220px-Queen_Sheer_Heart_Attack#7 – Queen – “Killer Queen” – (1974)

This song by Queen, lyrically, is one of magnificence. Freddie Mercury wrote the lyrics before the music and you can tell that there is definite cohesion among the lyrics and the music was beautifully crafted to fill the gaps. It didn’t make the top 10 in the U.S. (#12) but it stands of one of Queen’s top tracks.

220px-Queen_A_Night_At_The_Opera#1 – Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody” – (1975)

I’m not sure a better song has ever been recorded. That’s a big statement. The song begins as a harmonized ballad and when Freddie Mercury starts singing about how he “once killed a man” the music starts picking up, giving it an operatic feel. The lyrics fade in and out throughout the song and bits of hard rock interrupt the opera performance and they do so with great timing. The song peaked at #9 in the U.S. in 1976 and #1 in the U.K. In 1991, it topped the U.K. charts again after the death of Mercury. In the U.S., it peaked at #2 in 1992 after being featured in Wayne’s World – where Wayne and Garth are headbanging to in in their Pacer right at the 4:12 mark when the hard rock kicks in. It’s pretty amazing in every way… I could write a post three times this long on the lyrics alone. But I won’t. Just give it a listen and you’ll get it.

220px-A_Day_at_the_Races_(Queen)#17 – Queen – “Somebody to Love” – (1976)

A Day at the Races was Queen’s second consecutive album to be named after a Marx Brothers film. This is easily the best song from the album and also it’s first single and biggest hit (reaching #13 on the Hot 100). It has that signature Queen vocal layering that builds momentum as the song progresses. That vocal layering gives it a gospel feeling, which is apt as this was written with strong influences of Aretha Franklin.

#10 – Queen – “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” – (1977)

Whoa – number 10 is actually two songs. Two songs that are often played back to back as a single, uninterrupted track. They were issued as a singe together and flow perfectly between each other. Queen was a wonderful band that made beautiful music. You don’t often hear rock and roll called “beautiful” but that’s exactly what Queen’s music was. These two songs are perfect for sporting events, specifically hockey where they seem to live on forever (thanks to  The Mighty Ducks).

Queen & David Bowie – “Under Pressure” – (1982)

It’s quite possible that by the time “Under Pressure” was released in 1982 (okay, as a single in 1981), that Queen’s best years were behind them. Of Queen’s singles catalogue, there are but a small handful of “must hears” that came out after this. This was their last truly great, truly huge, single. It was a #1 in the U.K. – probably having to do with it being a collaboration between two of Britain’s biggest rock acts. David Bowie was at the studio recording backing vocals for another track (which was thrown away) but ended up sitting down and writing this song with the band instead. When it first came out, Queen incorporated it into their live act, sans Bowie. It wasn’t until Freddie Mercury passed away that Bowie started doing it live. And, as far as the elephant in the room on a music blog that started as a giant list of songs from the 90s – yes, I will admit, that, as good as this song is, I am severely disappointed every time I hear this on the radio. When those first notes start up, I’m sitting there going “Yes, ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ is about to be on.” Then there are two piano keys struck and I get sad. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but it is. As Vanilla Ice said, “There’s goes… mine goes…” Yeah, yeah.