What are the best Queen guitar solos? There are numerous guitar solos from Queen that will bring you to the edge of your seat. Some of the best ones are from “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Killer Queen,” “Keep Yourself Alive,” and “Stone Cold Crazy.” However, perhaps the most iconic one is from “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Brian May is a beast when he’s holding his guitar. He created some of the best guitar solos in the music landscape and is one of the reasons why the name Queen is forever cemented in the world of rock and roll music.
If you’re an avid fan of Queen, asking the band’s best guitar solo performance is like asking what’s the best movie of all time, or when did you have the most fun in your life, or how life on Earth began. There are just a lot of things we have to consider before we can identify the single best guitar solo of this legendary band.
However, what we can do is to take a closer look at some of the guitar solos that have made Queen an integral part of music history.
Best Queen Guitar Solos
From 1973 to 1995, Queen was able to produce a total of 15 albums. That’s why it’s not surprising to find multiple guitar solos from their numerous songs that really made an impact on their fans. Here are some of them that you should know of.
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
This song completely showcases the talent of each member of the band. Despite the melody not having too high notes, Mercury was able to add some flavor to it. Deacon’s bassline and Taylor’s drum track are also quite playful and blend perfectly with the main tune. However, it was May’s guitar solo that really took the spotlight.
The song’s entirety is significantly different from the usual Queen songs, as this one sounded more like it’s from Elvis Presley. Nonetheless, it was well-received and became the band’s first number-one hit in the United States.
In stage performances, May would often use three different guitars to play the song. In the first verse, May would use an acoustic guitar. He would then switch to a Telecaster to perform the guitar solo and then to another electric guitar for the singalong part of the song.
“Keep Yourself Alive”
Queen’s first-ever single, “Keep Yourself Alive,” is a song about living life by being yourself and not focusing on becoming popular or rich. Brian May was actually the one to write the music and lyrics of the song. The band first recorded it on their own, without the help of a sound engineer.
When the time came that they had to re-record it to release a studio version, May thought they weren’t able to capture the magic that the first recording had. They had about seven or eight different versions of the song mixed by different sound engineers until they settled with one they were happy with.
“Keep Yourself Alive” saw May’s guitar effects and recording techniques. He experimented with tape phasing, delays, and lots of other processes to make the riff and solo sound the way they do in the song.
“Stone Cold Crazy”
Queen has been performing this song perhaps ever since their band began. However, it was only in their third album called Sheer Heart Attack that they released “Stone Cold Crazy” as a single.
The song is a reflection of the band’s unorthodoxy, lasting only two minutes and 13 seconds. It’s loud but fun, wild but entertaining. The guitar solos in this track are also an introduction to May’s great command of the instrument. It leans more on the rock genre, but of course, it undoubtedly has the magic touch of Queen.
If we’re going to talk about the best guitar solos from Queen, maybe we should ask the man himself, Brian May, which one he thinks is his most notable guitar work. “Killer Queen” really showed how important May is to the band’s success.
According to May, the work and experimentation he put into the solos in “Killer Queen” are comparable to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He says it was like stepping into the unknown and adding complex melodies and flavors to the guitar solo.
Needless to say, May is very proud of his guitar work in this song, and he regards the solo in it as his favorite of all.
We could end this article by saying that “Killer Queen” is the best guitar solo from Queen. After all, it’s May’s favorite. However, we obviously can’t talk about Queen and anything related to it without talking about “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
We’re sorry, sir Brian May, but we’ll stick to our guts and say that “Bohemian Rhapsody” has the best guitar solo from Queen. It might even have the best guitar solo among all the other bands we could think of. It’s one of the most mysterious songs out there, and May made sure that everyone remembers it by adding a remarkable solo.
In “Bohemian Rhapsody,” May didn’t use overdubbing. Instead, he played a tune that counterparts the melody of the song. He listened intently to Mercury while recording the vocals and thought of how he could continue the song’s story with his guitar solo. Well, we can all agree that he nailed it, considering his signature guitar solo and the song became a global success.
Fun fact: “Bohemian Rhapsody” stayed on the number one spot in the UK music chart for nine weeks. It was replaced by Abba’s “Mamma Mia,” which is rather ironic considering how “Bohemian Rhapsody” has a line that goes,
“Mamma mia, mamma mia
Mamma mia, let me go”
Queen will forever be part of the music industry. With movies, commentaries, and documentaries talking about Freddie Mercury and the band itself, we will certainly hear about them for the decades to come.
This is especially true when you consider the fact that Queen also made some of the world’s most iconic and remarkable guitar solos. Brian May, after all, is a genius and a wizard when he holds his guitar.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.