With the release of Bohemian Rhapsody, there’s been yet another resurgence of interest in one of the greatest bands of all time. Then again, maybe resurgence isn’t the best word for it. They’re one of those timeless bands that never really goes anywhere.
It’s been more than 40 years since their inception, and during that time they’ve managed to build (and maintain) a seemingly bulletproof discography. Since you probably don’t have the time to sit down and listen to all 15 albums from start to finish – we made a list of the Top 20 Queen songs for headphones as a healthy substitute!
Top 20 Queen Songs For Headphones – Smash Hits & Underrated Classics!
You can listen to each and every one right from this page without having to open YouTube or Spotify. Even if you’re not the biggest Queen fan, you’ll probably recognize one or two from the list. Since they have so many smash hits and underrated classics, it wasn’t exactly easy to limit our list to 20.
Here they are, listed in no specific order (except we did save the best for last):
- “Somebody To Love”
- “Bohemian Rhapsody”
- “Another One Bites The Dust”
- “Don’t Stop Me Now”
- “Killer Queen”
- “We Will Rock You”
- “March Of The Black Queen”
- “You’re My Best Friend”
- “Stone Cold Crazy”
- “Save Me”
- “Now I’m Here”
- “Play The Game”
- “A Kind Of Magic”
- “Under Pressure”
- “It’s A Hard Life”
- “I’m Going Slightly Mad”
- “The Invisible Man”
- “You Don’t Fool Me”
- “The Show Must Go On”
If you’re ready to start digging up some hidden gems, take a look at the first track below!
1. “Somebody To Love”
“Somebody To Love” opens up with delicate piano chords layered underneath Queen’s signature choir-style vocals. Once you get past the intro, the rest of the track features a musical structure that’s somewhat reminiscent of their smash hit “We Will Rock You“.
The epic build decrescendos near the 3 minute mark and doesn’t wait long to pick right back up again for a strong finish to a great song. Listening to the infectious melody throughout its nearly 5 minute run time is especially enjoyable on some well-balanced headphones.
Watch the official video for “Somebody To Love” below:
2. “Bohemian Rhapsody”
If you ended up here browsing our list, there’s a 99.999% chance that you’ve heard “Bohemian Rhapsody”. (If not, stop right now and watch the official video below.) Right when you press play, the layered vocals panning from left to right will hold your attention.
Although “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a musical journey from start to finish no matter where you hear it played – there’s something extra special about experiencing it in its full glory – listening with headphones in solitude.
Watch the official video below to refresh your memory:
3. “Another One Bites The Dust”
This is yet another super popular track that needs no introduction. Taken from The Game released in 1980, “Another One Bites The Dust” starts and ends with an irresistible rhythm. It’s pretty much impossible to listen all the way through and not walk around with the tune playing in your head the rest of the day.
(Try it, we dare you.) When the steely guitar riff comes in around the 2:38 mark, it revitalizes the energy from the intro, bringing even more life to an already energetic and monolithic composition. There isn’t much else to say, other than grab your favorite pair of cans and listen below!
Watch the official lyric video below to follow along:
4. “Don’t Stop Me Now”
A soothing piano melody, smooth and subtle guitar notes, sprinkled with the impressively dynamic vocal range of Freddie Mercury pretty much sum “Don’t Stop Me Now” in one sentence. If you really want to catch every nuance preserved during the initial recording process – put your favorite pair of in ear headphones in and zone out.
Like most other ultra-catchy tunes written by Queen, this one has well over 3 hundred million spins on YouTube for a reason. If you aren’t already a longtime fan of the band, “Don’t Stop Me Now” is a great place to start!
Watch the official video below:
Even after the 6 minutes and 30 seconds have passed you’ll probably find yourself wanting more. The drum roll kicks off the intro leading into a foggy synthesizer backdrop. Once the smoke starts to clear, the vocals break through sounding quite a bit darker than usual.
Throughout “Innuendo”, the music emanates a quiet sense of desperation that doesn’t really let up until the track ends. It’s definitely nice to hear a change of pace (especially if you’ve gotten used to playing the same 3 or 4 smash hits over and over again).
Take the journey with us and listen to the remastered version of “Innuendo” below:
6. “Killer Queen”
Even after experiencing huge success from hit after hit after hit after hit, Queen did it again on “Killer Queen”. Their third album titled Sheer Heart Attack takes a new approach compared to their previous work and “Killer Queen” is a prime example of the shift.
It’s one of those songs that you’ve probably heard at least once, but never realized who played it. Once again, it features an ultra-catchy, lazily bouncing rhythm that’s equally matched by the playful melodies that alternate in and out.
Listen to the full remastered version below and let your mind drift off (in a good way) for a few minutes:
7. “We Will Rock You”
No matter who you ask, “We Will Rock You” is easily one of the most instantly-recognizable songs of all time. The steady “stomp stomp, clap” keeps the pace while Mercury delivers vocals that, in retrospect, almost sound like rapped lyrics.
“We Will Rock You” is a completely unforgettable anthem from the late ’70s that you can’t help but tip your hat to. It’s one of the best songs to workout to and almost never fails to raise your heart rate and start the machine.
Watch the official video below to see them perform it for the cameras:
8. “March Of The Black Queen”
The slow-building intro for “March Of The Black Queen” sets a somber tone to perfectly match the title. It’s also one of their lengthier tunes at almost 7 minutes total. The combination of cascading notes and unique vocal delivery creates a memorable roller coaster of emotion.
There really isn’t a dull moment to be heard and once again the left to right panning effect keeps you listening for what’s around the corner. Follow along with the official lyric video below to see if the lyrics match the musical tone:
9. “You’re My Best Friend”
Where would the world be without feel-good songs like “You’re My Best Friend”? (You don’t have to answer that.) Sometimes songs like this are almost as good as a resting your head on a friends shoulder during a tough time – okay, maybe not even close but you get the point.
Listening to “You’re My Best Friend” blaring on your headphones is a great lighthearted pick-me-up that can help turn a blue mood around in no time. Although it’s a lot less musically extravagant, it till gets the job done.
Listen to the full remastered version below:
10. “Stone Cold Crazy”
Right away, “Stone Cold Crazy” more than doubles the pace of “You’re My Best Friend” and it’s a very welcome addition to Sheer Heart Attack. Since it was such an upbeat and popular tune, Queen played it live for almost 4 years straight after its release.
It fits perfectly on the album that started their transition into writing more rock n’roll focused music. We’re all a little crazy sometimes and “Stone Cold Crazy” is a good outlet for dancing like no one’s looking while you try to keep the headphones from bouncing off your head.
Watch them play it live at The Rainbow in 1974 below:
11. “Save Me”
“Save Me” is a strong ballad from start to finish. The gentle guitar strumming and soft vocals in between each transition make each and every turn all the more explosive. Its unique blend of musicianship and uplifting vocal tones make for a very enjoyable listening experience.
“Save Me” was taken from The Game, which also happens to be the first time Queen started experimenting with a synthesizer. (We recommend listening to the entire album when you get a chance.)
Watch the official video below:
12. “Now I’m Here”
As the vocals alternate between your left and right ear cup, it might be a little bit disorienting. Disorienting as in making you wonder, “Why don’t more songs use a similar effect?”. “Now I’m Here” is another highly underrated classic that was featured on the official soundtrack for Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).
Freddie Mercury and the rest of the band did it again, crafting yet another distinctly Queen-sounding record that’s been able to stand the test of time.
Listen to the full 2011 remastered version for “Now I’m Here” off Sheer Heart Attack below:
13. “Play The Game”
The use of layered vocals the band is known for works just as well on “Play The Game” as it does on most of their other smash hits. The track sounds somewhat melancholy, although reluctant might be a better way to describe the overall tone.
“Play The Game” doesn’t deviate very far from the soft intro, big chorus, slower interlude, followed by the standard guitar solo song structure (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). While it’s definitely not our personal favorite – we can always appreciate a laid-back tune like this.
Watch the official video below:
14. “A Kind Of Magic”
Right when “A Kind Of Magic” starts rolling, you get the sense that there’s something really “80s” about it. Well, that makes sense since it was released as a single from the album with the same name in 1986. It’s always a breath of fresh air when a band slightly changes directions and keeps evolving along the way.
That arguably natural evolution couldn’t be more apparent than it is here. Freddie Mercury’s vocal style is still instantly recognizable but the refreshing musical style is an interesting twist. Even 16 years after they formed as a band, they still succeeded at sticking out from the crowd with songs like “A Kind Of Magic”.
Some of the vocals remind us of Michael Jackson’s work on Thriller, which they may have taken some minor inspiration from. Watch the video below to see the band play it live at Wembley Stadium in 1986:
15. “Under Pressure”
Even if you’ve never heard “Under Pressure” before, you’ll probably recognize the bassline. It was sampled on Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” which would go on to become his most well-known track. We’re all under pressure throughout our lives and it’s nice to know that you’re not alone.
When you need a quick fix to take the edge off, put your favorite earbuds in, turn up the volume, and blast this jam. Even if you play it below and don’t exactly love it, there’s one thing we can’t deny. The bassline is about as legendary as it gets – extremely catchy and widely recognizable in two very different genres.
Watch the official video below to hear it in its full form:
16. “It’s A Hard Life”
The soulful guitar solo starting around the 2 and a half minute mark leads into the catchy chorus and highlights the bands penchant for creating a powerful sonic experience. “It’s A Hard Life” centers around a theme we can all relate to; heartbreak.
Its musical presentation topped off with the electrifying solo near the end really hit the nail on the head. Although heartbreak is generally viewed as a negative emotion, by the end of this track you’re still left with a sliver of hope.
Throw on some headphones and listen to the full remastered version below:
17. “I’m Going Slightly Mad”
“I’m Going Slightly Mad” was featured on the last album with Freddie Mercury before his passing in January of 1991. The guitar work at 2:38 is slow and simple. Sometimes less is more and their decision to take that approach in that moment definitely paid off.
Apparently the reason Mercury was wearing such heavy makeup in the video was partially due to his worsening illness. Either way, it only adds to the overall theme and musical tone. There is a lot going on musically, which is why we recommend using some quality in-ears like the 1More Triple Driver for full effect.
Watch the official video for “I’m Going Slightly Mad” to see an important slice of musical history:
18. “The Invisible Man”
It might seem unbelievable at first, but the intro on “The Invisible Man” sounds pretty eerily similar to some of Trent Reznor’s work with Nine Inch Nails. (We’re not saying who inspired who and can’t confirm nor deny how much, if any inspiration either band took from one another.)
As you’re listening to the track, it might almost sound like a completely different band altogether. The experimental sound offers a surprisingly enjoyable twist on their previous work and we’re definitely not mad at it.
Watch the official video below and listen for any similarities we mentioned above:
19. “You Don’t Fool Me”
“You Don’t Fool Me” was one of the last singles from Made In Heaven which was the band’s first album recorded without Freddie Mercury. The band constructed the music around old vocal recordings that hadn’t been used yet and the album went on to become hugely successful.
Like many of their previous singles, “You Don’t Fool Me” has an irresistibly infectious chorus that will play in your head long after the track ends. It’s one of those evergreen songs that you could listen to pretty much all year round; by yourself or with some company.
Watch the official video for “You Don’t Fool Me” below:
20. “The Show Must Go On”
We felt that it was appropriate to feature “The Show Must Go On” last to represent some form of closure. The ending isn’t always the end, in fact, it usually spurs a new beginning. This track closed out Innuendo in 1991 and it will also close out this collection.
To close it out, we’d rather let you listen and follow along with the lyrics below than read our own explanation. Watch the official video below to see one of the last videos to feature Freddie Mercury:
Are You A Longtime Fan? Do You Have A Favorite?!
Hopefully you were able to discover a few hidden gems that you’d never heard before! Since Queen is such a popular band worldwide, you might’ve recognized a few from the list. (If not, at least you have now!)
Is this your first time really diving deep into their discography, or are you already a longtime fan? Do you have a favorite track? Let us know which of the Top 20 Queen songs here was your personal favorite by leaving a comment below!
If you have any song suggestions, feel free to include those as well. (They have so many classics, it’s hard to only pick a few.) Thanks for taking the time to stop by and listen to some great music, we hope you enjoyed!