from merely a queen to Queen!
Berserk Button: Brian and Roger's commentary for Queen Rock Montreal reveals that, at this point, Freddie was emphatically not pleased about making a concert film, didn't really get on with the director and thought the cameramen were getting in the way. Since the plan was to take footage from both nights' shows, he tried to make a mess of that by wearing trousers on one night and shorts on the second.
Freddie got really annoyed at one concert when fans showed up with banners that read DISCO SUCKS after the release of Hot Space. "It's only a bloody record for Christ's sake, people get so excited"
According to Word Of God, a sticking issue Brian had with Freddie, philosophically, was Freddie's increasingly Camp Gay compositions, not so much against Freddie's lifestyle, but because Brian worried that Freddie would rope out and alienate the straight fans, and because Brian believed in Queen's songs being universally relatable. This was Brian's main issue with songs like "Don't Stop Me Now" and "Body Language".
Roger, on the other hand, musically disliked the idea of steering Queen too far away from their rock roots into funk or techno-pop as they had by The Eighties, though he still acquiesced in the end.
Black Sheep Hit: To some extent, "Another One Bites the Dust", a funk song that was pretty much written because it was the particular style John happened to enjoy and it actually wouldn't have been released as a single if Michael Jackson hadn't convinced Freddie that it would be huge. In Britain it was a hit during a period when everything they released shot up the charts, so it generally passed without any particular comment. In America, it's their most successful song and ended up dictating the sound their next album would follow.
Bookends: Tie Your Mother Down, the first song on "A Day at the Races", opens with a strange Shepard Tone sound that isn't heard for the rest of the album - well, save for the coda of the final song on the album, Teo Torriatte.
"White Queen (As It Began)" from Queen II lampshades this in both the lyrics at the beginning and end of the song (which are, as expected, the same), and the title of the song.
Boring, but Practical: Brian May's method for supplying the harp parts on A Night At The Opera. Since he couldn't actually play the instrument, he recorded each chord separately and edited them together to get the lines he wanted.
British Teeth: Well, "Zanzibar Teeth", maybe, of Freddie Mercury.
Additionally, several videos are around on the internet of Queen songs with LEGO stop motion animation.
Camp: The video for the operatic It's A Hard Life takes it Up to Eleven. It features Freddie Mercury dressed in a costume that looks like a giant prawn, John Deacon and Roger Taylor wearing tights, ruffs and doublets and Brian May playing a guitar made of a skull and crossbones and a random Foot Focus shot between Freddie and his girlfriend at the time, all surrounded by a crowd of elaborately-costumed, ultra-hammy extras dressed like opera characters in period costumes. John Deacon also has a Unicorn head on a stick for some reason.
Cargo Ship: "I'm in Love with my Car", on A Night at the Opera is a canon example:
Character Development: It's A Hard Life. It starts off with the singer dramatically announcing there's no reason to go on in life after a break-up, then within his mourning, he realizes how much effort lasting relationships take throughout the song. At the last chorus, the lyrics have changed to a more optimistic outlook, as he moves on without regret, instead reflecting back on the break-up as a lesson learned in life.
Christmas Rushed: A failed example. Innuendo was supposed to be available for Christmas 1990, but was delayed because of Freddie Mercury's health. It was eventually released in February of 1991, nine months before Mercury's death.
The chest-exposing checkerboard leotards from 1976-1978 are also iconic.
Continuity Nod: Love of My Life has "when I get older I will be there at your side to remind you how I still love you, I still love you". Sixteen years later, These Are the Days of Our Lives (by a different songwriter though) has an older (and dying) Freddie singing "when I look and I find, I still love you... I still love you." The video makes it all even more tearful, as it was Freddie's last.
"Seaside Rendezvous" from A Night At The Opera has "I love you madly", while "Was It All Worth It" from The Miracle has "We love you madly".
"Fat Bottomed Girls" and "Bicycle Race" (both released on one single) reference each other; "Bicycle Race" features "Fat Bottomed Girls will be riding today," and "Fat Bottomed Girls" has "Get on your bikes and ride!"
The opening track from Jazz ("Let Me Entertain You") includes the lyric, "We'll Breakfast at Tiffany's / We'll sing to you in Japanese" as a reference to the song "Teo Toriatte" from the "A Day at the Races" album (which had a chorus sung in phonetic Japanese).
The symmetrical group image featured in the cover of Queen II (and on the profile pic) was frequently used in videos, including "Bohemian Rhapsody" and an updated one in "One Vision".
"No-One But You (Only The Good Die Young)", being the reflective song that it is, also has several, namely the lines "Another tricky situation", "Forever paying every due" and "Now the party must be over", referencing "It's A Hard Life", "We Are The Champions" and "Party"/"Khashoggi's Ship" respectively.
The clip to "Radio Gaga" features brief excerpts of several of their clips to earlier songs.
Although "See What A Fool I've Been" is a cover of sorts - it's based on a song that May had heard that he couldn't remember the artist of - once he found it out their name was appended to the credits, so it is partly a cover.
Doin' All Right is a song that was originally done by May's previous band Smile, so the ex-members of that band also demanded royalties.
Freddie's biggest solo hit, "The Great Pretender", is a cover of a song by The Platters.
A Day in the Limelight: 1977-1982 concerts featured drummer Roger Taylor singing lead on one song (usually "I'm In Love With My Car") (on which Freddie stuck to piano and backing vocals). Most of their albums usually had one song with Brian singing lead, one song with Roger singing lead, one song with Brian on piano, one song with John Deacon on guitar (e.g. "Another One Bites the Dust", "Misfire") and (less frequently but still) one or two songs with Roger on guitar and bass in addition to drums.
Roger singing lead vocals was particularly notable, in that his performances of "I'm In Love With My Car" were the only instances where another band member sang lead vocals live (at least until after Freddie's death). Freddie sang in Brian's place for "Sleeping On The Sidewalk" and "'39".
Roger had a sort of I Am the Band moment with "Fight from the Inside", which was entirely recorded by himself on vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Some other of his compositions at that time were almost entirely recorded by him too (e.g. "Drowse") , with minimal contributions by the other members (generally some guitar noises by Brian)
Dead Artists Are Better: It's an unfortunate fact that Queen had their most successful period in America immediately after the death of Freddie Mercury.
Determinator: In their commentaries for the music videos from The Miracle on the Greatest Video Hits II DVD, Roger Taylor and Brian often comment on how Freddie Mercury put as much energy as he could into making the best possible videos in spite of how fragile his health had become by 1989.
The story of how vocals to "The Show Must Go On" were recorded is similarly famous:
"When Brian May presented the final demo to Mercury, he had doubts that Mercury would be physically capable of singing the song's highly demanding vocal line, due to the extent of his illness at the time. To May's surprise, when the time came to record the vocals, Mercury consumed a measure of vodka and said "I'll fucking do it, darling!" then proceeded to nail the vocal line in one take without problems."
By the time when Freddie recorded vocals for "Mother Love", his last studio recording before his death, he could no longer stand up on his own.
Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Freddie kept his HIV/AIDS diagnosis secret from the late 80s until shortly before he passed away in 1991 because he was afraid people would only buy Queen albums out of sympathy. Though it still hasn't stopped people from criticizing him for hiding it until the end, arguing he could've helped raise greater awareness of AIDS.
Justifiable in that during Freddie's illness, AIDS was considered a "gay disease", the moral panic the AIDS epidemic nurtured was at an all-time high (people still believed you can catch AIDS from toilet seats or mosquitoes, or even by hugging or shaking hands by someone with the disease), and members of the tabloid media (mostly run by Rupert Murdoch) was surrounding Freddie's mansion in London, pointing microphones and cameras every which way, clamoring for unflattering photos showing how sick Freddie really was, etc. He and his friends, relatives, Queen co-members, assistants, lovers, and so forth were constantly badgered to come forth about Freddie's illness by gossip hounds, and he was made a prisoner of his own home. He and his loved ones spent much of their time in Montreaux hoping to escape this intense scrutiny. Freddie, already an intensely private person, shielded himself and those he loved from the media to protect them. It was also important to Freddie that he carry on as normally as possible and not alarm people to his illness, so he kept it private and donated money anonymously to AIDS charities till the end.
Early Installment Weirdness: The first album sounded more like Led Zeppelin than the sound the band became well known for, while the second took their progressive tendencies Up to Eleven. They're good albums, but they're pretty different from what the stuff the band was doing after Sheer Heart Attack.
YMMV, as it is easy to see predecessors to the later songs which they are known for.
'80s Hair: John Deacon's afro (seen in the "Radio Ga Ga" video and the Live Aid performance) has to count.
Epic Rocking: Particularly prevalent on their first two albums.
Brian's first solo effort (1984's Star Fleet Project EP) was three songs of epic rocking, featuring contributions from Eddie Van Halen and an extended tribute to Eric Clapton.
Every Episode Ending: A very loose, musical variation. A few of the songs on "A Night at the Opera" have a similar stereo abusing coda, specifically the ones written by Brian and Roger.
Fading into the Next Song: Used on several albums. For example, the guitar at the end of "The Prophet's Song" fades into the introduction for "Love Of My Life" on A Night At The Opera.
Done twice consecutively on Sheer Heart Attack: "Tenement Funster", "Flick Of The Wrist" and "Lily Of The Valley" merge into one another seamlessly.
"Procession", "Father to Son" and "White Queen (As It Began)" merge seamlessly into one another. "Ogre Battle" merges into "Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke", which then merges into "Nevermore". "The March of the Black Queen" merges into "Funny How Love Is". These were all on the same album, Queen II.
First Girl Wins: When the band began, Freddie was dating a beautiful blonde English woman named Mary Austin. They even moved in together for a while and broke up in 1976. After that, Freddie dated many men and women, eventually being domestic partners with an Irish man (who died on 1st January 2010, but not from AIDS). When Freddie died, Mary got half of his fortune (the other half was split between his sister and his parents), including his mansion, his piano, and publishing royalties (which keep growing with every passing day).
Gadgeteer Genius: Brian May holds a Ph.D in Astrophysics. He also designed and built his guitar, the Red Special, himself. The guitar's neck is mostly a piece of wood salvaged from an old fireplace mantlepiece, and the tremolo bar is a motorcycle handbrake combined with a knitting needle. John Deacon too, tinkered with electronics in his youth and later graduated with a First in electrical engineering. He joined in part because the others were impressed by his skill with equipment. He designed and built a guitar amplifier that Brian deemed good enough use while recording.
Gag Boobs: Freddie, (in)famously in "I Want to Break Free".
Genre Roulette: A typical Queen album from The Seventies might contain elements of heavy metal, hard rock, progressive rock, music-hall numbers, Dixieland jazz, folk, blues-rock, Beatlesque pop-rock, glam-rock and ballads. Later albums would include funk, dance music, synth-pop, punk-rock, rockabilly, reggae and/or new wave influences. Freddie suggested that this was why it took so long (close to fifteen years after Queen began) for Roger and himself to put out the first Queen solo albums; the band was four solo projects that came together to create the Queen sound.
Glam Rock: One of the longest lasting bands from this genre, bridging the gap between the artsy (David Bowie and Roxy Music) and heavy (Sweet, Slade) sides of the genre.
Go Out with a Smile: "These Are the Days of Our Lives" was written and released shortly before Freddie Mercury's death. At the end of the music video (filmed in black and white to de-emphasise his frailty) Freddie looks directly at the camera and whispers 'I still love you', his last ever words on camera.
Grand Finale: There's no denying that "The Show Must Go On" is this.
Gratuitous Foreign Language: Is there really any reason for those "Bismillah!"s in Bohemian Rhapsody? And, for that matter, just why is Scaramouche supposed to do the fandango?
We'll breakfast at Tiffany's, we'll sing to you in Japanese
We're only here to entertain you
Gratuitous Panning: Most notable in "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Killer Queen", but it happened all the time. Part of their unique production style, along with all the overdubbing.
Greatest Hits Album: The two main ones - Greatest Hits and Greatest Hits II - were released in 1981 and 1991 respectively and collected the hit singles of the preceding decade. A third album, Greatest Hits III, is probably more aptly described as "Greatest Leftovers", consisting mainly of live Queen+ recordings and some remixes.
Although it does contain some good songs which were left out on I and II and needed to be included.
The US received the 1981 Greatest Hits (with a different track list), as well as both a modified version of Greatest Hits (red cover) and the US-only Classic Queen (with a blue cover similar to Greatest Hits II) in 1992. Classic was issued largely to capitalize on "Queen-fever" brought on by Wayne's World (see above).
Grief Song: One of the songs from Greatest Hits III, "No One But You," was written by the remaining members of Queen in Freddie's honor.
Heavy Meta: Roger Taylor wrote a few songs about rock music. His first composition for the group, "Modern Times Rock And Roll" was the first and "Radio Ga Ga" was the best known.
Freddie: It's about a high class call girl. I'm trying to say that classy people can be whores, too.
I Call It Vera: Brian May's guitar, "Red Special", which he built from scraps as a teenager.
Also of note was the amp often used with the Red Special, the "Deacy Amp", built by Electrical Engineer-turned Bassist, John Deacon.
Iconic Item: Freddie's bottomless microphone stand; during a gig very early in the band's career his mic stand snapped in half in the middle of a song, but he carried on with the intact bit and decided it would be more interesting to keep it like that.
Brian May's Red Special guitar.
Important Haircut: Freddie, Roger and John all had long hair in the 1970s, but then appeared with short hair around the time of News of the World, which represented new directions in the group's style. Freddie's famous mustache, which he grew around the time of The Game and the Flash Gordon soundtrack, also accompanied changes to Queen's sound. Only Brian May has kept the same haircut (huge, dark and curly) for the past 40 years (one of his conditions for Queen's inclusion in Lego Rock Band was that they portray his hair accurately).
However, in the early, early days, they went through about 6 bassists before they found John. The bassists each stayed on average for about 2 gigs.
Except for the recent Queen + Paul Something or Another thing.
Lyrical Cold Open: Many of their songs have this. Some loudly announce themselves with an opening chorus ("Bohemian Rhapsody", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Bicycle Race", "It's A Hard Life", "I Want It All") while others open with a quiet fade in of Freddie's vocals ("We are the Champions", "Save Me", "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy").
Lyrical Dissonance: "I Want to Break Free" is not a happy song, but has a catchy, upbeat tone.
Unless it actually is a happy song and you're looking at it from the wrong angle. (Queen songs are not always about anything specific.)
Hell, Queen have this all over the place. "Bring Back That Leroy Brown", "Misfire", "'39", "Somebody to Love"...
"One Vision" sounds like an upbeat, inspirational song, until you realize the lyrics are about fascism...
Critics at the time had always equated Queen with fascism, due to the hold Freddie had over the audience coming as one, and due to the critics' dismissal of the kind of arena rock Queen did so well. Word Of God mentions that One Vision (well, apart from the "fried chicken" line) is about Martin Luther King Jr..
Metal Scream: "In the Lap of the Gods" has a lot of them. Roger Taylor used to perform them live at every concert just to prove they weren't synthesized. Gimme the Prize from the Highlander soundtrack showed that Freddie could do this too, even though he hated the song.
Mind Screw: Applies to a lot of their early and later work. Don't even pretend Bohemian Rhapsody makes sense.
It sounds like the story of a murder trial. Seriously, it's not that hard.
A Guitar World special edition magazine interviewed Freddie's assistant, Peter Freestone, who suggested it might be about Freddie coming to terms with his newfound sexuality, and fearing breaking the news to his then-girlfriend, Mary Austin.
"39" does make sense, but seems not to. It helps to know the back story.
Posthumous Collaboration: Deliberate on Freddie's part for Made in Heaven. Freddie recorded as many vocals as he could for the band to work with, but they still had to dig deeper than that to make a full album. For example, Brian sings the last verse of "Mother Love" because Freddie didn't finish his vocal.
And a lot of Freddie's vocal and piano work Made in Heaven comes from long before 1991. All in all, only three songsnote "Mother Love", "You Don't Fool Me", "A Winter's Tale" are actually written and completely recorded after Innuendo.
Protest Song: "I Want It All" was interpreted both as an anti-apartheid song and as an LBGT anthem, though neither of those meanings were intended by the band.
The anti-apartheid interpretation is rather ironic in that Queen was one of the few major groups not to abide with the UN cultural boycott on apartheid South Africa, and they ended up fined and blacklisted. Queen members later argued that they weren't a political group and that the crowd was integrated, missing the point on the policy of deinvestment.
"I Want To Break Free" was also adopted as an LGBT anthem.
The Quiet One: John Deacon, almost literally; he was the only member who didn't sing, and said very little in group interviews, generally only speaking when a question was directed specifically to him. Since the band went their separate ways in 1991, John mostly retired from the music industry, only going back into the studio to record the "No-One But You (Only the Good Die Young)" single. He later gave his support to Queen+Paul Rodgers, but declined to take part.
Reality Subtext: Many of the songs from Innuendo and Made in Heaven were clearly inspired by Freddie's struggle with AIDS.
Reclusive Artist: Freddie was one to a certain extent. In contrast to his famously outgoing stage persona, he was quite introverted when he wasn't performing, giving few interviews in comparison to Brian and Roger and mostly keeping to himself (it wasn't publicly revealed that he had AIDS, much less that he was dying, until a day before his death). Since 1997, John has retreated from the music business and public view completely, with only the very occasional picture of him surfacing.
Rule Of Cool: During the video for Princes of the Universe, Connor MacLeod from Highlander challenges Freddie Mercury to a swordfight. The duel ends in a DRAW. Think about that for a second...
Add in that Freddie is fighting with the microphone stand.
For some, Roger Taylor and his high notes are this. Exhibit A: Opening notes of "Somebody to Love." Exhibit B: "For MEEEEE!" from Bohemian Rhapsody... And he could get even higher than that: Seaside Rendezvous has a high C, and his collaboration with British band Fox features him singing (without studio trickery) a tritone HIGHER than 'for me'. Conveniently, the word he's singing during that note is indeed 'higher'."I'm In Love With My Car" features him singing a high E in full voice; it was one of the few he sang on his own in live performances and without any apparent effort.
Roger's vocals in live performances in general. How many drummers do know you that can sing and play drums AT THE SAME TIME?
What one always thought was amazing about that performance was the visual representation of the actual speed of sound. Everyone in the crowd "clap-claps" on beat, but since the crowd itself was so *HUGE*, you could actually see a "wave" passing over the crowd as each row clapped a millisecond later than the one before as the sound reached THEIR ears. It's shiver-worthy once you realize that's what's happening.
Brian May has stated that Freddie composed "Ogre Battle" on an acoustic guitar, and counts that as a personal moment.
On A Night At The Opera, the "brass" and "woodwinds" on "Seaside Rendezvous" are, respectively, Roger and Freddie's vocals, sped up or slowed down on tape. And the temperance jazz band on "Good Company" come entirely from Brian May's guitar. No synthesizers, no samplers, no guitar synthesizers. 24-track analog tape.
The overdubs on "Bohemian Rhapsody" were so multilayered (again, on twenty-four-track analog tape) that sections of the tape were nearly transparent.
May has stated that the vocals were even more multilayered on "March Of The Black Queen", which was recorded earlier on 16-track tape.
The song Bohemian Rhapsody was number one on the charts TWICE, years apart.
Depending on the song, they could have only Freddie ("Love of My Life"), only Brian ("Leaving Home Ain't Easy"), only Roger ("Tenement Funster"), Freddie + Brian ("All Dead, All Dead"), Freddie + Roger ("Rock It"), Brian + Roger ("Long Away") or the three of them ("Somebody to Love"). Sometimes they even sang each part (alto, tenor, baritone) together in order to make the resulting bounced sound really big.
Self-Deprecation: They all played other instruments besides their main one, but were usually more than modest about it. Freddie often half-joked on stage that he could only play three chords on guitar, Brian called his own piano skills "sub-par", Roger (in the 80's) said his voice was getting worse with every passing day, John was often shy about his own abilities on other instruments or when it came to songwriting (lyrics in particular, Freddie too) and said he never sang on any albums because he felt he couldn't compete vocally with the other three.
Freddie famously replied to a question about how he functioned as an artist with "I'm not an artist, I'm just a musical prostitute, my dear"
'70s Hair: Brian May has kept his for more than forty years.
Both Redfield siblings from the Resident Evil series seem to be Queen fans. Chris owned a bomber jacket with "Made in Heaven" emblazoned on the back, while his sister Claire had two biker vests, one with the same "Made in Heaven" design and another with "Let Me Live."
"Life is Real" from Hot Space is a homage to John Lennon, who died two years earlier.
Sixth Ranger: Spike Edney was the band's touring keyboardist in the 1980s (when Freddie decided he wanted to spend more time moving about and interacting with the audience) and also provided additional guitars and backing vocals. He was sometimes referred to as the band's fifth member, and has since played with Brian and Roger in the solo projects as well as with Queen+Paul Rodgers.
Soprano and Gravel: Done occasionally, expecially with their more operatic songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Seven Seas of Rhye", with Freddie alternating between a harsh, growling tenor and a clean, piercing falsetto. Within the band itself, in contrast to Freddie and Brian, Roger frequently deployed a much harsher, snarlier voice, closer to really angry Roger Waters ("Fight from the Inside" is clear proof of this, or "Fun It" - it's really easy to tell Freddie and Roger apart there).
Spiritual Successor: Freddie Mercury wrote It's A Hard Life as a direct sequel to Play the Game and Somebody To Love, a sweeping rock opera to follow up Bohemian Rhapsody. The album Hot Space was meant to be a spiritual successor to the massive success of the Funk-influencedAnother One Bites the Dust, although its success was debatable.
Let's not forget that the opening lines of It's a Hard Life share a significant snippet of melody with Vesti la Giubba from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.
More notably, the entirety of A Day At The Races can be thought of as a "sequel" to A Night At The Opera. They're both named after Marx Brothers films, the album art is almost exactly the same with a black background rather than white, and many of the songs parallel each other. "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Somebody to Love", "'39" and "Long Away", "The Prophet's Song" and "White Man", "You're My Best Friend" and "You and I", and very specifically, both albums open with Epic Riff-driven Hard Rock tunes ("Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to..." and "Tie Your Mother Down").
Additionally, In The Lap Of The Gods, My Fairy King, Liar and March Of The Black Queen could all be seen as predecessors to Bohemian Rhapsody.
Though they're written by and partially sung by different members, Fun It and Another One Bites The Dust have similarities. The drum intros sound particularly familiar.
Suspiciously Similar Song: "Another One Bites The Dust" is this of the disco band Chic's "Good Times". Chic's Bernard Edwards says that John Deacon, the song's writer, hung out at their studio, leading to this song.
"Scandal" is a take that against the celebrity-obsessed media, who were giving both Freddie (over his health problems, resulting in a picture of him looking haggard and emaciated on the front page of The Sun) and Brian (over his divorce and subsequent marriage to actress Anita Dobson) a hard time in the late eighties.
"We Are the Champions" was described by Freddie as being a "take that" directed to the music press, which almost always gave the band horrendous reviews (ex: Rolling Stone describing Queen as "the first fascist rock band" etc.) yet they continued to be one of the world's most popular and best selling bands. When the rest of the band heard Freddie do the first run-through of the song they "fell our laughing", knowing exactly whom he was slagging.
And then there's "Death On Two Legs (Dedicated to...)", a SCATHING attack on their former manager Norman Sheffield. On the Live Killers version, Freddie ramped it up a bit more by saying it was dedicated to "a motherfucker of a gentleman". "Flick of the Wrist", from the preceding album is written along the same lines, and reputedly directed at the same motherfucker.
Three Chords and the Truth: Usually averted, as lots of Queen songs have quite a few more than three chords, and Brian May is highly respected for his virtuosity as a guitarist. However, Freddie Mercury joked about it at the 1986 Wembley concert - "This shitty guitar never plays the chords I want it to play. It only knows three. Let's see what happens." - before launching into "'Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
Uncommon Time: In the second part of "Innuendo." Namely alternating 5/4 and 3/4 passages.
Ur Example: "Stone Cold Crazy" was one of the earliest Hard Rock songs not to be interchangeable with Blues Rock, and it was a precursor to and big influence on several styles of Metal (Speed Metal and Thrash Metal especially). As mentioned above "Dead On Time" falls in here too.
Metallica covered "Stone Cold Crazy", releasing it first as a B-side and then on their all-covers album Garage Inc. They also played it at the Tribute Concert, cementing its status as Metallica's homage/thank you to the band.
Villain Protagonist: "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Put Out The Fire" & "Tie Your Mother Down" all qualify to some extent. "Tie Your Mother Down" seems harmless enough, locking the girl's father out of the house and tying down her mother is one thing, but the line "take your little brother swimming with a brick" pushes it over the line into this.
Was It Really...? / Worth It : The gist of the closing song from The Miracle, known as 'Was It All Worth It?'. According to the band, despite all the effort and heartache they put into it all, even after they knew that Freddie had AIDS, 'It was a Worthwhile Experience!'
Wasted Song: Their version of "New York, New York", which can be heard on Highlander never got a full version recording (they only recorded it partially, to match scene it plays on; Kurgan's drive through New York).
Also, it's never been released, except as a snippet on the movie itself.
Weapon of Choice: The Red Special for Brian. So much so that when he played on Paul Rodgers' set at the "Strat Pack" concert, which was a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Fender Stratocaster, Brian brought the Red Special along, theme of the concert be damned.
Word Salad Lyrics: 90% of their songs don't really mean anything, they just sound cool.
Although that's debatable: some sources say Freddie encouraged their (and especially his) "throwaway lyricist" image to avoid being asked to analyze the words in interviews, but many (or at least several) of them were actually very personal.
He did, however, once openly admit that Bohemian Rhapsody's lyrics have no real meaning to them. Another One Bites The Dust would be another example of a Queen song with (presumably) no real lyrical meaning. Originally, John Deacon wanted to write a song about cowboys, but he ended up rewriting the words enough that they didn't really mean anything in the end.
Wrestling Doesn't Pay: It actually took them longer than one would think to start making money from music. Even when their albums really began to sell well, they were being paid £60 a week (not bad in 1973) but at the same time were stuck in a pretty bad management contract which resulted in them owing their ex-manager Norman Sheffield (the "motherfucker of a gentleman" targeted by the song "Death On Two Legs") something like £200,000.
You Are the New Trend: Freddie's look throughout the 80's became the stereotypical look for gays, especially the slicked/coiffed hair, moustache, and hairy chest.