ABC is having a one-hour special titled, The Queen Family Singalong, that will take place on November 4, 2021. Of course, the performers will sing the typical hits like “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Under Pressure,” “We Will Rock You,” and “We Are the Champions,” according to uDiscover Music. Thanks, but no thanks! If I wanted to listen to the overplayed songs, I’d search them up on YouTube.
I could spend hours complaining about how much I hate the hits. But instead, I thought it’d be fun to show some appreciation for the underrated gems. The songs that casual fans don’t know and songs that Queen hasn’t performed in years (some not performed live at all). I picked these songs based on similar rules from The Best of Def Leppard Deep Cuts and Rarities post. So, they can’t be singles, they can’t have music videos, they can’t be title tracks, and they can’t appear on greatest hits albums.
Except for one song, I’m not going to talk about any Roger Taylor compositions, no matter how underrated they are. I talked about my favorite songs of his in this post titled, Ranking All of Roger Taylor’s Songs He Sang in Queen. With all that said, let’s get on with the music!
10. ”The Hitman” from Innuendo (1991)
Let me remind you that Freddie Mercury wasn’t in the best shape when Innuendo (1991) was recorded. I don’t know how he did it, but the man somehow had the energy to record such a killer track. Big props to Brian May and Roger Taylor for the aggressive guitar work and pounding drums, respectively. “The Hitman” was the B-side to “I’m Going Slightly Mad.”
9. ”In the Lap of the Gods” from Sheer Heart Attack (1974)
Two words: Roger Taylor!!! His falsetto is absolutely spectacular. Who knew a dude could sing that high! Both the studio and live versions of “In the Lap of the Gods” are incredible. But, I really enjoy watching the band’s live performance at the Rainbow Theatre in 1974 because you get to see Mercury at the piano, John Deacon getting in the zone, and Taylor screaming like a maniac. Don’t get “In the Lap of the Gods” confused with “In the Lap of the Gods… Revisited” because both are completely different (and I’m not a fan of the latter).
8. ”Coming Soon” from The Game (1980)
“Coming Soon” was written by Taylor and he shares the vocals with Mercury. I get chills when Mercury sings, “…on the outside of the tracks.” I have no idea what the song is about, but I don’t care. It rocks and that’s all that matters!
7. ”Man on the Prowl” from The Works (1984)
Like “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Man on the Prowl” has a rockabilly vibe and Mercury unleashes his best Elvis impersonation. Not only is it insanely groovy, but it has such relatable lyrics: “I wanna go to the movies / All I wanna do is sit on my a**.” There’s a piano bit at the end, nice harmonies, and a funky bass line (thanks Deacon). I think Queen + Adam Lambert should add this bad boy to their setlist, what do you think?
6. ”Son and Daughter” from Queen (1973)
“Son and Daughter” kicks butt! It’s a slow headbanger, Mercury sounds like he’s ready for a fight and May’s guitar riff is so intense (like in the style of heavy metal). Also, thank the Lord for Taylor’s beautiful high voice in the line, “I want you…” This song easily became one of my favorites when I was getting into Queen. “Son and Daughter” was the B-side to “Keep Yourself Alive” and was dropped from the band’s setlist a long time ago.
5. ”Sleeping on the Sidewalk” from News of the World (1977)
“Sleeping on the Sidewalk” isn’t a happy song, but I feel happy listening to it. The song tells the story of an aspiring trumpet player making it big through a “rags-to-riches” format. May does the vocals and the first time I listened to this track, I almost couldn’t recognize his voice. Not to be rude, but it sounded like a surfer boy was doing the vocals. But, I think that laid-back feel made me love “Sleeping on the Sidewalk” even more. Heck, this song even has a nice bass line.
4. ”White Man” from A Day at the Races (1976)
I’ve always loved how “White Man” starts soft and then, BAM!!! It’s a very serious song and you can tell by the lyrics. “Leave my body in shame / Leave my soul in disgrace / But by every God’s name / Say your prayers for your race.” Taylor’s powerful drumming definitely fits the message of the song; it was written through the perspective of Native Americans. “White Man” was the B-side to “Somebody to Love” in the UK.
3. ”Dead on Time” from Jazz (1978)
There are quite a few underrated songs from Jazz (1978) to choose from including “If You Can’t Beat Them,” “In Only Seven Days,” and “Dreamer’s Ball.” But, I’m going with “Dead on Time” because of Brian May’s chugging guitar riff. Mercury’s vocals are fast and intense to fit the song and the best part is when he goes,” YOU’RE DEAD,” at the end. “Dead on Time” was the B-side to “Mustapha” for German and Spanish releases.
2. ”Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to…)” from A Night at the Opera (1975)
“Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to…)” was one of the first songs that came to my mind for this post because I don’t think Queen ever played it with Adam Lambert. I feel like Lambert would bring the right attitude to the track, so they should really bring it back into their setlist (not just the instrumental intro). Mercury wrote the lyrics about their former manager and Trident Studios owner Norman Sheffield (apparently the band wasn’t getting paid, despite the success of Sheer Heart Attack). They say that music is a good outlet to release your emotions and Queen did not hold back one bit. There is a live recording of “Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to…)” featured on Queen’s 1979 live album titled, Live Killers.
1. ”Ogre Battle” from Queen II (1974)
I had a few options from Queen II (1974) including “The March of the Black Queen” and “The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke.” But, I’m going with “Ogre Battle” as the underrated track for this album because it’s such a fun song. It’s literally a track about ogres battling each other! “Ogre Battle” starts off quiet, builds the mood, then the screams come in, and chaos begins. I know, I’ve talked about how I hate chaotic songs, but some songs make chaos work. “Ogre Battle” also shows how talented May and Taylor are at what they do.
There you have it, people! Those are my top 10 underrated Queen songs. I was going to include “Put Out the Fire” from Hot Space (1982) as well, but I decided not to because it has a music video and was included in the compilation album titled, Queen Rocks (1997). It’s fine, though, because I’m happy with how the list turned out.
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