Queen are without doubt one of the biggest rock bands of all time. But there is a particular aspect of their success that Brian May and Roger Taylor have to pinch themselves over. And it’s the fact that alongside Freddie Mercury and John Deacon, they hold the most successful album of all time in the UK, Queen’s Greatest Hits.
Released 40 years, Queen’s Greatest Hits has been UK No 1 four times and has spent 956 weeks on the album charts since.
The 17-track record has also been certified 22x platinum with sales of over 6 million in the band’s home country.
This week’s episode of Queen The Greatest looked back at the album, with Brian reflecting on its success.
The 74-year-old said: “It’s amazing, I have to pinch myself. I have to say, ‘Yes, it is THE biggest album of all time in this country.’”
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Brian continued: “And I never realised it would get to this kind of height. It’s the ultimate compliment for an artist really to be sewn into people’s lives to that extent.
“So it feels great. And we all feel the same; I know Roger feels exactly the same.
“We had that privilege of actually being triggers in people’s lives which will always be the case as long as this generation, all these generations, are around, that will be the case. So, I feel very proud.”
The rock guitarist also spoke of how Queen Greatest Hits’ tracklist was ordered too.
Brian shared: “Every album we ever made, including the Hits albums, we thought, ‘Yeah, people are going to be putting this on their turntables’, as it was at the time, ‘And they will be listening to it in sequence.’ And we want to give them a journey, the tracks have to work in sequence.
“It’s amazing that we accrued that kind of catalogue of bonafide hits. Most people’s Greatest Hits are like, ‘Yeah, we’ve got a couple but we’re going to throw a few things in which are kind of, could’ve been hits.’
“But this is all gold plated, chart material. So it’s easy, you just put the biggest ones in and that was it.”
The Queen guitarist then went on to look back at the other Greatest Hits albums the band put out, but admitted the original was always the best.
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Brian added: “And then we went on and we did Greatest Hits 2, and Greatest Hits 3, all of which have done great.
“And we have the Platinum Collection, which is all three of them together, so it’s done amazingly well.
“But the Greatest Hits 1 is something very special, and every track you listen to you think, ‘Ooh, yeah.’”
Next week’s Queen The Greatest will look back at Brian May’s Hits.