Killer Queen is a glam rock song by Queen. The song was recorded between July and September in 1974 at Trident Sound studios and was first released as a single on 1974-10-11 with the single version of Flick of the Wrist as the B-side, then as track A2 on Sheer Heart Attack on 1974-11-01. The single and album releases are identical, but the song has been remixed various times with various edits and Dolby 5.1 output.
The song was written and composed by Freddie Mercury. In the song, Freddie sings vocals, backing vocals, and plays piano and is the finger snapping, Brian May plays electric guitar and sings backing vocals, although his contributions were added later because he was ill during the initial recording, Roger Taylor plays drums and various percussion and sings backing vocals, and John Deacon plays bass guitar.
This was Queen's first #1 hit in the UK, and charted at #2 in the USA, finally putting them on the map. Freddie described the song saying, "It's about a high class call girl. I'm trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That's what the song is about, though I'd prefer people to put their interpretation upon it – to read into it what they like."
While I'm sure I heard this song on the radio in my younger years, the first memory of it I have is when I was riding in the car with my mother and this song came on the radio in the early 1990s. I recognized it as Queen's work because of the similarity in vocals Bohemian Rhapsody which had seen a Renaissance due to popularity of Wayne's World which had recently been released. I remember both my mother and I enjoying the song, and then, not too long after, she bought Queen's Greatest Hits, and I became hooked. Because the album I had didn't contain lyrics, I initially misheard some lines like, "gunpowder, gelatine," I thought was "got that agility," and I can't remember what I heard from "Geisha Minah," but it wasn't that! My mother assumed it was "Asia Minor," which is actually kind of correct, as the lyrics is a play on words replacing "Asia" with "Geisha."
The overall sound of the song is really interesting. There are various layers to it both in the vocals and instrumentation and their flightiness give the song a hoity-toity feminine sound. Freddie really shows off his range and ability, and I like the distortion on the word "laser beam." Brian's guitar work in this song is phenomenal, especially the solo and the rip before "playful as a pussy cat." Roger has some nice percussion here too like the bell after "she never kept the same address," and the rapid beats during, "to absolutely drive you wild."
She keeps Moët et Chandon in her pretty cabinet. "Let them eat cake," she says, Just like Marie Antoinette. A built-in remedy for Khrushchev and Kennedy, And anytime an invitation you can't decline. Caviar and cigarettes, Well versed in etiquette, Extr'ordinarily nice. She's a killer queen. Gunpowder gelatine, Dynamite with a laser beam. Guaranteed to blow your mind, anytime. Recommended at the price, Insatiable an appetite. Wanna try? To avoid complications, She never kept the same address. In conversation, she spoke just like a baroness. Met a man from China went down to Geisha Minah. Then again incidentally if you're that way inclined. (she's a killer queen) Perfume came naturally from Paris. (naturally) For cars she couldn't care less. Fastidious and precise. She's a killer queen. Gunpowder gelatine, Dynamite with a laser beam. Guaranteed to blow your mind, anytime. Drop of a hat, she's as willing as, Playful as a pussy cat. Then momentarily out of action, Temporarily out of gas, To absolutely drive you wild, wild. She's all out to get you. She's a killer queen. Gunpowder gelatine, Dynamite with a laser beam. Guaranteed to blow your mind, anytime. Recommended at the price, Insatiable an appetite. Wanna try? Wanna try?
- youtube.com/watch?v=r1hSplgOfoc - Album version.
- youtube.com/watch?v=1Ti2P_z5IPw - Official video.
- youtube.com/watch?v=VS54zmuEY3s - Remastered version.
- youtube.com/watch?v=2ZBtPf7FOoM - Top of the Pops, 1974.
- youtube.com/watch?v=D9PHG6y76ko - Live at Earl's Court, London, 1977.
- youtube.com/watch?v=hazzaNv_poo - Live.
- youtube.com/watch?v=3qvpWklQ6Ic - Live in Japan, 1985.
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_Queen - Wikipedia.
- discogs.com/Queen-Killer-Queen/master/5206 - Discogs.
- queensongs.info/song-analysis/songwriting-analyses/no-synth-era/sheer-heart-attack/lily-of-the-valley - Song analysis.
- songmeanings.com/songs/view/13156 - Song Meanings.