|Released 8 November 1974|
|Recorded July–September 1974|
Label EMI Elektra
|Genre Heavy metal
Writer(s) Freddie Mercury Brian May Roger Taylor John Deacon
"Stone Cold Crazy" is a song by British rock band Queen from their 1974 album Sheer Heart Attack. The song is the eighth track on the album. Although the song was not released as a single at the time, it was played live at almost every Queen concert from 1974 to 1978. "Stone Cold Crazy" also features on the band's 1992 compilation album, Classic Queen.
The song credit is shared between all the members of the band, although Freddie Mercury played it with his band Wreckage in the late 1960s before Queen was created. The recorded version may be lyrics from Mercury and music from Mercury and Brian May. It was the first song Queen performed live in 1970, but it underwent many changes musically and lyrically before getting recorded, resulting in credit going to the entire band. Early versions of the song were much slower, according to the band, although no bootlegs exist.
"Stone Cold Crazy" is known for its fast tempo and heavy distortion, thus being a precursor to speed metal. Music magazine Q described "Stone Cold Crazy" as "thrash metal before the term was invented". In 2009, it was named the 38th best hard rock song of all time by VH1.
DRUM! Magazine called it an "early blisteringly fast song", describing Taylor's performance as "straight-up punk-rock drumming. [...] In essence, Taylor's groove is a double-stroke roll split between his bass drum and snare drum with some cool accents played on his crash cymbals. Taylor later re-enters with a dramatic and decidedly non-punk fill to restart the groove."
Three different remixes were created in 1991. The first two, by Michael Wagener, were issued on different pressings of the 1991 Hollywood Records Sheer Heart Attack remaster, and on the Encino Man soundtrack. The third one, by Trent Reznor, was released on several promo CDs in 1991/1992 and 1999. The Wagener remixes are not very different from the original and feature slight remixing of the backing track. Reznor's version mixes the Queen sound with the industrial metal sound of Nine Inch Nails. Reznor's remix includes studio sound bites from Queen at the beginning and end of the track. It was intended for inclusion as the ninth track on the cancelled 1992 Hollywood Records compilation BASIC Queen Bootlegs.
Metallica covered the song as their contribution to the 1990 compilation album Rubáiyát: Elektra's 40th Anniversary. This cover version was later used as a B-side of their "Enter Sandman" single and subsequently won a Grammy Award; it also appeared on their covers/B-sides album Garage Inc. The Metallica version of the song is more aggressive than the original; they also slightly altered the lyrics, adding two uses of the word "fuck" and changing the more humorous lines for more violent lyrics.
James Hetfield once performed it together with Queen & Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath (singing Metallica's altered lyrics) at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. Metallica also played the song as an encore during their 1991–93 Black Album tour; it appears on the live CD Live Shit: Binge & Purge and the 2009 live DVD Français Pour une Nuit. Hellyeah played Metallica's version of "Stone Cold Crazy" on the 2007 Family Values Tour, sometimes referring to it under the title "Stone Cold Wasted".
Robin Zander of Cheap Trick recorded a cover for the 2001 tribute album Stone Cold Queen.
Extreme also included part of the song during their medley at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. The band Eleven has also recorded a cover, lending the spot of lead vocals to friend and Queens of the Stone Age front man Josh Homme (Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen).
Sum 41 began covering a version of this song in their live shows in 2010.
The song is featured in the music video games Guitar Hero: Metallica and Rock Revolution, as well as downloadable content for Rock Band 3 and Rocksmith.