Home | Encylopaedia | Composers | QUEEN
Members in 1972 initially included Brian May (guitar), Roger Meddows-Taylor (drums) and Tim Staffell as vocalist and they called themselves Smile. Freddy Mercury AKA Freddy Balsara met Smile through singing for another band called Wreckage. He persuaded Taylor and May to form the band Queen and John Deacon then joined as bassist.
Queen were able to record demo tapes for free at De Lane Lea studio during 1972, however were not successful in attracting record contracts until they eventually signed with Trident. The release of their first album "Queen" was delayed and the single "Keep Yourself Alive" failed to chart.
Their break came in 1974, when David Bowie failed to turn up for the Top Of The Pops show for his "Rebel Rebel" single. Queen stepped in as replacement and played "Seven Seas of Rhye" which reached the UK top 10 in March. A second top ten hit came during the same year with "Killer Queen". Their next album "Queen II" entered the album charts at no.5. At one point, both albums were in the charts at the same time.
May suffered with hepatitis and an ulcer during their first American tour. The recording of Queen's third album "Sheer Heart Attack" was conducted with May's illness in mind and was to become their biggest hit to date, reaching the no.2 position in the album charts. It contained the single "Killer Queen".
The six minute "Bohemian Rhapsody" was their next single in 1975. DJ Kenny Everett supported the song on Capital Radio and with the large amount of public interest it was released as a single on 31st October. It took three weeks to record, spent nine weeks at UK no.1 and also reached the US no.2 position. It became the longest no.1 since The Beatles "Hey Jude" in 1968. It was unique in the way that it changed both tempo and style several times and the "Galileo" choral fragment was rumoured to require 180 vocal overdubs. The single was promoted with a film directed by Bruce Gowers as the band were touring at the time of release and were not able to do TV promotion. The film cost ?4,500. This could be argued to be the first popular music video and it certainly received lots of airplay.
"A Night At The Opera" album was released in autumn 1975 and reached no.1 in the album charts. It took four months to record and contained the single "Your'e My Best Friend". The album was recorded using six different recording studios and was billed as the most expensive album to date.
"A Day At The Races" was the follow up album which contained the single "Somebody To Love" and the "News Of The World" album contained the tracks "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" as a double sided single. This was the biggest success in the US to date selling over 2 million singles. In Britain, it reached the no.2 position.
After Freddy Mercury's death before Christmas 1991, "Bohemian Rhapsody" was re-released and topped the charts for another five weeks with the proceeds going to AIDS charities.
Essential Albums:Click on album cover to buy.