Formed in 1970, Queen’s classic line-up consisted of Freddie Mercury on lead vocals, Brian May on lead guitar, Roger Taylor on drums, and John Deacon on bass guitar. Although Mercury and May wrote the bulk of the band’s songs, all four contributed to the songwriting and wrote huge hits.
Initially a prog rock band with strong metal influences, their sound evolved dramatically over time, and they became one of the biggest stadium rock bands of all time.
Their early prog phase spawned epic tracks like “March of the Black Queen” and “The Prophet’s Song”, but it was “Bohemian Rhapsody” which catapulted them to superstardom. The suite song remained at #1 for nine weeks, and is widely considered one of the greatest songs ever written.
After moving away from their album-orientated sound, the band would go on to record many iconic songs. Songs such as “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Another One Bites the Dust”, “I Want to Break Free”, “Radio Gaga”, “We Are the Champions”, and “Under Pressure” are all well known to any pop music listener. These songs are so ubiquitous that We Will Rock You, a musical based on the band’s songs, ran for an unprecedented 12 years at the Dominion Theatre in London.
Freddie Mercury died due to complications arising from AIDS in 1991, shortly after finishing recording Innuendo, widely regarded as their best album for 15 years. John Deacon subsequently retired from public life. May and Taylor still perform as Queen, with stand-in musicians covering for their band mates (most recently, it’s been Adam Lambert).