Queen: “Killer Queen” (1974)

Queen commands, from a snap of the fingers to a flick of the wrist.

Kronomyth 3.01: Cut down by eternity.

The advance single from Sheer Heart Attack is the first truly classic Queen song. I’ve been singing it for so long to myself that, even when I discovered that I had about 20 percent of the lyrics wrong, I still kept singing the wrong words because I’d come to prefer them over the years. Killer Queen is unbelievably tight; not a hair is out of place. By contrast, the rest of Sheer Heart Attack is a tousled mess.

Flick of the Wrist is one of Freddie Mercury’s over-the-top, miniature epics. The song is a direct shot at unscrupulous record executives who force musicians to sign (presumably unfair) contracts and then turn them into a “muzak-fake machine.” The song may have had original manager Norman Sheffield in mind, who was the subject for Queen’s “Death on Two Legs.”

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Original 7-inch single version

A1. Killer Queen (Freddie Mercury) (3:00)
B1. Flick of the Wrist (Freddie Mercury) (3:18)

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single reissue (Elektra Spun Gold)
A1. Killer Queen (Mercury) (3:03)
B1. Liar (Queen*) (3:03)

*Originally credited to Freddie Mercury, which is probably the correct attribution.

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single reissue (Japan Elektra)
A1. Killer Queen (Freddie Mercury) (2:59)
B1. The Seven Seas of Rhye (Freddie Mercury) (2:50)

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single reissue (EMI Golden 45’s)
A1. You’re My Best Friend (John Deacon) (2:50)
B1. Killer Queen (Freddie Mercury) (3:00)

The Product

Released in October 1974 in the UK (EMI, EMI 2229), Belgium (EMI, 4C 006-96060), France (EMI, 2C 004-96.060), Germany (EMI,1C 006 96 060), Itay (EMI, 3C 006-96060) and the Netherlands (EMI, 5C 006-96060), in December 1974 in the US and Canada (Elektra, E-45226), in 1974 in Brazil (EMI, 4041), Japan (Elektra, P-1357E) and Yugoslavia (EMI/Jugoton, SEMI-88792) and in 1975 in Australia (Elektra, EKM-45226) with regional picture sleeve; reached #2 on the UK charts and #12 on the US charts (charted on February 8, 1975 for 19 weeks)

  1. Re-released with “Liar” on back-to-back hits 7-inch single on April 25, 1976 in the US (Elektra Spun Gold, E-45080).
  2. Re-released with “The Seven Seas of Rhye” in 1976 in Japan (Elektra, P-103E) with picture sleeve.
  3. Re-released with “You’re My Best Friend” on B2B hits 7-inch single in March 1984 in the UK (EMI Golden 45’s, G45 1) with picture sleeve.

E-45226 45 rpm single

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