“Do whatever you want with my music, just don’t make me boring” goes the iconic Freddie Mercury quote, said days before his untimely death. It makes sense that one of the greatest bands in history would have a few tributes to their name. From regular folk belting out their favourite tracks at karaoke to artists putting their own spin on classics; there have been many Queen covers over the years, and it’s safe to say none of them have been boring.
To celebrate the release of Queen and Adam Lambert’s first live album Live Around the World, we take a look at some of the best and least boring Queen covers. Here are our top 5.
1. 5 Seconds of Summer – ‘Killer Queen’
The growth of 5 Seconds of Summer has been absolutely fascinating to watch. Starting out as a pop punk band and evolving into a type of new wave rock band; their sound has matured with them. Which made them the perfect group to cover ‘Killer Queen.’ Not only did they have the right number of members to harmonise (four) and a frontman who could hit a pretty good high note (Luke Hemmings), their latest experimentation with synthesisers, layered vocals and rock instruments was in perfect Queen style. Their cover has been praised by critics alike as being an excellent tribute to not just the band itself but the amount of hard work that went into making their hits.
2. Elton John and Axl Rose – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
Joining Queen onstage for the Freddie Mercury benefit concert in 1992, Elton John and Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose banded together to deliver an incredible performance of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ An unlikely pairing, the two work to truly bring the song to life. Paying tribute to the different levels the song takes on, John starts with his trademark piano ballad flair and is joined by Rose with his rock edge for the second half. And Queen are right there with them, providing the iconic guitar shreds and kickdrums. The cover has been hailed as one of the best of all time, with those celebrating its ability to take the song to a whole new height.
3. Shawn Mendes and teddy<3 – ‘Under Pressure’
There’s a real delicate beauty to the David Bowie and Queen hit, and Shawn Mendes and Teddy Geiger (teddy<3) channel that perfectly. Opting for a more acoustic style, the two strip the song down to its core and aim to recreate the simplicity of the duet. With Mendes’ harmonic vocals mixing with Geiger’s rough ones, the two sound perfect together and pay excellent tribute to the icons they’re inspired by.
4. Metallica – ‘Stone Cold Crazy’
Metallica do this song so much justice that it’s easy to forget Queen actually penned it. A hard rock hit that only proved how versatile Queen really were, the track was covered by Metallica back in 1991; appearing on the B-side for their single ‘Enter Sandman.’ It was so well received that it earned the group a Grammy for Best Metal Performance and was performed with both Queen and Black Sabbath at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert. While Metallica have altered their version slightly to include more violent lyrics and add some f bombs, typically, the way they have so closely replicated the original track has earned them great praise.
5. Troye Sivan – ‘Somebody to Love’
The star’s take on the huge hit is probably the most emotional one yet. As a member of the LGBTQ community, Sivan channels Mercury in a way that only he and others in said community can. Really understanding what the song’s message is and stripping it to become an emotive ballad is a unique take, and Sivan does it exceptionally well. The vulnerability gets lost in the original track, but it’s for certain there, and Sivan doesn’t hold anything back. This cover is truly a beautiful one.
Queen and Adam Lambert’s ‘Live Around the World’ is out October 2.