Though it’s been decades since the original lineup of Queen were writing and performing together, the band remain the most important in music history thanks to their creation of dramatic, anthemic and inspiring songs which never get old no matter how many times you’ve heard them.
Whether it’s Don’t Stop Me Now, We Are The Champions or We Will Rock You, Queen’s songs have a certain way of making you want to sing along at the top of your voice – or at least to the best of your ability when it comes to something like Bohemian Rhapsody.
Despite ever-changing popular genres and new forms of music being introduced, their music has remained timeless, and you never have to wait too long before one of the iconic songs returns to the radio or is featured in a TV advert, making your spirits rise and your head bop.
The classic lineup for the band included Freddie Mercury as the lead vocalist, Brian May on lead guitar, Roger Taylor on drums, and John Deacon on bass.
May and Taylor had played together in a band called Smile, of which Mercury was a fan. He encouraged Smile to experiment more with music and joined May and Taylor in 1970 to form what became Queen.
Mercury’s incredible stage presence and ideas for more elaborate recording techniques are some of the most memorable things about Queen’s success throughout the years, and many artists have admitted how much they have been inspired by Mercury and his influence on the band.
Though many musical artists have said they were influenced by Queen’s music, in some cases artists have chosen to show their love for the band by recreating their songs.
Nick works at the Waikato Institute of Technology in Hamilton, New Zealand and has studied Queen’s music in the past. He also plays as a session pianist for a number of bands and musicals.
Covers and samples of Queen’s music has seen their sound appear across genres, taking them from classic rock and spreading their sound throughout the music scene and each genre’s listeners.
I think for many musicians and listeners Queen’s songs hold a long-lasting appeal because they are often so intricate and rich in their details. The layers of guitars, the sheer number of voices and the studio bells-and-whistles (sometimes literally) mean there’s always something new to discover.
The songs reward those who listen to them a lot.
In terms of the song lyrics, I’m not sure that they say anything particularly profound, but Queen frequently sing about themes that have a universal quality; searching for love, family and relationship challenges, growing up, understanding one’s identity – none of which are confined to a particular historical time.
Lyrically, Queen’s songs manage to be pretentious and irrelevant. Musically, for all the virtuosity, the songs still sound mostly pretty empty, all flash and calculation.
With this sort of (seemingly deliberate, but who can say?) pandering to an obvious need in the late‐teen and early 20’s rock market, Queen has won an audience, and that audience’s more flamboyant members certainly gave every sign of rapture Thursday.
But it will be hard for the band to reach a really huge market this way, and at the same time, it will be equally hard for many people to take them seriously in “artistic” terms, or even pop‐artistic terms. Still, it’s a living.
The songwriters took music in new directions, making their tunes incredibly catchy and, especially in the case of We Will Rock You, managing to make the listener feel as though they can be an integral part of the song even if they’re sat alone listening in their car.
Even more impressive, the band took on the task of writing themselves, rather than leaving the the creation of their art to an anonymous musician behind the scenes.
Speaking at an interview with Sound Unlimited in 1976, bassist Deacon explained how the band members’ songwriting skills affected their sound.