And whereas each single Queen hit was sung by Mr. Mercury, there have been fairly a number of album cuts that includes Could and Taylor as lead singers which can be additionally standout tunes, as properly – though admittedly, not well-known outdoors of fanatics of the band. As a loyal Queen fan since 1980 (heck, and I am even the writer of the e-book Lengthy Reside Queen: Rock Royalty Talk about Freddie, Brian, John & Roger!) and well-versed within the band’s discography/historical past, I will be trusted as your information by means of the 5 greatest Queen songs that weren’t sung by Freddie.
“Some Day One Day” – Queen II (1974)
When you’re a rock band and your debut album did not precisely storm the charts, a “route re-plot” could also be in retailer for the all-important sophomore effort. Not Queen. On Queen II, the band went utterly excessive production-wise – with layered vocals (that gave the impression of a choir), guitar harmonies, fantasy lyrical topics (“Ogre Battle”), and so on. And the transfer paid off, as they scored their first-ever UK hit single, “Seven Seas of Rhye.”
However the album may also be famous as the primary Queen LP to function a tune by Brian Could on lead vocals, on the tune “Some Day One Day” (in case you have been questioning, Roger Taylor was the primary member apart from Freddie to sing lead – on the tune “Trendy Instances Rock n’ Roll” off their debut).
One of many extra melodic tunes on Queen II, “Some Day One Day” incorporates what appears to be a lyrical message of “tomorrow’s going to be a brighter day” – notably within the closing lyrics of every verse (“No star can mild our method on this cloud of darkish and worry, However some day, at some point…”; “Right now the cloud, it hangs over us and all is gray, However some day, at some point…”; after which lastly, “So nonetheless the cloud it hangs over us and we’re alone, However some day at some point…we’ll come residence”).
Additionally of be aware, Queen II included a number of tunes that truly reference the band’s identify – most clearly within the tune titles “White Queen (As It Started)” and “The March of the Black Queen,” but additionally inside this tune, with the lyric “And also you shall be a queen.”
“Lengthy Away” – A Day on the Races (1976)
After the grandiose manufacturing and compositions featured all through A Evening on the Opera (“Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Prophet’s Tune,” “Seaside Rendezvous,” and so on.), Queen took a step towards a extra simple method on its follow-up, A Day on the Races. The primary-ever Queen LP to not have any enter by any means from Roy Thomas Baker, the group was solely credited as producer.
Just like the earlier entry on this record, “Lengthy Away” is a melodic rocker, penned and sung by Could. And likewise just like “Some Day One Day,” this tune possesses a constructive lyrical message, as evidenced by such lyrics as “Take coronary heart, my buddy, we love you although it looks like you are alone; One million lights above you smile down upon your property” and “Hurry, put your troubles in a suitcase come let the brand new youngster play.”
And as with numerous Queen compositions, Could assembles his trademark “guitar military” for the solo (creating multi-layered guitar elements that create harmonies), whereas the backing vocals (supplied by Could, Mercury, and Taylor) have been layered as soon as extra in such a fashion to create a choir-like impact.
“Drowse” – A Day on the Races (1976)
All through their recording profession, Queen tackled a wide range of types – steel, pop, dance, rockabilly, ballads, prog, punk, new wave, calypso, blues, and so on. However not often did they ever method “psychedelic territory.” Nonetheless, they did a minimum of one time – with this ignored Taylor tune, additionally off A Day on the Races.
“Drowse” can also be one of many few Queen compositions to prominently function slide guitar (whereas one other tune on the album consists of slide, “Tie Your Mom Down,” it’s solely within the guitar solo part) – which creates a dreamy…sure, drowsy impact all through. And lyrically, apparently Taylor is having a look again on his early/pre-Queen days – notably such lyrics as “It is the unhappy eyed goodbye yesterday’s moments I bear in mind” and “Half of the time we would broaden our minds extra within the pool corridor than we did within the college corridor.”
Tracing Queen’s roots, it isn’t a lot of a shock that trippy sonics seeped into their sound a minimum of this one time, as they usually listed such ’60s rock icons because the Beatles and Cream as prime influences early on. And lastly, one last hyperlink between the tune and psychedelia – one of many high stars of late ’60s well-liked music is talked about simply because the tune begins to fade out (within the line “Jimi Hendrix, he was good”).
“Combat from the Inside” – Information of the World (1977)
Whereas “One other One Bites the Mud” is commonly credited as Queen’s first foray into dance sounds, there have been a number of cases within the ‘70s once they obtained surprisingly funky. And the Taylor-penned (and Information of the World aspect one nearer) “Combat from the Inside” does comprise an unmistakable dance-vibe. However in contrast to when the band ultimately utterly embraced dance (particularly, aspect one in every of 1982’s Sizzling House), Could’s guitar work balances out the funk with the rock on this specific observe.
Penned solely by Taylor, the drummer additionally handles lead vocals. Lyrically, the tune seems to be about “watch out what you would like for” from a rock star perspective, as evidenced by such traces as “You are simply one other image on a teenage wall” and “You are simply one other money-spinner device, you are simply one other idiot.”
Additionally, the drummer was pulling not simply double obligation on the observe, however moderately quintuple obligation (by supplying lead vocals, backing vocals, drums, bass, and extra guitar work).
And it seems that Queen was not the one different arduous rockin’ band experimenting with funk sounds round this time. Working example, such tunes as “Fame” by David Bowie, “Trampled Underfoot” by Led Zeppelin, “Final Youngster” by Aerosmith, “Dancing within the Moonlight (It is Caught Me in Its Highlight)” by Skinny Lizzy, and “One other Brick within the Wall (Half 2)” by Pink Floyd, amongst others.
“Sail Away Candy Sister” – The Sport (1980)
Out of all of the tunes included on this record, the one which had the perfect shot at changing into a bona fide hit was this energy ballad from The Sport, sung by Brian. Particularly if you suppose again to the quantity of energy ballads that stormed the charts throughout the early ‘80s (“Open Arms” by Journey, “The Better of Instances” by Styx, “Preserve On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon, and so on.), “Sail Away Candy Sister” would have made sense as a single. Which results in the plain query…why wasn’t it ever issued as a single?
Supposedly the band – or particularly, Brian – felt uncomfortable issuing a non-Freddie-sung tune as a single by the band (though Freddie does present a lead vocal cameo within the tune’s bridge). And the tune follows the now-famous energy ballad tune construction – delicate verses, anthemic choruses, and a searing/emotive guitar solo. So far as the tune’s lyrical that means, its full title gives a clue – “Sail Away Candy Sister (To the Sister I By no means Had).” And in case you have been questioning, sure, Brian Could was an solely youngster.
Though the tune was by no means carried out dwell by Queen, it has been by Could solo in 1998, and even by Weapons N’ Roses – or extra particularly, Axl Rose a capella – in 1992 (together with a pro-shot efficiency from Tokyo, which ultimately leads into one other a capella snippet of Grand Funk’s “Unhealthy Time,” earlier than launching right into a full-band efficiency of “Candy Youngster o’ Mine”).
Greg Prato is a longtime AllMusic contributor and writer of a number of books, together with Lengthy Reside Queen: Rock Royalty Talk about Freddie, Brian, John & Roger.