Queen – Deep Cuts Pt.1

This 12-track selection of Queen deep cuts showcases Freddie Mercury’s incomparable voice and Brian May’s insane talents as a lead guitarist to full effect during its first decade which saw the band forge a career that was as varied and powerful as any act in rock. 

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Queen’s creative juices were flowing from the innovative recordings of the early and mid-1970s when they were a young and hungry British hard rock act looking for their groove. They quickly gained success on both sides of the Atlantic with their detailed, meticulous productions, before going to become a mass-audience favourite whose legend continues to grow.

Not only were they the hit making colossus that we know and love, but many treasures can be mined from their varied and required-listening album cuts too; from quasi-operatic cabaret dramas, to bombastic proggy album suits and arena-oriented hard rock, so much of Queen’s music is still under-recognised even by people who know and love the hits.

So, resident Queen expert and The Press guest programmer, Chris Stanek, has compiled this selection of Queen’s best Deep Cuts Pt.1 from one of the most successful and productive bands of the rock era at the height of its powers.

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Queen – Deep Cuts Pt.1 mp3

1. Brighton Rock – This lean and muscular Brian May delay-drenched opus launches Queen’s third and arguably best LP, Sheer Heart Attack (1974). Tense and vicious, the track highlights Roger Taylor’s ferocious drumming and a manic Freddie vocal delivery finishing with a mischievous cackle: “Oh no I’m compromised, I must apologise, if my lady should discover how I spent my holidays.” 

2. Sleeping on the Sidewalk – The song showcases the band’s early blues rock sound which would further be explored later on tracks like US No.1 hit Crazy Little Thing Called Love. This one is written and sung by May and taken from the globe-conquering album News of the World (1977).

3. White Queen (As It Began) – A wistful Mercury classic off their underrated second album Queen II (1974), it’s one of his best ballads, sung without a trace of irony or camp.

4. Good Company – Another entry into the band’s vaudeville-rock canon, this cabaret number off the chart-topping A Night At the Opera (1975) was written and sung by May with his chugging ukulele.

5. The Prophet’s Song – An onslaught of guitars and pummelling rhythms that eventually transforms into a call-response choir and a challenging mid-song vocal a cappella, this track is a triumph and one of Queen’s longest ever songs clocking in at eight-and-a-half minutes. Witness May’s feature-length cataclysmic prog-rock epic off A Night At the Opera (1975) as it highlights the band’s in-studio wizardry of multitracked harmonies and labyrinthine guitar orchestrations.

6. My Melancholy Blues – Live favourite for Queen and album-closer off News of the World, My Melancholy Blues has an eccentric cabaret vocal performance from Mercury and features his beautiful classically-trained piano work, accompanied tastefully by Deacy’s subtle bass and Taylor’s brushes. A Queen gem.

7. Some Day One Day – Another track off Queen II, written and sung by Brian May, his first lead-vocal performance for Queen and a multi-tracked electric and acoustic guitar showcase.

8. Dead on Time – Menacing and aggressive May-penned rocker off 1978’s Jazz album, is something of a sequel to their anthemic first single Keep Yourself Alive; it even name-checks that song.

9. The Millionaire Waltz – The definitive epic mid-70s Queen sound is in overdrive here: music hall in 3/4 waltz time moving into a 12/8 hard rock multi-multi-tracked extravaganza, and back again, its one of the best tracks off A Day at the Races (1976) with Brian May’s orchestrated guitar choirs, Deacon’s lead bass part, and a Freddie Mercury performance so flamboyant with many an indulgence in camp, operatic flourishes and massive vocal overdubs, the band are clearly celebrating their own pomposity.

10. Dragon Attack – This gyrating funk-fusion romp is the only track here off the excellent The Game (1980), as Queen initially entertain disco; then increasingly so, into the early 80s.

11. Dreamer’s Ball – Confidence and self-intoxication is apparent on this elaborate British music-hall track off the outrageous Jazz. Its grand-scale guitar choir, not to mention Freddie’s exaggerated vocal performance and over-the-top campiness, is well and truly in full blossom by this stage of their career.

12. Dear Friends – This short moving ballad off Sheer Heart Attack was written by Brian May and sung by Mercury and is a good example of the band’s abilities as songwriters – the perfect deep cut album closer.

This entry was posted in Albums That Never Were, Downloads, Mixtapes, Queen. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Queen – Deep Cuts Pt.1

  1. Great choice of songs. I need to keep these in mind if The LeBrain Train does Top Queen Deep Cuts…which we might.

  2. Rilaly says:

    Queen was weird, and Queen was fun. Most of my “serious” rock friends mocked Queen and anyone who liked them. They were not to be taken seriously, and if Queen was one of your favorite bands you were not to be taken seriously either. There seemed to be a “Henry, what will the neighbors think” quality about Queen that my friends avoided like the plague. The critics of the era also informed us that it was not okay to like Queen. They dismissed them as “Goofy, anthemic rockers.” I bought everything they did in high school, but I must admit that I kept my head down and listened to them on the “down low”. Even though I think every member of Queen was a “seriously” brilliant musician in his own right, and their craftsmanship is top notch, I still don’t take them seriously, and I write that in the most flattering way possible. Queen was fun, and they were weird, but just because something is weird and fun doesn’t mean it’s not great. I write that from a more confident platform now. I say it loud and proud now, “I love Queen.”

    I made my own deep playlist of Queen songs when I was younger, and it looked nothing like the one you provided here. I write this, not as a criticism for the list Chris Stanek compiled, but to illustrate how bountiful the Queen’s deep cuts are. The people to whom I sent this playlist often replied, “Oh my God, these songs are great.” I envied them, and every other music lover who searches through Queen’s deep cuts for the jewels, because I remember how intoxicating it was for me to take that “unserious” journey through their catalog.

    As usual great article Press. I particularly love the articles you write that focus on Queen, Bowie and T. Rex.

    • I love Queen too and would love to see your deep cuts list. Queen were mocked quite heavily by the rock critics of the day back in the 1970s and 1980s, they seemed to be compared to the likes of Zep, which is a bit misguided considering their blues background. Myself, I’ve always loved their hits, but never really been a big album track guy, perhaps more so their 80s albums (The Game, Hot Space and The Works are personal faves). Getting into the first two self-titled albums has been a lot of fun more recently and really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment extensively. Cheers Rilaly.

      • Rilaly says:

        I prefer fun, crunchy music with no deeper meaning, as such I love Queen. Some of these songs have appeared on Greatest Hits compilations over the years, but when I was making my mixed tapes there was one Greatest Hits album with the eleven most powerful songs in Queen’s catalog. Don’t Stop me Now wasn’t on it, for example, nor was Save Me or Seven Seas of Rhye. I would tell them that Queen’s hits were great, but they have so many other great songs that you have to hear. A few of them would take me up on it, and I would make a tape for them.

        7) Don’t Stop me Now–Is now listed as the #3 most popular song on Spotify, and it has appeared in TV shows and commercials, but when I was making these mixed tapes, no one I knew had ever heard of this song. I included this one on every mixed tape I made back then.

        6) Sleeping on the Sidewalk–I would also add this song. I agreed with Chris Stanek on this one. Great song.

        5) You and I– Every time I hear this song, I think of the craftsmanship involved. Is it one of the best Queen songs, no, but there is a simplistic brilliance to it that I think speaks to the brilliant (dare I say artistic) relationship this group had. I don’t know how much work went into crafting this song, but it just feels effortless. Some of the times, effortless takes a lot of effort to achieve, but I imagine that Queen sat down and got this simple, beautiful song right in a couple takes.

        4) Who Needs You– This is the least “crunchy” song on the list, but I found that it complemented my mixed tapes well. Most of my friends said they FF’ed (fast forwarded) past this song.

        3) Misfire–If you’re looking for an undiscovered gem, Misfire was always one of my favorites. Not everyone lists this song as a favorite, but it is different from everything else in their catalog, and it speaks to Queen’s MO of always trying something different.

        1) The Ferry Feller’s Master Stroke– This song provided us all some insight into the strange, twisted, and very young mind of Freddie Mercury. Every time I hear this song, I think of it as the predecessor to Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s as epic in scale, it switches in sound and tone numerous times, and has many of the same signatures of the BR, but BR displays a definite upgrade in Mercury’s writing. With that in mind, FFMS is still a great, undiscovered gem in Queen’s catalog.The song feels like the type of thing that happened when Queen got together and said, “Just go, Freddie, write something!” Who knows how many times it happened, and it didn’t work, but FFMS is incredibly weird, but not weird for weird’s sake.

        2) Mustapha– This unusually, quirky song was always the first song I put on my mixed tapes to show my friends how great some of the “other songs” from Queen were, and it was always their favorite. One of my friends said he would just keep rewinding this song over and over. Another friend developed a Tom Cruise in “Risky Business” style video for this song. If he had the courage to put that video on YouTube, it could go viral. It was that funny. I also leant this song to a Middle Eastern friend of mine named Ibrahim. He considered the song silly and stupid, but he was probably too serious.

  3. Aphoristical says:

    White Queen is classic, as is Dragon Attack. I felt like the albums were generally less impressive after News of the World. Largely the good tracks after that were May and the singles. I always assumed Mercury was too busy partying…

    • You might be right there Aphoristical. I love The Game and (guilty pleasure) Hot Space, even The Works, prior to that I’ve been very much a greatest hits guy. Digging into their 70s LP has been much fun. Thanks for your longterm readership & the comment.

  4. ewangk says:

    Great selection of Queen tracks. My personal favourite selection is Sleeping on the Sidewalk which is my favourite Queen track of all!

  5. Pingback: Queen – News of the World (1977) | THE PRESS | Music Reviews

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