Queen

Few performers in any onstage genre have displayed the technical prowess

and showmanship that Farrokh Bulsara, better known as Freddie Mercury,

executed on rock’s greatest stages in a four-octave vocal range, in harlequin

tights or barefoot in shorts, with Brian May scintillating on the guitar he built

with his dad. Freddie and Queen always did everything bigger: witness their

Live Aid Performance (which, pace U2, has been called the greatest set of all time)

and their Queen Rock Montréal DVD. Queen was criticized for playing South Africa’s Sun City,

contra a worldwide 1984 boycott, but the band’s first Greatest Hits release, a 3 CD set, is

considered an essential part of the hard rock/pop connoisseur’s collection. Queen racked

up an astonishing amount of hits, from Bohemian Rhapsody (Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys

thought it was “so good it’s scary”) to Under Pressure with David Bowie; in the end, Freddie

was more than one of the ultimate rock stars, he was a Champion.