“When the bass comes back in it’s like a punch in the face. Nobody plays like that anymore”: Listen to John Deacon’s isolated bassline on Killer Queen

Freddie Mercury (1946 - 1991) and musician John Deacon of British rock band Queen in concert, 1980.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Queen formed in 1970 and, once joined by John Deacon in February 1971, they began to progress into the juggernaut we know today. Two of Mr Deacon’s best known basslines, Under Pressure and Another One Bites The Dust, can be found in our 40 best basslines of all time poll, at numbers 30 and 7 respectively.

With a powerful blend of pop, prog, and pomp, Queen are renowned for a metal-meets-vaudeville songwriting and performance style. But that wasn't the case prior to 1974, when the group's third album, Sheer Heart Attack, introduced the young quartet's masterful songwriting capabilities through Killer Queen, the first of several huge international hits. 

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Chris Jisi was Contributing Editor, Senior Contributing Editor, and Editor In Chief on Bass Player 1989-2018. He is the author of Brave New Bass, a compilation of interviews with bass players like Marcus Miller, Flea, Will Lee, Tony Levin, Jeff Berlin, Les Claypool and more, and The Fretless Bass, with insight from over 25 masters including Tony Levin, Marcus Miller, Gary Willis, Richard Bona, Jimmy Haslip, and Percy Jones.