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Music / Queen (Band)

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Queen during the mid-'70s. Clockwise from the top: Brian May, John Deacon, Freddie Mercury, and Roger Taylor.

"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

Queen is a famous British rock band known for their style which combines hard rock, massed vocal harmonies, Brian May's intricately arranged and highly overdubbed guitar work, catchy pop melodies, surreal humour and flamboyant, theatrical performances (which the band was steered towards mainly by Mercury).

The band was formed in 1970 with front-man Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara), guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, evolving from the ashes of an earlier band called Smile, which featured Brian and Roger and was fronted by a fellow called Tim Staffell. Freddie, a friend of all three, was also the band's biggest fan who jumped at the opportunity to fill the vacancy left by Staffell's departure, choosing a new name for the band for good measure. After going through a series of short-term bassists, they finally settled with John Deacon in 1971.

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.

The band is often thought to have broken up after Mercury's 1991 death from complications of AIDS. While that isn't quite true, the band chose not to replace Mercury and stopped virtually all activity besides a posthumous album with Mercury's previously recorded vocals in 1995 and one single in 1997. Deacon officially retired from the band soon afterward.

May and Taylor have continued to record and tour in collaboration with other musicians under the "Queen + ..." moniker, which resulted in one album, The Cosmos Rocks with Paul Rodgers of Free and Bad Company fame as singer. The album was greeted with critical disdain and a fan backlash over the perceived nature of Rodgers as a poor substitute, despite May and Taylor repeatedly pointing out that he was only a featured artist and not a replacement for Mercury. Rodgers and the band went their separate ways in 2009, and subsequently, the group performed with former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert in 2011, and continues to do so to this day.

The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame and UK Music Hall of Fame a few years later.

In 2017, after years of speculation, a biopic entitled Bohemian Rhapsody was announced, directed by Bryan Singer and starring Rami Malek as Freddie, Gwilym Lee as Brian, Ben Hardy as Roger, and Joseph Mazzello as John, which was released on October 24, 2018, in the UK and November 2, 2018, in the US. It received 5 Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor (Rami Malek) and Best Picture, and won them all except Best Picture.

Principal Members (Founding members in bold, current members in italic:)

  • Freddie Mercury — lead vocals, piano, organ, harpsichord, percussion, cowbell, guitar, synthesizer, keyboard, synth bass, tambourine (1970-1991, died 1991)
  • John Deacon — bass, guitar, double bass, piano, percussion, tape effects, synthesizer, drums, keyboard, triangle (1971-1997)
  • Brian May — guitar, backing and lead vocals, piano, organ, bells, banjolele, ukulele, koto, harp, harmonium, percussion, synthesizer, synth bass, keyboard (1970-present)
  • Roger Taylor — drums, percussion, backing and lead vocals, gong, marimba, guitar, timpani, bass, synthesizer, keyboard, vocoder, tambourine (1970-present)

Early Members/Queen + Collaborators:

  • Doug Ewood Bogie — bass (1971)
  • Mike Grose — bass (1970, died 2019)
  • Barry Mitchell — bass (1970-1971)
  • Spike Edney — keyboards (1984-present, touring only)
  • Paul Rodgers - lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, harmonica, piano (2004-2009)
  • Adam Lambert — lead vocals (2009-present)

Studio Discography:

  • 2008 — The Cosmos Rocks note 

Live Discography:

  • 1979 — Live Killers
  • 1986 — Live Magic
  • 1989 — At the Beeb
  • 1992 — Live at Wembley '86
  • 2004 — Queen on Fire – Live at the Bowl
  • 2005 — Return of the Champions note 
  • 2007 — Queen Rock Montreal note 
  • 2009 — Live in Ukraine note 
  • 2012 — Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest '86
  • 2014 — Queen: Live at the Rainbow '74

Non-album singles:

  • 1984 — "Thank God It's Christmas" with "Man on the Prowl" as the first B-side note  and "Keep Passing the Open Windows" as the second B-side note 
  • 2020 — "You Are the Champions" note 


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  • '80s Hair:
    • Brian May's afro (which he actually had since the '70s).
    • John Deacon's afro (seen in the "Radio Ga Ga" video and the Live Aid performance), which seemed to rival May's, has to count.
  • A Cappella: "We Will Rock You". The song is generally set in a cappella form, using only stomping and clapping as a rhythmic beat, except at the very end, which has a guitar solo. Alternately, there is the lesser-known "fast" version, played in their live shows from the late 1970's to the early 1980's. Here's a BBC semi-live recording of said version.
  • Ace Custom: Brian May's self-built "Red Special" guitar.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Roger Taylor's a more instinctive musician, so he doesn't know and doesn't care about the names of some of the chords or harmonic functions, etc. When he composed "Radio Ga Ga", he used some chords that he was completely unfamiliar with, not knowing what they were actually called. He wrote that song on piano, knowing that it would encourage him to 'feel' his way and be more creative than if he played guitar. Freddie occasionally did the opposite; he mostly wrote on piano but composed some songs on guitar. He felt it was a good process precisely because his limited guitar skills allowed him to write without over-thinking it.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Roger Taylor probably cultivated the hardest rocking image in the group.
  • Alternate Music Video:
    • There are two different official music videos for "Bohemian Rhapsody," the original version from 1975 and the Wayne's World version from 1992 that splices the original footage together with scenes from the film and other clips from the band's career.
    • Two different videos of "Killer Queen" exist. The first, assembled for the Queen's Greatest Flix home video collection in 1981, plays the song over a photo montage of the band members. The second, which uses footage of the band performing the song on Top of the Pops, was used on later home video collections and is also the version featured on the band's official YouTube channel.
    • At least three different videos of "Under Pressure" have aired at different times. None of the performers appear in the original video, which combines footage of large crowds, riots, and explosions with clips from 1920s silent films. Top of the Pops later aired a second, censored version of this video in the UK that removed footage of explosions in Northern Ireland. A third version, made for the 1999 "Rah Mix" remix, digitally splices together footage of Freddie Mercury performing the song at Wembley Stadium in 1986 and David Bowie performing it at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: "Killer Queen" has "an invitation you can't decline".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The titular character from "The March of the Black Queen" is known to 'boil' (people), 'bake' (people) and to 'never dot her "i"s'.
  • Artist and the Band: They inverted that trope after Freddie Mercury's death in 1991, with remaining members resuming touring with a guest vocalist (instead of a new lead singer for the band). They were billed as Queen + Adam Lambert and Queen + Paul Rodgers (as a way to not replace Freddie).
  • 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 shows of the late 1970s. Unsurprisingly, the same happened whenever Queen performed "Teo Torriate" in Japan, with Freddie letting the audience "lead" in singing the Japanese lyric. 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 after 1986.
  • Badass Boast:
    • In "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" also counts for the six people who've heard it. Just partying with a famous arms dealer, gun-wielding giants be damned.
    • The words "No Synthesizers", which appeared on every Queen album cover prior to 1980's The Game, are a Badass Boast. And if you don't believe that, go listen to all of A Night at the Opera again.
  • Beelzebub: Given an honorable mention in "Bohemian Rhapsody".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Freddie's charisma and likability didn't mean he was a pushover. When Sid Vicious tried to antagonize him, Freddie responded in kind and made it clear he wasn't the slightest bit afraid of Sid whom he dubbed "Simon Ferocious" and was perfectly willing to fight him if he needed.
  • Big "WHY?!": "Under Pressure" features Freddie Mercury screaming the word "Why".
  • Bookends:
    • "Tie Your Mother Down", the first song from A Day at the Races opens with a "White Man" foreshadowing that segues into an endless staircase-esque sound that goes right into the actual song and doesn't appear again until the very end of the album, serving as the coda for "Teo Torriate".
    • "White Queen" from Queen II begins and ends the same way. This was most definitely intentionally done to mirror the song's thematic progression, with "As It Began" being the subtitle of the song.
    • Their last album, Made in Heaven, begins and ends with "It's a Beautiful Day."note  On another level, as "It’s a Beautiful Day (Reprise)" heads for the close, samples from "Seven Seas of Rhye," the final song on their first album, are mixed into the track.
    • The band's line-up: It started with May and Taylor playing together in Smile, and now they are the only ones left performing.
    • Side 2 of Sheer Heart Attack begins with "In The Lap Of The Gods" and ends with "In The Lap Of The Gods (Revisited)".
  • Boring, but Practical: Brian May's method for supplying the harp parts on "Love of My Life". Since he couldn't actually play the instrument, he recorded each note separately and edited them together to get the chord sequences he wanted.
  • Boxed Set:
    • 1992's Box of Tricks consisted of The 12" Collection and a VHS tape featuring a 1974 live performance at the Rainbow Theatre in London. The set was released exclusively as a mail-order offer for members of the band's fan club.
    • 1995 saw the release of The Ultimate Collection, a 20-CD set containing all 15 studio albums and all three Live Albums housed in a giant wooden box, with a hologram of Freddie Mercury on the front. The box was exclusive to the UK and was limited to 15,000 copies.
    • In 1998, Hollywood Records released The Crown Jewels to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the band's debut release, collecting every one of their studio albums from that one to The Game in replica mini LP sleeves.
    • The band's 40th Anniversary box set only included the band's first five albums plus a cardboard box, with fans being encouraged to seek out the standalone releases of the remaining ten albums on their own.
    • The 2015 Queen - Studio Collection set is a Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition containing all fifteen albums on eighteen LPs in various colors, along with a special hardcover book. The "White" and "Black" sides of Queen II are separate discs in this set — both appropriately color-coded — and Innuendo and Made in Heaven are also on two discs by virtue of their length.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The singer of “Tie Your Mother Down”’s directions to his partner for getting their family out of their hair so they can be alone together? “Tie your mother down, lock out your dad... and drown your brother”.
  • Break Up Song: "Save Me" (which is technically a spousal abandonment song), "Need Your Loving Tonight", "It's a Hard Life", and probably some others.
  • British Rockstar: Oh, you better believe it.
  • Built with LEGO: LEGO versions of Queen in LEGO Rock Band. It is one of the most awesome things in the history of awesome. 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; Brian May playing a guitar made of a skull and crossbones; and a random foot 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.
  • Clip Show: The video for "The Show Must Go On" consists of clips from earlier Queen videos.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The music video for "The Miracle" shows "Little Freddie" in kid-sized versions of Freddie's various outfits over the years, including his black-and-white diamond jumpsuit from 1977, his white shirt and jeans look from Live Aid, and his yellow jacket outfit and white pants look at Wembley in 1986.
  • 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) 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!"
    • One of the album tracks 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 A Day at the Races (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".
    • "A Winter's Tale", one of the few songs from Made in Heaven recorded during the post-Innuendo sessions, has a subtle but charming one: "It's a kind of magic in the air".
    • "It's a Beautiful Day" has a relatively big one that might have not even been intentional in that Freddie continuously chants "No One's Gonna Stop Me Now" throughout parts of the song, either a generic boast of his, or a fairly glaring reference to one of his songs that was (when "It's A Beautiful Day"'s vocals and piano were recorded) very recently released note .
    • "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 Ga Ga" features brief excerpts of several of their clips to earlier songs.
    • "Soul Brother", an early '80s B-side, references "You're My Best Friend", "We Are the Champions", "We Will Rock You", "Flash", "Keep Yourself Alive", "Somebody to Love", itself and "Under Pressure" in its second verse.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: A variation in their live performances of "Bohemian Rhapsody", which famously has a very down ending on record. But because the song was so popular, audiences would always cheer wildly when it concluded, ruining that effect. The band eventually decided to end the song on a triumphant note to eliminate that dissonance.
  • Cover Version:
    • They never actually recorded any cover songs on their albums (except "God Save the Queen" at the end of Night at the Opera, guitar orchestrated by May), but they performed plenty of cover songs during live shows. Examples include "Big Spender" at their early concerts, "Jailhouse Rock" on all their shows from 1973 until 1982 including the version on Queen Rock Montreal, and a medley of "Hello Mary Lou", "You're So Square", "Tutti Frutti" and "Gimme Some Lovin'" on the Magic Tour of 1986.
    • "Doin' All Right" is a song that was originally done by May's previous band Smile, so past member Tim Staffell also demanded royalties.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • 1977-1982 concerts featured drummer Roger Taylor singing lead on one song, "I'm in Love with My Car", on which Freddie stuck to piano and backing vocals. Most of their albums had one song with Brian singing lead and one song with Roger singing lead. Brian also occasionally played piano, such as on "Save Me" and "Teo Torriatte", while John Deacon played some guitar on "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Misfire". Less frequently but still, Roger would play guitar, bass and provide vocals 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 before 1992. Freddie sang in Roger's place for "Modern Times Rock and Roll" and Brian's for "'39", as well as "Sleeping on the Sidewalk".
    • 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" and "Sheer Heart Attack"), with minimal contributions by the other members (generally some guitar noises by Brian).
  • "Days of the Week" Song: "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" and "In Only Seven Days".
  • Deadpan Snarker: All the bandmembers to some extent, but Freddie was this especially.
  • Deliberate Monochrome: The "I'm Going Slightly Mad" and "These Are the Days of Our Lives" videos to cover up Freddie's ailing health.
  • Dirty Old Man: The title character in "Great King Rat" is described as one in the lyrics.
  • The Diss Track: "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. It's a full-blown Reason You Suck Song.

  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first album sounded more like Hard Rock than the sound the band became well known for, while the second took their progressive tendencies up to eleven.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • Found mostly in their '70s material, particularly on their first two albums. Songs close to or exceeding six minutes in length include "Bohemian Rhapsody", "The Prophet's Song", "Liar", "March of the Black Queen", "Father to Son", "It's Late", "Innuendo", and that 22-minute ambiance at the end of "Made in Heaven".
    • 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: Played with. A few (but not all) of the songs from A Night at the Opera have similar endings: the song will pretend to end, but then a heavily panned coda appears out of nowhere. At first, it sounds like it builds up to something, but nothing's really done with it.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "Bicycle Race".
    • The rhythm of "We Will Rock You" was achieved by the band members clapping their hands and stomping on wood planks with heavy boots, multi-tracked and processed with tape delay.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "I'm Going Slightly Mad" and "Don't Try Suicide".
  • 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.
    • Also, "Death on Two Legs" / "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon" / "I'm in Love with My Car".
    • 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.
  • Foreshadowing: The Miracle has the title song along with "Breakthru", both of which mention "All God's People" and "Headlong" in their lyrics, respectively note . The degree to which these were intentional is hard to say.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Freddie was The Optimist, Roger is The Apathetic, Brian is The Cynic, and John is The Realist.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Freddie: Supine - quirky, fun-loving, optimistic
    • Brian: Choleric - dramatic, hard-working, cynical
    • Roger: Phlegmatic - humble, easy-going, emotional
    • John: Melancholic - perfectionist, insecure, quiet
  • Free-Handed Performer: While he played piano in a few songs (most famously "Bohemian Rhapsody") and rhytmic guitar in "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" on live shows, Freddie's most iconic image is of him using only his microphone stand (and his powerful voice) as instruments. He appeared to lampshade this while playing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", usually being rather self-deprecating about his guitar skills.
  • Gallows Humor: "I'm Going Slightly Mad". A comical song that was written by a man dying of AIDS about the various hallucinations and irrational behaviors caused by his condition.
  • Genre Roulette: A typical Queen album from The '70s 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. While all band-members 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.). Then again, he wrote all of "Side Black" of Queen II, which contains most of that album's heaviest songs - which by extension are some of the heaviest of the band's catalogue.
    • If you're head-banging 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 tearjerker ballads, too ("Save Me"; "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 ukulele-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"). Somewhere in the early to mid-'80s, Roger began composing pop songs with a heavier focus on synths ("Radio Ga Ga", "Breakthru").
    • 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").
  • 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.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The title character in "March of the Black Queen" is clearly not a nice lady.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: In "Bohemian Rhapsody", various factions are fighting over the protagonist's soul:
    "I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me,
    He's just a poor boy from a poor family,
    Spare him his life from this monstrosity!
    Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
    Bismillah! (No!) We will not let you go. (Let him go!)
    Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let him go!)
    Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let me go!)
    Will not let you go (Let me go!)
    Will not let you go. Let me go! (Oh, oh, oh)
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no!"
  • Grand Finale:
    • There's no denying that "The Show Must Go On" is this.
    • "Was It All Worth It", from The Miracle, was written with this in mind.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
    • Is there really any reason for those "Bismillah!"s in "Bohemian Rhapsody"? For that matter, just why is Scaramouche supposed to do the fandango? Rule of Cool, of course!
    • "Mustapha", along with As Long as It Sounds Foreign.
    • Come on, "Teo Torriatte" (Japanese), "Las Palabras de Amor" (Spanish), "Seaside Rendezvous" (French).
    • Rather lampshaded in "Let Me Entertain You":
      "Just take a look at the menu
      We'll give you rock à la carte
      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. The middle choral section of "The Prophet's Song" uses this trope to make it easier to follow.
  • 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 in 1999, can be somewhat more aptly described as "Greatest Leftovers", consisting mainly of live recordings featuring guest performers and some remixes (including Another One Bites the Dust featuring Wycleaf Jean from the Small Soldiers soundtrack), although it does contain some songs which were left out on I and II and needed to be included.
    • 1981's Greatest Hits was released in North America with a modified tracklist, but went out of print after Queen moved to Capitol Records in the region in 1984. Following Freddie Mercury's death and the inclusion of "Bohemian Rhapsody" in Wayne's World, Hollywood Records put out Classic Queen as an updated replacement to capitalize on renewed interest in the band. Later in 1992, Hollywood put out another compilation called Greatest Hits with a completely different tracklist from the 1981 versions.
    • They also have a series called Deep Cuts, compiling non-hit single, fan favorite album tracks.
    • 2020 saw the release of Greatest Hits in Japan, a Japan-only compilation capitalizing on the band's popularity in the region by featuring tracks voted on by fans there.
  • Grief Song: One of the songs from Queen Rocks, "No-One But You", was written by the remaining members of Queen not only in mourning of Freddie but as a general lament for public figures who suffered tragic deaths, spurred by the sudden passing of Princess Diana.
  • Heavy Meta: "Modern Times Rock and Roll" on the first album (which was essentially Roger Taylor's attempt to out-rock Led Zeppelin).
    • They actually had quite a lot of these, mostly written by Roger Taylor. "Sheer Heart Attack", penned by Taylor, is notably a Take That! at the emerging punk scene... in the form of a punk song!
  • Heavy Mithril: The entire "black side" of Queen II (which includes "Seven Seas of Rhye", "The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke", "Ogre Battle", and "My Fairy King".
    • Related, '39, which is 'space opera'
    • Also, the cover art for News of the World, by SF illustrator Frank Kelly Freas.
    • "The Prophet's Song" might count too.
      • The Prophet's Song is supposed to be about the Biblical story of Noah, or so Brian May says (he also claims that the song came to him in a dream).
    • Ahem. "Princes of the Universe". The band's magnum opus is also one of the purest examples of Heavy Mithril around.
  • High-Class Call Girl: "Killer Queen" is about one of these.
    Freddie: It's about a high-class call girl. I'm trying to say that classy people can be whores, too.
  • Homesickness Hymn: "'39" is about space explorers embarking on a 1-year journey, but realize upon returning to Earth that 100 years have passed due to time dilation.
  • I Call It "Vera": Brian May's guitar, the 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. 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.
  • Important Haircut: Freddie, Roger, and John all had long hair in the 1970s, but then appeared with shorter 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.
  • Inspiration Nod:
    • The band recorded Queen II in August 1973, shortly after Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon was at the peak of its popularity. Both albums have a heartbeat fade-in on the opening track.
    • Life is Real is Freddie's tribute to John Lennon, and includes the line "Lennon is a genius, living in every pore".
  • Intercourse with You: Hey, guess what "Get Down, Make Love" is about.
  • In the Style of:
    • "Somebody to Love" is in the style of Aretha Franklin, of whom Freddie Mercury was a fan.
    • "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is in the style of Elvis Presley.
    • "Innuendo" is in the style of Led Zeppelin, particularly paying homage to the eastern stylings of "Kashmir". Roger Taylor described it as Zeppelin meets Oscar Wilde; a "very English" track.
    • "Life is Real" from the often-overlooked Hot Space is in the minimalist style of John Lennon.
    • "Another One Bites the Dust" was a disco song in the style of Chic; depending on who you ask, it was either an homage or something that Deacon basically just lifted from them and made minor edits to.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "Good Company", with the line "take care of those you call your own and keep good company".
    • "Sleeping on the Sidewalk" also has this: "I may get hungry but I sure don't wanna go home [...] I don't get hungry and I sure don't wanna go home [...] I may get hungry and I sure do wanna go home".
  • Ironic Nursery Tune:
    • "Seven Seas of Rhye" is a surreal, apocalyptic A God Am I rant by Freddie Mercury including such lyrics as "I'll defy the laws of nature and come out alive / and then I'll get you." It ends by fading into a sample of the old music-hall tune "I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside".
    • "Great King Rat", a surreal song describing the less than savoury life of the title character, has a chorus based on "Old King Cole": "Great King Rat was a dirty old man and a dirty old man was he."
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover:
    • Freddie adored cats. "Delilah" is titled after his favourite cat.
    • "All Dead, All Dead" was written after the death of one of Brian May's cats.
  • Large Ham: Freddie. Brian also qualifies in some videos, especially the aforementioned "It's a Hard Life" in which he (according to Roger) "gets dangerously close to acting". Roger himself has his moments too - just listen to "I'm In Love With My Car"...
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: "Princes of the Universe" is all about how awesome immortals are.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: The whole band at one point in the seventies were this, but Roger Taylor might as well have been the poster boy for this trope.
  • Long-Runner Line-up:
    • Taken to its Logical Extreme: A Long Runner band (20 years) with only one line-up: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor note .
    • From 1984, Spike Edney was known as the unofficial fifth member of the band, playing keyboards and guitar on tours. He has also stayed around for their live collaborations into the 2010s.
    • Since Mercury's death and Deacon's retirement, "Queen +" has had the line-up of May and Taylor + various musicians and vocalists.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Their version of "New York, New York", which can be heard in Highlander, never got a full version recording (they only recorded it partially, to match the scene it plays over: Kurgan's drive through New York). It's never been released, except as a snippet in the movie itself.
  • 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"). "Somebody to Love" does a bit of both ("Can... Any-bo-dyyyy...").
    • In the remix of "Under Pressure" featured in Greatest Hits III, you have Mercury sing / speaking "You say New York, New York is dangerous, 'cos you read that where you may" then Bowie going "Even the blind man can see it's not so...", before there's a sudden percussion, and the scream, "RAGE!!!!!!", where a very up-tempo version of the song begins.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Quite a few songs.
    • "Don't Try Suicide", which is about suicide, but sounds like a reject from West Side Story.
    • "'39" is a happy, upbeat skiffle song, with lyrics about a space voyage for one year, but due to the time dilation effect, one hundred years have passed and everyone the protagonist loves is now dead.
    • "Tie Your Mother Down": Frustrated lyrics advocating extreme measures to avoid family interference with a date, sung in big massed choruses to an incredibly upbeat guitar riff.
    • "Who Needs You?", a cosy, relaxing Spanish guitar track about Freddie claiming he doesn't need a former lover any-more. Even more dissonance stems from the fact that the song was written by John Deacon, who also penned such "break-up with you" songs as "Another One Bites The Dust" and "I Want to Break Free", while being the only one in the group to have had a singular, long, happy marriage (1975 - present).
    • "Put Out the Fire", a cheery pop-rock tune... And the lyrics are told from the perspective of a man who used his gun against everyone he had a problem with, including his unfaithful lover and his neighbor she was having an affair with, and an allusion to the murder of John Lennon.
    • "Under Pressure" is an incredibly upbeat and cheery song with lyrics such as "It's the terror of knowing what this world is about / Watching some good friends scream 'let me out'".
    • "One Vision" is an upbeat, inspirational song mostly about Martin Luther King, Jr. It was covered by Laibach, who rendered it as a German-language faux-Nazi song. Critics at the time had sometimes equated Queen with fascism, due to the hold Freddie had over the audience coming as one and the critics' dismissal of the kind of arena rock Queen did so well.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum (Angry song with light lyrics), "Dead on Time" is a driving, pulse-pounding, heavy piece... About how rushing around all the time isn't that great and you should take it easy.

  • 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:
  • Mood Whiplash: The first three tracks of A Night at the Opera. "Death On Two Legs" is a harsh, acerbic 'fuck you' of a song, that abruptly shifts into a tinkly piano solo and Freddie's twee lyrics of "Lazing On a Sunday Afternoon", which itself shifts into the slow, hard, rock ballad "I'm In Love With My Car". Without a single pause.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: The band's Genre Roulette and variety of song subjects ensured they had something for everyone. The cover artist for News of the World was surprised that their work appealed to a classic music buff like himself.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Queen and only Queen could write a song about something mundane as riding a bike and make it ridiculously epic.
    • "Delilah" is an ode to one of Freddie's cats, who "make[s] [Freddie] slightly mad" when she "pee[s] all over [his] Chippendale Suite".
    • "The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke", describing the painting of the same name, is about fairy-folk waiting for one of their own to chop a nut with his axe.
  • The Musical: We Will Rock You, which is surprisingly good for a jukebox musical. It helps to have Queen music.
  • Mythology Gag: The lyrics of "39" playfully reference one of Freddie's pre-Queen bands, Sour Milk Sea.
  • Nice Guy: Pretty much all of them, as revealed in interviews and anecdotes surrounding the band.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Poor John Deacon. The companion book to The Mary Whitehouse Experience describes Queen as "Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and the other one". His status as The Quiet One, especially compared to his more flamboyant bandmates, has condemned him to being the least memorable member of Queen, a fact not helped by his retreat into near-total seclusion (even from his former bandmates) since Freddie's death. In spite of this, he's created some of the most iconic bass lines in rock history, with "Another One Bites The Dust" and (alongside David Bowie) "Under Pressure".
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Brighton Rock", "Tenement Funster", "The Prophet's Song", "The Millionaire Waltz".
  • No Ending:
    • "Sheer Heart Attack" from News of the World kind of just...stops. Not to the effect of the band just abruptly stopping, but...imagine if you were listening to the song and someone came over and turned off the device that was playing it immediately after the chorus.
    • To an extent, "Tenement Funster". The song builds up to something akin to a Grand Finale near the end, but when it actually happens, the song technically just segues into "Flick of the Wrist". Even on most versions of Queen's First EP (which also has the song), the song fades out during the transition without a proper ending. Of course, many people argue that the song's ending can be heard beneath said transition, but it's still jarring nonetheless.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Jazz. The songs on the album draw from a variety of musical styles, like most Queen albums, but there's nothing on it even remotely resembling jazz.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: The narrator of "Tie Your Mother Down" seems to have this view, as well as aggressive ideas to keep his date's family away.
  • One Cast Member per Cover: The 2021 cassette reissue of the band's first Greatest Hits Album featured five Alternate Album Covers: one depicting the group photo from the original release, and four that each depict a different member of the band.
  • One-Man Song: "Mustapha".
  • Perma-Stubble: Freddie Mercury adopted this look in the last few years of his life to hide the effects of AIDS.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: "You're My Best Friend".
    I've been with you such a long time
    You're my sunshine and I want you to know
    That my feelings are true
    I really love you
    Oh, you're my best friend
  • Pop-Star Composer:
  • The Power of Friendship: Celebrated in "Friends Will Be Friends".
  • 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 vocals. A lot of Freddie's vocal and piano work on Made in Heaven comes from long before 1991. All in all, only three songsnote  are actually written and completely recorded after Innuendo.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • "Don't Try Suicide" has "nobody gives a damn" in the chorus. See also Determinator above.
    • "Son and Daughter" features the line "The world expects a man to buckle down and shovel shit". The word was never uttered in live versions; they truncated the sentence at "shovel" or said "it" instead.
  • Product Placement: An accidental one. "Killer Queen" opens with the line "she keeps Moët & Chandon in her pretty cabinet", which was a mere comment on how classy the fictional girl was. The winery benefited when the song became a big hit, and as a reward, they sent the band and producer vats of champagne as well as passes for Wimbledon and Grand Prix.
  • 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 de-investment.
    • "I Want To Break Free" was also adopted as an LGBT anthem. In contrast, audiences in South Africa and South America appreciated it as an anthem against oppression. Further adding to the mix was the censoring of the music video in numerous US states for supposedly glamorising cross-dressing.
    • "Hammer to Fall" describes the futility of war in the face of our ultimate mortality. It was interpreted by some as a Cold War protest song, though Brian May has vocally denied this.
    • "Radio Ga Ga" can be seen as a direct rebuttal to "Video Killed the Radio Star", calling for radio to stay viable in the face of MTV (which, in 1982, was nothing more than a visual radio station). The updated version used in the play We Will Rock You directly attacks the mass-produced, digital pop that appeared in the 2000's.
  • 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 was later presumably okay with Queen + Paul Rodgers,note  but declined to take part.

  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • Double-subversion regarding their whole 'no synths' thing: When they were recording their first single, Brian added some guitar effects via multi-tracking, varispeed, pedals and an amplifier John built. Some people in the record company and the press thought they'd used a Moog synthesiser instead, and the whole 'no synths' claim was born. As it's entered cultural osmosis (especially amongst Queen fans), a lot of people have gone to the other extreme: they think every single effect on Queen records was made by Brian's guitar. Of course, sometimes that was the case (e.g., the 'shivers down my spine' bit on "Bohemian Rhapsody", done with harmonics and EQ), but sometimes the effect was something else (e.g., prepared piano on "Nevermore"), and sometimes it was indeed a synth (e.g., near the break of "Coming Soon"). "Another One Bites the Dust" takes it up to eleven, as it's got many sound effects throughout, some of which are indeed the Red Special (with pedals and EQ and stuff), some of which are synths (reversed) and some of which are neither (reversed piano, e-drums).
    • From Hot Space onwards, the band started to programme drum machines, which sometimes would complement Roger's playing (e.g., "Dancer") and sometimes would replace him completely (e.g., "Body Language"). That creates a lot of confusion, even today, as sometimes Roger did play the part on an actual drum set but because of his precision and because of the mix (not as 'in your face' as in the 70's), people believe it's a machine.
    • People not familiar with Queen tend to think they had a female backing vocalist on some songs such as "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Somebody to Love", when actually it was just them singing falsetto (usually Roger Taylor, sometimes Freddie Mercury and very occasionally Brian May). Doubly subverted on "Let Me Live", where they did hire female backing vocalists.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Freddie was famously as camp and theatrical as you could get. He was also an excellent boxer and very physically capable as Sid Vicious nearly found out the hard way.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • The initial CD releases of A Kind of Magic and The Miracle include remixes of other songs on their respective tracklists as bonus tracks. A Kind of Magic features remixes of the Title Track, "Friends Will be Friends", and "Who Wants to Live Forever", all taken from their single releases, while The Miracle simply includes the 12" version of "The Invisible Man" plus two original B-sides.
    • The 1991 Hollywood Records remasters for the US and Canada included bonus remixes at the end of each album. Most of these were specially commissioned for the campaign, and ranged from subtle changes (e.g. making the lead vocals in "Somebody to Love" more prominent) to more radical adjustments (e.g. turning "We Will Rock You" and "Bicycle Race" into Hip-Hop songs). The Works, A Kind of Magic, and The Miracle, meanwhile, use previously released 12" mixes instead of creating new ones.
  • Remaster: The band's discography saw expanded remasters in North America to commemorate their 20th anniversary in 1991, following Hollywood Records' buyout of their discography in the region. A few years later, Parlophone Records put out their own series of remasters outside North America as the Digital Master Series, without any bonus tracks. Because this set also reused the original CDs' packaging, the only way to tell them apart was to check the back of the case for a "Digital Master Series" banner and/or updated copyright information. Queen's discography would later be remastered again for their 40th anniversary in 2011, with the initial releases of these versions including bonus discs containing live performances, demos, and other rarities. Both the 1991 and 2011 remasters remain in print today, with Hollywood prioritizing the former.
  • Remix Album: Per the title, The 12" Collection (included as part of the 1992 Boxed Set Box of Tricks) brought together various 12" versions of the band's songs from the 1980s, plus "Bohemian Rhapsody" (which was only ever released as a 33 1/3 RPM 7"; the liner notes state that it was tossed in thanks to its nearly six-minute length).
  • Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: The chorus of "Teo Torriate" is roughly the same lyric sung in two different languages: English and Japanese.
  • Rule of Cool: During the video for "Princes of the Universe", Connor MacLeod from Highlander (played by Christopher Lambert and all) challenges Freddie Mercury to a sword fight. Freddie's fighting with his microphone stand... and the duel ends in a draw. Think about that for a second...
  • Sanity Slippage Song:
    • "I'm Going Slightly Mad".
    • Also, the traditional song "Oh, I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside" which plays at the end of "Seven Seas of Rhye".
  • Scatting:
    • A good part of the lyrics of "Under Pressure" are Scatting.
    • During the legendary 1985 Live Aid appearance, Freddie Mercury led the crowd at Wembley Stadium, all 72,000 of them, in one of the largest group-Scatting session ever recorded.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Their trademark was to massively overdub their vocals to create a choral effect. 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"), or all three of them, as in the majority of their work. 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 '80s) 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 song-writing (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.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Freddie had a few in concerts. In "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" the backup dancers rip his shirt open.
    • Roger too in the encores at early gigs, like the Rainbow in November 1974 and the Hammersmith Odeon in December 1975.
    • Queen's first photoshoot with Mick Rock.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To the Marx Brothers, the albums A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races taking their names from two of their films.
    • The music video for "Calling All Girls" was based upon the George Lucas movie THX 1138.
    • The music video for "Radio Ga Ga" was based upon and featured actual footage from the Fritz Lang classic Metropolis, which Freddie supplied a song for in a modern overdub. The The Works tour's stage setup was also based on the same film, with a cityscape in the background and large gears. The lyrics to the song also specifically mention Orson Welles' infamous The War of the Worlds broadcast.
    • "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" (from Sheer Heart Attack) is a homage to Jim Croce, who had died the previous year.
    • "Let Me Entertain You" specifically mentions Elektra and EMI, Queen's then-record labels in America and Europe, respectively.
    • The "I Want to Break Free" video is a parody of Coronation Street, with Brian and John's outfits in particular inspired by the "Pepperpots" of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Freddie himself pays Homage to ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev - even shaving his iconic mustache to play him! Then both Coronation Street and EastEnders repaid the favor separately by their characters dressing as Queen and singing the song themselves.
    • The lyrics of "Innuendo" (which were started by Freddie, but were mostly Roger's work) are intended as a shout-out to "Kashmir".
    • "Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)".
    • The song "Dragon Attack" from 1980 mentions their chief engineer (later promoted to producer) Mack.
    • Around the mid-80s, John Deacon lost his license for a year because of a DUI. Roger Taylor referenced that in his song "Don't Lose Your Head".
    • Another Deacon-related one: he once went AWOL during some recording sessions, leaving just a note on his bass saying "gone to Bali", which shocked and upset the rest of the band. The line "we went to Bali" was incorporated into "Was It All Worth It", which Freddie thought at the time would be his swan song (he didn't think he'd live long enough for another album).
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions".
    • "Party" and "Khashoggi's Ship", the first two tracks on The Miracle: the former abruptly ends with the line "the party's over", while the latter has the Lyrical Cold Open of "who said that my party was all over?".
  • Singer Namedrop: Freddie Mercury does it in "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" ("Ready, Freddie") and in his solo song "Mr. Bad Guy". All four Queen members are mentioned in "Invisible Man" from The Miracle too.
  • Sixth Ranger: Spike Edney was the band's touring keyboardist in the 1980's (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.
  • Solo Side Project: Every main member of Queen bar John Deacon released solo albums while an active member of the band. Freddie Mercury, for instance, released two solo albums while still part of Queen, namely Mr. Bad Guy and Barcelona in collaboration with opera singer Montserrat Caballé.
  • Song Style Shift: "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a famous example of this, but this is found in several of their earlier more progressive songs. For example, "The Prophet's Song" is a hard rock song with an extended a capella section in the middle, where Freddie goes crazy with the studio overdubs.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Done occasionally, especially 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).
  • Spin-Off Babies: In the music video of "The Miracle" the band is played by children, dressed up as them. The grown-up Queen joins them on the set at the end.
  • Step Up to the Microphone:
    • While Freddie is the lead singer, most Queen albums have at least one song where Brian and Roger each take the vocal lead as well. Whenever one of them is the lead vocalist, it's because he wrote the song as well, though they very often had Freddie sing lead on other songs they wrote. John hated his voice and never recorded vocals for Queen records, although he usually appears to be singing along with the rest of the band in music videos — though in "Liar" he gladly joins Freddie in singing the "All day long" parts.
    • In concert, Freddie only ever sang the lead, even when Brian or Roger sang lead on the original versions - except for "I'm in Love with My Car", which Roger sang lead on. This is the only known song anyone other than Freddie sang lead on in any Queen performances before his death. Roger also did David Bowie's parts in "Under Pressure" during live performances.
  • Stop and Go:
    • "Ogre Battle" uses it rather subtly to add some weight to the "He gives a great big cry..." verse. The break is even longer in live performances of the song, with Freddie often stopping to ask the audience "[what they] think of the show so far", a reference to Morecambe and Wise.
    • They did a similar thing in live versions of "Son and Daughter", with the acapella "I want you" followed by a pause and Freddie asking the audience what comes next.
  • A Storm Is Coming: "The Prophet's Song", based on the Biblical story of Noah.
  • Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: "Fat Bottomed Girls", a song in which Freddie Mercury professes his love for women who put the "maximus" in "gluteus maximus."
  • Stylistic Suck: According to Rick Rubin, the 1991 remix of "We Will Rock You" was deliberately made as ridiculous as possible, hence why the subtitle says that it was "ruined by" him. Among other things, the song features slapped-on Hip-Hop beats, an intro where a crackly needle drop of the 1977 mix is cut off by a Record Needle Scratch, a distant-sounding air raid siren sound effect looping in the background for two full minutes, a breakdown that consists predominantly of a looped sample of James Brown shouting "tramp," and an outro where a goofy, growling voice shouts "this stuff is really fresh!" Rubin stated that he took such an approach specifically to protest the idea of remixing classic songs, considering the original version of this one "a perfect record."
  • Subdued Section: Used in too many of their songs to list.
  • Subliminal Seduction: "Another One Bites the Dust" has been accused of hiding a pro-marijuana message when the title lyric is played in reverse, variously interpreted as "it's fun to smoke marijuana," "decide to smoke marijuana," or "start to smoke marijuana."
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "'39", a song about space travel, contains this gem:
    "And the night followed day
    And the storytellers say
    That the score brave souls inside
    For many a lonely day
    Sailed across the Milky Seas"
    Ne'er looked back, never feared, never cried
  • Tabloid Melodrama: In the late eighties, the British tabloids went after Brian and Freddie in a big way (see below).
  • Take That!:
    • "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 out laughing", knowing exactly whom he was slagging.
    • "Fight from the Inside" and "Sheer Heart Attack" (both written by Roger) are Take Thats at the then-emerging punk scene.
    • "Death on Two Legs" was about Norman Sheffield, Queen's original manager. He'd basically sucked up all the money from the success of "Killer Queen" and Sheer Heart Attack, leaving the band broke. Despite not mentioning him by name in the lyrics, Sheffield sued the band for defamation, meaning everyone in the world knows who the song is about now.
  • Talks Like a Simile: "Don't Stop Me Now".
  • Technician Versus Performer: Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor were performers, whereas Brian May and John Deacon were technicians (literally in the latter's case, being an electrical engineer). Not to mention the fact that Brian eventually got a PhD in astrophysics.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Usually averted, as lots of Queen songs have quite a few more than three chords. 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". note 
  • Two First Names: Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon...
  • Uncommon Time: "Innuendo", with alternating 5/4 and 3/4 passages in its middle section.
  • Unreliable Narrator: "Liar"... Maybe...
  • 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", and "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 swimmin' with a brick" pushes it over the line into this.
  • Villain Song: "Gimme the Prize (Kurgan's Theme)".
  • 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!"
  • Word Salad Lyrics:
    • Freddie once openly admitted that "Bohemian Rhapsody"'s lyrics have no real meaning to them.
    • "Another One Bites the Dust". 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.
    • "Killer Queen": "Dynamite with a laser beam". It doesn't even make any sense in context! But it is guaranteed to blow your mind.
    • "Let Me Entertain You" has a dandy; "I'll Cruella de Vil you..."



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Alternative Title(s): Queen


Freddy Mercury

In "I'm Going Slightly Mad", Freddy Mercury is portrayed like a silent movie character with exaggerated make-up and hair.

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