Roger Taylor, recognized for his roles as a vocalist, guitarist, and drummer, has gained prominence for his contributions to the iconic band Queen, as well as his endeavors as a solo artist.
Who Is Roger Taylor
Roger Taylor, renowned for his tenure as a part of the celebrated band Queen alongside lead vocalist Freddie Mercury, contributed to the release of chart-topping hits such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Under Pressure.” Venturing into a solo career, he produced multiple albums and established the group The Cross. Following Mercury’s passing, Taylor has persisted in collaborating with Queen and contributing to new musical endeavors.
Early Life and Background
Born on July 26, 1949, in the seaport town of King’s Lynn in England’s Norfolk county, Roger Meddows Taylor displayed an early enthusiasm for multi-instrumentalism, initially exploring the ukulele and guitar before finding his calling as a drummer. In his youth, he was part of the Cornwall band the Reaction during the mid-1960s.
Later, Taylor relocated to London and briefly delved into dentistry and biology studies. However, his true passion for music led him to shift his focus. In 1967, he joined the rock group Smile, where he collaborated with guitarist Brian May.
Following the departure of Smile’s lead singer, Taylor and May teamed up with the exceptional vocalist Freddie Mercury and bassist John Deacon to establish the iconic band Queen. The group went on to achieve global acclaim, renowned for their groundbreaking musical blends and extravagant, theatrical performances. Over the years, Queen released over a dozen albums, notably including “A Night at the Opera” (1975) and “Jazz” (1978), and produced chart-toppers like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You,” “We Are The Champions,” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
Solo Singles and Albums
Breaking ground as the first Queen member to embark on a solo venture, Taylor introduced his 1977 track “I Wanna Testify” and went on to release albums like “Fun in Space” (1981) and “Strange Frontier” (1984), showcasing his prowess as a songwriter. As Queen’s musical output took a more subdued turn after the Magic Tour, Taylor founded a new band, the Cross, in 1987. Leading with vocals and rhythm guitar, Taylor and the Cross released three albums, notably gaining traction in Germany before disbanding in 1993.
The tragic loss of Freddie Mercury to AIDS in 1991 prompted Queen’s surviving members to organize a memorial/fundraising concert at Wembley Stadium the following year, featuring various guest artists.
Resuming his solo career, Taylor released the album “Happiness?” in 1994, which included the U.K. hit single “Nazis 1994,” a poignant commentary on the resurgence of neo-Nazism. The song faced restrictions in some outlets due to its controversial lyrics. Taylor continued his solo journey, unveiling the album “Electric Fire” in the summer of 1998.
Promotes HIV/AIDS Awareness
Taylor played a pivotal role in the development of the immensely successful London musical “We Will Rock You,” a futuristic production inspired by the creativity and songs of Queen, debuting in May 2002. Additionally, in 2003, Taylor, along with May and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, orchestrated the 46664 concert in South Africa. This significant musical event, inspired by the resilience of President Nelson Mandela, aimed to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in Africa. Taylor contributed new musical works to the concert and the supporting 46664 albums, including tracks like “Say It’s Not True” and “Invincible Hope.”
Continuing his collaboration with various Queen lineups, Taylor contributed to albums and participated in live performances. In 1993, the band released the concert album “Five Live” with George Michael. In the mid-2000s, Queen embarked on a European tour, selling out venues with rock group Bad Company’s former lead singer, Paul Rodgers. Notably, in 2012, Queen took part in the Olympics closing ceremony in London, performing alongside singer Jessie J, and embarked on a mini-tour with American Idol finalist Adam Lambert.
Helming The Queen Extravaganza
In a quest to ensure the continuity of the band’s legacy, Taylor assumed the roles of musical director and producer for The Queen Extravaganza, a touring tribute-band production that debuted in 2012. Selected through an online contest, the band boasts a unique dynamic with both a female and male vocalist, namely Jennifer Espinoza and Marc Martel.