Seated behind the drums, Taylor would usually get one opportunity per album to sing his heart out and the results never disappointed us. Just listen to “Tenement Funster,” “I’m In Love With My Car” and “Rock It (Prime Jive)” if you need proof.
Three-quarters of Queen would dabble in solo outputs throughout the band’s history, yet Taylor’s respective offerings stood out for the grit he put into his vocals and music. While Mercury would pen Noel Coward-esque solo romps like “Mr. Bad Guy,” Taylor would unleash fits of rock and power such as “Man on Fire,” one of the standout tracks included on the drummer’s new “hits” compilation, Best.
With Taylor being identified solely for his tenure with Queen, people tend to overlook the fact he has at least five solo albums to his name, not to mention another band he fronted about 25 years ago. Unfortunately, nothing from that band, The Cross, made it on this compilation, which is a shame because that group did manage to record a couple of decent ditties in its time.
That’s not to say Best doesn’t have its catchy listening moments. There’s the radically different take on Parliament’s “I Wanna Testify;” the rockabilly delight “Let’s Go Crazy;” the tender “Everybody Hurts Sometime;” and “Foreign Sand,” which has Mercury written all over it even though Freddie had nothing to do with the track.
Taylor could never match up to the regality of his late bandmate, but then again, he never wanted to. That’s why Best does a fine job of showing off Taylor’s own creative range outside one of the world’s biggest quartets.
– Ira Kantor