In 1968, Brian May and Tim Staffell, both students at Imperial College, decided they wanted to form a group. Brian placed an advertisement on the college notice board for a "Ginger Baker type" drummer, and a young medical student called Roger Taylor auditioned and got the job. They called the group "SMILE". Smile were signed to Mercury Records in 1969, and had their first experience of a recording studio in Trident Studios that year. Tim Staffell was at Ealing College of Art with Freddie Bulsara, and introduced him to the band. Freddie soon became a keen fan. Sadly, in 1970 "Smile" decided to call it a day, as nothing seemed to be happening for them. Tim went off and joined a band called Humpy Bong, and Freddie left his band "Wreckage" and joined up with Brian and Roger - it had all begun.
Freddie changed his name by deed poll to Mercury, changed the band's name to Queen, and John Deacon was asked to audition as their bass player (they had had three temporary ones so far in their short history). In February 1971, John Deacon was taken on as the fourth member of Queen. The band rehearsed tirelessly and played several small gigs at Imperial College, where they rehearsed for close friends. Then they were offered the chance to 'test' a new recording studio called De Lane Lea. In return for trying out the new equipment, they could also make free demo tapes. They did. No one was interested! They had signed a recording contract and publishing and management agreements with Trident in 1972, and during that year were paid just Ł60 per week. Queen were given the 'down time'- or out of hours studio time - at Trident Studios, where they began work on their first album.
In 1973, Trident and EMI signed a contract for a recording deal for Queen, and July of that year saw the release of "QUEEN", their first album. The band were offered a big break - their first major tour as support band to Mott The Hoople. It began in Leeds in November 1973, and it was said by many people during that tour that 'Queen were more than a support act ....' "QUEEN II" was finally released in March 1974 - it should have been earlier, but there was a minor printing error on the sleeve that Queen insisted on having corrected! The band embarked on their first headlining tour of Britain, starting in Blackpool in March 1974. In April 1974, the band embarked on their first-ever USA tour as guests to Mott The Hoople.
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Queen - biography
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