Oh, You're My Best Friend

Queen were big in the United States. But many Americans don’t realize that everywhere else in the world, they were gigantic. Europe, South America, Japan, you name it, Queen are number two only to The Beatles as far as popularity. Most people in the U.S. would be familiar with the content of Queen’s Greatest Hits like "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Under Pressure," "We Will Rock You," and "Don’t Stop Me Now," (thanks to it’s prominent use in Shaun of the Dead,) but may be less familiar with their amazing studio albums like A Night At The Opera, A Day At The Races, Jazz, and The Game.

The casual Queen listener (as I once was) would be surprised to hear on the records that three of the four members of Queen all take a turn singing lead vocals (not just Freddie Mercury,) contribute songs (John Deacon's compositions are my favourite,) and every member takes a crack at playing just about every instrument (except drums.) Also, while Queen is pigeonholed as a hard rock act, their studio albums reveal an amazing eclecticism. A Night At The Opera moves from hard rock to folk rock to bouncy pop to British music hall to ukulele music to progressive rock to mock-opera and finally ending on a cover of "God Save The Queen." This diversity can be found on all of their records at the library.

And while such drastic style changes might seem more erratic than eclectic, the entire record has a unified "Queen Sound." The band strove to make a record so that whenever someone was flipping through the radio, they would instantly be able to recognize a song as Queen’s, and with layered vocals, Brian May’s hand built guitar, and the band’s signature pomp and cheeky humour. The Greatest Hits are great, check out the studio albums to get a full view of Queen’s depth as songwriters, musicians, and as an ensemble.

Why am I displaying a picture of A Day At The Races when I talk on end about A Night At The Opera? Because the picture shows up better, therefore it wins.