Don't Stop Me: The 10 Best Queen Songs According To Justin Hawkins
The Darkness frontman on Freddie's mega mullet, Queen's 'spectacular dynamics' and why Hot Space is the band's most misunderstood album
Picking Queen's 10 best songs is a tough task by anyone's standards. So, what we need is a person who lives and breathes their music, has the band's portraits inked into their knuckles and has worn possibly more catsuits than the late, great Freddie Mercury.
Step forward, Justin Hawkins. Rather than pick the obvious tracks that populate their three Greatest Hits albums, The Darkness frontman has approached this list by way of picking an ultimate playlist and has largely selected the deepest cuts from their back catalogue.
"Everybody goes on about Bohemian Rhapsody, and everybody knows that one so I won’t pick that," says Hawkins. "My job is to educate, right?"
Let us begin.
DANCER (Hot Space, 1982)
Hot Space is a misunderstood album really. It’s kind of dismissed as the disco album and people don’t like it because it’s a departure, but there are some moments on there that are really fantastic. There’s a brilliant guitar solo on Dancer, which I think is kind of Queen’s The Stroke – you know, the Billy Squier song. That’s Queen’s version of that. It’s the same producer, and there are lots of elements that are quite similar. It’s got a brilliant chorus, a great guitar solo, and it’s a great song to work out to.
THE KISS (AURA RESURRECTS FLASH) (Flash Gordon, 1980)
This is a beautiful, John Barry-esque instrumental piece with some really, really high singing in it – the voice is used like a Theremin would be used in these sorts of arrangements. The whole soundtrack is really atmospheric and beautiful anyway, but The Kiss is the best moment for me.
GOOD OLD-FASHIONED LOVER BOY (A Day At The Races, 1976)
The vocal arrangement on this song sounds like nothing else any other rock band has done before. It’s light-hearted, sexually ambiguous, and I just love it.
MUSTAPHA (Jazz, 1978)
The opening track on Jazz. It sounds like Freddie’s singing in Arabic at the start. But then perhaps he’s not. It doesn’t really matter either way; you can still sing along to it, and it’s a great excuse for the band to demonstrate their spectacular dynamics. And just when you think it can’t get any louder, it suddenly gets a lot louder, and that happens two or three times throughout the song – it’s brilliant. It’s a Roy Thomas Baker production as well, and a great introduction to a really diverse album.