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Queen, the glam-rock band fronted by Freddie Mercury, is a band liked by pretty much everyone. It’s hard to find anyone without the Greatest Hits or Classic Queen albums in their library. But what of the album cuts? While Queen’s thought of as a singles band — and, seriously, they were amazing singles — there’s plenty of overlooked gems on the albums.
For this list, we’ve crosschecked Queen’s Discogs.com entry to make sure none of these songs were ever the A-side of a single anywhere in the world. Seriously, who knew that the Sparks-esque “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” was a promo single in Mexico? (B-sides are fair game — any record collector will tell you that different countries filled out singles differently.)
1. Bring Back That Leroy Brown (Sheer Heart Attack)
“Bring Back That Leroy Brown” is one of the most fun songs in Queen’s catalog — and a jewel on Sheer Heart Attack, one of Queen’s best albums. The retro-sounding song written by Freddie Mercury echoes back to the Music Hall tradition of the United Kingdom. As for Leroy Brown himself? That’s a tribute to “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce — Croce died the year before Sheer Heart Attack came out.
2. Put Out The Fire (Hot Space)
Brian May’s “Put Out the Fire” features the classic Queen rock sound — but with lyrics condemning guns. It might not be particularly subtle — “You need a gun like a hole in the head” — but Mercury sings it with such conviction it’s surprising that the entire world didn’t just willingly give up their arms. Guess they should’ve released this one as a single after all… for world peace.
3. You and I (A Day at the Races)
It’s strange — “You and I” was never played live. (The video above is a fan-made edit.) And yet, the John Deacon-penned cut features the great harmonies Queen were always known for. Maybe it didn’t get more traction within the band because it’s just a straightforward, simple song about wanting to be with the person you love. It might not tell the listener anything new, but sometimes you just want a nice song about nice things.
4. Coming Soon (The Game)
Roger Taylor’s “Coming Soon” is another one that was never played live. It’s got a great power-pop sound. Lyrically, it’s nothing to write home about — it’s just about the downsides of life, hangovers and people irritating you. The song’s really just an excuse to rock out. And with a great solo like the one in this song… and the great flanged-drum introduction, who can complain?
5. If You Can’t Beat Them (Jazz)
We’ve got songs by each of the four members of Queen on this list, but John Deacon gets a bonus song on our list. “If You Can’t Beat Them” is the best Who song The Who never wrote. (Seriously, it could easily slot right next to “Sister Disco” on Who Are You.) Of course, this was still squarely in the “No Synthesizers” era of Queen — so had the Who done it, they’d probably put a bunch of ARP 2600 over it. And that would have been cool too — as Queen eventually learned, synthesizers aren’t evil. Still, it’s impossible not to love that two-minute guitar solo.