Roger Taylor: Queen’s Falsetto Sporting Drummer

Queen's Roger Taylor Drumming
Rog in action.

When you’re the drummer in the band boasting Freddie bloody Mercury of all people, it’s difficult to stand out. But Roger Taylor did just that.

Roger Taylor’s Drumming Story

Born in July 1949, Roger Taylor grew up in Cornwall and formed his first band with some schoolmates. He was only seven!

H experimented around with instruments, starting with the guitar. Before shifting over permanently to the drums.

His main inspirations were Buddy Rich, John Bonham, and Keith Moon.

But it was Mitch Mitchell from the Jimi Hendrix Experience who really pushed him to up his drumming chops.

He joined a band called Smile in 1978, featuring Brian May. Soon enough, Freddie Mercury and John Deacon joined up.

They became Queen—the rest is history!

And although Mercury dominated proceedings with his natural charisma, Taylor’s solid drumming chops punctuated all of Queen’s greatest moments.

He certainly wasn’t the most naturally gifted drummer of his generation, but he was a great fit for Queen.

Generally, he held down a solid beat for most of the band’s songs. This is common amongst many rock drummers, you don’t need to be a Keith Moon all the time.

In fact, it’s a sign of a great drummer. Holding back and complementing a song perfectly.

He certainly wasn’t the most naturally gifted drummer of his generation, but he was a great fit for Queen.

Queen’s live sets were very physically demanding, requiring a lot of energy. Taylor could come alive when he needed to with a tom-tom heavy solo.

With his good looks, he also complemented the band’s song with his impressive backing vocals.

He sounds a bit like Rod Stewart—a husky tone. But one that could reach impressive peaks.

So, yes, he’s an excellent singer and another example of a singing drummer, along with the likes of Levon Helm and Reni.

With his impressive falsetto (“Galileo!”), here he is with the band at their best in Montreal, 1981.

As you can see, he (and the others) really put their all into performances. And singing whilst you’re drumming is bloody difficult, we can assure you.

That’s really where we think Taylor, and Queen, work best. As a unit, the four of them had a special connection to play uplifting music together.

But you can see Taylor’s range of influences amongst the clips we’ve highlighted. Definitely riffing on Mitchell’s impressively ferocious playing from the ’60s, alongside the technicality of beat holding greats such as Bonham.

Alongside his drumming chops, Taylor has also proven himself to be a very decent man.

During Freddie Mercury’s battle with AIDS, he (and the other band members) kept this secret from prying tabloid journalists and paparazzi.

And in more recent years, he’s poured outspoken hatred on the utterly vile tabloids. Primarily The Sun, which hounded Mercury with total disdain for years.

In 1991, Taylor also co-founded the Mercury Phoenix Trust. Since then, it’s raised over $16 million across 700 projects helping to battle HIV and AIDS.

These days, Taylor also still tours with Brian May playing Queen’s hits, with various stand-in singers for Mr. Freddie Mercury.

It can’t ever be the same, of course, the enduring popularity of the band (and in Mercury) remains as high as ever. There was a full feature film in 2018 about them all.

Kudos to Mr. Taylor for keeping the legend alive. His drumming chops play a big part in all of it.

4 comments

  1. It took me quite a few years to finally realize that the one singing “I Want It All” was Roger Taylor and not Freddie Mercury…😲

    Queen was similar to The Beatles in all four members of the band could sing and did so on some of their respective bands moderate-to-bigger hits.

    Liked by 1 person

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