Playing Out Of The Box

“We’re a very expensive group; we break a lot of rules. It’s unheard of to combine opera with a rock theme, my dear" Freddie Mercury

Besides the relative complexity and ambition of their music, being a band of four highly successful and prolific songwriters, the most notable aspect of Queen’s songwriting was the wide range of genres they explored, experimented with and borrowed from; from opera and heavy metal to prog rock and glam.

Queen dabbled in such diverse styles as ragtime, Caribbean and rockabilly on albums such as Sheer Heart Attack and The Game. Queen is perhaps best remembered for their songs that blended the worlds of rock and opera, with Freddie Mercury's flair for theatrical flamboyance.

In an industry that often seeks to boost sales figures and profits by producing simple and shallow material for the lowest common denominator, Queen’s uncompromising and ambitious approach was brilliantly contradictory.

Unconventional song structures, multiple key changes, numerous and obscure chords and intricate harmonies were all hall marks of Queen’s songwriting.

"I hate doing the same thing again and again and again. I like to see what’s happening now in music, film and theatre and incorporate all of those things"

"Back in the old days, we were often compared to Led Zeppelin. If we did something with harmony, it was the Beach Hoys. Something heavy was Led Zeppelin."

“I write songs the way I feel it, if it means a song that I like needs something that is old fashion still do it.”

"The whole point of Queen was to be original...I think, in a funny way, when we do a Queen album they are like four solo project within themselves… So it is like four little solo project working side by side then we put them all together."

...Freddie Mercury

“The best virtuoso rock ‘n’ roll singer of all time. (Freddie) could sing anything in any style. He could change his style from line to line and, God, that’s an art. And he was brilliant at it.” 

Roger Daltrey

Each member of Queen has composed multiple hit singles, and all four band members were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.

No one could put Queen in a box. They didn't just create music; they created a theatrical experience. While others were trying to invent an original sound, Queen became original by doing all kinds of sounds, from old to new.

SONGS OF QUEEN IN DIFFERENT GENRES

Dubbed as one of the greatest songs of all time, Bohemian Rhapsody combines rock and OPERA to tell the story of a poor young man facing trial in court. The song, which reminds of the play Les Miserables, was basically three songs Freddie Mercury wanted to put out, but instead just put together into one song.

Queen used to have a phrase in one of their albums "No Sythesizers Used" to clear out that all the voices in the album weren't auto-tuned or edited to remove flaws. This song though proudly uses SYNTHS during a time when it was the "new sound" in the industry.

If not for Freddie's voice, Queen can hardly be recognized in this song where they experiment with ROCKABILLY. And it wasn't for nothing, as the song became the group's first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, in 1980.

"We Are The Champions" is one of Queen's most popular songs, and one of rock's most recognisable anthems. In 2009, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and was voted the world's favorite song in a 2005 Sony Ericsson world music poll

"Another One Bites the Dust" is a bass-driven song written by none other than the band's bassist John Deacon. With styles influenced by disco and FUNK, the song was reportedly inspired when Deacon hung out disco group Chic during a studio recording.

"Somebody to Love" is the band's take on GOSPEL music, creating a 100-voice gospel choir by multi-tracking the voices of Mercury, May, and Taylor. Mercury's fascination and admiration for Aretha Franklin was a major influence for the creation of this song.

"We Will Rock You" is a clever song written by Brain May. A purely A CAPELLA song except for BODY PERCUSSION (clapping and stomping) and that guitar solo at the end, "We Will Rock You"'s stripped-down simplicity created the best picture of a street war, which was the song's purpose after all.

Don't Stop Me Know" is a song influenced by DISCO, R&B, and SOUL, with similarities to the songs by artists like Diana Ross, Tina Turner, or Donna Summers.

"Barcelona" is a dream come true for Freddie Mercury, who was a big fan of opera and of soprano Montserrat Caballé. The song was meant for the 1992 Summer Olympics in the city of Barcelona.

Don't Stop Me Know" is a song influenced by DISCO, R&B, and SOUL, with similarities to the songs by artists like Diana Ross, Tina Turner, or Donna Summers.

THE TASK

Have you ever tried writing a song that's completely outside your comfort zone, style, or genre? Or have you tried it in more than one song? If you have at least three original songs that are outside your usual music genre, please send it here. (In the form below, you may write the links in the Video Description Section)

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