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.
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.
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.