Is Queen the only band in pop history where all four members scored a mega-hit? That claim is made in the podcast The Last Days of Freddie Mercury. Our fact check shows that it is correct.
“I thought it was very special to discover that Queen has four songwriters in her, all of whom have also written big hits for the band. Which band has that? I don’t know any other example in pop music,” the makers of the podcast discussed. The Last Days of Freddie Mercury.
‘All four a number 1 hit’
“It’s absolutely right, Queen is the only one in this,” says music journalist Jean-Paul Heck, who is currently in the theater with Queen: The Story. “Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon are all four musicians who have a number 1 hit to their name.” There are bands that write together. “The Birds for example, but there are more examples. If you look specifically at a band in which one band member scored a number 1 hit, you only end up with Queen,” says Heck.
Music connoisseur from the very beginning Leo Blokhuis agrees. “I doubted the American band The Band for a while, but Robbie Robertson was really the most important composer there, although others did help. At Queen they all wrote hits, and big ones too. That is unique.”
Freddie, Brian, John and Roger
What characterizes the Queen and what characterizes their hits? Diversity, Heck says. “Freddie was the man of the bombast and many piano pieces. Such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Somebody To Love. Brian May was the rocker of the group, and wrote Tie Your Mother Down, among other things. on Fat Bottomed Girls“, tells Heck.
“John Deacon was the hipster of the group, especially in the late 1970s. His first big hit was Another One Bites the Dust and a few years later I Want To Break Free. And Roger Taylor kept an eye on the trends, he made extensive use of synthesizers, in his songs Radio Ga Ga and A Kind of Magic, among others..”
Members who write so much
“One of the hallmarks of Queen’s success is the diversity of songs,” Heck continues. “And maybe that’s why they’re still so popular to this day, even with younger generations.”
Even today, there is no band where all four members write and score so many hits, Heck says.
What about The Beatles?
But what about that other great pop band: The Beatles? “Before that, only Lennon, McCartney and Harrison wrote hits. So three of the four. But when they broke up, the fourth Beatle member, Ringo Starr, turned out to be able to write hits too,” says Beatles fan, Leo Blokhuis. “He wrote It Don’t Come Easy and that was a really big hit in the Netherlands, England and America.”
Didn’t Starr write when he was still with the Beatles? That’s a bit too short sighted. “Ringo wrote Don’t Pass Me By, on The Beatles, better known as The White Album, and Octupus’s Garden on Abbey Road. But we can both say that they didn’t become hits,” says Blokhuis.
Written by Queen
It’s also important to release your music as a band, says music journalist Jean-Paul Heck. “From the royalties it is smarter to divide it among themselves so as not to get a hassle afterwards. Because you also see in the Queen film that it has caused a lot of quarrels. That is why at a certain point they added to their music: Written by Queen.”
One spicy thing that preceded that was when Freddie’s mega hit Bohemian Rhapsody was released, says Leo Blokhuis. “The composer gets money for that, of course, and made good money from it. But in those days you still had vinyl singles, with an A and a B side. And something had to be added to that B side, and there came Coincidentally, he sang the song I’m In Love With My Car by Roger Taylor, so he could just ride on the enormous success of Bohemian Rhapsody. The story went that he immediately drove up in a Rolls Royce.”