Queen embodied 1970s glam rock--mixing heavy riffs and intricate vocal harmonies with a gender-bending image. Freddie Mercury's operatic voice and Brian May's guitar were multi-tracked ad infinitum to create pomp-rock in the grandest sense. In the '80s, Queen tried on rockabilly, disco, and more, but always returned to their arena-rock roots. The group ended with Mercury's tragic AIDS-related death in 1991.
Queen brought a whole new meaning to the phrase over the top. While rock & roll flamboyance stretched back at least as far as Little Richard, Freddie Mercury continued to camp it up, taking little seriously and smirking at the music's growing pretensions while partaking in them no small bit. Many of the band's singles hold up extremely well, such as "Killer Queen" and "You're My Best Friend". The quartet's canny sense of melody and sophisticated vocal harmonies--not to mention Mercury's raised eyebrow--have traveled well through the years. --Rickey Wright
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