Greatest Hits


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Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits (UK version), 1981
Released 2 November 1981 (UK), 3 November 1981 (US)
Recorded 1972 - 1981 at various studios
Length 58:15 (UK), 48:57 (US)
Label EMI (UK), Elektra (US)
Producer(s) Queen, variously with Roy Thomas Baker, John Anthony, Mike Stone, and Mack
Queen chronology
Flash Gordon
Greatest Hits
Hot Space


While 1980 technically marked the tenth anniversary of Queen, there were a few factors that contributed to putting off celebrations: the first, and most important, was that while Freddie, Brian, and Roger had performed their first concert together as Queen in July 1970, it wasn't until February 1971 that John joined the group; the second, more practical, factor was that Queen had already released a studio album (The Game) and a soundtrack recording (Flash Gordon) that year, so to release a third LP was viewed as flooding the market with product.

What appeared in November 1981 (just in time for the holiday season, naturally) was Greatest Hits, chronicling Queen's climb up the charts from their very first appearance (Seven Seas Of Rhye) to the present day. (Some countries included Under Pressure, but the UK release didn't.) One of the caveats of the compilation was that it was to feature hit singles only; if it didn't appear as the A-side of a single or reach the UK Top 30, then it had no home on the album. Obviously, there were some concessions for overseas tracklists, which can be found here, but for UK pressings, these rules held true for both this release and its follow-up. The appearance of We Will Rock You, which was never a UK A-side until the Five collaboration in 2000, is the only exception to the rule.

The album came during a transitional phase in Queen's career: they had just released the transatlantic hit The Game and just performed their first concerts in South America (February/March 1981) and Mexico (September 1981), which helped exponentially in sales for the album. In 2006, it was reported that the album has sold over 5.4 million copies in the UK alone (making it that country's best-selling album of all time) and over 25 million worldwide.

Greatest Hits remained the only available Queen compilation in the US and the UK (except for the 1984 North American-only release, 15 Of The Best until the second installment, Greatest Hits II, in 1991. Inevitably, various record company switches worldwide meant that several other compilations would appear over the years; most significantly, when Hollywood Records acquired Queen's back catalog in 1990, one of the first orders of business was to come up with an updated greatest hits package, also titled Greatest Hits, which came six months after Classic Queen, a sort of companion release to the UK's Greatest Hits II. Since then, the original UK greatest hits package has been reissued countless times worldwide, leaving many nostalgic for a time when Queen weren't quite so compilation-happy.


UK vinyl version

  • Side 1:
  1. Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Another One Bites The Dust
  3. Killer Queen
  4. Fat Bottomed Girls
  5. Bicycle Race
  6. You're My Best Friend
  7. Don't Stop Me Now
  8. Save Me
  • Side 2:
  1. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  2. Somebody To Love
  3. Now I'm Here
  4. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
  5. Play The Game
  6. Flash
  7. Seven Seas Of Rhye
  8. We Will Rock You
  9. We Are The Champions

US vinyl version

  • Side 1:
  1. Another One Bites The Dust
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody
  3. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  4. Killer Queen
  5. Fat Bottomed Girls
  6. Bicycle Race
  7. Under Pressure
  • Side 2:
  1. We Will Rock You
  2. We Are The Champions
  3. Flash
  4. Somebody To Love
  5. You're My Best Friend
  6. Keep Yourself Alive
  7. Play The Game

2004 We Will Rock You Edition CD

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Another One Bites The Dust
  3. Killer Queen
  4. Fat Bottomed Girls
  5. Bicycle Race
  6. You're My Best Friend
  7. Don't Stop Me Now
  8. Save Me
  9. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  10. Somebody To Love
  11. Now I'm Here
  12. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
  13. Play The Game
  14. Flash's Theme
  15. Seven Seas Of Rhye
  16. We Will Rock You
  17. We Are The Champions
  18. I'm In Love With My Car
  19. Under Pressure (live)
  20. Tie Your Mother Down (live)

Best Buy Bonus DVD

  1. Somebody To Love w/ George Michael - Freddie Mercury Tribute
  2. The Show Must Go On w/ Elton John - 1997 Paris Béjart Ballet

Click here for international tracklistings.


  • Musicians:
John Deacon - bass guitar, guitar
Brian May - guitars, vocals, piano, synthesizer
Freddie Mercury - vocals, piano, synthesizer
Roger Taylor - drums, percussion, vocals, timpani


Country Release date Chart run Weeks in chart Additional comments
UK 7 November 1981 2-1-1-1-1-2-2-22-3-2-3-5-9-14-14-13-19-20-22-31-35-43-53-41-49-59-60-56-
322 224 consecutive weeks in chart, 14 weeks in Top 10, 4 weeks at #1
UK 18 June 1988 (1st re-entry) 99 1 323 weeks to date
UK 10 September 1988 (2nd re-entry) 99 1 324 weeks to date
UK 24 June 1989 (3rd re-entry) 72 1 325 weeks to date
UK 3 March 1990 (4th re-entry) 59-69-66 3 328 weeks to date
UK 2 February 1991 (5th re-entry) 71-75 2 330 weeks to date
UK 9 November 1991 (6th re-entry) 68-72-67-0-9-8-7-7-8-7-6-7-9-13-16-19-21-30-35-41-49-58-63-66-48-
61 (41 consecutive, 9 in Top 10) 391 weeks to date
UK 3 April 1993 (7th re-entry) 74-0-0-0-0-71-57-0-41-39-53-64-64-73 9 400 weeks to date
UK 14 August 1993 (8th re-entry) 65-67-61-62-73 5 405 weeks to date
UK 15 January 1994 (9th re-entry) 72 1 406 weeks to date
UK 30 April 1994 (10th re-entry) 23-21-17-24-28-46-47-73 8 414 weeks to date
UK 17 September 1994 (11th re-entry) 32-23-32-37-37-42-47-66 8 422 weeks to date
UK 16 December 1995 (12th re-entry) 69-66-66 3 425 weeks to date
UK 13 April 1996 (13th re-entry) 48-27-33-36-49-0-63-64 7 432 weeks to date
UK 21 September 1996 (14th re-entry) 75-55-69 3 435 weeks to date
UK 22 March 1997 (15th re-entry) 67 1 436 weeks to date
UK 28 February 1998 (16th re-entry) 74-60-58-69-67 5 441 weeks to date
UK 13 November 1999 (17th re-entry) 71-70-0-0-0-66-71 4 445 weeks to date
UK 24 June 2000 (18th re-entry) 64 1 446 weeks to date
UK 12 August 2000 (19th re-entry) 62-70 2 448 weeks to date
UK 18 November 2000 (20th re-entry) 67 1 449 weeks to date
USA 14 November 1981 29-22-17-14-14-14-14-14-14-15-21-25-28-51-53-74-74-101-116-122-143-172-171-200-200-200 26 -
Austria - - - -
Finland - - - -
Germany - - - -
Japan - - - -
Italy - - - -
Netherlands - - - -
Portugal - - - -
Spain - - - -
Sweden - - - -
Switzerland - - - -

Additional info

  • In 2006, Greatest Hits was certified as the United Kingdom's best selling album of all-time, with sales upwards of 5,407,587 copies.


Record Mirror, 1981 (5 stars)

Before the picture book, video package and monogrammed tea towels, comes this interesting compilation album culled from the past 10 years.

Queen just had to do something for the home market of course, now that touring South America and drinking tea with local dignitaries has become almost a permanent fixture in the band's life, Christmas is coming as well and every Queen fan will want a copy.

You'll get 17 value packed tracks from the band's struggling early days to their current triumphs. In Queen's case such retrospection is well justified and this album gives us all a chance to take a breath and re-examine the phenomena that is Mercury, May, Deacon and Taylor.

This album isn't arranged in any particular chronological order but it's a well chosen and balanced selection of their meisterworks. An hour or so of continuous nostalgia for the uninitiated, and a heady taster for half believers.

That evergreen classic 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is served up first. Arguably the most enduring song by any act in the last decade, originally it was in danger of never being played as a single because, lasting more than five minutes, it was considered too long for radio play.

The second track 'Another One Bites The Dust', is in total contrast and throughout the album Queen don't rely overmuch on specific groupings of mega hits. Note also how 'Bites' pre-dates the styles supposedly coined by many of our hipper new white soul acts.

Queen's 'Jazz' period isn't one that I'm very partial to and two tracks from the album are included here 'Fat Bottomed Girls' (the track that caused uproar from fat bottomed feminists) and 'Bicycle Race', topped off by that annoying extended bicycle bell chorus.

Side two mainly contrasts a trio from their quirky romantic period - 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love', 'Somebody To Love' and 'Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy' - with the meat and potatoes of tracks like 'Now I'm Here' and 'Seven Seas Of Rhye'. 'Flash' is also included, that superlative futuristic film music that contributed so much to the overall success of the movie 'Flash Gordon'.

Essential listening and I understand that the cover picture was shot by Lord Snowdon. An album with class all the way through.

–Robin Smith


LP, 1981
Bulgaria LP, 1981
Bulgaria LP, 1981
Bulgaria LP, 1981
Bulgaria LP, 1981
Bulgaria picture disc, 1984
Bulgaria LP, 1984
South Korea LP, 1981
South Korea LP, 1981
South Korea LP, 1981
Germany LP, 1981
USA CD, 2004
USA CD (back), 2004
USA CD w/ WWRY flyer, 2004
USA CD w/ WWRY flyer (Best Buy), 2004
UK CD, 2011
UK CD (back), 2011

Promotional Material

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