How would you rank Steven Tyler, Mick Jagger, and Freddie Mercury in terms of talent? Robin Meadows

Written by on February 23, 2021

I’m not sure if you mean talent in general or vocal talent so I’ll just address talent in general—vocally, as a performer, as a musician and as a songwriter. I personally would rank Freddie at the top in every category by a comfortable margin.

As a performer most would consider Mick and Freddie as among the greatest front men ever but you don’t see Tyler near the very top of lists. A clear majority of public polls and rankings by critics and music publications put Freddie at the top of the list. A poll of “more than 60 artists, journalists and music industry executives” ranked Queen’s performance at Live Aid as the greatest live performance in history beating out such legends as the Elvis, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock and others. As great as Queen were as a group Freddie himself “took it to another level” as guitarist Brian May said. Queen win greatest live gig poll

They all were very successful, talented and prolific songwriters but for me Freddie’s masterpiece Bohemian Rhapsody alone is a game changer. It is the most streamed song of the last century when all three were writing hit songs from at least the 70’s onward and it has become more iconic culturally than any of the songs by the other two. When Bohemian Rhapsody is played in public virtually everyone regardless of age or musical preference knows the lyrics and can sing along and will usually do so enthusiastically whereas the same cannot be said of any of the other two’s songs. Not only has nothing like it been done before or since but it is still a phenomenon 45 years later that tends to bring strangers together in comradely.


None of the three are known for being among the great instrumentalists in rock. Mick can play a blues harmonica very well, has written songs on guitar but is considered mediocre on the instrument with no need to become proficient and can also play piano. Tyler can play multiple instruments but is not ranked highly. Freddie who was able to listen to a new song on the radio once then sit down and play it on the piano at the age of eight is not ranked highly as a pianist but those who are not already fans may be shocked by his proficiency and delicate touch on the instrument. Listen to “My Melancholy Blues” below for a sample. You won’t have to listen long to be impressed. Freddie wrote all of the guitar and riffs for Bohemian Rhapsody except for Brian’s guitar solo and wrote “Stone Cold Crazy” on guitar although Brian played it in the studio and live.

Brian May Sounds Off On Freddie Mercury’s “Unorthodox” Guitar Skills In New Interview

More piano but in a completely different style. This time he’s using his “percussionist style” of playing as Brian called it. The guitar and piano duet at 2:40 is not to be missed on this wonderful and underrated song written by Brian. If you’ve never heard this song before may wonder why.

As far as vocalist what hasn’t already been said? Freddie ranks at the top in most polls.


Whether he’s one of your personal favorites or not your cup of tea Freddie is darn hard to compete with on any front. Yes, I’m a big fan as are many others but it is completely earned.

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