Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury, (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (lead guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen's initial works were chiefly glam rock, heavy metal and progressive rock orientated ; however, with time, the band has incorporated diverse and innovative styles in their music, exploring the likes of vaudeville, electronic music and funk. The band digressed from using progressive themes in their music in the mid-1970s, with more conventional and radio-friendly works bringing them greater success.
Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing together in a band named Smile. Freddie Mercury (then known by his birth name of Farrokh, or Freddie, Bulsara) was a fan of Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques. Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the name of the band to 'Queen' and adopted his familiar stage name. John Deacon was recruited prior to recording their first album. Queen enjoyed success in the UK during the early 1970s, but it was the release of Sheer Heart Attack (1974) and A Night at the Opera (1975) that gained the band international success. The latter featured "Bohemian Rhapsody", which stayed at number one in the UK charts for nine weeks. In 1991 Mercury died of bronchopneumonia, a complication of AIDS, and Deacon retired in 1997. Since then May and Taylor have infrequently performed together, including a collaboration with Paul Rodgers under the name Queen + Paul Rodgers.
The band has released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles and 10 number one DVDs, and have sold over 300 million albums worldwide, making them one of the world's best-selling music artists. They have been honoured with seven Ivor Novello awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
Early days (1968–74)
In 1968, guitarist Brian May, a student at London's Imperial College, and bassist Tim Staffell decided to form a band. May placed an advertisement on the college notice board for a "Mitch Mitchell/Ginger Baker type" drummer; Roger Taylor, a young dental student, auditioned and got the job. The group called themselves Smile.
While attending Ealing Art College Tim Staffell became friends with Farrokh Bulsara, a fellow student who had assumed the English name of Freddie. Bulsara felt that he and the band had the same tastes and soon became a keen fan of Smile. In late 1970, after Staffell left to join the band Humpy Bong, the remaining Smile members, encouraged by Bulsara, changed their name to "Queen" and continued working together. When asked about the name, Bulsara explained, "I thought up the name Queen. It's just a name, but it's very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid. It's a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it."
The band had a number of bass players during this period who did not fit with the band's chemistry. It was not until February 1971 that they settled on John Deacon and began to rehearse for their first album. They recorded four of their own songs; "Liar", "Keep Yourself Alive", "The Night Comes Down" and "Jesus" for a demo tape, however no record companies were interested. It was also around this time Freddie changed his surname to 'Mercury', inspired by the line "Mother Mercury, look what they've done to me," in the song My Fairy King.
Having attended art college, Mercury also designed Queen's logo (also called the Queen crest) shortly before the release of the band's first album. The logo combines the zodiac signs of all four members: two lions for Leo (Deacon and Taylor), a crab for Cancer (May), and two fairies for Virgo (Mercury). The lions embrace a stylised letter Q, the crab rests atop the letter with flames rising directly above it, and the fairies are each sheltering below a lion. There is also a crown inside the Q and the whole logo is over-shadowed by an enormous phoenix. The whole symbol bears a passing resemblance to the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, particularly with the lion supporters. The original logo, as found on the reverse-side of the first album cover, was a simple line drawing but more intricate colour versions were used on later sleeves.
In 1973, after a series of delays, Queen released their eponymous debut album, an effort influenced by the heavy metal and progressive rock of the day. The album was received well by critics; Gordon Fletcher of Rolling Stone said "their debut album is superb", and Chicago's Daily Herald called it an "above average debut". However, it drew little mainstream attention and the lead single "Keep Yourself Alive", a Brian May composition, sold poorly.
The group's second LP Queen II was released in 1974. The album reached number five on the British album charts and became the first Queen album to chart in the UK. The Freddie Mercury-written lead single "Seven Seas of Rhye" reached number ten in the UK, giving the band their first hit. Their heaviest and darkest release, the album features long complex instrumental passages, fantasy-themed lyrics and musical virtuosity. Aside from its only single, the album also included the song "The March of the Black Queen", a six-minute epic which lacks a chorus or song structure, bearing similarity to Queen's later work, "Bohemian Rhapsody". The Daily Vault described the number as "menacing". Critical reaction was mixed, the Winnipeg Free Press describing the record as a "monstrosity". Allmusic has described the album as a favourite among the band's hardcore fans, and it is the first of three Queen albums to feature in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. However, like its predecessor, sales of Queen II in the US were low.
Breakthrough era (1974–76)
Brian May was absent (due to hepatitis) when the band started work on their third album, Sheer Heart Attack, released in 1974. The album reached number two in the United Kingdom, sold well throughout Europe, and went gold in the United States. It gave the band their first real taste of commercial success. The album experimented with a variety of musical genres, including British music hall, heavy metal, ballads, ragtime and Caribbean. At this point Queen started to move away from the progressive tendencies of their first two releases into a more radio-friendly, song-orientated style. Sheer Heart Attack introduced new sound and melody patterns that would be refined on their next album A Night at the Opera.
The single "Killer Queen" reached number two in the British charts, and became their first US hit, reaching number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It combines camp, vaudeville, British music hall with May’s guitar virtuosity. The album’s second single, "Now I’m Here", a more traditional hard rock composition, was a number eleven hit in Britain. In recent years, the album has received acclaim from music publications: In 2006, Classic Rock ranked it number 28 in "The 100 Greatest British Rock Albums Ever", and in 2007, Mojo ranked it #88 in "The 100 Records That Changed the World." It is also the second of three Queen albums to feature in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
In 1975, the band left for a world tour with each member in Zandra Rhodes-created costumes and accompanied with banks of lights and effects. They toured the US as headliners, and played in Canada for the first time. While the band toured Japan in April, the band's manager Jim Beach successfully negotiated the band out of their Trident contract. Of the options they considered was an offer from Led Zeppelin’s manager, Peter Grant. Grant wanted them to sign with Led Zeppelin’s own production company, Swan Song Records. The band found the contract unacceptable and instead, contacted Elton John’s manager, John Reid, who accepted the position.
In late 1975 Queen recorded and released A Night at the Opera, taking its name from the popular Marx Brothers movie. At the time, it was the most expensive album ever produced. Like its predecessor, the album features diverse musical styles and experimentation with stereo sound. In "The Prophet's Song", an eight-minute epic, the middle section is a canon, with simple phrases layered to create a full-choral sound. The album was very successful in Britain, and went triple platinum in the United States. The British public voted it the 13th greatest album of all time in a 2004 Channel 4 poll It has also ranked highly in international polls: in a worldwide Guinness poll, it was voted the 19th greatest all time, while an ABC poll saw the Australian public vote it the 28th greatest of all time. A Night at the Opera has frequently appeared in "greatest albums" lists reflecting the opinions of critics. Among other accolades, it was ranked number 16 in Q Magazine's "The 50 Best British Albums Ever" in 2004, and number 11 in Rolling Stone's "The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time" as featured in their Mexican edition in 2004. It was also featured as one of Rolling Stone's "500 greatest albums of all time" in 2003. A Night at the Opera is the third and final Queen album to be featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
The album also featured the hit single "Bohemian Rhapsody" which was number one in the UK for nine weeks, and is Britain’s third-best-selling single of all time; beaten only by Band Aid's Do They Know it's Christmas? and Elton John's Candle in the Wind 1997—making it the best selling commercial single in the UK. It also reached number nine in the United States (a 1992 re-release reached number two). It is the only single ever to sell a million copies on two separate occasions, and became the Christmas number one twice in the UK; the only single ever to do so. Bohemian Rhapsody has been voted numerous times the greatest song of all time. The band decided to make a video to go with the single; the result is generally considered to have been the first "true" music video ever produced. (Although other bands, including The Beatles, had made short promotional films or videos of songs prior to this, generally those were specifically made to be aired on specific television shows). "Bohemian Rhapsody" was the first to be available to any TV station willing to play it, for promotional purposes. The second single from the album, "You're My Best Friend", the second song composed by John Deacon, and his first single, peaked at number sixteen in the United States and went on to become a worldwide Top Ten hit.
Continued success (1976–1979)
By 1976, Queen were back in the studio recording A Day at the Races, which may be seen by some as a companion album to A Night at the Opera. It again borrowed the name of a Marx Brothers movie, and its cover was similar to that of A Night at the Opera, a variation on the same Queen Crest. Musically, the album was by both fans’ and critics’ standards a strong effort, and reached number one on the British charts. The major hit on the album was "Somebody to Love", a gospel-inspired song in which Mercury, May, and Taylor multi-tracked their voices to make a 100-voice gospel choir. The song went to number two in the United Kingdom, and number thirteen on the US singles chart. The album also featured one of the band's heaviest songs, Brian May’s "Tie Your Mother Down", which became a staple of their live shows.
During the same year Queen played one of their most famous gigs, a 1976 free concert in Hyde Park, London. It set an attendance record, with 150,000 people confirmed in the audience.
News of the World was released a year later. It contained many songs tailor-made for live performance, including "We Will Rock You" and the rock ballad "We Are the Champions", both of which reached number four in the United States and became enduring international sports anthems.
In 1978 the band released Jazz, which included the hit single double a side single "Fat Bottomed Girls" and "Bicycle Race". This album was "the target of a bizarre marketing campaign, in which sixty-five naked women were perched atop bicycles rented from Halford's Cycles and sent racing around Wimbledon Stadium."  The word "jazz" was not used in a strict sense, and the album was noted by critics for its collection of different styles, jazz not being one of them. Rolling Stone Magazine criticised it for being "dull", saying "Queen hasn't the imagination to play jazz – Queen hasn't the imagination, for that matter, to play rock & roll." Notable tracks from the album include "Dead on Time", "Don't Stop Me Now", "Let Me Entertain You", and "Mustapha", in which Arabesque music is combined with heavy rock guitar.
The band’s first live album, Live Killers, was released in 1979; it went platinum twice in the United States. They also released the very successful single "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", a rockabilly song done in the style of Elvis Presley. The song made the top 10 in many countries, and was the band’s second number one single in the United States where it topped the Billboard Hot 100 (the first being "Another One Bites the Dust").
New sound and synthesisers (1980–84)
Queen began the 1980s with The Game. It featured the singles "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and "Another One Bites the Dust", both of which reached number one in the United States. The album stayed number one for four weeks in the United States, and sold over four million copies. It was also the only album to ever top the Billboard rock, dance, and R&B charts simultaneously and marked the first appearance of a synthesiser on a Queen album. Heretofore, their albums featured a distinctive "No Synthesisers!" sleeve note. The note is widely assumed to reflect an anti-synth, pro-"hard"-rock stance by the band, but was later revealed by producer Roy Thomas Baker to be an attempt to clarify that those albums' multi-layered solos were created with guitars, not synths, as record company executives kept assuming at the time.
1980 also saw the release of the soundtrack Queen had recorded for Flash Gordon.
In 1981, Queen became the first major rock band to play in Latin American stadiums. Queen played to a total audience of 479,000 people on their South American tour, including five shows in Argentina and two in Brazil where they played to an audience of more than 130,000 people in the first night and more than 120,000 people the following night at Morumbi Stadium (São Paulo). In October of the same year, Queen performed for more than 150,000 fans on 9 October at Monterrey (Estadio Universitario) and 17 and 18 at Puebla (Estadio Zaragoza), Mexico.
Queen worked with David Bowie on the single "Under Pressure". The first-time collaboration with another artist was spontaneous, as Bowie happened to drop by the studio while Queen were recording. Upon its release, the song was extremely successful, reaching number one in Britain.
Later that same year, Queen released their first compilation album, entitled Greatest Hits, which showcased the group's highlights from 1974–1981. It was highly successful, and as of 2007, it is the United Kingdom's best selling album. Taylor became the first member of the band to release his own solo album in 1981, entitled Fun in Space.
In 1982 the band released the album Hot Space, a departure from their trademark seventies sound, this time being a mixture of rock, pop rock, funk and R&B. The band had stopped touring North America after their Hot Space Tour, as their success there had waned, although they would perform on American television for the only time during the eighth season premiere of Saturday Night Live. Queen left Elektra Records, their label in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, and signed onto EMI/Capitol Records.
After working steadily for over ten years, Queen decided that they would not perform any live shows in 1983. During this time, they did however record a new album, and several members of the band explored side projects and solo work. May released a mini-album entitled Star Fleet Project, on which he collaborated with Eddie Van Halen.
In 1984, Queen released the album The Works, which included the successful singles "Radio Ga Ga" and "I Want to Break Free". Despite these hit singles, the album failed to do well in the United States. "Radio Ga Ga" was the band's last original American Top 50 hit until 1989's "I Want It All".
Queen embarked that year on The Works Tour, the first tour to feature keyboardist Spike Edney as an extra live musician. The tour featured several dates in Bophuthatswana, South Africa, at the arena at Sun City. Upon returning to England, they were the subject of outrage, having played there during the height of apartheid and in violation of worldwide divestment efforts. The band responded to the critics by stating that they were playing music for fans in that country, and they also stressed that the concerts were played before integrated audiences.
Live Aid and later years (1985–90)
On 12 January 1985, the band headlined two nights of the first Rock in Rio festival at Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). They were the main act on the 11 and 18 January line-ups. On each night, they played in front of over 300,000 people. A selection of highlights of both performances was released on VHS on May with the title Queen Live in Rio.
At Live Aid, held at Wembley on 13 July 1985, Queen performed some of their greatest hits in what has been considered their best performance to date. The band, now revitalised by the response to Live Aid and the ensuing increase in record sales, ended 1985 by releasing the single "One Vision". The song was used in the film Iron Eagle. Also, a limited-edition boxed set containing all Queen albums to date was released under the title of "The Complete Works". The package included previously unreleased material, most notably Queen's non-album single of Christmas 1984, titled Thank God it's Christmas.
In early 1986, Queen recorded the album A Kind of Magic, containing several reworkings of songs written for the Russell Mulcahy film Highlander. The album was very successful, producing a string of hits, including the title track, "A Kind of Magic". Also charting from the album were "Friends Will Be Friends", "Who Wants to Live Forever?", and the de facto theme from Highlander, "Princes of the Universe".
Later that year, Queen went on a sold-out tour in support of A Kind of Magic, once again they hired Spike Edney, leading to him being dubbed the unofficial fifth member.
The Magic Tour's highlight was at Wembley Stadium in London and resulted in the live double album, Queen Live At Wembley Stadium, released on CD and as a live concert film. They could not book Wembley for a third night, but they did play at Knebworth Park. The show sold out within two hours and over 120,000 fans packed the park for what proved to be Queen's final live performance with Mercury. More than 1 million people saw Queen on the tour—400,000 in the United Kingdom alone, a record at the time.
After working on various solo projects during 1988 (including Mercury's collaboration with Montserrat Caballé, Barcelona) the band released The Miracle in 1989. The album continued the direction of A Kind of Magic, using a pop-rock sound mixed with a few heavy numbers. It spawned the European hits "I Want It All", "Breakthru", "The Invisible Man", "Scandal", and "The Miracle".
The Miracle also began a change in direction of Queen's songwriting philosophy. Since the band's beginning, nearly all songs had been written by and credited to a single member, with other members adding minimally. With The Miracle, however, the band's songwriting became more collaborative, and they vowed to credit the final product only to Queen as a group.
Mercury's death and beyond (1991–2003)
After fans noticed Mercury's increasingly gaunt appearance in 1988, rumours began to spread that Mercury was suffering from AIDS. Mercury flatly denied this, insisting he was merely "exhausted" and too busy to provide interviews. The band decided to continue making albums, starting with The Miracle in 1989 and continuing with Innuendo in 1991. Despite his, indeed, deteriorating health, the lead singer continued to contribute. For the last two albums made while Mercury was still alive, the band credited all songs to Queen, rather than specific members of the group, freeing them of internal conflict and differences. In 1990, Mercury made his final public appearance when he joined the rest of Queen to collect the BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.
Innuendo was released in early 1991 with an eponymous number 1 UK hit and three other charting singles ("I’m Going Slightly Mad", "Headlong", and "The Show Must Go On)".
The band's second greatest hits compilation, Greatest Hits II, followed in the October of the same year.
On 23 November 1991, in a prepared statement made on his deathbed, Mercury confirmed that he had AIDS. Within 24 hours of that statement, he died of bronchial pneumonia, which was brought on as a complication of AIDS. His funeral service was private, held in accordance with the Zoroastrian religious faith of his family. "Bohemian Rhapsody" was re-released as a single shortly after Mercury's death, with "These Are the Days of Our Lives" as the double A-side. The single went to number one for the second time in the UK, holding the top spot for five weeks through Christmas, making it the only single in the UK to ever get Christmas Number 1 twice with the same version. Initial proceeds from the single – approximately £1,000,000 – were donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Queen's popularity was stimulated in the United States when "Bohemian Rhapsody" was featured in the 1992 comedy film Wayne's World. Its inclusion helped the song reach number two in the US charts for five weeks in 1992. Wayne's World footage was later used to make a new music video for the song, with which the band and management were delighted.
On 20 April 1992, The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was held at London's Wembley Stadium to a 72,000-strong crowd. Performers, including Def Leppard, Guns N' Roses, Elton John, David Bowie, Annie Lennox and Metallica performed various Queen songs along with the three remaining Queen members. The concert is listed in The Guinness Book of Records as "The largest rock star benefit concert", as it was televised to over 1.2 billion viewers worldwide, and raised over £20,000,000 for AIDS charities.
Queen's last album featuring Mercury, titled Made in Heaven, was finally released in 1995, four years after his death. It was constructed from Mercury's final recordings in 1991, plus material left over from their previous studio albums. In addition, re-worked material from May, Taylor and Mercury's solo albums were included. The album reached #1 on the UK charts immediately following its release, eventually being certified double platinum there.
In 1997, Queen returned to the studio to record "No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)". It was released as a bonus track on the Queen Rocks compilation album later that year. The song was later released as a single reaching number 13 in the UK chart. In 1998 Queen performed The Show Must Go On with Elton John and the Berjart Ballet marking the last performance and public appearance of John Deacon, who chose to retire.
Brian May and Roger Taylor performed together at several award ceremonies and charity concerts sharing vocals with various guest singers. During this time they were billed as Queen + followed by the name of the guest singer. In 1998 the duo appeared at Luciano Pavarotti's benefit concert with Brian performing Too Much Love Will Kill You with Pavarotti, later playing Radio GaGa, We Will Rock You and We are the Champions with Zucchero. They again attended and performed in 2003. Several of the guest singers recorded new versions of Queen’s hits under the Queen + name, including Robbie Williams and Britney Spears.
In 1999, a Greatest Hits III album was released. This featured, among others, "Queen + Wyclef Jean" on a rap version of "Another One Bites the Dust". A live version of "Somebody to Love" by George Michael; and a live version of "The Show Must Go On" with Elton John. By this point, Queen's vast amount of record sales made them the second best selling artist in the UK of all time, behind The Beatles.
Queen + Paul Rodgers (2004–09)
At the end of 2004, May and Taylor announced that they would reunite and return to touring in 2005, with Paul Rodgers (founder and former lead singer of Free and Bad Company).
Brian May's website also stated that Rodgers would be 'featured with' Queen as 'Queen + Paul Rodgers', not replacing Mercury. The retired John Deacon would not be participating.
Between 2005 and 2006 Queen + Paul Rodgers embarked on a world tour, the first leg in Europe and the second, Japan and then the US in 2006. On 15 August 2006, Brian May confirmed through his website and fan club that Queen + Paul Rodgers would begin producing their first studio album beginning in October, to be recorded at a "secret location".
The album, titled The Cosmos Rocks, was released in Europe on 12 September 2008 and in the United States on 28 October 2008. Following the album the band again embarked on a tour through Europe, opening on Kharkiv's Freedom Square in front of 350,000 Ukrainian fans. The show in Ukraine was later released on DVD.
Queen and Paul Rodgers officially split up without animosity on 12 May 2009. Rodgers did not rule out the possibility of working together again.
Absolute Greatest, Leaving EMI and 40th Anniversary (2009 - Present)
On 20 May 2009, Brian May and Roger Taylor performed "We Are the Champions" live on the season finale of American Idol with winner Kris Allen and runner up Adam Lambert providing a vocal duet.
In mid-2009 after the split of Queen + Paul Rodgers, the Queen online website announced a new Greatest Hits compilation named Absolute Greatest. It was released on 16 November and peaked at #3 in the official UK chart. The album contains 20 of Queen's biggest hits spanning their entire career and was released in four different formats: single disc, double disc (with commentary), double disc with feature book and a vinyl record. Prior to its release, a competition was run by Queen Online to guess the track listing, as a promotion for the album.
On 30 October 2009, Brian May wrote a fanclub letter on his website stating that Queen had no intentions to tour in 2010 but that there is a possibility of a performance. Brian is quoted as saying "The greatest debate, though, is always about when we will next play together as Queen. At the moment, in spite of the many rumours that are out there, we do not have plans to tour in 2010. The good news, though, is that Roger and I have a much closer mutual understanding these days—privately and professionally ... and all ideas are carefully considered. Music is never far away from us. As I write, there is an important one-off performance on offer, in the USA, and it remains to be decided whether we will take up this particular challenge. Every day, doors seem to open, and every day, we interact, perhaps more than ever before, with the world outside. It is a time of exciting transition in Rock music and in “The Business”. It’s good that the pulse still beats."
On 15 November 2009, Brian May and Roger Taylor performed "Bohemian Rhapsody" live on the British TV show The X Factor alongside the finalists.
On 7 May 2010, May and Taylor announced that they were quitting their record label, EMI, after almost 40 years.
On 20 August Jim Beach, Queen's Manager, put out the following Newsletter:
"Many of you will have read bits and pieces on the internet about Queen changing record companies and so I wanted to confirm to you that the band have signed a new contract with Universal Music. More to follow on this in the months to come.
In the meantime, we would like to thank the EMI team for all their hard work over the years, the many successes and the fond memories, and of course we look forward to continuing to work with EMI Music Publishing who take care of our songwriting affairs.
Next year we start working with our new record company to celebrate Queen's 40th anniversary and we will be announcing full details of the plans over the next 3 months.
As Brian has already said Queen's next moves will involve 'studio work, computers and live work'.
During an interview for Hardtalk on 22 September 2010 Brian confirmed that the band's new deal was with Island Records, a subsidiary of Universal.
The band drew artistic influence from many other British rock acts at the time such as Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin. Queen composed music that drew inspiration from many different genres of music, often with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. Among the genres they have been associated with are: progressive rock, hard rock, glam rock, heavy metal, pop rock, dance/disco, blues-rock and psychedelic rock. Queen also wrote songs that were inspired by genres that are not typically associated with rock, such as ragtime, opera, gospel, vaudeville and folk.
Sonic experimentation figured heavily in Queen's songs. A distinctive characteristic of Queen's music are the vocal harmonies which are usually composed of the voices of May, Mercury and Taylor best heard on the studio albums A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races. Some of the ground work for the development of this sound can be attributed to their former producer Roy Thomas Baker as well as their engineer Mike Stone. Besides vocal harmonies, Queen were also known for multi-tracking voices to imitate the sound of a large choir through overdubs. For instance, according to Brian May, there are over 180 vocal overdubs in "Bohemian Rhapsody". Many Queen songs were also written with audience participation in mind, such as "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions".
Queen have been recognised as having made significant contributions to such genres as hard rock and heavy metal, amongst others. Hence the band has been cited as an influence by many other musicians. Moreover, like their music, the bands and artists that have claimed to be influenced by Queen are diverse and span different generations, countries and genres.
Some of the musicians that have cited the band as an influence include: Anthrax, Ben Folds Five, Nirvana, Def Leppard, Dream Theater, Extreme, Foo Fighters, Franz Ferdinand, George Michael, Green Day, Guns N' Roses, Helloween, Iron Maiden, Kansas, Keane, Lady Gaga, Manic Street Preachers, Metallica, Mika, Muse, My Chemical Romance, Panic at the Disco, Radiohead, Robbie Williams, Trent Reznor. Sum 41, Styx, The Flaming Lips, The Killers  and The Smashing Pumpkins.
Queen have been cited as a major influence on the "neo-classical metal" genre by Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen. Metallica recorded a cover version of "Stone Cold Crazy", which first appeared on the Rubaiyat — Elektra's 40th Anniversary album in 1990, and won their first Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1991. In the early 70s, Queen helped spur the heavy metal genre's evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; the New Wave of British Heavy Metal followed in a similar vein, fusing the music with a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed.
Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" was named by the Guinness Book of Records in 2002 as the top British single of all time. In 2005, Channel 4 ranked Queen's performance at Live Aid in 1985 as the best live act in history. In 2007 they were also voted the greatest British band in history by Radio 2 listeners.
As of 2005, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, Queen albums have spent a total of 1,322 weeks or twenty-seven years on the United Kingdom album charts; more time than any other musical act. Also in 2005, with the release of their live album with Paul Rodgers, Queen moved into third place on the list of acts with the most aggregate time spent on the British record charts.
In 2006 the Greatest Hits album was the United Kingdom's all-time best selling album, with sales upwards of 5,407,587 copies, over 604,295 more copies than its nearest competitor, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Their Greatest Hits II album came in seventh with sales upwards of 3,631,321 copies.
The band has released a total of eighteen number one albums, eighteen number one singles, and ten number one DVDs worldwide making them one of the world's best-selling music artists. Their total album sales have been estimated at over 300 million worldwide including 32.5 million in the United States alone as of 2004. The band is also the only group in which every member has composed more than one chart-topping single.
Queen are one of the most bootlegged bands ever, according to Nick Weymouth, who manages the band's official website. A 2001 survey discovered the existence of 12,225 websites dedicated to Queen bootlegs, the highest number for any band. Bootleg recordings have contributed to the band's popularity in certain countries where Western music is censored, such as Iran. In a project called Queen: The Top 100 Bootlegs, many of these have been made officially available to download for a nominal fee from Queen's website, with profits going to the Mercury Phoenix Trust. Queen were named 13th on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock list. In 2010, Queen were ranked 17th on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list.
In other media
In 2002, a musical or "rock theatrical" based on the songs of Queen, titled 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, and produced by Robert De Niro. It has since been staged in many cities around the world.
The original London production was scheduled to close on Saturday, 7 October 2006 at the Dominion Theatre, but due to public demand, the show has now been extended indefinitely. We Will Rock You has become the longest running musical ever to run at this prime London theatre, overtaking the previous record holder, the Grease musical. Brian May has confirmed that they are considering writing a sequel to the musical. The musical is toured around the UK in 2009, playing at Manchester Palace Theatre, Sunderland Empire, Birmingham Hippodrome, Bristol Hippodrome, Edinburgh Playhouse.
The launch of the musical coincided with Queen Elizabeth II'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 recording of this performance was used as video for the same song on the 30th Anniversary DVD edition of A Night at the Opera.
Sean Bovim created "Queen at the Ballet", a tribute to Freddie Mercury, which uses Queen's music as a soundtrack for the show’s dancers, who interpret the stories behind tracks such as "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Radio Ga Ga" and "Killer Queen".
Queen's music also appears in the Off-Broadway production Power Balladz, most notably the song "We Are The Champions".
In conjunction with Electronic Arts, Queen released the computer game Queen: The Eye in 1998, to commercial and critical failure. The music itself—tracks from Queen's vast catalogue, in many cases remixed into new instrumental versions—was by and large well received, but the game experience was hampered by poor game play. Adding to the problem was an extremely long development time, resulting in graphic elements that already seemed outdated by the time of release.
Under the supervision of May and Taylor, numerous restoration projects have been under way involving Queen's lengthy audio and video catalogue. DVD releases of their 1986 Wembley concert (titled Live At Wembley Stadium) and 1982 Milton Keynes concert (Queen on Fire - Live at the Bowl), and two Greatest Video Hits (Volumes 1 and 2, spanning the 1970s and 1980s) have seen the band's music remixed into 5.1 and DTS surround sound. So far, only two of the band's albums, A Night at the Opera and The Game, have been fully remixed into high-resolution multichannel surround on DVD-Audio. A Night at the Opera was re-released with some revised 5.1 mixes and accompanying videos in 2005 for the 30th anniversary of the album's original release (CD+DVD-Video set). In 2007, a BluRay edition of Queen's previously released concerts Queen Rock Montreal & Live Aid was released together marking their first project in 1080p HD.
Queen have been featured multiple times in the Guitar Hero franchise: a cover of "Killer Queen" in the original Guitar Hero, "We Are The Champions", "Fat Bottomed Girls," and the Paul Rodgers collaboration "C-lebrity" in a track pack for Guitar Hero World Tour, "Under Pressure" with David Bowie in Guitar Hero 5 , and "Bohemian Rhapsody" in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. On 13 October 2009, Brian May revealed there was "talk" going on "behind the scenes" about a dedicated Queen Rock Band game.
In March 2009, Sony Computer Entertainment released a Queen branded version of the company's karaoke franchise, SingStar. The game, which is available on PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, is titled SingStar Queen and has 25 songs on the PS3 and 20 on the PS2.
The band also appeared in the video game, Lego Rock Band, as playable Lego avatars.
"We Will Rock You" and other songs by Queen also appear in DJ Hero.
Film and television
Queen contributed music directly to the movies Flash Gordon (1980, directed by Mike Hodges) and Highlander (the original 1986 film, directed by Russell Mulcahy). The songs, "A Kind of Magic, "One Year of Love", "Who Wants to Live Forever", "Hammer to Fall", and the theme "Princes of the Universe" can be heard in the film. It was also used in the Highlander TV series (1992–1998). "A Kind of Magic" can be heard in the beginning bar scene of "Highlander 2".
In the United States, "Bohemian Rhapsody" was re-released as a single in 1992 after appearing in Wayne's World. The single subsequently reached number two on the US Billboard chart (with "The Show Must Go On" as the first track on the single) and helped rekindle the band's popularity in North America.
Several films have featured their songs performed by other artists. A version of "Somebody to Love" was done by Anne Hathaway in the 2004 film Ella Enchanted. In 2006, Brittany Murphy also recorded a cover of the same song for the 2006 movie Happy Feet. In 2001, a version of "The Show Must Go On" was performed by Jim Broadbent and Nicole Kidman in the movie musical Moulin Rouge!. The closing credits of A Knight's Tale released in 2001 has a version of "We Are the Champions" performed by Robbie Williams and Queen; the introduction to the same movie features We Will Rock You played by the mediaeval audience. In 1992, the film "Gladiator" featured snippets of "We Will Rock You" performed by Warrant whereas their full version was released as a single. In 2004 "Don't Stop Me Now" was featured in the bar fight scene in the cult movie Shaun of the Dead, and "You're My Best Friend" played during the end credits, as well as during the 2006 film "The Break-Up".
On May 2004, the Japanese live-action version of Sailor Moon, called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, during Act 29, "Minako's Rival, Mio Kuroki, is a Transfer Student?", used "I Was Born To Love You" in a volleyball game scene between the shows hero Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon (Miyuu Sawai) and Mio Kuroki (Alisa Yuriko Durbrow) a Dark Kingdom minion and "Rival" to J-Pop Idol Minako Aino/ Sailor Venus (Ayaka Komatsu).
Keeping in the tradition (since Season Five) of naming each season's episodes after songs from a famous 1970s era rock band (Led Zeppelin for the fifth season, The Who for the sixth and The Rolling Stones for the seventh), the eighth and final season of That '70s Show consisted of episodes named after Queen songs. "Bohemian Rhapsody" served as the season premiere.
On 11 April 2006 Brian May and Roger Taylor appeared on the American singing contest television show American Idol. Each contestant was required to sing a Queen song during that week of the competition. Songs which appeared on the show included "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "The Show Must Go On", "Who Wants to Live Forever", and "Innuendo". Brian May later criticised the show for editing specific scenes, one which made the group's time with contestant Ace Young look negative, despite it being the opposite.
Taylor and May again appeared on the American Idol Season 8 finale in May 2009, performing "We Are the Champions" with finalists Adam Lambert and Kris Allen.
Al Murray's Happy Hour has a Queen theme, as it uses "Don't Stop Me Now" for the introduction and features guest performers along with host Al Murray singing different Queen songs each episode. The remainder of Queen did appear at the end of a series of the show.
"I Was Born to Love You" was used as the theme song of the Japanese drama Pride on Fuji Television in 2004, starring Takuya Kimura and Yu-ko Takeuchi. The show's soundtrack also contained other songs by Queen, including "We Will Rock You", "We Are the Champions" and "Bohemian Rhapsody".
The band made tentative plans to provide material for use in "The Hotel New Hampshire" but this project was abandoned. However, "Keep Passing The Open Windows" (which is an important catch-phrase line in the movie) did survive. The Simpsons has also made storylines in which they use Queen songs such as 'You're My Best friend'.
On 15 November 2009 Brian May and Roger Taylor appeared on the singing contest television show "X Factor".
In the Autumn of 2009, the Fox television show Glee featured the fictional high school's show choir singing "Somebody To Love" as their second act performance in the episode The Rhodes Not Taken. The performance was included on the show's Volume One soundtrack CD, and is available as a single via digital download.
* Queen (1973)
* Queen II (1974)
* Sheer Heart Attack (1974)
* A Night at the Opera (1975)
* A Day at the Races (1976)
* News of the World (1977)
* Jazz (1978)
* The Game (1980)
* Hot Space (1982)
* The Works (1984)
* A Kind of Magic (1986)
* The Miracle (1989)
* Innuendo (1991)
* Made in Heaven (1995)
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