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Queen Band Members: A Look Back at the Anthemic British Rockers

Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon will rock you

Uber-successful rock band Queen stormed the charts with hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions,” the core four Queen band members consisting of Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, Brian May and John Deacon.

From 1968 to 1970, Taylor and May were part of a London rock group called Smile, which disbanded in 1970. At that point, though, the duo hooked up with Freddie Mercury, who added a new kind of flair that had been missing and they transformed into Queen.

four men posed;
Queen (1973)RB / Staff / Getty

Deacon eventually joined the group in 1971 before the band really took off, the first of their albums to truly get noticed being 1974’s Queen II. The following year, a little song called “Bohemian Rhapsody” from the A Night at the Opera album was released, changing everything for Queen.

The song was nominated for two Grammy Awards and rose to number two on the Hot 100 chart.

Due to its legacy, Queen landed in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, inducted by Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins. Some of the group’s biggest hits include “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Killer Queen,” “Radio Ga Ga” and “Somebody to Love.”

Learn more about the Queen band members and who really made up the classic rock group.

Freddie Mercury: Queen Band Members

freddie mercury
1967/1987George Wilkes Archive / Contributor / Getty // FG/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor / Getty

The captivating lead vocalist of Queen, Freddie Mercury, made the rock band what they were. Without his charm, eclectic style and intriguing performance ability, Queen could not have taken off the way they did.

Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946 in Zanzibar, to Bomi and Jer Bulsara. When he was eight years old, his parents sent him to a boarding school in India, where he first started to study piano.

Mercury and his family moved to London in 1964, where he attended the Ealing College of Art. He joined a few different bands over the years prior to becoming a part of Queen in 1970 with Brian May and Roger Taylor. Beyond Mercury’s fascinating vocal and showman skills, he was also a skilled songwriter, penning Queen’s biggest hits.

In 1985, Mercury released his one and only solo album, Mr. Bad Guy, in an effort to explore music beyond the boundaries of Queen, though he nonetheless remained a part of the group. That is until 1989, when he disappeared from the public eye due to health issues. Sadly, on November 24, 1991 he died due to bronchial pneumonia as a result of AIDS. He left behind an incredible legacy that will always be remembered.

Brian May

brian may; queen band members
1973/2024Michael Putland / Contributor / Getty Eamonn M. McCormack / Stringer / Getty

As the lead guitarist of Queen, Brian May was responsible for the incredible riffs featured on their songs. Born on July 19, 1947 in Hampton, England, May got into music early on. As a teen, he created a homemade guitar, which was called “The Red Special,” which he ended up playing on every Queen album and at their live shows.

May attended London Imperial College and got a degree in astrophysics. Soon, however, his passion for music took over the one he’d held for astrophysics. Yet his degree did end up coming in handy, as he utilized his astrophysics knowledge to create many of the different sounds in Queen’s songs.

After Mercury’s death, May, Taylor and Deacon released 1995’s Made in Heaven, the final studio album featuring Mercury and their last record until 2014. The group, now led by Adam Lambert, also includes May and Taylor.

May, 76, was married to Christine Mullen from 1976 to 1988, and then married Anita Dobson in 2000. He has three children.

Roger Taylor: Queen band members

roger taylor
1973/2020Michael Putland / Contributor / Getty // CHUNG SUNG-JUN / Contributor / Getty

Best known as Queen’s drummer and backup vocalist is Roger Taylor. The musician was born on July 26, 1949 in the United Kingdom. He was interested in music as a child and played multiple instruments. Where May’s studies led him to astrophysics before turning to music, Taylor’s was dentistry and biology. Fittingly, the two of them took their mutual love of music and formed the rock group Smile, which eventually transformed into Queen.

Taylor wrote a few of the group’s major hits, including “Radio Ga Ga” and “A Kind of Magic.” He soon began putting out his own songs in 1977, eventually forming another band called the Cross, as Queen was putting out less music, but that group ended in 1993. Taylor restarted his solo career after the untimely passing of Mercury, though he is now touring with Queen again, along with Brian May and Adam Lambert.

Currently 74, he’s been married to Sarina Potgieter since 2010. He’s the father of five.

John Deacon

john deacon ; queen band members
1973/ 1997Michael Putland / Contributor / Getty // Dave Benett / Contributor / Getty

Queen’s bassist, John Deacon, was born on August 19, 1951 in Leicester, England. Deacon was interested in music from early on and even enrolled in the University of London, Chelsea College to study electronics. Deacon was the last to join Queen in 1971. He is responsible for writing the major hit, “Another One Bites the Dust,” which rose to number one on the charts. He also wrote “I Want to Break Free.”

Throughout his run with Queen, Deacon began working with other artists, including The Immortals and Elton John. Unfortunately, after Mercury’s passing, Deacon decided to leave Queen and the spotlight altogether. Today, he is 72, married to Veronica Tetzlaff and has six children.

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