Pop and rock music

Queen, like many other bands, have an instrumental line-up of guitars, drums, vocals and keyboards. This ensemble line-up was based on the rock ’n’ roll bands from the USA in the 1950s.

Queen have been producing and performing music since the 1970s and this timeline indicates important dates in the band's history.

A discography timeline of key moments for the band, Queen.

Popular music evolved from swing bands and orchestrated ballads from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. By the end of the 1960s the younger generations were listening to bands such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones and David Bowie. These bands were considered rebellious, breaking the music conventions of the time, which was part of the attraction for the youth of the 1960s.

Subgenres of popular music in the 1970s

Much diverse music was created in the 1970s. Here are some examples of the most familiar sounds from this time and with predominant artists.

  • Heavy metal - known for loud distorted guitars and shouting vocals. The band Black Sabbath has been a major influence on this genre since they released the song Paranoid in 1970.
  • Folk music - traditional music from a particular country of origin. In 1971 Carole King sang the single Tapestry, which is a good example of 1970s folk music.
  • Progressive rock - generally, longer rock-based songs that draw influence from classical music, such as using an orchestra to support the band. John Miles's song Music, released in 1976, is an example of this.
  • Punk rock – short songs with a basic structure and usually played at a fast tempo, with heavily distorted guitars and power chords, and loud vocals that sound harsh. The band The Clash were a major part of the punk scene.
  • Disco - developed in nightclubs and influenced by many other styles, eg Motown. This music is characterised by a fast tempo and a four on the floor rhythm. DJs were able to play and mix tracks in clubs, which helped make the style popular.
  • Funk - music based on grooves with a heavy emphasis on rhythms and strong basslines. The song Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder includes these defining elements.
  • Reggae - comprises syncopated, short and detached chords and percussion shuffle rhythms. There are often clear, simple harmonies, a 4/4 time signature, a medium slow tempo and a backbeat emphasis on beats 2 and 4. The song Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley and The Wailers is a good example of reggae.

Queen produced a variety of music under different genres throughout their career. This infographic demonstrates the key genres of Queen's music.

A timeline history of the significant genres of Queen's music.