Queen’s Back Catalogue – The Authorised King James Version

Biblical scholar John Doran looks at the Authorised King James Version of the Good Book for clues to the genesis of Queen's back catalogue

Newly translated from the original Tongues: & with the former translations diligently ignored by Her Majesty’s special commandment, from Queen I to The Works. Appointed to be read upon the internet. Imprinted by Mr John Doran with thanks given to Mr Luke Turner and Mr John Tatlock. Anno Dom. 2011.


  1. In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth.
  1. And the Earth was without form, and the void and The Darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved in the waters of the deep. And God looked at The Darkness, and thought, ‘I have got things arse about tit already.’
  1. And God said, ‘Let there be rock.’ And lo, there was Bill Hailey rocking around a clock, which God had also just created. But God was unhappy and said, ‘This is really rubbish.’
  1. And God said, ‘Let there be Elvis.’ And there was Elvis. And God liked Elvis but was not too keen on ‘In The Ghetto’ and his saucy dancing. God made a mental note to speak to Elvis at a later date over his appropriation of the nomenclature, The King.
  1. And God created The Beatles. And there were four. And they were fab. But God was still not entirely convinced at their whimsical nursery rhymes set to a vigorous backbeat.
  1. Then God created Jimi Hendrix. And God was all like, ‘This is more like it.’
  1. And then during the Year Of Our LORD 1970 God created Queen. And God did like Queen, saying, ‘You do make the rocking world go round.’ And all was right with the world.


  1. And lo, Queen became stupidly big.
  1. They sold 300 million albums worldwide, which is a human number but not one that any humans, bar Professor Stephen Hawking and Sir Alan Sugar, can have any proper understanding of.
  1. And during their reign, they did score 18 number one albums and 18 number one singles, not to mention 10 number one DVDs.
  1. And their early single, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ stayed at number one in the UK for nine weeks. And so it came to pass that many coach drivers, wedding DJs, publicans and subscribers to The WIRE magazine did wail and gnash their teeth at having to listen to this song more times than was perhaps strictly necessary.
  1. And Queen did spend 1,322 weeks in the UK album charts, which adds up to two score years and six – much more than any other band.
  1. And with 5.5 million copies sold, Queen’s Greatest Hits became the greatest selling album of all time in the UK.


  1. And it came to pass, that some members of Queen did miss the meeting where the Rules Of Leviticus were explained and went on to behave in a most relaxed manner.


  1. And King Bulsara of Zanzibar did begat Little Richard who begat Tom Selleck who begat Billy Elliott who begat Mario Lanza who begat Lt. John McClane who begat Robert Plant who begat Liberace who begat Freddie Mercury.
  1. And King Charles I did begat King Charles II who begat Sir Patrick Moore who begat The Mars Volta who begat Hank Marvin who begat Eric Clapton who begat Brian May.
  1. And Animal from The Muppets did begat Christopher Walken who begat Cozy Powell who begat Lulu who begat Ginger Baker who begat Rachel Hunter who begat Tommy Lee who begat Roger Taylor.
  1. And George Harrison, the quiet one from The Beatles did begat John Deacon.

QUEEN (1973)

  1. Now rock & roll was very old and stricken in years and naked for all to see; Queen observed this and proclaimed, ‘This will not do.’
  1. And upon rock & roll Queen did place a fine leather jerkin of multi-layered vocal harmonies, an extravagant purple mitre of lead guitar, a shining brass codpiece of rolling bass and smooth espadrilles of armour piercing percussion.
  1. And so it came to pass that rock & roll did once again look smoking. And it was most hellaciously boogieful.
  1. After clothing rock & roll, Queen did nourish the ailing genre at its bosom. And on hearing ‘Liar’, ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ and ‘Son And Daughter’, rock & roll did feel quite perky. Because who wouldn’t upon hearing Led Zeppelin in tights with even bigger hair covered in much glitter.
  1. Freddie Mercury was having a simply fabulous time. Until he saw what was going on in Sodom and Gomorrah, that is.
  1. ‘People must never know I am gay’, he said, while writing the song ‘My Fairy King’ for his soon to be famous rock group, Queen, while clad in red leather trousers and a nipple-tight white vest emblazoned with the Superman logo. And so was born a mildly interesting and completely understandable dichotomy that some – but not most – fans of Queen did not realise he was gay.
  1. And yet millions of boorish fans of indie rock did brandish this fact like a get out of jail free card or the actual recipe to Coca-Cola or the lost third tablet of Moses or a personal invitation by the LORD to come and have cream tea in heaven. While most right minded hard rock fans did think, ‘Who cares?’
  1. And while Queen was a fine album and producer Roy Thomas Baker was already helping them cement their sound, it was not fit to clean the feet of what was to follow.
  1. But proceedings did end on a minute long trill of a riff called ‘Seven Seas Of Rhye’ that did thrill like an unexpected but well oiled finger thrust up the fundament of popular music, and did vigorously and gratifyingly tickle the rock & roll prostate before disappearing just as rapidly.

QUEEN II (1974)

  1. And so it came to pass that Brian May did lay down many smoking riffs for Queen II.
  1. Indeed it was noted that these smoking riffs did persuade the children of the Tribe of MOOG and the elders of the Tribe of Novakorg to gather and complain unto the LORD, saying, ‘These smoking riffs are too good. Their attack is pure seraphim! Their sustain is pure cherubim! Likewise their decay and release! Mr May is actually playing upon the synthesizer for there is no way a human guitar could make these heavenly sounds.’
  1. And so Queen did emblazon each album with the legend: ‘No synthesizers’.
  1. And so came to pass a great misunderstanding of the 1970s which was equal to the notion that if you left a two pence piece in a can of Coke overnight it would dissolve completely by the morning or that if one were to swallow chewing gum it would wrap round the heart and kill the chewer – namely that Queen were opposed to synths. To be fair this was not something that was ever cleared up. Especially not by the release of their awful ‘synth pop’ album, Hot Space in 1982.
  1. So it came to pass that Thin White Deuteronomy Mr David Bowie was having his nasal cavities lined with cadmium piping and could not go on Top Of The Pops, leaving a space free for Queen to play their ‘Seven Seas Of Rhye’ single.
  1. Thus did tens of millions of people unexpectedly feel the joyous digital manipulation of their as yet unactivated colonic glam metal gland.
  1. And they did call out from the roof tops, ‘My that is uncomfortable! But unexpectedly invigorating! Please do it again!’


  1. And so they released their first killer Queen album.
  1. Verily this is one of five albums that every home should own (the others being News Of The World, The Works, Queen Live Killers and Flash Gordon).
  1. But then discerning homes should also own The Game, A Night At The Opera, Queen II and A Day At The Races as well.
  1. And Brian May did compose the awesome ‘Brighton Rock’. This was a hymn to the inhabitants of a small seaside unitary authority who felt a great love for ‘rocks’ of freebase cocaine. [citation needed]
  1. Freddie Mercury, already a song writer of rare talent, also blossomed with such unique tracks as ‘Killer Queen’, penned while May was in hospital recovering from hepatitis. And there was much confusion amongst uncultured Queen fans in the North of England who wondered, ‘Why does she keep a mohair tampon in a pretty cabinet?’
  1. Behold! said Queen fans. It is like the arrival of Noel Coward in a latex harlequin suit playing a Flying V while astride a flaming, winged snow leopard in the sky.
  1. And they were not far wrong.
  1. Behold! said Queen fans.’If you do not like ‘Now I’m Here’, you are dead from the neck down. And also from the neck up.’
  1. And they were not far wrong.
  1. And more amazing songs – ‘In The Lap Of The Gods’, ‘Stone Cold Crazy’, ‘She Makes Me (Stormtrooper In Stilettos)’ – did fly from the album and did sting all the children of the world with the venom of intergalactic rock music, like a swarm of bees chasing them hither and thither.


  1. Now did Queen release the UK’s most expensive album made to date.
  1. 539 shekels and that’s not including grand piano hire, a job lot of feather boas and a small vest emblazoned with the Superman logo.
  1. And so it did pass it was a good investment as the band broke America, where they would remain famous until the release of the ‘I Want To Break Free’ video in 1984. For the children of the Tribes of America looked upon what appeared to be the Asian Burt Reynolds in hair rollers and a black leather mini skirt licking his lips lasciviously and experienced some uncomfortable and conflicting feelings.
  1. And Queen’s sound did go forth upon the land and multiply.
  1. They did folk on ‘’39’. Yet this was the kind of folk music that would cause sociology lecturers who sang about popular uprisings of the 19th Century in authentic local accents and dialect much pain and distress.
  1. For the Tolpuddle Martyrs probably did not wear vests emblazoned with the Superman logo.
  1. And they did revenge rock on ‘Death On Two Legs’ which attacked their former manager Norman Sheffield for lining his palace with gold, frankincense and myrrh while the members of a band did not have two shekels to rub together.
  1. And unfortunately ‘Lazing On Sunday Afternoon’ and ‘Seaside Rendezvous’ showed they also suffered from the peculiarly English affliction, Kinks’ Disease, the main symptom being insisting on including music hall tunes concerning cups of tea, dogs with lumbago and the arrival of the postman on otherwise modern sounding albums. See also Blur, The Smiths and XTC.
  1. And lo, they recorded that song…
  1. Bismillah!
  1. Bismillah!
  1. Bismillah! Figaro!
  1. Look! Shut up and stop singing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ or this coach is not going anywhere!
  1. And also they did include Roger Taylor’s composition ‘I’m In Love With My Car’ about his roadie’s passion for his Triumph Dolomite and successfully invented the interior monologue of Jeremy Clarkson.
  1. And when the Venn Diagram that connects Queen and Momus and Derek Bailey is studied, it becomes clear that ‘I’m In Love With My Car’ is not in the small shaded section where the three circles overlap.


  1. And lo, Queen were so happy with A Night At The Opera that they released it again with a slightly different name and no ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
  1. But Freddie Mercury’s gift as a torch singer and deployer of close harmonies had, indeed, become mercurial, as evinced by ‘You Take My Breath Away’.
  1. And if there is a criticism to be levelled at this album it is that several of the songs could have been penned for Elton John by Bernie Taupin at his most mawkish, such as ‘The Millionaire Waltz’ and ‘You And I’.
  1. But did any of Elton John’s albums in the 1970s include ‘Tie Your Mother Down’?
  1. No, they did not.
  1. And lo, they did record the wondrous ‘Somebody To Love’, which reveals the essence of Queen. A tender and introverted piece of soul searching hidden by an unbelievably bombastic exterior, provoking a riot of emotion, like doing poppers at a close friend’s wedding held on the lip of an active volcano.
  1. And when George Michael performed this song at the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, several of the chaps with wings who sit at the right hand of the LORD were seen to rub their knuckles in their eyes and complain about smoke and grit and chopped onions and such like.
  1. And the LORD did say, ‘Truly, we will never see his like again.’


  1. Now it came to pass, in the seventh year of Queen, that they released their finest album.
  1. And from that moment on when the children of the Tribes Of America gathered to watch goat head football or the children of the Tribes Of Syria did gather to see a stoning, they would be accompanied by the sound of STOMP, STOMP, CLAP! STOMP, STOMP, CLAP! Which came to be known as ‘We Will Rock You’.
  1. And when the Gladiators killed yet another batch of hapless Christians in the amphitheatre they did sing ‘We Are The Champions’. But it was a very hollow and deeply unpleasant rendition.
  1. And one of the most apocryphal sounding meetings of the 1970s (but actually true) did lead to one of Queen’s finest moments.
  1. For it came to pass that Sid Vicious, high priest to all oafs, did harangue Dear Freddie thus, “Still bringing ballet to the masses?” Only to be told, “One tries one’s hardest, Mr Ferocious.”
  1. This spiritual victory was then made physical by the recording of their superior and fabulously harmonised ‘punk’ song ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ whose drum roll, ironically, expertly mimics the sound one hears while undergoing a fatal, cocaine induced cardiac arrest.
  1. And lo, Queen quite fancied a dance and not caring a jot what anyone else thought, they revelled in both disco rock (‘Fight From The Inside’) and funk (‘Get Down Make Love’).
  1. And also in contention for album highlight was ‘It’s Late’, featuring a riff that would equal most from AC/DC’s catalogue, some (then) revolutionary finger tapping from Brian May and Freddie treating the last chance of the evening to pull with the same kind of enthusiasm that Cecil B. DeMille usually reserved for the onscreen deployment of biblical plagues.

JAZZ (1978)

  1. And on the first day Freddie did sing, ‘Ibrahim, Ibrahim, Ibrahim, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you. Hey!’
  1. And on the second day Freddie did sing, ‘Mustapha, Mustapha, Mustapha Ibrahim. Mustapha, Mustapha, Mustapha Ibrahim.’
  1. And on the third day Freddie did sing, ‘Mustapha Ibrahim, Mustapha Ibrahim. Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you. Mustapha Ibrahim, al havra kris vanin.’
  1. And on the fourth day Freddie did sing, ‘Mustapha Mustapha – Allah-i na stolei. Mustapha Mustapha – Achtar es na sholei. Mustapha Mustapha – Mohammad dei ya low eshelei. Mustapha Mustapha – ai ai ai ai ahelei. Mustapha, Mustapha, Ist avil ahiln avil ahiln adhim Mustapha, Salaam Aleikum!’
  1. And we were all like, ‘Whut? LOL! Whatevs…’
  1. And the LORD said, ‘Men, you shall be conflicted – and by men, I mean all men who can stand up and chew gum at the same time without drooling, not just feminists and those that take The Guardian – for ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ leaves a lot to be desired lyrically. Apparently even Andy Grey and Richard Keys think it’s a bit off colour.’
  1. And men who moisturized and talked about their feelings also had their patience tried by the video to ‘Bicycle Race’.
  1. But then I guess it was the 1970s.
  1. And so it came to pass that even Andrea Dworkin did grudgingly comment that the riff to ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ was “admittedly smoking”.
  1. And lo, Queen did record ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and wedding DJs suddenly felt their job get 50% easier.

THE GAME (1980)

  1. The revelation was that Queen had a secret weapon – John Deacon.
  1. And after hanging out with Chic, Deacon did write his own disco number, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’. And it was righteous.
  1. And it was their biggest hit in America.
  1. And boring fans of indie rock did proclaim that the many million black people in America who bought the single did not realise that Queen were white. Even though a photograph of Queen features prominently on the sleeve of the record.
  1. And the album was the first that did not bear the slogan ‘No Synthesizers’.
  1. And this was a good thing.
  1. And Queen never had a better one two opening salvo than ‘Play The Game’ followed by ‘Dragon Attack’.
  1. And so it came to pass that Freddie Mercury did write ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ in five minutes while taking a bubble bath in the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich. On towelling himself down he presented it to Roger Taylor and John Deacon to finish off, before heading off to a fashionable downtown dungeon to talk to some leather-clad gentlemen with bullwhips about the Afghanistan question.
  1. And this is why if there wasn’t already a gigantic gold statue of Freddie Mercury in the absolute epicentre of London, one would have to be built.


  1. And so it was decreed that every time a group of three or more students did have reason to sit down in the Quiet Carriage on a Virgin train, that the fat one should bellow, ‘GORDON’S ALIVE!’ And then the female one should bellow, ‘Flash! I love you but we only have 15 minutes to save the Earth!’
  1. And it was also decreed that they be so pleased with their Wildean deployment of wit they should repeat this performance all the way to Newport Pagnell or until the intervention of a drunk squaddie called Dave.
  1. And at first the fans were angry because Flash Gordon barely contained any of Freddie singing or Brian playing guitar.
  1. But it did contain booming synths that did make all the children of the Tribes Of Roland wee in their lemon scented pants.
  1. And when it rocked (‘Football Fight’, ‘Battle Theme’, ‘Vultan’s Theme’, ‘Crash Dive On Mingo City’, ‘The Hero’) – it rocked as if Vangelis had joined Hawkwind.
  1. And when it was ambient (‘The Love Theme’, ‘Arboria’,) it sounded like Eno’s Apollo but played by Eno when he wore a lot of feathers and make up.
  1. And lo, the reasonable question was asked, ‘Has the production on Brian May’s guitar ever sounded as good as it did here and on The Game?’

HOT SPACE (1982)

  1. Blessed is he who listens to Queen.
  1. For sometimes it is a thankless task.
  1. And it was recognized that it was a terrible album.
  1. I mean, Jazz wasn’t very good but this sucked Alsatian balls.
  1. And before the year was out, even Freddie did deny Hot Space three times. Once on stage at Wembley to booing fans, saying, ‘It’s only an album… I don’t know what all the fuss is about!’
  1. And the album did not bear the slogan ‘No Synthesizers’.
  1. But perhaps it should have borne the slogan ‘No Synthesizers’ because it is hard to imagine so many whack sounds coming out of a guitar.
  1. I mean, ‘Put Out The Fire’ is ok, but who wants a Queen album where Brian May doesn’t play guitar, Roger Taylor doesn’t play drums and John Deacon doesn’t play bass?
  1. But then, even Queen’s worst album contains ‘Under Pressure’.
  1. Which, at the end of the day, says a lot about Queen.

THE WORKS (1984)

  1. And so Roger Taylor said unto the people, ‘Let us give unto them the works.’ Which scholars have come to translate as, ‘Let us make amends for Hot Space.’
  1. So there was a heavy, balls out rocker about the cold war with close vocal harmonies called ‘Hammer To Fall’. And lo, it was magnificent.
  1. Give it to me one more time!
  1. Freddie Mercury made an impassioned plea for the listener to resist all nihilistic and suicidal urges, ‘Keep Passing The Open Windows’.
  1. And even the statutory rock & roll pastiche, ‘Man On The Prowl’, was not that bad.
  1. And then there was Roger Taylor’s amazing single ‘Radio Gaga’, inspired by his infant son saying, ‘radio ca ca’.
  1. The song contains the noble sentiment, ‘You’ve yet to have your finest hour.’
  1. But sadly, anyone who has heard George Lamb or Chris Moyles knows that this idyllic radiophonic utopian sentiment may unfortunately become something of a pipe dream.
  1. And after releasing The Works so it came to pass that Queen did play Live Aid. And it was most righteous.
  1. And two billion people did have their balls blown clean off.
  1. And after their 18 minute long set Queen’s singer did stride off stage, waltz straight up to a short Irish man dressed in black wearing Cuban heels and put his arm round him, saying: ‘Oooooh! I like YOU. Mmmmmm!’
  1. Which is how it came to pass that immediately after rocking the entire planet to its super dense, ultra hot, iron core, Freddie Mercury did try and fuck Bono in the artist’s entrance.
  1. Truly, we will never see his like again.

All of Queen’s studio albums up to and including Hot Space have recently been reissued by Island

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today