Roger Meddows-Taylor: Wikis

  
  

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Roger Taylor

Taylor in 2008
Background information
Birth name Roger Meddows-Taylor
Born 26 July 1949 (1949-07-26) (age 60)
Dersingham, Norfolk, England
Genres Rock
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Drums, percussion, vocals, guitar, bass guitar, piano, keyboards, synthesiser
Years active 1968 – present
Associated acts Queen, Queen + Paul Rodgers, The Cross, Smile, Felix & Arty

Roger Meddows-Taylor (born 26 July 1949 in Dersingham, Norfolk, England), known as Roger Taylor, is an English musician best known as the drummer, backing vocalist and occasional lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a drummer he is known for his "big" unique sound[1] and is considered one of the most influential rock drummers of the 1970s and 1980s.[2] 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",[3] and "These Are the Days of Our Lives".[4] 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, Robert Plant, 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.

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. 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.[5]

According to The Sunday Times Rich List he is worth £65 million as of 2009.[6]

Contents

Biography

Roger Taylor lived with mother Winifred, father Michael, and younger sister Claire. When he was 7 years old he formed his first band with a couple friends. The band was called The Bubblingover Boys and he played the ukulele. After seeing his older cousin playing the drums, he decided to take a swing at that. In 1967, he had the qualifications to go to London to study Dentistry. He wasn't very interested, but he wanted to go to London. By that time, he met Brian May and Tim Staffel. They decided to form the band Smile, which lasted from 1968-1970. In 1969, Taylor was working with Freddie Mercury at the Kensington Market to try and make some money (they were both living in a flat together at the time, also with Brian). They eventually found John Deacon and got him as bassist. From then on, they were known as Queen. By the time News of the World came out, Roger met his future girlfriend Dominique Beyrand. They lived together from 1980-1987 , raising their two kids, Felix Luther and Rory Eleanor. They decided to get married even though Dominique knew Roger was seeing another girl, Debbie Leng (also seen in the 'Breakthru' video). They only got married because Roger wanted his kids to have some profit of money if he passed away. Before the death of Freddie Mercury, Roger and Debbie had their first child, Rufus Tiger, who was born in March of 1991. He ended up having two more children with Debbie: Tiger Lily, who was born in 1994, and Lola Daisy May who was born in 2002. In late 2002, Roger and Debbie decided to break up.

Smile

Smile were formed in 1968 by Brian May, later to become Queen's guitarist. The group included Tim Staffell as singer and bassist, and later, drummer Roger Taylor, who also went on to play for Queen. The band only lasted for 2 years from 1968 - 1970 as Staffell left in 1970, leaving the band with only a catalogue of 9 songs:

  • "Earth" (Staffell)
  • "Step On Me" (Staffell/May) originally from May and Staffell's band 1984.
  • "Doin' Alright" (Staffell/May)
  • "Blag" (Taylor)
  • "Polar Bear" (May)
  • "Silver Salmon" (Staffell)
  • "See What A Fool I've Been" (May, based on the song "That's How I Feel" by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee)
  • "If I Were a Carpenter" (Tim Hardin) a cover regularly featuring in their live set.
  • "April Lady" (Lucas) a song presented to the band by Mercury Records during their second studio session.

Smile would reunite for several songs on 22 December 1992. Taylor's band The Cross were headliners and he brought May and Staffell on to play "Earth" and "If I Were a Carpenter".[7] May also performed several other songs that night.

Queen

Queen in 1979.

Taylor was a prominent songwriter for the band, usually contributing one or two tracks per record.

His compositions for Queen include:

Songs written by Roger, but credited the band collectively include

Many of these feature Roger on vocals. England since 1974. The videos for "We Will Rock You" and "Spread Your Wings" were filmed in his garden.

Roger Taylor Lead Vocals in Queen

Solo career

Taylor has had a productive 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 solo album, Fun In Space, was released in 1981. 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 he 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 July 1984 when, after Mercury rejected a lot of his songs for the Queen album, The Works, Taylor realised he had more than enough for a full album. The album became Strange Frontier. The cover of the album is a 'pixelated' singing of his portrait photo that appeared in the liner notes of the Works album. 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. Strange Frontier included guest appearances by bandmates Freddie Mercury and John Deacon. 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 Queen engineer and producer at the time, 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".

After Queen finished their 1986 Magic Tour, Taylor started a new band, The Cross, which released three albums over their six years of existence. In 1993 the band 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 the tasmanian tiger - thylacinus cynocephalus, but most especially... for Freddie". "Nazis 1994" from this album 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 his fourth 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. Taylor also performed one of the first Internet-gigs – for which he got a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.[8]

After nearly 12 years between solo albums, in 2010 Taylor is due to release a new studio album entitled The Unblinking Eye (Everything Is Broken). The first single, of the same name, was released on November 23, 2009 as a digital download, but due to popular demand it will be released as a limited edition single.[9]

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

Taylor performing with The Cross in 1990.

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

Taylor performing with The Cross in 1990.

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.

Break up

The band broke up in 1993 after performing a final show. Taylor continued working with Queen and produced solo albums. Drummer Macrae accompanied Taylor on his solo tours and also played percussion at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. Both Taylor and keyboardist Edney participated in the Queen + Paul Rodgers tours, while Macrae worked behind the scenes as a sound engineer and Pro Tools engineer for them. In the late 1990s, Edney formed the SAS Band ("Spike's All Stars"), a group with an ever-changing lineup of 80s rock stars.

Recent events

2000's

At Live Earth in 2007, Taylor opened the concert with Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Taylor has appeared beside May for various other events and promotions, including Queen's 2001 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [10] (sans John Deacon, but with Jer Bulsara, mother of Freddie Mercury, present) and the "Party at the Palace", celebrating the golden jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Taylor and May, performing as Queen, also appeared twice on the American singing contest television show American Idol, once on 11 April 2006, during which week contestants were required to sing a Queen song, (which included "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "The Show Must Go On", "Who Wants to Live Forever", and "Innuendo"); and the second time on the show's Season 8 finale in May 2009, performing "We Are the Champions" with finalists Adam Lambert and Kris Allen.

In November 2009, Taylor appeared on the popular reality TV show The X Factor with band mate Brian May as Queen mentoring the contestants, then later performing Bohemian Rhapsody.

Queen and Paul Rodgers

From his last solo album Electric Fire in 1998 Taylor has been performing as a solo artist, as part of a ensembles and infrequently as Queen with Brian May.

At the end of 2004, May and Taylor announced that they would reunite and return to touring in 2005, with Paul Rodgers (founder and former lead singer of Free and Bad Company). Brian May's website also stated that Rodgers would be 'featured with' Queen as Queen + Paul Rodgers, not replacing the late Freddie Mercury. The retired John Deacon would not be participating.[11]

Between 2005 and 2006 Queen and Paul Rodgers embarked on a world tour, the first leg being Europe and the second, Japan and the US in 2006. On 15 August 2006, Brian May confirmed through his website and fan club that Queen + Paul Rodgers would begin producing their first studio album beginning in October, to be recorded at a "secret location".[12] The album, titled The Cosmos Rocks, was released in Europe on 12 September 2008 and in the United States on 28 October 2008. Following the album the band again embarked on a tour through Europe and South America, opening on Kharkov's freedom square in front of 350,000 Ukrainian fans. The show in Ukraine was later released on DVD.


Discography

Albums

Drum kit

Roger's kit of choice:

Drum Pedal by Sleishman

Rest of the gear exclusively by Ludwig

Toms - 10" x 8" , 12" x 9" , 13"x 11", 14" x 14", 16" x 16", 18" x 16".

Bass Drum - 24" x 18"

Snare - 14" x 7"

All Cymbals by Zildjian In late 2008, Roger switched his endorsement to DW (Drum Workshop) drums, as well as DW's pedals and hardware. He can be seen with his new DW drum kit in the 2010 Drum Workshop catalog and DW's new issue (#8.0) of "EDGE" magazine, which is the official publication of the drum company.

Stamps

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.[13][14]

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.[15]

References

External links








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