Queen’s first single to successfully make its way to the US and Canada, “Killer Queen” is considered to be one of the tracks that turned the band into a worldwide phenomenon and musical legends.
“It’s (Killer Queen) about a high class call girl. I’m trying to say that classy people can be whores too,”, Mercury tells the New Musical Express in November 1974. “That’s what the song is about, though I’d prefer people to put their interpretation upon it – to read into they like.” May also states that the track was “the turning point… it was the song that best summed up our kind of music”. With lyrics such as: “To avoid complications, she never kept the same address”, and “She keeps a Moët & Chandon in her pretty cabinet”, alluding to the call girl’s classy and more expensive lifestyle. In regards to the musical components of the track, it uses the main key of Eb major, which is very unorthodox for Rock music. The song also uses a lot of multi-tracking in the vocals and guitar solos, as well as pitch bending, distortion and string bending.
While there is no official music video for the song, back in August 2008 the official Queen YouTube channel uploaded their 1974 live performance of the song on UK music show “Top Of The Pops”, which has over 92 million views. The song has proven to be a huge influence for pop musicians today such as Katy Perry, and Australian group 5 Seconds of Summer, who actually covered the song.
Release Date: 21st October 1974
Songwriter/s: Freddie Mercury
Producer/s: Roy Thomas Baker, Queen
Label/s: EMI (UK), Elektra (US)
Music Video Director:
Chart Rankings, Certifications & Awards: It received a silver certification in the UK, with over 250,000 sales. It peaked at #2 in the UK, #15 in the Canada Top Singles and #12 in the US Billboard charts. The track also managed to make its way to Australia, landing itself at #24 on the charts. The song won Mercury his first “Ivor Novello Award”.