born on 26/7/1949 in King's Lynn, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Roger Taylor (2008)
|Birth name||Roger Meddows-Taylor|
|Born|| July 26 1949
Dersingham, Norfolk, England
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer-songwriter, producer|
|Instrument(s)||Drums, percussion, vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, synthesiser|
|Years active||1968 present|
|Queen, Queen + Paul Rodgers, The Cross, Smile, Felix & Arty|
Roger Taylor (born 26 July 1949 in Dersingham, Norfolk, England) is an English musician best known as the percussionist, backing vocalist and occasional lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a drummer he is known for his "big" unique sound and is considered one of the most influential rock drummers of the 1970s and 1980s. As a songwriter he contributed songs to the band's albums from the very beginning, composing at least one track on every album, and (in the early days) usually sang lead vocals on his own compositions. He also wrote four of the band's hits, "Radio Ga Ga", "A Kind of Magic", "The Invisible Man", and "These Are the Days of Our Lives". He also plays multiple instruments, including guitar, bass and keyboards, as heard on his debut solo album in which he played all instruments and sang all vocals. He has played with such artists as Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey, Phil Collins, Genesis, Jimmy Nail, Elton John, Gary Numan, Shakin' Stevens, Foo Fighters, Al Stewart, Steve Vai, Yoshiki Hayashi, Cherie, and Bon Jovi. As a producer he has produced albums by Virginia Wolf, Jimmy Nail and Magnum. He has lived in Guildford, Surrey, England since 1974. The videos for "We Will Rock You" and "Spread Your Wings" were filmed in his garden.
Rolling Stone magazine named Taylor the 74th greatest drummer in rock music on their list of the "100 Greatest Drummers", and in 2005 he was voted the 8th greatest drummer in classic rock music history in a poll conducted by Planet Rock Radio.
In addition to his drum work, he routinely played the guitars and bass on his own songs and, during the 1980s, he formed a parallel band known as The Cross, in which he was the singer and rhythm guitarist.
His compositions consist of "Radio Ga Ga" (The Works), "Heaven for Everyone" (Made in Heaven), "A Kind of Magic" (A Kind of Magic), "Don't Lose Your Head" (A Kind of Magic), "Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll" (Queen), "Tenement Funster" (Sheer Heart Attack), "The Loser in the End" (Queen II), "I'm in Love With My Car" (A Night at the Opera), "Drowse" (A Day at the Races), "Fight From the Inside" (News of the World), "Sheer Heart Attack" (News of the World), "More of That Jazz" (Jazz), "Fun It" (Jazz), "Action This Day" (Hot Space), "Machines (or Back to Humans)" (written with Brian May) (The Works), "In the Space Capsule (The Love Theme)" (Flash Gordon), "In the Death Cell (Love Theme Reprise)" (Flash Gordon), "Escape From the Swamp" (Flash Gordon), "Marriage of Dale and Ming (And Flash Approaching)" (written with Brian May) (Flash Gordon), and "Rock It (Prime Jive)" (The Game), many of which feature Roger on vocals.
His first solo album, Fun In Space, was released in 1981. After Queen finished their The Works album in 1984, Taylor worked on his second solo album Strange Frontier. Released in July 1984, it included guest appearances by bandmates Freddie Mercury and John Deacon.
After Queen finished their 1986 Magic Tour, Taylor wanted to start a new band, The Cross, released three albums over their six years of existence. In 1993 they split up, after performing one final gig at the Gosport Festival.
In 1994 he worked with Yoshiki Hayashi, drummer and pianist of X Japan and released the song "Foreign Sand" and a reworking of The Cross' "Final Destination". The album Happiness? was dedicated to Freddie Mercury. "Nazis 1994" became Taylor's first hit single in England and was followed by two other Top 40 U.K. hits, "Happiness" and "Foreign Sand."
In 1998 he released Electric Fire. To promote it, he performed one of the first Internet-gigs for which he got a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Taylor has also enjoyed a solo career, releasing four albums. His first single was his 1977 cover of The Parliaments "I Wanna Testify". He recorded it during Queen's sessions for the News of the World album. The A-side, although a cover, was completely different from the original. The B-side was a self-penned song "Turn On The TV".
His first album came in 1981 in the form of Fun In Space. Taylor played all the instruments and sang everything on the album, apart from about 50% of the keyboards, which were done by engineer David Richards.
With Queen still touring heavily and recording at the time of release, it was impossible for Taylor to promote the album to its fullest extent, so Taylor appeared on some European TV shows to promote the single, "Future Management", including Top Of The Pops. The only other single to come from the album was "My Country". The only single released from the album in the U.S. was "Let's Get Crazy".
His next venture came in 1984 when, after Mercury rejected a lot of his songs for the Queen album, The Works, he realized he had more than enough for an album. The album became Strange Frontier. The three singles from the album were the title track, "Beautiful Dreams" (in Portugal only) and "Man On Fire", the latter becoming a live favourite for him in later years. No attempts to promote the singles were made, Queen toured to promote 1984's The Works album, which made a Strange Frontier tour impossible, and Taylor didn't perform on any TV shows. The cover of the album is a 'pixelated' version of his portrait photo that appeared in the liner notes of the Works album.
Freddie Mercury sang backing vocals on "Killing Time", John Deacon remixed the B-side "I Cry For You," and Rick Parfitt co-wrote and played on "It's An Illusion". David Richards, the engineer and producer, also co-wrote two of the tracks. The album includes covers of Bruce Springsteen's "Racing in the Street" and Bob Dylan's "Masters of War".
In the period of 1987 to 1993 he formed a group named The Cross.
After that in 1994 he published a new solo album "Happiness?", which was "Dedicated to the tasmanian tiger - thylacinus cynocephalus, but most especially... for Freddie".
In September 1998 he published his, to date, last solo album, "Electric Fire". He supported it with a small tour in the spring of 1999, on which Queen-guitarist Brian May joined him at the gig in Wolverhampton.
- Main article: The Cross
The Cross were a side project of Taylor's that existed from 1987 to 1993 and released three albums. Although the drummer in Queen, Taylor fronted The Cross as rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist. On its debut release, the rock band incorporated dance influences which they dropped on their remaining two albums. The band never enjoyed much commercial success, except in Germany.
First album: Shove It
After Queen's 1986 Magic Tour, the band members went their separate ways to do various solo work. Taylor decided to form a new band with whom he could tour. He had already written and recorded the album himself before finding a band to play the songs with. He eventually placed an ad for band members in a national newspaper, hinting he was a famous rock musician. The position of keyboard player was duly offered to Spike Edney after two successful Queen tours with him handling the keys. When the auditions were over, the line-up was completed by Peter Noone on Bass, Clayton Moss on Guitar, and Josh Macrae on Drums. Taylor himself would take the responsibility on lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist.
The first album, Shove It, was released in 1988. In Europe, Heaven for Everyone (later a Queen song) contained Freddie Mercury on lead vocals and Taylor on backing vocals. However, on the single version and the American album version the roles were reversed. The European CD contained an extra track (compared to cassette and LP) in The 2nd Shelf Mix, the US version having "Feel The Force" as its extra track. The band promoted hard in Germany especially, with many TV performances of singles including an appearance at the Montreux Golden Rose festival in 1988. The tour took in dates in the UK and Germany. Three singles were released from the album: "Cowboys and Indians", "Heaven for Everyone" and "Shove It". Another single, "Manipulator," was released in 1988, but it wasn't included on any album. It was also the only song from the time that had joint writing credits, Taylor sharing them with Spike Edney and Steve Strange.
Second album: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know
After finishing Queen's 1989 album The Miracle, Taylor went into the studio with the rest of The Cross for the first time to record Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know. The band composed the opening track "On Top Of The World Ma" with a riff bearing a resemblance to the Led Zeppelin track Whole Lotta Love. The rest of the album consisted mainly of individually written songs, except for "Power To Love" which was a joint venture by Macrae, Noone and Moss. Clayton Moss sang lead vocals on his own track "Better Things", and Spike Edney played mandolin on "Final Destination", which was written by Taylor. "Final Destination" was released as a single, as were "Liar" and "Power To Love", the latter being the last single to be released in the UK by the group. "Final Destination" came with a live rendition of Taylor's song "Man On Fire" as a B-side, and "Liar" (Noone) had a brand new track, "In Charge Of My Heart", which was also penned by Taylor. The 12" single and CD of "Liar" also included extended remixes of both "Liar" and "In Charge Of My Heart". The instrumental section at the beginning of "In Charge Of My Heart" was used as the opening to concerts on the accompanying tour. "Closer To You" (Edney) had been planned to be released in America, but the idea was never discussed again. The group having seemingly given up on the UK market, the accompanying tour only included dates in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Ibiza. Unusual for such tours, every song from the new album was played live.
Third album: Blue Rock
Made at a time when Taylor's efforts were concentrated on Queen and Mercury himself, Blue Rock gave the other members of the band a chance to take control of the upcoming album. It was in fact mostly written by Edney, who contributed three of his own tracks and contributed to four more. Once again the opening track was penned by the entire band, "Bad Attitude" was written (although not complete) by the Christmas fan club party of 1990. The album itself contained a lot of vocals not from Taylor, but mainly of Edney and Noone. Examples of this can be heard in "Put It All Down To Love" (Edney) "Life Changes" (Moss, Noone, Edney and Macrae) and "Heartland" (The B-side to Life Changes, penned by Noone). Blue Rock itself was only released in Germany (although promo copies were released in Italy and Japan), so it is pretty rare to find on the market. "New Dark Ages" (Taylor) was released in Germany with another live version of "Man On Fire", whilst "Life Changes" was released with the B-side "Heartland". It was however immediately withdrawn, due to the death of Freddie Mercury. The tour was in support of Magnum, so the concert lengths were short (45 mins.) and very few bootlegs survived. The tour was rapid, covering 20 dates in one month.
- Main article: Roger Taylor discography
- See also: Queen discography
In 1999 Taylor appeared in the background of a Royal Mail stamp featuring Freddie Mercury as part of a "Great Britons" issue. This caused controversy as it was an understood rule that the only living people allowed to appear on British stamps could be members of the Royal Family.
In 2002, Taylor appeared on the "Twelve Drummers Drumming" Christmas card in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" set sold at Woolworths to raise money for the NSPCC – alongside the "other" Roger Taylor, the drummer for Duran Duran.
- Rolling Stone - Issue 149 - 12-06-1973]
- The Invisible Man. Bechstein Debauchery. Retrieved on 2008-01-28.
- These Are the Days of Our Lives. Bechstein Debauchery. Retrieved on 2008-01-28.
- BBC News. Retrieved on 2008-01-28.
- The Top 20 Roger Taylor Solo Rarities, Queencollector.com. Retrieved on 2009-07-26.
- The politics of stamps (BBC News)
- Royal Mail unveils Beatles album cover stamps (Times Online)
- Rogersmeadows.com - A Introspective Analysis of Roger Taylor and his Music
|Freddie Mercury | Brian May | Roger Taylor | John Deacon|
|Queen | Queen II | Sheer Heart Attack | A Night at the Opera | A Day at the Races | News of the World | Jazz | The Game | Flash Gordon | Hot Space | The Works | A Kind of Magic | The Miracle | Innuendo | Made in Heaven|
|Live Killers | Live Magic | Live at Wembley '86 | Queen- Live On Fire at the Bowl|
|Greatest Hits (Elektra) | Greatest Hits, Vol. II | Queen at the Beeb | Classic Queen | Greatest Hits (Hollywood) | Greatest Hits (Parlophone) | Greatest Hits, Vols. I and II|
|Queen - We Will Rock You | Becoming Queen|
|"Another One Bites the Dust" | "Bohemian Rhapsody" | "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" | "Radio Ga Ga" | "Somebody to Love" | "The Show Must Go On" | "These Are the Days of Our Lives" | "Tie Your Mother Down" | "We Are the Champions" | "We Will Rock You"|
|Queen + Paul Rodgers|
Brian May Paul Rodgers Roger Taylor|
Spike Edney Jamie Moses Danny Miranda
|Studio albums||The Cosmos Rocks|
|Live albums||Return of the Champions|
|Videography||Return of the Champions Super Live in Japan|
|Singles||Say It's Not True C-lebrity|
|Tours||Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour Rock the Cosmos Tour|