Childhood & Early Life
Roger Taylor was born Roger Meddows Taylor, on July 26, 1949, in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England, to Winifred and Michael Taylor. He grew up with a younger sister named Clare Taylor.
Initially, the family lived on 87 High Street. They later moved to Beulah Street in King’s Lynn. There, he enrolled at the ‘Rosebury Avenue School.’ The family then moved to Cornwall, Southwest England.
Ever since he was little, Roger had a deep interest in music. He started learning music at a tender age. However, before he turned to drumming, he played the guitar and the ukulele. He was thus a multi-instrumentalist even in his younger years.
His strong urge to become a musician had Roger forming his first band at the age of 7. Called ‘The Bubblingover Boys,’ the band had Roger playing the ukulele.
As he entered his teenage years, he attended ‘Truro School,’ where he became part of the school band named ‘The Reaction.’ It was a semi-professional band in which Roger played the guitar. Slowly, he found that he was much better at playing the drums. Inspired by esteemed drummer Keith Moon, Roger learned tuning the drums all by himself.
Following his high-school graduation, in 1967, Keith enrolled at the ‘London Hospital Medical College’ and studied dentistry. However, he did not find it interesting enough. He then earned a degree in biology from the ‘East London Polytechnic.’
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In 1968, Roger noticed an advertisement for auditions for the drummer of a band. He thus came in touch with Tim Staffell and Brian May. Hence, the band ‘Smile’ was formed. The band played music for 2 years, until 1970. The band released nine songs and was moderately successful.
Around 1969, Roger was sharing a flat with Freddie Mercury, who was a huge fan of the band ‘Smile.’ By 1970, ‘Smile’ had split and Roger has begun receiving offers to join other bands, such as ‘Genesis.’ However, he refused.
However, Freddie was himself an aspiring musician and thus urged the members of ‘Smile’ to come together to form a new band with him as the lead singer. The band thus formed was named ‘Queen.’
In 1973, ‘Queen’ released their debut album, ‘Queen,’ under ‘EMI Records’ in England. Although the album had earlier received mixed response from critics, it was eventually recognized as a great album. It was certified “gold” in both the US and the UK. It was not a bad start for a debut album, and ‘Queen’ started working on their second album immediately.
In less than a year, ‘Queen’ released their second album, ‘Queen 2.’ It performed much better than the band’s debut album, peaking at the fifth spot on the ‘UK Albums’ chart. It was also certified “gold” in the UK.
Their third album, titled ‘Sheer Heart Attack,’ helped the band make waves internationally. Released in late 1974, the album made a place among the top 10 albums of many countries. It was certified “platinum” in the UK and “gold” in the US.
This was the beginning of the golden period of ‘Queen.’ Many music critics considered them the best rock band of their time. With the albums ‘The Game,’ ‘The Works,’ and ‘Innuendo’ becoming international successes, ‘Queen’ organized stage shows in several cities all over the world.
One track in particular, titled ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ from the album ‘A Night at the Opera,’ became a mega hit and is now considered among the best songs ever produced.
Roger also began playing as a solo musician in the early 1980s. In 1981, he released his debut solo album, ‘Fun in Space,’ in which he wrote all the songs and played almost all the instruments. The album, however, failed to capture the imagination of the listeners and was a moderate hit.
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In 1984, Roger released his second solo album, ‘Strange Frontier,’ which was another failure. Following the debacle of his second solo album, Roger took a 10-year break and then released his third album. In the meantime, he toured heavily with ‘Queen.’ He also worked on the band’s albums, as the band was at its peak during the 1980s.
In 1994, Roger released his third solo album, titled ‘Happiness?,’ which was yet another major debacle. Although released as a single, the lyrics of the track ‘Nazis 1994’ were deemed controversial, leading to it being banned by commercial radio stations in the UK. Additionally, it was banned from being advertised. Many record stores refused to stock the single. Ironically, the publicity helped the album gain more success.
Although his fourth album, titled ‘Electric Fire,’ received good critical response, it failed to garner the same response from listeners.
His last album to date has been ‘Fun on Earth,’ released in 2013.
He was invited as a guest to music reality shows such as ‘American Idol’ and ‘The X Factor.’
In the more recent years, Roger has turned executive producer in Hollywood, producing movies such as ‘Solitary’ (2013–2014). In addition, he also provided original music for the film’s soundtrack.
Family & Personal Life
Roger Meddows Taylor married Dominique Beyrand in 1988 and had two children with her. The marriage ended in a divorce.
Roger then married Sarina Taylor in 2010, and the couple have been together since.
He was great friends with his ‘Queen’ bandmate Freddie Mercury. Freddie died of complications resulting due to AIDS. Following this, Roger began working extensively toward spreading awareness about the disease.
Actor Ben Hardy portrayed Roger Taylor in the biographical film ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in 2018.