Top 10 Queen Albums

Queen Albums

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Our Top 10 Queen Albums list looks at the best Queen albums released during the band’s spectacular but short career. Before we begin, let’s just look at the band’s studio album discography. Queen’s first album, entitled Queen, was released in 1973. The band’s debut album was followed by Queen II in 1974. Queen’s third album, Sheer Heart Attack, was released in the same year. The album that turned Queen into a household name was released in 1975 and was entitled A Night at the Opera. Queen followed that magnificent record one year later, in 1976, with the cleverly titled album A Day At The Races.

In the mid-1970s, Queen was on a roll. Five great albums in a row were released between 1973 and 1976. They continued their run in 1977 with another great one, News of the World. The band would release one more studio album in the 1970s called Jazz, which also contained some big-time hits, including “Bicycle Race” and “Fat Bottomed Girls.” At the end of the 1970s, Queen was one of the biggest rock bands in the world.

There were not many rock and roll bands more popular than Queen. They were in the same league as groups like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones. The band started off the decade of the 1980s on another high note with a big-time hit called “Another One Bites The Dust.” which was released on the album The Game.

In 1980, Queen also recorded the soundtrack to the film Flash Gordon. Although it stands as a Queen studio album, it’s genuinely just a soundtrack record. In 1982, Queen jumped the shark. The incredible success of their disco-flavored song “Another One Bites the Dust” resulted in an entire album based on dance music. As a big-time Queen fan at the time, I was incredibly disappointed in the direction the band had taken on the album Hot Space. I was not alone. Thankfully, Queen’s experimentation in dance music only lasted for one album.

Queen returned in 1984 with the album The Works. The material the band released throughout the 1980s would pale compared to their 1970s catalog. Queen was still releasing good albums, but nothing like the ones they released from 1973 to 1980. The final three Queen studio albums were released from 1986 to 1995. The band’s twelfth studio album, A Kind of Magic, was issued in 1986. The album The Miracle, fueled by the big hit “I Want It All,” was released in 1989.

Their final studio album while Freddie Mercury was still alive was released in 1991, entitled Innuendo. The band had been working on a new album in which Freddie Mercury contributed as much as he could while he was sick. That album would, in turn, become the band’s ultimate final studio album entitled Made In Heaven. It was released after Freddie Mercury had already passed away. In the end, Queen released fourteen studio albums between 1973 and 1993, not counting the Flash Gordon Soundtrack.

We all have our favorites, but these ten are what we believe are Queen‘s best albums.

# 10 – Innuendo

Queen Albums Innuendo

Our Top 10 Queen albums list opens up with the last album the band released before Freddie Mercury passed away. The album Innuendo was released in 1991. It’s a tough album to write about because Freddie Mercury died within a year of its release. In 1991, grunge music took over as bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam would soon dominate the rock and roll landscape. It’s all rather sad thinking back to the end of Queen as we knew them growing up in the 1970s. This album was the end. As far as the album went, most Queen fans were happy with it. It was more substantial than most recent albums they issued in the late 80s. I can’t think of this album without remembering that Freddie Mercury passed away only nine months after it was released.

# 9 – The Works

Queen Albums The Works

We all breathed a sigh of relief when Queen released the album The Works. No one wanted another Hot Space-type disco album. While The Works may not have compared to the Queen albums of the 1970s, it was still an enjoyable record for Queen fans. Standout tracks included the album opener “Radio Ga Ga” and the excellent rocking track “Hammer To Fall,” which may just very well be the last great Queen song ever released. The album The Works was released in early 1984.

# 8 – The Game

Queen Albums The Game

The Game was a game-changer for Queen. (sorry, I couldn’t resist) The question is was it a great game changer? The facts are the band celebrated two huge singles from the record. “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” both hit number one on the United States Billboard Music Charts.

The Game was a good Queen album but very different from their previous albums. The songs were more uncomplicated and more straightforward, with less experimentation. Although one could argue that experimentation was indeed there in the way they utilized the old disco Chic groove on “Another One Bites The Dust.” They were Queen, and they could do whatever they wanted. Perhaps our biggest pet peeve with the album was the packaging.

The last four Queen albums released in the 1970s were excellent solid gatefold records that swung open and were filled with artwork, pics, and even posters in some countries. The vinyl releases were exceptional. The Game was housed in a very thin cardboard jacket in a dull grey with no extras. It was cheap packaging and probably more disappointing to fans than they realized it would be.

# 7 – Jazz

Queen Albums Jazz

Queen had released so many great albums in the 1970s that it seemed that one great record may have gotten lost in their catalog. If we had to choose one that fits that description, it would be the 1978 album Jazz. With the album’s release, Queen issued a great two-sided single that included the songs “Bicycle Race” and Fat Bottomed Girls.” Other standout tracks included “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Mustapha.” 

# 6 – Queen

Queen Albums

When we think of our favorite Queen albums, the band’s first three albums instantly come to mind. Most of us did not discover their excellent debut album until their third record, Sheer Heart Attack, began to receive airplay. Even a larger base of eventual fans in the 1970s did not discover the record until the success of A Night At The Opera. Nonetheless, their debut album, released in 1973, is one of their best. Our favorite tracks would include “Keep Yourself Alive,” “The Great King Rat,” and, of course, “Liar.”

# 5 – A Day At The Races

Queen Albums A Day At The Races

How does a band follow up an album like A Night At The Opera? Well, it’s simple; just release one called A Day At The Races. It was probably the most brilliantly titled follow-up album in classic rock history. But it was not just an album with a clever title, it was an outstanding great rock and roll album that proved the band could not be stopped. Queen has always opened their albums with great tracks. The album’s opener “Tie Your Mother Down,” was one of the best opening album tracks in their entire catalog. The record’s lead-off single “Somebody To Love,” was a surprising follow-up to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which eventually danced its way into the hearts of all Queen fans.

# 4 – News Of The World

Queen Albums News Of The World

After the releases of A Night At The Opera and A Day At The Races, Queen came roaring back and changed things up with an exciting and successful album that delivered two of the biggest songs of their career. “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” were massive hits that became stadium anthems, which is not an easy thing to do. However, the album was loaded with other great cuts, such as “It’s Late, Spread Your Wings and Get Down, Make Love.” This was one of the most even albums the band ever released and stands as a fan favorite.

# 3 – A Night At The Opera

Queen Albums A Night At The Opera

If you grew up in the 1970s, you can’t help but remember how big this album was. It was a groundbreaking record in so many ways fueled by one of the most original rock and roll songs ever recorded in the name of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” You may be tired of listening to it, but there is no denying its brilliance. “Bohemian Rhapsody.” wasn’t the only great song on the record. All four members contributed great tracks. Rogers Taylor’s “I’m In Love With My Car” stands as the drummer’s greatest composition and recording. John Deacon’s “You’re My Best Friend” defined the pinnacle of his writing career.

Brian May’s Celtic-inspired compositions counterbalanced the rest of the band’s songs on the record. And of course, Freddie Mercury’s three excellent compositions, “Bohemian Rhapsody, Love of My Life,” and the terrific album opener “Death On Two Legs,” proved that Mercury had reached the zenith of his magnificent career as a writer and vocalist.

# 2 -Sheer Heart Attack

Queen Albums Sheer Heart Attack

While Queen’s first two albums may have blown your pet rocks through your bedroom windows, their third record was proof that this was a band that was primed to do some severe infiltration into rock and roll’s fun house. We had never heard music like this before. Album-oriented rock jumped on this record instantly. Tracks like “Stone Cold Crazy,” “Tenement Funster,” “Killer Queen,” Now I’m Here,” and “In The Lap Of The Gods” were mind-blowing incursions that set the tone for what they would unleash onto the world one year later.

# 1 – Queen II

Queen Albums Queen II

Closing out our Top 10 Queen Albums list is the band’s second album Queen II. Queen’s second album is easily the one record of their career in which the band steers as close to heavy metal as they ever would. This one rocks hard but is still defined by ingenious melodies surrounded by four musicians who played their butts off on this one. “Orge Battle” stands as one of the best Queen songs of all time. This is a magnificent record that is probably their most underrated work.

Top 10 Queen Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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