This Week in Vinyl: Queen – Greatest Hits

So here’s what happened.

I was beyond fortunate to see Brian May and Roger Taylor play at the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert in LA fronted by Justin Hawkins. Beautiful, touching, rocking out loud…. Mind = Blown. Then on the flight home, the inflight movie just happened to be Bohemian Rhaosody. Coincidence? Undetermined. The rock gods work in mysterious ways.

Is Queen one of the most epic and influential rock bands of all time? This is a stupid question because we all know the answer. I can’t say much about Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon that you don’t already know. With fifteen studio albums, ten live albums, sixteen complications, over seventy singles, there are so many Queen records, how can you possibly pick just one? That’s right, you pick the one with all the hits. Greatest Hits, if you will. If you won’t, you probably should.

My issue with greatest hits records is that I feel that in some way it might diminish the songs that don’t make the list. Considering the sheer volume of Queen’s work, it is undeniable that there are a wealth of other amazing songs. Additionally, you’re not hearing the music in the order intended on the original record. Valid points perhaps. We could probably spend days arguing the place for greatest hits albums, however, with a catalog as diverse, extensive and potentially overwhelming as Queen’s, I can see where a record like this makes total sense.

I’m probably the perfect audience for Queen’s Greatest Hits. I’m not sure I’d invest in every record (over 30 if I do the math… I won’t do the math. You’re welcome), so this was an easy choice. I love every song on these four sides. It’s amazing to hear with this kind of clarity how much is going on in these songs. Massive dynamics, harmonies, bicycle bells, all topped with Freddie’s vocals, piano and Brian May’s solos. This is not a record to play quietly. So hide yo kids, hide yo wife, run off that cat, and turn this one up.

I couldn’t have been happier to have seen at least some of Queen play live. I think I would have loved to see them in concert, at their best, in their moment in history, with Freddie out front. That must have been one hell of a show.

Which begs the question: were they too early or I born to late? A debate for another day.

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