Dead on Time

Song Review by

The ironically titled Jazz experimented with everything from cabaret-styled pop to dance-friendly funk but still managed to make room for plenty of Queen’s trademark pomp-inflected rockers. The strongest of these was "Dead On Time," a memorably frenetic tune that featured plenty of scorching guitar from songwriter Brian May. The lyrics are a sharp-edged critique of a fast-living character who spends his time "hangin’ round and tellin’ lies" as he stumbles from one mess into the next in a blind rush: "Stampin’ on the ceiling/Hammerin’ on the wall/Gotta get out, gotta get out, gotta get/Oh, you know I’m goin’ crazy." The music backing this tale up is appropriately edgy, marrying swinging but tightly-paced verses to an explosive chorus that rockets along like a runaway train. Queen gives the song on their electrifying recording of "Dead On Time," building it on relentlessly chugging guitar riffs that are bolstered by an equally, furious stomping beat from the rhythm section. Freddie Mercury’s lead vocal drips with venom and the rest of the group kicks in bursts of helium-high harmonies on the double-time chorus. All these touches add up to a bracing tune that stands alongside "Sheer Heart Attack" and "Stone Cold Crazy" as one of the most fiery rockers in the Queen canon.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Jazz 1978 Island / Universal 3:23
Queen 40: Limited Edition Collector's Box Set, Vol. 2 2012 Hollywood / Hollywood Records (UK) / Universal Distribution 3:23