Since starting out in the late 1960s, Queen have gone on to become one of the most celebrated British music acts of all time. Over the decades, they’ve built up an extensive catalogue of bona fide anthems that have practically become part of a British music fan’s DNA. Indeed, their 1975 hit Bohemian Rhapsody has often been voted in polls as one of the greatest songs of all time, and broke new ground by pioneering the music video as a form of marketing a single.


Queen also became known for putting one of music’s most iconic frontmen, Freddie Mercury, into the spotlight, as well as one of its most famous guitarists in the form of Brian May. Yet even after Mercury’s death in 1991, and bassist John Deacon’s retirement in 1997, Queen kept on going, despite a seven-year period of inactivity from that year until 2004.

Their music inspired Ben Elton’s musical We Will Rock You and Mercury’s life story was brought to the big screen for the 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, while May and drummer Roger Taylor still tour together to this day with Adam Lambert on vocals.

There’s even an official Queen tribute band, Queen Extravaganza, who regularly head on the road with members hand-picked by May and Taylor themselves.

Queen have released a whopping 15 studio albums, meaning that new fans have a lot to sink their teeth into. We’ve compiled them all in order for your listening pleasure – and listening to them in this way gives an interesting picture of how the band evolved over the years.

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How to listen to Queen's albums in chronological order

This option gives you the chronological order of Queen’s albums, starting with their 1973 self-titled album and finishing with 1995’s Made in Heaven.

  • Queen (1973)
  • Queen II (1974)
  • Sheer Heart Attack (1974)
  • A Night at the Opera (1975)
  • A Day at the Races (1976)
  • News of the World (1977)
  • Jazz (1978)
  • The Game (1980)
  • Flash Gordon (1980)
  • Hot Space (1982)
  • The Works (1984)
  • A Kind of Magic (1986)
  • The Miracle (1989)
  • Innuendo (1991)
  • Made in Heaven (1995)
Freddie Mercury of Queen, 1982 Tour at the Various Locations in Oakland, California (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage, BA)
Freddie Mercury of Queen performing in 1982. Getty / Steve Jennings

Queen (1973)

Queen’s debut album wasn’t an instant success, and bar the half-finished instrumental version of Seven Seas of Rhye which concludes the record, it doesn’t really contain any of Queen’s most recognisable songs. Debut single Keep Yourself Alive had promise but didn’t exactly ignite the airwaves, but what the album does do is showcase a young band at their most primal, hungry and impatient, eager to chase success. Influenced by the then-emerging genres of heavy metal and progressive rock, the album laid the foundations for the illustrious discography that would come after.

Queen II (1974)

On the follow-up to their debut, Queen started to sound a little more like the band we’d come to recognise today, bringing in their especially distinctive vocal harmonies, multi-layered overdubs, fantastical lyrics and eclectic blend of different styles of rock music. It’s often pinpointed as one of Queen’s heaviest records but still remains one of their slightly lesser-known ones, and the songs on it aren’t quite as well-known. However, the completed version of Seven Seas of Rhye makes an appearance and helped to elevate the band’s status, finally cracking the Top 10 after it was performed on Top of the Pops (in a slot that David Bowie was originally meant to take).

Sheer Heart Attack (1974)

Although it was made against a fraught backdrop, with Brian May out of action with a stomach ulcer in the early part of recording (having just had hepatitis on their debut US tour), Queen’s fortunes were slowly starting to change by album three. Streamlining their sound to make it more conventional and radio-friendly, as opposed to the grandiose progressive stylings of their previous albums, ended up paying off. The critics who once frowned at them began to warm up to them, and the era also produced a long-time live favourite (and frequent set opener) in the form of Now I’m Here and the flamboyant chart hit Killer Queen.

A Night at the Opera (1975)

Following the success of Sheer Heart Attack, Queen’s record label EMI gave them the green light to record what was reportedly the most expensive album that had ever been made at the time. The cash was evidently put to good use, since A Night at the Opera comfortably sat pretty at the top of the UK Album Chart for four straight weeks. Most significantly, it birthed Bohemian Rhapsody, which defied the odds by leaping to number one despite record label executives’ concern it was too long – clocking it at just under six minutes – to be a real hit.

A Day at the Races (1976)

A Day at the Races was intended as something of a companion to A Night at the Opera, with similar titles (both named after Marx brothers films) and similar artwork. It also proved to be a similar success, even if they’d be hard-pressed to replicate the dizzying heights Bohemian Rhapsody reached. The album shot to number one, propelled by the success of the especially well-known Somebody to Love, while Tie Your Mother Down also got an audience after having been written by Brian May in the band’s infancy. It was also the band’s first self-produced album and ultimately solidified their position at the top of British music.

News of the World (1977)

The year 1977 is best remembered as the year punk reached its pinnacle, and in contrast, Queen’s outlandish, extravagant fare was not only its polar opposite but seemed like everything punk stood against. In a surprise twist of fate, however, Queen went on to deliver their most successful album ever, shifting seven million copies worldwide. Intent on a more mainstream-facing approach, News of the World was also the album that brought forth the iconic double-A side We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions, proving in the process that they could remain a steadfast musical force in spite of the ebb and flow of musical trends.

Jazz (1978)

Queen approached their sixth studio album from a point of complete creative freedom – being at the peak of their powers, they could seemingly do whatever they want, as the title referenced. Perhaps a little less interested in mainstream sensibilities than their previous few albums, Jazz was more than content with being off-the-wall, encompassing the gleefully silly Bicycle Race, the curious Mustapha (in which Mercury sings in Arabic and Persian as well as English, and even throws in a few invented words), and the outlandish Fat Bottomed Girls. However, they also found themselves a mainstream hit in the form of the carefree Don’t Stop Me Now. It seemed Queen truly were capable of anything.

The Game (1980)

Queen went to Munich to record their eighth album with the German producer and engineer Reinhold Mack, in none other than dance legend Giorgio Moroder’s state-of-the-art studio. Both did plenty of heavy lifting to rework Queen’s sound, and they also caved in to using a synthesiser after resisting doing so for years (which can be heard very clearly on opening song Play the Game). It spawned some of Queen’s more dramatic singles, including the moody, subtly disco-influenced Another One Bites the Dust with its iconic bassline, as well as the more upbeat Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Ultimately, it proved a strong note to enter a new decade on.

John Deacon and Freddie Mercury of Queen performing in 1980
John Deacon and Freddie Mercury of Queen performing in 1980. Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Flash Gordon (1980)

Mere months after the release of The Game, Queen were back, but not in their usual guise. They’d been tasked with soundtracking the space opera film Flash Gordon and the quartet were perfectly suited to the job, but the true impact of the songs is, as expected, best experienced with the visuals they’re designed to go with. Indeed, all but two of the songs are synth-laden instrumentals, but the band still created an instantly memorable moment with the “FLASH! AH!” hook in the opening track Flash’s Theme, which remains the best known song on the soundtrack.

Hot Space (1982)

If there were ever to be a “dud” album in Queen’s catalogue, most aficionados would probably point to this one, where the band flirted with the stylings of funk and disco as opposed to their usual rockier home turf. The results were notoriously inconsistent and as a result, the album didn’t even scrape the top 10. It has also been pointed to as the place where the band lost the momentum they’d been building up in America. However, its saving grace was their famed collaboration with David Bowie, Under Pressure, offering a full-circle moment to their first break on Top of the Pops.

The Works (1984)

After the wobble that was Hot Space, Queen stepped back, took a breather and regrouped with a new focus and renewed energy. The Works is heralded as a return to form that melded the disco and fun that intrigued Mercury and Deacon respectively with the hard rock sensibilities of May and Taylor, which altogether made for a more complete sound. The band were back to crafting stone cold classics, which on The Works included the gloriously campy I Want to Break Free, the zany Radio Ga Ga and the blazing show of guitar power that is Hammer to Fall. Queen were finally back to their best.

A Kind of Magic (1986)

A Kind of Magic was a de facto soundtrack album – six of its nine songs were used in the film Highlander, although it wasn’t recorded and written with that in mind. It saw Queen take the simple move of playing to their strengths, getting re-acquainted with their grandiose side, as well as their hard rock roots for the bombastic One Vision, the anthemic It’s a Kind of Magic and the emotional power ballad Who Wants to Live Forever. It’s also credited for being more consistent than both Hot Space and The Works. Regardless, they were going steady and continually crafting hits at the same time.

Freddie Mercury and Brian May of Queen performing at Wembley Stadium in 1986
Freddie Mercury and Brian May of Queen performing at Wembley Stadium in 1986. Dave Hogan/Getty Images

The Miracle (1989)

Despite its slightly hideous artwork, The Miracle was another sterling example of how deftly the band could merge styles, with guitar and synths both having their own unique parts to play. The album boasted a late career (not that it was publicly known at the time) highlight in the form of the soaring I Want It All, while the funky The Invisible Man cheekily name-checked all four of the group’s members. For all its glory, however, things were fraught behind the scenes – Brian May was having marital issues (and Scandal takes aim at the British press for hounding him) and, most significantly, Freddie Mercury had been diagnosed with AIDS and was writing music with the end of his life in sight.

Innuendo (1991)

Even as Mercury’s health declined - and he had to deny he was ill to the press more and more frequently as his appearance became cause for concern – he was insistent on continuing to work. The final album the band would release as a four-piece was brimming with humour but also agony. Few songs demonstrate this more clearly than I’m Going Slightly Mad, which seems amusing on the surface but had an unforeseen morbid edge, since it related to Mercury’s mental decline as his AIDS progressed. There were further triumphs in the form of Headlong, the powerful The Show Must Go On and the sombre These Are the Days of Our Lives, the latter marking Mercury’s final appearance on screen, where he looks hardly recognisable from the Freddie Mercury most people would picture. Sadly, he passed away just nine months after Innuendo hit the shelves.

Made in Heaven (1995)

Before he died, Freddie Mercury attempted to record himself singing and playing piano as much as his ailing health would permit after Queen had finished making Innuendo. These ideas were then spun into full songs by the surviving three members of the band, who also dug further back into the archives to find more recordings to pad the album out with. The result is a not-quite posthumous album and while it’s hardly seamless, it holds an undeniable importance for the men making it, while the fans listening got to hear new material from Mercury one last time.

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