How Did Queen Become One of Rock’s Most Successful Bands?

From the 1970s to 1980s, Queen catapulted themselves to international renown with famous hits like Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Gaga, We are the Champions, Somebody to Love, and many more. 

Originally composed of the late singer Freddie Mercury, Drummer Roger Taylor, and Guitarists Brian May and John Deacon, the band took rock and roll by storm. 

We’ll revisit some of the aspects that made them so successful, securing their place in the pantheon of timeless rock bands. 

Collaboration was key

While Freddie Mercury was the frontman, official band decisions did not exclusively revolve around him. The band always made sure to come to crucial decisions by committee, soliciting input from all members. 

Everyone of them also took on songwriting responsibilities and as a result each member was able to write songs that became hit songs. 

Mercury wrote Bohemian Rhapsody, May wrote Fat Bottomed Girls, Deacon wrote Another One Bites the Dust, and Taylor wrote I’m in Love With My Car

Members were free to explore individual pursuits 

In the biographical drama film Bohemian Rhapsody, Mercury was portrayed as the only member who pursued a solo career. In reality, that was simply not the case. The members got into different individual pursuits while maintaining band cohesion. 

The first member to create his own solo album was Taylor in 1981. May even worked with Eddie Van Halen on a mini album.

The option to freely explore and experiment with different artists and musical styles benefitted the band. It allowed them to take a creative break from Queen and defuse a common pain point among bands: the possibility of doing a solo career. 

Freddie Mercury’s unique voice

Perhaps nothing is more attention grabbing than Mercury’s stellar vocal range. You immediately know it’s Queen the moment Mercury utters one lyric line. 

In fact, a team of scientists conducted research into Mercury’s singing voice to find out exactly what set it apart from even the best singers. 

According to their findings, Mercury’s vibrato was unlike any other. While a typical opera singer would have a vibrato frequency of 5.5-6 Hz, Mercury could go even higher and it allowed him to create a very unique vocal footprint. 

While us mere mortals may need to take a couple of voice lessons before singing professionally, Mercury never had formal lessons. A truly once in a lifetime talent.  

Integrating seemingly disparate musical elements

Queen wasn’t afraid to take on unconventional routes in their songwriting and this clearly showed in a number of their songs. 

This is forever epitomized in the band’s multi-layered song Bohemian Rhapsody. The song combined elements of  ballad, traditional hard rock, and opera to create an amazing 6-minute musical odyssey.  

Where is Queen now? 

Even after the death of Mercury at the age of 45 in 1991 and Deacon’s decision to retire in 1997, Queen still remains active, albeit with a couple of new additions such as Adam Lambert and Paul Rodgers. 

While the surviving members are unable to exactly recreate the full Queen experience from the 70s and 80s, their shows nowadays focus instead on celebrating their illustrious careers and re-igniting a bit of nostalgia for hardcore fans.

Meta title: What Catapulted Queen to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Status

Meta description: There are many things that made Queen one of the greatest bands ever to walk the earth, to Mercury’s iconic singing voice to each members’ unique contribution