25 Times Queen Were Covered by Other Artists
There’s no denying the enduring attraction of Queen’s music, but the fandom goes far beyond the average music lover.
With distinctive songwriting, revolutionary recording techniques and one of the most iconic frontmen in rock history, the band crafted songs that continue to captivate generations of listeners. So it should come as no surprise that Queen have long been admired by fellow artists. And since imitation is the greatest form of flattery, many of them have tried their hand at covering Queen songs.
Some stayed close to the original versions, offering just slight tweaks to Queen’s arrangements. Others chose to add wildly different elements to their covers, creating something entirely different.
We’ve rounded up 25 Times Queen Were Covered by Other Artists below. Though musicians from every genre have taken a stab at the band's catalog over the years - including pop artists (Pink, Celine Dion), country singers (Dwight Yoakam) and even rappers (Kanye West) - we decided to stay under the rock 'n' roll umbrella.
Metallica, “Stone Cold Crazy”
Metallica won a Grammy for their cover of “Sheer Heart Attack,” initially released on a compilation album for record label Elektra's 40th anniversary, before subsequently appearing as the B-side to "Enter Sandman" and getting released on Metallica’s rarities LP Garage Inc. Queen’s original 1974 version of “Stone Cold Crazy” was already packed with frenetic energy, but that didn’t stop James Hetfield and company from cranking things up even higher. Supercharged guitars and powerful drumming helped the cover become an engrossing, headbanging behemoth.
Robert Plant, “Innuendo”
Led Zeppelin had provided inspiration for Queen’s 1991 single “Innuendo,” so it was only natural for Robert Plant to cover the track during his performance at 1992’s Freddie Mercury memorial concert. Joining with surviving Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, Plant tore through a version of the song that also incorporated parts of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and "Thank You." The performance wasn’t perfect - at one point, Plant forgot part of the lyrics - but the sight of such legendary musicians sharing the stage is the stuff of rock dreams. The Led Zep frontman was reportedly so disappointed in his performance that he asked it to be left off the concert’s DVD, but footage of from the concert is easily found online.
Nine Inch Nails, "Get Down Make Love"
Some artists choose to keep their covers eternally loyal to the original version; others look to reinvent the song and make it their own. Nine Inch Nails’ rendition of “Get Down Make Love” definitely falls in the latter category. Released as the B-side to their 1990 single “Sin” - and later included on the 2010 reissue of Pretty Hate Machine - NIN ramped up the aggression in their version, adding industrial adrenaline and sexualized moans to the classic tune.
Dream Theater, "Tenement Funster/Flick of the Wrist/Lily of the Valley"
Why limit yourself to just one Queen song when you can cover three of the band’s classic tracks? In 2009, Dream Theater created a medley of "Tenement Funster," "Flick of the Wrist" and "Lily of the Valley,” and released it as part of their Black Clouds & Silver Linings LP. The response from fans was overwhelmingly positive, but it was Brian May himself who offered the highest praise. “Bloody Hell! Dream Theater seem to be amazing,” the Queen guitarist proclaimed after hearing the track. "Beautifully done."
Bruce Dickinson, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
In 1997, Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson formed an unlikely pairing with Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballe for this rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It wasn’t Caballe’s first foray into the world of Queen - she famously sang a duet with Freddie Mercury on the song “Barcelona,” the official theme to the 1992 Olympic Games. Still, pairing with Dickinson brought the sounds of opera and metal together in a beautiful, though occasionally jarring, way. The track was included on Caballe’s Friends for Life LP.
Lemmy Kilmister and Ted Nugent, "Tie Your Mother Down"
The 1997 album Dragon Attack: Tribute to Queen featured a wide array of metal artists delivering their best renditions of Queen. Glenn Hughes, Scott Ian and Jeff Scott Soto were among the many famous rockers featured on the release. Still, the LP’s crown jewel was this forceful rendition of “Tie Your Mother Down,” performed by Lemmy Kilmister, Ted Nugent, Bob Kulick, Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge.
Scorpions, "Love of My Life"
The 2001 unplugged album Acoustica found Scorpions dipping into songs from throughout their career, including such classics as “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” “Send Me an Angel” and “Wind of Change.” But the band also mixed in a handful of covers, including a rendition of Queen’s heart-tugging 1975 track “Love of My Life.”
Green Day, “We Are the Champions”
Punk rockers Green Day started mixing Queen's classic “We Are the Champions” into their live set in 2004, and, according to Setlist.fm, have performed the song live more than 150 times. Still, arguably the band’s defining rendition came on July 2, 2005, when Green Day delivered “We Are the Champions” as part of their Live 8 set in Berlin. The performance would be broadcast all over the world, though it was excluded from the event’s DVD release.
Testament, "Dragon Attack"
Thrash metal band Testament included a cover of Queen’s “Dragon Attack” on their 2012 album Dark Roots of Earth. Unlike the 1980 original, which rocked along a funk groove, Testament cranked up the aggression in their version, adding pulsating drums and wailing guitars alongside singer Chuck Billy’s distinctive growl.
Foo Fighters, “Tie Your Mother Down”
Dave Grohl and his fellow Foo Fighters have regularly covered Queen, with tracks like “Under Pressure,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and “We Will Rock You” popping up in many of their set lists. Still, “Tie Your Mother Down” holds a special place. The Foos performed the track alongside Brian May and Roger Taylor at Queen’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2001. Since then, they’ve brought many guests onstage to help perform the track, like Slash and Tenacious D in the video below.
Corrosion of Conformity, “Son and Daughter”
In 2019, Corrosion of Conformity covered Queen at the insistence of producer John Custer. “He had been trying to get us to do a Queen cover for a number of years,” guitarist Woody Weatherman explained to The Aquarian. “Every time we showed up and made a record, he would be, like, 'You know that Queen song 'Son and Daughter'? That's the one you guys should do.' We just never did it. This time, he buckled down and was, like, 'You guys are doing this.' We showed up one morning, started working on it and learned it, and slapped it on tape. I think John's contribution to that was immense. He is a massive Queen fan, which we all are."
Puscifer, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Few singers have the range to truly take on a Freddie Mercury piece, but Maynard James Keenan is one artist with the vocal ability to handle such a challenge. In 2013, the Tool frontman released a cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” on Donkey Punch the Night, an EP by his side project Puscifer. As one would expect from Keenan, the song was also accompanied by a bizarre music video featuring an appearance by drag queen Dina Martina.
Warrant, “We Will Rock You”
Warrant recorded their cover of “We Will Rock You” for the film Gladiator. No, not the Academy Award-winning 2000 film starring Russell Crowe but the little-known 1992 boxing flick starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Warrant’s cover was arguably the best thing about the movie, which was critically panned. Meanwhile, the band’s rendition of “We Will Rock You” was a minor radio hit, reaching No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was later released as a bonus track on the band’s 1996 compilation The Best of Warrant.
My Chemical Romance and the Used, "Under Pressure"
Two of emo-punk’s biggest names came together for this 2005 version of the Queen and David Bowie duet “Under Pressure.” My Chemical Romance and the Used initially started performing the song together while joining forces on the Taste of Chaos tour. This studio version would be released in collaboration with the Music for Relief charity, with all proceeds going toward tsunami relief in Indonesia.
The Forest Rangers feat. the White Buffalo, Billy Valentine and Franky Perez, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Fans of the long-running TV show Sons of Anarchy will recognize this version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” from the series’ Season 7 premiere. For the cover, the Forest Rangers - a roots-rock band assembled to create tunes throughout SOA - were joined by singer-songwriter the White Buffalo and Franky Perez of the bands Apocalyptica and Scars on Broadway. Still, it was R&B singer Billy Valentine who stole the spotlight, delivering soulful and powerful vocals on his verse, roughly 3:40 into the song.
Melvins, “You’re My Best Friend”
Prolific indie-rockers Melvins released an album of cover songs in 2013 titled Everybody Loves Sausages. More than just a fun exercise, the LP was designed to highlight many of Melvins' various influences. Among the tracks: a bouncy rendition of Queen’s “You're My Best Friend.”
William Shatner, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Of course it deserves to be on our list. It’s William Effing Shatner.
The Vandals, “Don’t Stop Me Now”
Punk band the Vandals included a cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” on their 2004 album Hollywood Potato Chip. Their version was naturally injected with a blitzkrieg of punk adrenaline, with a faster pace and delivery making it more suitable to a mosh pit than a dance floor.
The Flaming Lips, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
The Flaming Lips have covered “Bohemian Rhapsody” in concert many times, going back to 2005. A studio recording of their rendition appeared on 2013's Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen, with a bizarre accompanying music video. The cover seemingly sparked something, as the experimental indie rockers spent much time over the next few years releasing their distinct versions of other artists' music, including entire albums dedicated to the works of Pink Floyd and the Beatles.
Electric Six, “Radio Ga Ga”
Michigan-born rock band Electric Six took their fandom of Freddie Mercury further than most on the video for their rendition of “Radio Ga Ga,” with frontman Dick Valentine changing his appearance to fully embody the late Queen singer. Some misinterpreted the clip as being disrespectful, since Valentine (as Mercury’s ghost) starts to dance at his gravesite. The band insisted it was meant as a tribute. Brian May was reportedly a fan of the cover.
The Muppets, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
One cultural icon honored another when the Muppets released their version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 2009. The ensemble performance featured many of the characters fans have grown to love, including memorable turns from Gonzo, Animal, Beaker, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. The video went viral, racking up more than 100 million views on YouTube.
Shinedown, “Tie Your Mother Down”
Another track from 2005’s Killer Queen tribute album, this one by multiplatinum-selling rockers Shinedown. The cover stayed close to the original, complete with rollicking guitars and hard-rock swagger.
MXPX, “Somebody to Love”
This Queen cover may not have been born at the Warped Tour, but it certainly feels custom-made for the famed punk festival. MXPX are joined by Ethan Luck of Relient K and Bryce Avary of the Rocket Summer on “Somebody to Love,” which was released on MXPX’s 2009 LP, On the Cover II.
Panic! at the Disco, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Brendon Urie, frontman of pop rock band Panic! at the Disco, has long cited Queen as one of his most important musical influences. In a 2018 conversation with Kerrang!, he admitted to having a "deep obsession" with Freddie Mercury and referred to Queen's A Night at the Opera as "the album that saved my life." The band has played “Bohemian Rhapsody” more than 300 times in concert, going back to 2014. In 2016, the group released a studio version of the cover for the soundtrack to Suicide Squad.
Red Hot Chili Pipers, “Radio Ga Ga”
No, that’s not a typo. For the millions of fans who demanded to hear Queen played on the bagpipes, the Red Hot Chili Pipers released their rendition of “Radio Ga Ga” in 2010. Whether it’s the stuff of dreams or nightmares is a matter of taste. We’ll just let you listen to the song and decide for yourself.