Lover of Life, Singer of Songs: The Very Best of Freddie Mercury

Album: Lover of Life, Singer of Songs: The Very Best of Freddie Mercury Solo (Hollywood)

Why we care: Queen’s late, great rock god (who would have been 60 this year) didn’t have a prolific career sans his regular mates, but his solo work was as powerful as it was compact. A Parsi hunk born Farrokh Bulsara, Mercury is celebrated here with a double-disc beauty including cuts culled from his solo albums plus 15 remixes.

Why we like it: Mercury’s eighth-wonder voice is all parts operatic and hammy, gut-wrenching and nuclear. The man tackled his music with bear-hug gusto, especially on such muscular dramas as There Must Be More to Life Than This. Unlike Queen’s reliance on Brian May’s guitar laser beams and related gonzo effects, Freddie’s solo work is much simpler, built via piano and synth and that open, vulnerable voice – oh, that voice.

Reminds us of: Queen with less leather, more lace.