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Queen is a British rock band which came to popularity during the mid-1970s, and have amassed an enormous worldwide fanbase that continues to exist to this day. They have sold an estimated 190 million records around the world and, in their home country of Britain, remain second only to The Beatles in terms of sales and collectability (though in 2005, they actually exceeded the number of weeks spent on the British chart by The Beatles).
Though critically panned for decades, in recent years the group's critical stock has increased considerably: they have generally become recognized as pioneers of heavy metal, glam rock, progressive rock and stadium rock, been cited by innumerable acts as influential to their sound (see "Influence on Modern Music" later in the article) and in 2001 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The band also paved the way for the commercial music video, having promoted their 1975 hit Bohemian Rhapsody with a conceptual promo released worldwide, considered by many to be the first true music video.
Their band's crest (pictured) was designed by Freddie Mercury and includes the zodiac signs of all four members surrounding a Phoenix - two lions, to represent two Leos, a crab for Cancer and fairies representing Virgo.
Although Freddie Mercury wrote the majority of the songs on the "Queen's Greatest Hits" album, he was not the only important songwriter in the group. On the contrary, all four members of the group wrote major hits:
- Freddie Mercury, piano & vocals ("Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Are the Champions," "Somebody to Love," "Killer Queen", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "Innuendo")
- Brian May CBE, guitars, piano, vocals ("We Will Rock You," "Tie Your Mother Down," "The Show Must Go On," "Hammer To Fall," "Fat-Bottomed Girls", "Who Wants to Live Forever")
- Roger Meddows-Taylor, drums, percussion, vocals ("Radio Ga Ga," "A Kind of Magic," "The Invisible Man," "These Are The Days Of Our Lives")
- John Deacon, bass guitar, rhythm guitar ("Another One Bites The Dust," "I Want to Break Free," "You're My Best Friend")
Brian May, the lead guitarist, and Roger Taylor, the drummer, were playing in a band called Smile with Tim Staffell. Mercury was Staffell's roommate at Ealing Arts College and followed Smile's music closely; Mercury was a singer in other bands, such as Ibex in 1969 and Sour Milk Sea in 1970. Still, he was very eager to share his ideas so Smile could develop. Staffell left Smile to join another band, Humpy Bong, while Mercury stepped in for Staffell. The band had a number of bass players during this period, but it was not until 1971 that they found John Deacon and started to rehearse for the first album, Queen.
Early image of band Queen
In 1973 Queen released their first album, a self-titled effort. It drew little attention, but succeeded in giving the band an FM radio anthem "Keep Yourself Alive." In hindsight, it's considered to be a strong first album.
It wasn't until 1974 that the band gained any mainstream attention or commercial success. The album Queen II, was released, which also sold poorly, but is revered by many of Queen's more devoted fans as one of their best works. The album was highly experimental, so it garnered little mainstream attention and was, like Queen I, a commercial flop, but the band released the song "Seven Seas of Rhye" as a single, which reached number 10 in Britain, giving them their first hit. They toured as support to Mott the Hoople (referred to in the "Now I'm Here" lyric "Down in the city it's just Hoople and me") during this period, when they first began to gain notoriety for their energetic and crowd-involving stage shows.
Later that same year, Sheer Heart Attack was released. The album was huge in the UK and throughout Europe; and went gold in the United States, giving the band their first taste of true commercial success. Considered one of their greatest efforts, Queen made a surprisingly cohesive album with a wide variety of different types of music; British music hall to heavy metal tunes like "Stone Cold Crazy" (which Metallica would later cover and earn a Grammy for) and "Now I'm Here" (a live concert favourite); ballads ("Lily of the Valley"), ragtime ("Bring Back That Leroy Brown"), even Caribbean ("Misfire").
The single "Killer Queen" was a British number 2 hit which got as high as number 11 on the U.S. charts. It combined campy, vaudeville British music hall with Led Zeppelin-like sound and Brian May's virtuosity on the guitar.
If Sheer Heart Attack's blend of eclectic styles and heavy-metal was considered to be gamut-running, their 1975 effort A Night at the Opera was all-encompassing. Considered by many fans and critics alike to be their greatest effort (some call it Queen's Led Zeppelin IV), this is the album that featured the huge worldwide hit, "Bohemian Rhapsody". "Bohemian Rhapsody" was number one in the UK for nine weeks, and another five weeks in 1991 when it was re-released after Mercury's death. It originally reached number 9 in the U.S, and number 2 when re-released in 1992. The song remains one of Britain's top 5 best-selling singles of all time. The album also featured "You're My Best Friend" (which peaked at 14 on the U.S. charts), a sweet, pure pop gem that was unlike anything Queen had ever done to that point. "I'm In Love With My Car" was a hard-rock tune, written and sung by drummer Roger Taylor, which was used in Jaguar car commercials. The entire album, however, featured incredible diversity in music styles (similar to Sheer Heart Attack) and experimentation with stereo sound (cf. The Prophet's Song, an 8-minute epic, the middle section of which is simple phrases layered to create a full-choral sound).
The cover to Queen's A Night at the Opera
The album was a smash in Britain, and went three times platinum in the United States. It was official; Queen had hit the popular music scene.
Back in the studio and unable to top A Night At The Opera in sales or quality, in 1976 Queen recorded what essentially was a companion album, A Day At The Races, also in keeping with the Marx Brothers' movie theme for the title. The cover was similar to that of A Night at the Opera, a variation on the same Queen Crest. Plans were made to eventually release the two together as a package, but those plans never came to fruition.
The album was done very much in the vein of A Night at the Opera musically as well. Although it was by both fans' and critics' standards a strong effort, it was unable to eclipse its predecessor, and thus as a result has been somewhat underrated.
The standout tracks were "Somebody to Love" and "Tie Your Mother Down." "Somebody to Love" was an incredible rock ballad, on which Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor multi-tracked their voices to make a 100-voice gospel choir. The song went to number 11 on the U.S. singles chart and number 2 on the U.K. charts. "Tie Your Mother Down" was a typical Queen hard-rocker that produced a very recognizable riff and displayed Queen's trademark sense of humour.
It was during this same year that Queen played one of their most famous gigs, a 1976 concert in Hyde Park. They set an attendance record, with 150,000 people confirmed to be in attendance. By comparison, the 2005 London Live 8 concert, which featured numerous of the world's highest drawing acts (including U2, Madonna, Coldplay, Sir Elton John, Robbie Williams and a reunited Pink Floyd) also drew about 150,000.
The cover to the 1977 album News of the World.
1977 saw the release of News of the World, an album that was critically panned at the time but has gained recognition over time as being one of the stand-out hard rock albums of the late-70s as well as being one of the albums most influential in creating stadium rock. This album had more of a sonic punch to it, as well as songs that were tailor-made to be performed (and subsequently have their greatest effect) live. This album produced the anthemic "We Will Rock You" and the famous rock ballad "We Are The Champions" (both of which combined together reached number 4 in the U.S.), as well as the punchy, near-punk sound of "Sheer Heart Attack" (not to be confused with the album of the same name released three years earlier) - and possibly an influence on Queens Of The Stone Age's "Feelgood Hit of the Summer" which features an alarmingly similar guitar riff. "Get Down, Make Love" was a funky, almost electronic sounding tune which would prove to be hugely influential on the industrial movement nearly 15 years later--Nine Inch Nails even covered the song.
In 1978 the band released the Jazz album, including the hit singles "Fat Bottomed Girls" and "Bicycle Race", being a double-A-side single. The album cover was inspired by a painting on the Berlin wall. Important tracks of the album were "Dead on Time", "Let Me Entertain You" or "Mustapha", a song by Freddie, which had a very Arabesque sound combined with heavy rock guitar.
Fan response was lukewarm to Jazz and for the first time Queen's sales saw a bit of a dip. All band members, especially Mercury, noted frustration and disappointment with the album, and as a result, took a break from the breakneck schedule of one or more albums a year, and focused during the year of 1979 totally on a new album to come out in 1980.
They did, however, release their first-ever live album, in response to the exorbitant amounts of money Queen bootlegs were fetching. The album, entitled Live Killers, went platinum (twice in the U.S.) in most developed countries. They also released the very successful single, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," a song done in the style of Elvis Presley; the single made the top 10 in most countries and was the band's first number one single in the U.S.
The cover to Queen's The Game.
Queen kicked off the 1980s with the hugely successful album, The Game. The album turned out to be their highest selling (barring greatest hits collections). The album featured the "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" single, as well as the monster hit "Another One Bites The Dust" a track that was released in the summer of 1980 after Michael Jackson suggested it would make a great single. Inspired by both the Sugar Hill Gang song , "Rapper's Delight" and the guitar riffs from Chic's song "Good Times" (which itself inspired the work of the Sugar Hill Gang), it combined Queen's rock sensibilities with a funky minimalism that resulted in a discofied rock classic. It stayed at number one for four weeks in the United States, and the album went four times platinum States-side. It was also the only song to ever top the Billboard rock, dance, and R&B charts simultaneously. The album also featured two of Queen's greatest ballads; "Play the Game" and the fan-favourite "Save Me," both of which were hits in Britain and well-remembered by rock fans in the States. Significantly, the album marked the first appearance of a synthesizer on any Queen record. (Many of their previous efforts proudly called attention to the absence of synthesizers.)
1980 also saw them do the innovative and critically-acclaimed soundtrack for the movie Flash Gordon. The album sold poorly, but served as a showcase for Queen in a different light.
1981 saw Queen collaborate with another artist, David Bowie, for the first time for the single "Under Pressure". The single netted a number one in Britain and a well-remembered rock anthem, a fan-favourite of both Queen and Bowie legionnaires. The memorable riff showed up for Vanilla Ice's 1990 hit, "Ice Ice Baby", prompting a successful lawsuit over the use of the sample. Under Pressure was recently re-recorded by The Used, and My Chemical Romance for The Used's new album "In love and Death", and to benefit Hurricane Katrina Relief. The group also released a widely successful greatest hits album, their first, which showcased their rock highlights during the first phase of their career.
The response to "Another One Bites The Dust" was overwhelming, and many of Queen's new songs featured danceable funk riffs and hip-hop-influenced beats. The result was the 1982 album Hot Space, which, fairly or not, tends to be regarded by critics and die-hard, loyal fans alike as being one of their worst. The album was especially disappointing to the hard-rock faithful that had followed Queen from their early years. Nonetheless, the album included "Under Pressure," the only real highlight, and "Body Language," a single that gained attention only in the U.S., netting a surprise number 11 hit.
In 1984, Queen successfully bridged the gap between hard rock and pop with the album The Works, which included the incredibly successful glitzy rock anthem "Radio Ga-Ga," the gorgeous pop of "I Want to Break Free" (a song later to be used both as an anthem of the democracy movement in Brazil and later in commercials for the Coca-Cola C2 soda), and the heavy, hard-rock live favourites "Hammer to Fall" (a poetic commentary on the Cold War) and the US radio hit "Tear It Up." Despite these hit singles and live barn-burners, the album failed to fare well in the US, contributing to tensions within the band.
The remarkable music video for "I Want to Break Free" parodied Coronation Street, a British soap opera, and was popular there, but as it showed the band in drag, was thought to work against them elsewhere, where viewers did not get the joke. Mercury was booed when he performed the song at the Rock in Rio concert wearing stockings and suspenders as in the video, because he was seen to be degrading the democratic anthem. Many claimed that the video hurt the band's sales in the United States in subsequent years. The surprisingly poor sales of "The Works" in the US led to the members of Queen branching off onto solo projects during this period.
Then came 1985, and the benefit concert Live Aid, at which Queen were invited to perform. In the eyes of critics and fans alike, the group stole the show at the worldwide extravaganza, performing some of their greatest hits and wowing audiences with their energy and superb musicianship and showmanship.
Revitalised by the response to Live Aid and the resulting increase in record sales, Queen ended 1985 by releasing the single "One Vision", an uptempo guitar-based song credited, unusually for this period, to the four members of the band. It was used in the film "Iron Eagle".
In early 1986 Queen recorded the album "A Kind of Magic", containing several songs written for the Russell Mulcahy film Highlander of the same year, as well as a few inspired by (but not used in) the film. This album was very successful, producing a string of hits including the title track "A Kind of Magic", "Who Wants To Live Forever?" and "Friends Will Be Friends".
Later that year, Queen went on a sold-out final tour, known as The Magic Tour, in support of "A Kind Of Magic", whose highlight was at Wembley Stadium in London and resulted in the triumphant live double album, Queen Live At Wembley Stadium, which has become for many fans and critics, Queen's ultimate live document, released both on CD and as a live concert film on VHS and later DVD. Freddie teased the capacity crowd of 89,000 that Queen might be breaking up, only to tell the crowd that it was just a silly rumour, and that Queen would be together until "we fucking well die, I'm sure!" much to the delight of the crowd.
On this tour, Queen performed for the last time together. They could not book Wembley for a third night because it was already booked, but they managed to get Knebworth Park. It sold out within 2 hours, and over 120,000 fans packed the park to get a glimpse of Queen one last time live. Queen had to date sold over 80 million albums worldwide.
After working in various solo projects during 1988 (including Mercury´s collaboration with Montserrat Caballé, "Barcelona") the band released The Miracle in 1989. This record continued the direction of A Kind of Magic with a polished pop-rock sound and hits like " I Want it All", "Invisible Man", "The Miracle" and "Breakthru".
In 1991, rumours started spreading in the tabloid press and elsewhere that Freddie Mercury was suffering from AIDS. Although they were true, Mercury flatly denied these rumours. However, the band decided to make an album free of conflict and differences. That album became Innuendo. Although his health began to deteriorate, Mercury was courageous in handling his contributions. Highlights of the album were the epic title track, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir"; the hard-rocking, rollicking powerhouse "Headlong"; and the anthems "The Show Must Go On" and "These Are The Days Of Our Lives".
On November 23, 1991, in a prepared statement made on his deathbed, Freddie Mercury finally acknowledged he had AIDS. Within 24 hours of the announcement, Mercury was dead at the age of 45. His funeral services were private, held in accordance with the Zoroastrian religious faith of his family.
On April 20, 1992, the public shared in the mourning of Mercury's passing at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, held at London's Wembley Stadium in Mercury's honour. Musicians such as Annie Lennox, Guns n' Roses, Def Leppard, Elton John, George Michael, David Bowie, Metallica, and Liza Minnelli (along with the three surviving members of Queen) performed most of Queen's major hits. It became perhaps the most sucessful live concert in history, generating over one billion TV viewers worldwide.
Queen never actually disbanded, although their last album of original material (not including compilations) was released in 1995, titled Made In Heaven, put out four years after Freddie Mercury's death, and constructed from Freddie's final recording sessions in 1991 (which the last session was said to have been only 10 days before his death), plus material leftover from their previous studio albums. May and Taylor have been involved in projects-often related to raising money for AIDS research and promoting its support. John Deacon generally keeps a very low profile, only re-appearing to quash the notion of Queen re-forming. May and Taylor do participate in the making of "Queen + ..." projects with various guest musicians, something which Deacon is said to generally support, although he is alleged to have expressed criticism towards the projects with Five ("We Will Rock You", 2000) and Robbie Williams ("We Are The Champions", 2001).
Dragon Attack was an obscure 1997 tribute album titled after one of Queen's earlier recordings. Put together by Billy Sherwood, it featured musicians including Yngwie Malmsteen, Lemmy Kilmister, Glenn Hughes, Carmine Appice and John Petrucci and was one of a number of "tribute albums" featuring performers of modest notoriety released late in the decade.
At the end of 2004, it was announced that Queen would reunite and return to touring in 2005, with Paul Rodgers (founder and former lead singer of Free, Bad Company, and The Firm) who would be singing in Freddie Mercury's place, as frontman, but would not be in the band as Brian May had announced to the Queen fan club, that Paul Rodgers would be "featured with" Queen, not replacing the late Freddie Mercury. The officially retired Deacon would not be participating; Danny Miranda of Blue Oyster Cult replaces him on bass. Other current members include keyboardist Spike Edney who has played guitar and keyboards in Queen live shows since the early 80's and additional guitarist Jamie Moses who has worked with Brian on solo efforts since the early 90's.
In 2004, ThreeOneG Records (The Locust, Some Girls) released "Dynamite With a Laserbeam: Queen as Heard Through the Meatgrinder of ThreeOneG", a tribute album by noise/progressive hardcore/metal heavyweights.
On August 9, 2005, a tribute album of the band, entitled Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen was released and included contributors like: Breaking Benjamin, Sum 41, Los Lobos, Joss Stone, Nickelback, Jason Mraz, Gavin DeGraw, The Flaming Lips, Eleven and Rooney.
On September 13, 2005, a live double CD album was released, Return of the Champions, featuring Paul Rodgers. It was recorded live in May, 2005 during the Queen plus Paul Rodgers tour at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England.
Influence on modern music
Queen is remembered for its never-seen-before theatrics, showmanship, camp and bombast so much that critics have since classified the band as a major player in the evolution of rock music. Queen is noted in particular for its musical eclecticism and ground-breaking live shows. Queen is credited by artists as diverse as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe, Guns n' Roses, Def Leppard, Metallica, Extreme, Dream Theater, Steve Vai, Trent Reznor, Robbie Williams, George Michael, Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, Foo Fighters, The Darkness, Franz Ferdinand, and Joan Osborne as having a major influence on their sounds.
Queen's theme music for Flash Gordon later became the inspiration of the theme music for The Big O, a popular Anime series.
The Digital Realm
Under the supervision of Brian May and Roger Taylor, numerous restoration projects have been underway involving Queen's lengthy audio and video catalogue. DVD releases of their famous 1986 Wembley concert (titled Live At Wembley Stadium) and 1982 Milton Keynes concert, and two Greatest Video Hits (Volumes 1 and 2, spanning the '70s and '80s) have seen the band's music remixed into 5.1 and DTS Surround Sound. So far, two of Queen's most acclaimed albums, A Night At The Opera and The Game, have been fully remixed into DTS Surround on DVD-Audio albums. Known for their densely layered arrangements and backing, this medium seems tailor-made for Queen's music. Brian May has said he would like to see the entire Queen catalogue reproduced in this format, as it is closer to what the band envisaged for their work years ago.
In 1998 Queen (in conjunction with Electronic Arts) released a computer game Queen: The Eye to commercial and critical failure. The music itself was by and large well received, but the experience was hampered by poor gameplay.
The Queen camp continues to work on future concert releases, at least one more video collection (Volume 3) and the rest of album catalogue in the DVD-Audio format. True to form, Taylor and May are in constant communication with fans, collectors and industry experts to find out where demand lies for future releases and where the industry and new technology is headed.
Queen's live performances were truly ground-breaking, employing massive lighting rigs, pyrotechnics, and other special effects to make their shows into engaging theatrical events. Along with their contemporaries KISS and David Bowie, they changed live concerts forever from the staid, stodgy events that had prevailed since the time of the Beatles, where performers would merely stand around and play their instruments. The energy with which they performed, the excitement, enthusiasm and pure adrenaline Freddie Mercury brought with his vocal performance, was so natural and so genuine that the audience almost always joined in and sang. Mercury immersed himself in the crowd's adulation and thrived off their excitement, a trait for which many, including Kurt Cobain (in his suicide note), have expressed admiration. Beginning with "News Of The World" in 1977, Queen began to write songs with the specific purpose of involving the crowd, like "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions," and tailored some songs, like "Radio GaGa" to involve claps. This resulted in a stunning moment at Live Aid at which almost 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium clapped their hands over their head in unison to "Radio Ga Ga."
Queen embarked upon many popular tours, with memorable shows (including the historic Live Aid concert) held at Wembley Stadium in England, and at the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil, although only the group's final tour, in support of the album "A Kind of Magic", ever actually made any money.
The Wembley concert, part of a UK tour in 1986, attracted 150,000 people over two nights. A memorable and prophetic moment occurred when Freddie Mercury told the audience: "There's been a lot of rumours lately about a certain band called Queen... the rumours are that we're gonna split up. What do you think?" Audience: "No!" Freddie: "Forget those rumours, we're gonna stay together 'till we fucking well die, I'm sure!".
At the Knebworth concert held with some 150,000 in attendance on August 9th that same year, Freddie makes the following statement:
"...and earlier on, there were rumours of us splitting up, but I mean, fuck 'em! I mean, really, look at this! (cheers). I mean, how can you split up when you have an audience like this, I mean, really! We're not that stupid!"
Ironically, the band were to hardly meet for another 3 years, during which time Freddie Mercury did some solo work and Roger Taylor did some work with The Cross.
According to Jim Hutton's book, Mercury and Me, Freddie Mercury was diagnosed HIV positive the following year (1987), which probably explains why they went quiet after such a successful tour. (Jim Hutton was Mercury's final partner, together from the mid-80s until his death.)
Members Of The Band As Instrumentalists
It's well known that in the basic line-up, Deacon played bass, Taylor played drums, Mercury played piano and May played guitar. But, like their heroes The Beatles, Queen members explored different kinds of instrumental functions throughout their career.
Roger Taylor was quite good at the guitar, in fact in the late 1980s he formed a parallel band in which he was the rhythm guitarist instead of the drummer. Occasionally he played bass for his own songs with Queen (e.g. "Sheer Heart Attack"), and he knew some notes at the keyboard, although mostly he used synths for atmospheric effects. Still, he reportedly composed many songs at the piano because he didn't know how to play it well, and therefore he came up with nonstandard ideas when he played. He admitted that he didn't even know the names of some of the chords in "Radio Ga Ga".
Freddie Mercury was a pianist with the ability to cover many different styles and performances. Mostly he used grand pianos, but throughout the years he occasionally played upright jangle and electric piano. He was an experienced synth player and programmer as well: the orchestral interludes of "Was It All Worth It" were completely composed, arranged and played by him on a Korg M1 keyboard, as well as the string sections of "Bijou". Mercury was often self-deprecating about his guitar skills, introducing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by "I only know three chords" jokes. However, he would write on guitar occasionally, especially in the early days. It's unknown if he could play bass or drums to any extent, but it's been confirmed that he came up with very elaborate parts for them on various songs. In fact he composed the bass-line of Roger's "A Kind Of Magic", and programmed many rhythm parts in his first solo album, Mr. Bad Guy.
John Deacon played guitar in addition to bass, taking over rhythm parts in many albums, as well as several acoustic performances. Reportedly he could keep basic drum patterns and, even if he never mastered his keyboard abilities, he would occasionally play synths on his own compositions and often composed at the piano, playing an electric one on his top ten hit "You're My Best Friend", He can also be seen playing the grand piano in the video to "Spread Your Wings." He took over double-bass roles sometimes; reportedly Brian May had told him to play it on "'39" as a joke, but some days later John appeared at the studio with the instrument and he had already learnt how to play it.
Brian May played piano and ukelele in addition to guitar. He played rhythm instruments less than the other Queen members, but occasionally he did some bass or drum parts in his solo albums, and within the band he composed some parts for bass and drums, like in "Sweet Lady" or "Teo Torriatte". He added some special instruments here and there, but most of them were via studio tricks; for example, to nail the harp parts of "Love Of My Life", he played each chord separately in a different take, then the producer merged them to form the entire part.
Queen in film
Queen contributed music directly to the movies Flash Gordon and Highlander (the original film directed by Russell Mulcahy). Several other films featured their songs, including Iron Eagle, National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon, Wayne's World, Small Soldiers, Super Size Me, A Knight's Tale, The Girl Next Door, and Shaun of the Dead. The song "Bohemian Rhapsody" was re-released after appearing in Wayne's World, and subsequently made number 2 on the US billboard chart. A year earlier it went to number 1 in the UK for a second time, the first time this had happened in that chart's history.
Queen in musical theatre
In 2002, a musical or "rock theatrical" based on the songs of Queen, entitled We Will Rock You, opened at the Dominion Theatre on London's West End. The musical was written by British comedian and author Ben Elton in collaboration with Brian May and Roger Taylor. It has since been staged in Barcelona, Spain; Melbourne, Australia; Cologne, Germany; and Las Vegas, United States.
The launch of the musical coincided with the Queen's Golden Jubilee. As part of the Jubilee celebrations Brian May performed a guitar solo of God Save the Queen, as featured on Queen's A Night at the Opera, from the roof of Buckingham Palace.
- The Best Of Queen (1976) (A variation of "Queen's Greatest Hits" from Poland and Korea)
- Greatest Hits [Elektra] (1981) #1 UK (11x Platinium), #14 US (1x Platinium)
- The Complete Works (1985) - all albums from 1973-1985 plus bonus material
- Queen at the Beeb (1989) #67 UK
- Greatest Hits, Vol. II (1991) #1 in UK, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Hungary, Switzerland, Brazil, Denmark, Portugal, New Zealand
- Classic Queen (1992) #4 US (US release only)
- Greatest Hits [Hollywood] (1992)
- Greatest Hits [Parlophone] (1994)
- Greatest Hits, Vols. 1-2 (1994) #37 UK
- At the BBC (1995)
- Queen Rocks (1997) #7 UK
- The Crown Jewels (1998)
- Greatest Hits III (1999) #5 UK
- Platinum Collection, Vols. 1-3 (2000) #2 UK, #48 US
- Greatest Hits: We Will Rock You Edition (2004) #42 US (US release only)
- Queen Jewels Released on 2004.01.28. Japan. http://www.toshiba-emi.co.jp/queen/info/news_0005.htm
- "Keep Yourself Alive/Son And Daughter" (1973) - Didn't chart UK, #89 US (Cashbox)
- "Seven Seas Of Rhye/See What A Fool I've Been" (1974) #10 UK
- "Killer Queen (song)/Flick Of The Wrist" (1974) #2 UK, #12 US
- "Now I'm Here/Lily Of The Valley" (1975) #11 UK
- "Bohemian Rhapsody/I'm In Love With My Car" (1975) #1 UK, #9 US
- "You're My Best Friend/'39" (1976) #7 UK, #16 US
- "Somebody To Love/White Man" (1976) #2 UK, #13 US
- "Tie Your Mother Down/You And I" (1977) #31 UK, #49 US
- "Good Old Fashioned Loverboy/Death On Two Legs/Tenement Funster/White Queen" (1977) #17 UK
- "We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You" (1977) #2 UK, #4 US
- "Spread Your Wings/Sheer Heart Attack" (1978) #34 UK
- "It's Late/Sheer Heart Attack" (1978) #72 US
- "Bicycle Race/Fat Bottomed Girls" (1978) #11 UK, #24 US
- "Don't Stop Me Now/In Only Seven Days" (1979) #9 UK, #86 US
- "Love Of My Life(LIVE)/Now I'm Here(LIVE)" (1979) #63 UK
- "Crazy Little Thing Called Love/We Will Rock You(LIVE)" (1979) #2 UK, #1 US
- "Save Me/Let Me Entertain You(LIVE)" (1980) #11 UK
- "Play The Game/A Human Body" (1980) #14 UK, #42
- "Another One Bites The Dust/Dragon Attack" (1980) #7 UK, #1 US, #2 Black Singles (US), #2 Club Play Singles (US)
- "Need Your Loving Tonight/Rock It" (1980) #44 US
- "Flash" (1980) #10 UK, #42 US
- "Under Pressure" (with David Bowie - 1980) #1 UK, #29 US, #7 (US Rock Chart)
- "Body Language" (1982) #25 UK, #11 US, #30 Black Singles (US), #62 Club Play Singles (US)
- "Las Palabras De Amor" (1982) #17 UK
- "Calling All Girls" (1982) #60 US, #40 (US Rock Chart)
- "Backchat" (1982) #40 UK
- "Put Out The Fire" (1982) #7 (US Rock Chart)
- "Life Is Real" (1982) #57 (US Rock Chart)
- "Radio Ga Ga" (1984) #2 UK, #16 US
- "I Want To Break Free" (1984) #3 UK, #45 US
- "It's A Hard Life" (1984) #6 UK, #72 US
- "Hammer To Fall" (1984) #13 UK
- "Thank God It's Christmas" (1984) #21 UK
- "One Vision" (1985) #7 UK, #61 US, #19 (US Rock Chart)
- "A Kind Of Magic" (1986) #3 UK, #42 US
- "Friends Will Be Friends" (1986) #14 UK
- "Who Wants To Live Forever" (1986) #24 UK
- "I Want It All" (1989) #3 UK, #50 US, #3 (US Rock Chart)
- "Breakthru'" (1989) #7 UK
- "The Invisible Man" (1989) #12 UK
- "Scandal" (1989) #25 UK
- "The Miracle" (1989) #21 UK
- "Innuendo" (1991) #1 UK, #17 (US Rock Chart)
- "I'm Going Slightly Mad" (1991) #22 UK
- "Headlong" (1991) #14 UK, #3 (US Rock Chart)
- "I Can't Live With You (1991) #28 (US Rock Chart)
- "The Show Must Go On" (1991) #16 UK, #2 US
- "Bohemian Rhapsody"/"These Are The Days Of Our Lives" (1991) #1 UK
- "Bohemian Rhapsody"(1992) #2 US
- "Hammer To Fall" (1992) #35 (US Rock Chart)
- "Five Live (EP)" (with George Michael and Lisa Stansfield - 1993) #1 UK
- "Heaven For Everyone" (1995) #2 UK
- "A Winter's Tale" (1995) #6 UK
- "Too Much Love Will Kill You" (1996) #15 UK
- "Let Me Live" (1996) #9 UK
- "You Don't Fool Me - The Remixes" (1996) #17 UK
- "No-One But You"/"Tie Your Mother Down" (1998) #13 UK
- "Another One Bites The Dust" (with Wyclef Jean featuring Pras and Free - 1998) #5 UK
- "Under Pressure '99" (with David Bowie - 1999) #14 UK
- "We Will Rock You" (with 5ive - 2000) #1 UK
- "Flash" (with Vanguard - 2003) #15 UK
- "Reaching Out / Tie Your Mother Down / Fat Bottomed Girls" (Queen + Paul Rodgers - 2005)