Hear This: Isolated vocals showcase Freddie Mercury’s uncommon greatness

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, we’re talking about songs with a cappella interludes.

Queen, “Somebody To Love” (1976)

Calling anyone the “greatest” of anything is always asking for trouble. Still, I feel wholly confident in saying Freddie Mercury is the greatest rock vocalist of all time. Zooming past legends like Robert Plant and Mick Jagger, Mercury took vocals to a new level, adding operatic levels of harmonies to the mix. Queen’s other band members were no slouches either. Brian May matched Mercury’s vocal proficiencies on the guitar, and Roger Taylor and John Deacon provided a stellar rhythm section on drums and bass, but it’s the beyond-dynamic frontman you remember most about the band. May, Taylor, and Deacon didn’t even seem to mind. They totally got it.

Realizing that its most obvious asset was …

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