Queen Revisit Iconic 1981 Package On 50th Anniversary Series

Bruce Henne | 08-11-2021

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(hennemusic) Queen marked the end of their first decade with the 1981 release of a "Greatest Hits" collection on the latest episode of the weekly 50th anniversary video series The Greatest.

The project was issued on the heels of the band's biggest hit singles - "Another One Bites The Dust" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" - and their only US No. 1 album, "The Game."

When it came to choosing the tracks, the hits package was constructed with the same meticulous care Queen had become famous for on their previous albums.

"Every album we ever made, including the Hits albums," explains Brian May, "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 bona fide 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."

Queen's "Greatest Hits" album was unique by music industry standards in that there was no single, universal track listing or cover art; rather, the group provided customized song lists based on what tunes were hits in different regions around the world.

"Greatest Hits" debuted on the UK charts at No. 2 before spending four weeks on top in Queen's homeland; the compilation is the best-selling album of all time in the UK and, in 2019, it became the first album ever to sell 6 million copies in the country, with one in four British households owning a copy of the record.

"It's amazing, I have to pinch myself. I have to say 'yes, it is THE biggest album of all time in this country, and I never realized it would get to this kind of height," adds May. "I mean, 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. 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." Watch the video here.

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