3 Eternal Classic Rock Songs by Queen

The British-born rock band Queen, which was formed in 1970, is known for its big, bombastic songs sung by the flamboyant, flickering wildfire of a frontman Freddie Mercury. The man had more personality in his pinky finger than most have in a lifetime. Though Mercury passed away at 45 after contracting the AIDS virus, his and the band’s legacy continues to live on.

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Here below, we wanted to dive into a trio of the band’s songs that have legs longer than perhaps one might expect. While Queen was a force in the 1970s and ’80s, some may not have thought the band would be quite this famous in 2024. But with billions of song streams and a recent Oscar-winning biopic, Queen is lasting into the new century. These are three eternal classic rock songs from the band.

[RELATED: Top 3 Queen Songs Written By Roger Taylor]

“We Will Rock You” from News of the World (1977)

Freddie Mercury wanted a song that a giant audience could participate in easily and he got it with this triumphant, braggadocios number. Featuring an easily replaceable rhythm with two foot stomps followed by a hand clap, this song can essentially be performed without any instruments at all. Pair that with the power-punch verses, which track three stages of a man’s life, and you have major reasons why this song has lasted for so long. And it’s capped off by an excellent guitar solo from lead player Brian May. On the track, Mercury sings,

Buddy, you’re a boy, make a big noise
Playing in the street, gonna be a big man someday
You got mud on your face, you big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place, singin’

We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you

“We Are the Champions” from News of the World (1977)

Another exultant song, this one also comes from the band’s 1977 LP News of the World. It has come to be the go-to anthem after sports victories and other such triumphs but it’s also a song that pronounces Queen’s talent and many musical victories. Opening with a sentimental piano line, the song builds and builds and crescendos with the refrain, sung operatically. Mercury knew how to capture a mood and a vibe and turn it into a larger-than-life musical number. And on this one, he sings,

I’ve paid my dues
Time after time
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime

And bad mistakes
I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I’ve come through (and I mean to go on and on and on)

We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions
Of the world

“Bohemian Rhapsody” from A Night at the Opera (1975)

This is clearly the most famous song from Queen, boasting 1.7 billion YouTube views. From the 1975 LP A Night at the Opera, this piano-driven song is operatic, futuristic, cinematic, and nostalgic. But at its core, the song is remorseful. With big swelling sounds, the song gets at that pang so many of us feel when we know regret. While we may not have shot a gun off like the main character in the tune, we know the worry he’s feeling and the disappointment that those around us feel, too. On this song, which is as perfect a rock composition as one can create, Mercury sings,

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go, little high, little low
Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me

Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooh, didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters

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Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns

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