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11 Queen songs you never hear on the radio but should

Queen in May 1985
Queen in May 1985 (Image credit: Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images )

Given that the first search result for the phrase 'Greatest Hits' is the Wikipedia page for the Queen album of the same name, it's perhaps no surprise that the band's back catalogue sometimes isn't as celebrated as the singles plucked from those albums.

Beyond We Will Rock You, Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody To Love and the rest of the classic chart-botherers, Queen's albums are littered with songs that would be surely regarded as classics had any other artist had the wit and imagination to write and record them. 

Here then, are 11 Queen songs you never hear on the radio but should.  

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Goin' Back (Larry Lurex single, 1973)

The artist name on the single was Larry Lurex, but this languid cover of a Carole King classic was really a pre-fame Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor doing a favour for paymasters Trident. If Phil Spector had produced Queen, it would have sounded like this. 


My Fairy King (Queen, 1973)

The cogs of Freddie Mercury’s musical imagination were working overtime even on their first album. A multi-part mini-epic arriving in a swirl of leather, chiffon and black nail varnish, My Fairy King kicked off the journey that eventually culminated in Bohemian Rhapsody.


Some Day One Day (Queen II, 1974)

Queen veered close to prog on their second album, but Brian May’s otherworldly semi-ballad took off somewhere else entirely. Hazy and unknowable, they never sounded like this again.


Tenement Funster (Sheer Heart Attack, 1974)

Queen’s third album was an entire musical universe in itself. Amid the dandy pop, playful ragtime and proto-thrash metal aggro was Roger Taylor’s love letter to the aspirational power of rock’n’roll.


The Prophet's Song (A Night At The Opera, 1975)

Bohemian Rhapsody grabbed the headlines, and just about everything else, but Brian May’s eight-minute epic is no less ambitious or insane, not least in the fever-dream chorale at its centre. Kicks back in with a killer riff too. 


Drowse (A Day At The Races, 1976)

No member of Queen seemed as happy in their own skin as Roger Taylor, and Drowse reflected that. This was the drummer as an old man looking back at his younger self and saying: “Wasn’t it brilliant”?


It's Late (News Of The World, 1977)

One of the great Queen tracks: six minutes of escalating sexual tension set to a blockbusting Brian May riff, it builds and builds before exploding in a big sweaty mess. When it’s done you’ll be reaching for a cigarette.


Put Out The Fire (Hot Space, 1982)

Hot Space is the Queen album Queen fans love to hate. But it’s not that bad, and this strutting anti-gun broadside stands shoulder to shoulder with their very best songs. 


Princes Of The Universe (A Kind Of Magic, 1986)

Part of the soundtrack to cult classic Highlander, this sword-swinging monster sees May and Taylor cranking up the volume and having a blast doing it – although not as much as Mercury when he hollers ‘Bring on the girls!’ with his tongue jammed firmly in his cheek. 


Ride The Wild Wind (Innuendo, 1991)

It’s impossible not to view Queen’s swansong album through the prism of impending mortality. Ride The Wild Wind pulses with lust-for-life romance, but a current of sadness swirls beneath it. The line ‘Gonna leave it all behind/Get out of the rat race’ is equally defiant and heartbreaking.


Time To Shine (The Cosmos Rocks, 2000)

May and Taylor’s union with Paul Rodgers worked better when they weren’t trying to sound like Queen, as this soaring highlight from their sole album together proves. It makes you wonder what would have happened if they’d stuck it out.