Relive And Listen To The John Deacon Songs From Queen
Celebrating This Bass Legend’s Work
Ever since the death of frontman Freddie Mercury, John Deacon has become a recluse – rarely appearing in public and leaving bandmates Roger Taylor and Brian May to continue touring. But Queen was known for having all four members take over songwriting duties and Deacon is no exception. Sure, he did not contribute vocals to their songs but he penned several chart-topping hits for the group. He was even inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.
Brian May said in an interview, “John was a dark horse, generally the quiet guy in Queen. We would ask him sometimes, ‘Have you got anything, John?’ and he was very self-effacing about what he had written.”
Here are seven Queen songs written by the band’s quiet member.
7. Misfire (Sheer Heart Attack, 1974)
It’s the first song Deacon wrote for Queen – it’s catchy and quirky. Even with such massive talent, Deacon was shy when it came to making song suggestions and it was his bandmates who helped him gain the confidence to later write monster hits. In a way, he was often considered their secret weapon.
6. You and I (A Day at the Races, 1976)
A piano-driven track, this is one of their more underrated tunes. Musically and lyrically, it’s brilliant and strong which makes us wonder why it didn’t get more appreciation. It’s a melodic rock number that’s just as superb as Queen’s more popular songs.
5. One Year of Love (A Kind of Magic, 1986)
An absolute masterpiece. And from Misfire to this – it shows Deacon’s excellent songwriting skills. Talk about range and diversity. The arrangement is pretty simple and the clear highlight is Freddie Mercury’s vocal performance. Too bad they never played this live in their concerts.
4. You’re My Best Friend (A Night at the Opera, 1976)
How do you follow-up a lead single like the tour de force Bohemian Rhapsody? Queen’s answer was to release a catchy love song as the second single. And You’re My Best Friend didn’t disappoint. It peaked at #16 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. Deacon’s inspiration was his wife, Veronica Tetzlaff. He later revealed, “Freddie didn’t like the electric piano, so I took it home and I started to learn on the electric piano and basically that’s the song that came out when I was learning to play piano. It was written on that instrument and it sounds best on that.”
3. I Want To Break Free (The Works, 1984)
It didn’t crack the top 40 on the US Billboard Hot 100 but it topped the charts in several countries. It was also certified platinum in the US and UK. The music video became controversial since it showed the band members cross-dressing as a parody to the popular British soap opera Coronation Street. It was even banned on MTV. Still, the song became a classic.
2. Spread Your Wings (News of the World, 1978)
There’s absolutely no reason not to like this. Although it’s well-loved by Queen fans, it wasn’t exactly a hit and only peaked at #34 on the UK Singles. Another underrated song, it’s powerful and heavy-hitting. Especially with Freddie’s vocals, it’s one of Queen’s finest musical moments.
1. Another One Bites The Dust (The Game, 1980)
John Deacon finally getting the recognition he deserves. This topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and is Queen’s best-selling single with over 7 million copies sold. According to Deacon, “I’d been wanting to do a track like ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ for a while, but originally all I had was the line and the bass riff. Gradually, I filled it in and the band added ideas. I could hear it as a song for dancing but had no idea it would become as big as it did. The song got picked up off our album and some of the black radio stations in the US started playing it, which we’ve never had before. Michael Jackson actually suggested we release it as a single. He was a fan of ours and used to come to our shows.”