Roger Taylor almost laughed when Freddie Mercury first sang for Queen

21 September 2021, 13:33 | Updated: 19 September 2023, 13:29

Freddie Mercury with Queen
Freddie Mercury with Queen. Picture: Getty

By Mayer Nissim

Freddie Mercury wasn't always the virtuoso singer we all came to know and love.

Freddie Mercury is rightly hailed as one of the greatest singers not just in rock music, but one of the greatest singers in music full stop.

But when he first sang for the other members of Queen, that wasn't exactly the case.

Before Queen, there was Smile, a band featuring Brian May on guitar and Roger Taylor on drums, and they were fronted by singer and bass player Tim Staffell.

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Staffell's pal and fellow Ealing Art College student Farrokh "Freddie" Bulsara was a fan, but Smile only recorded six songs before dissolving.

When Staffell left in 1970 to join Humpy Bong, Freddie convinced Smile to carry on, change their name to Queen and, let him be their singer.

Freddie changed his surname to Mercury, bassist John Deacon joined soon after, and you know the rest.

However, it wasn't a given that Freddie would be the frontman we all adored.

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Roger Taylor has revealed that when he first sung for his future bandmates, Freddie's voice was so full-on it was almost laughable.

"He was so extreme, one was tempted to laugh at first, because he hadn't developed his voice," Roger told The Daily Telegraph. "He didn't have the control he had later.

"But he had this thrusting energy and zeal for everything. And, really, a massive array of hidden talents.

"We were big pals. We had a stall in Kensington Market and he was so delightful, just great to be around, with a tremendous lust for life. He sort of invented himself."

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Freddie went on to front Queen from 1970 till his death in 1991 from AIDS-related bronchopneumonia.

As well as being their singer, Freddie also wrote a number of the band's biggest hits, including 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Killer Queen', 'Don't Stop Me Now' and We Are The Champions'.

He was the subject of the Oscar-winning 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.