10/26 Queen’s 10 Most Underrated Songs
For the title of its biopic, Queen chose the name of their ground-breaking track, "Bohemian Rhapsody." While it's arguably their signature hit, reaching the Top 10 on two separate occasions -- 1975 and 1992 -- it's far from the only song for which they should be known. In addition to placing nine other songs in the U.S. Top 40, their catalog is filled with songs that deserve to be counted among their best. We're placing a spotlight on those deep cuts below with our list of the Top 10 Underrated Queen Songs.
10. "The March of the Black Queen" (from Queen II, 1974)
Penned by Freddie Mercury and as flamboyant as they come, "The March of the Black Queen" is considered by many fans as a sister to the much more famous "Bohemian Rhapsody." Every bit as technically slick as "Rhapsody," "Black Queen" is as much a journey as it is a song. The time signature demands that the listener pay attention – and with four great musicians on this kind of form, your attention is the least it deserves.
9. "Keep Yourself Alive" (from Queen, 1973)
"Keep Yourself Alive," the first track on Queen’s debut, was also their first single. But it didn't chart anywhere, even though it’s comparatively more straightforward rock and roll than the likes of "The March of the Black Queen." The rhythm guitar part chugs along happily before Brian May’s signature lead stylings give the merest hint of what he would ultimately go on to be capable of. Oh, and a drum solo introduces the guitar solo.
8. "Cool Cat" (from Hot Space, 1982)
Ten albums into a glittering career, Queen stepped away from their "traditional" rock sound and things got a little funky on Hot Space. Laid back and absolutely dripping with attitude, "Cool Cat" has a groove that a million others tried, and failed, to emulate in the '80s. And what’s more, Brian May doesn’t even play on the track. Mercury handles the piano and vocals, while bassist John Deacon does the rest.
7. "The Show Must Go On" (from Innuendo, 1991)
Although it’s hardly a little-known Queen song, "The Show Must Go On really deserved more than its peaks of No. 40 on the Billboard Rock and No. 16 on the U.K. Singles charts. As a song, it’s as dramatic as they come. Mercury reportedly stunned his band mates by insisting he could perform the demanding vocal, despite being in the latter stages of his battle with AIDS. And perform it he did. What a track, what a story and what a way to sign off the last Queen album before Freddie’s death.
6. "Don’t Try Suicide" (from The Game, 1980)
With a creeping bass line, tongue-in-cheek vocal delivery and a rip-roaring guitar solo, "Don’t Try Suicide" doesn’t deserve to be branded as novelty album filler. Sure, it’s quirky and probably stands out a little too far from the pack in terms of how it compares to the band’s back catalog – which may explain why it was never performed live. But there’s surely no arguing that this is Mercury displaying his talents in his own unique style.
5. "All Dead, All Dead" (from News of the World, 1977)
How many artists could write a song as good as this about a dead cat? Originally performed with May on lead vocals, the 2017 "hybrid" version featuring archive audio of Mercury taking the lead is particularly beautiful. Nestled on an album packed with massive hits, it was never going to reach the same heights. But it serves as a reminder, if one were needed, that Queen were not simply a rock band. Truly, they were capable of extraordinary things.
4. "Too Much Love Will Kill You" (from Made in Heaven, 1995)
The version of this track that appeared on Made In Heaven is a power ballad if ever there was one. "Too Much Love Will Kill You" was originally due to appear on The Miracle before being shelved. Eventually performed solo by May at the 1992 Mercury tribute show, Queen re-recorded it for the 1995 album – and that version is the definitive take on what is quite simply a stunning piece of work.
3. "Dragon Attack" (from The Game, 1980)
With an ear-worm of a verse riff and a vocal phrasing that is instantly recognizable as Queen, "Dragon Attack" has a lot going for it. Its position as a b-side to "Another One Bites the Dust" doesn’t do the song justice, but that’s been somewhat corrected with Queen and Adam Lambert bringing it into their live set. A little bluesy, a lot ballsy – "Dragon Attack" is a masterclass in laid back attitude.
2. "Bicycle Race" (from Jazz, 1978)
Describing a song as hugely popular as "Bicycle Race" as "underrated" might seem a little silly, but this is more than simply a song. It’s progressive, schizophrenic and downright fantastic. Queen somehow manage to squeeze so many ideas into the space of three insane minutes, and they do so without making it sound like some incoherent prog mess. "Bicycle Race" is, of course, just one example of the band nailing that technique, but it’s right up there with the best of them. Lyrically, it is a time capsule of the late '70s and listening to it never fails to raise a smile.
1. "The Millionaire Waltz" (from A Day at the Races, 1976)
With "Bohemian Rhapsody" taking center stage in the 2018 Queen film, perhaps it’s only right that this list is topped out by a song in a similar vein. "The Millionaire Waltz" may not have had quite as much going for it as "Rhapsody," but it’s full of much of the theater and drama that made its slightly older brother a smash hit. Queen songs are often presented like a multi-act stage show, and "The Millionaire Waltz" is a wonderful example of that showmanship.