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Also Known As: Roger Meddows Taylor Died:
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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Singer-musician Roger Taylor rose to international fame as the drummer and occasional vocalist-songwriter for the hard-charging arena rock band Queen, with whom he performed from its humble beginnings in 1971 through the heights of its popularity in the 1970s and in numerous reunions following the death of flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury in 1991. Taylor's brawny percussion style influenced a generation of rock drummers, most notably Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters, while his four-octave vocal range anchored Queen's signature harmonies while also providing lead vocals and the stratospherically high end on songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody." Taylor was also the first member of Queen to launch a solo career, releasing his first single in 1977 before issuing a string of albums, both under his own name and with a new group called The Cross, between 1984 and 2013. However, few achieved the same historic heights as Queen, with which he remained associated well into the 21st century for much-publicized collaborations with Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert. Though infrequently recognized for his contributions to Queen, Taylor was unquestionably a key component in the group's extraordinary success, as well as...

Singer-musician Roger Taylor rose to international fame as the drummer and occasional vocalist-songwriter for the hard-charging arena rock band Queen, with whom he performed from its humble beginnings in 1971 through the heights of its popularity in the 1970s and in numerous reunions following the death of flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury in 1991. Taylor's brawny percussion style influenced a generation of rock drummers, most notably Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters, while his four-octave vocal range anchored Queen's signature harmonies while also providing lead vocals and the stratospherically high end on songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody." Taylor was also the first member of Queen to launch a solo career, releasing his first single in 1977 before issuing a string of albums, both under his own name and with a new group called The Cross, between 1984 and 2013. However, few achieved the same historic heights as Queen, with which he remained associated well into the 21st century for much-publicized collaborations with Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert. Though infrequently recognized for his contributions to Queen, Taylor was unquestionably a key component in the group's extraordinary success, as well as one of rock's most acclaimed drummers.

Born July 26, 1949 in King's Lynn, a seaport town in Norfolk county, England, Roger Meddows Taylor was raised in Truro, a city in the southwest of England, by his parents, Michael and Winifred. He began performing in bands while still very young, playing ukulele with friends in a group called the Bubblingover Boys at the age of seven. After teaching himself to play guitar and drums, Taylor turned semi-professional at the age of 13, playing with several fellow students from Truro Cathedral School in a band called The Reaction. He briefly put his music career on hold in 1967 to study dentistry at the London Hospital Medical College, but by the following year, was playing in a new group, Smile, with guitarist Brian May and bassist Tim Staffell. Smile became a fixture on the London club scene, eventually working its way up to a benefit show at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969 before Staffell's departure forced them to disband in 1970. However, they had earned a devoted fan in Farouk Bulsara, a friend of Staffell's and fellow Ealing College student, who appealed to May and Taylor to continue the band. Bulsara, who later changed his name to Freddie Mercury, was soon recruited to sing for the new act, which, with the addition of bassist John Deacon, became Queen.

In addition to providing Queen with the muscular, propulsive backbeat that drove such hit singles as "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions," Taylor penned numerous songs for the group, including the No. 16 single "Radio Ga Ga" and the Top 50 singles "One Vision" and "A Kind of Magic." He was also credited as co-writer on some of their signature numbers, including "Stone Cold Crazy," "Under Pressure," and sang most of his compositions while also contributing memorably high falsetto parts to their signature harmonies, most notably on "Bohemian Rhapsody," where his piercing cry of " for me!" launched the song into its thunderous hard rock section. By 1977, Queen was among the most popular rock acts in the world, prompting Taylor to test the waters with a solo single, "I Wanna Testify" (1977). Though it failed to generate much interest, he soon followed it with his solo debut album, Fun in Space (1981), though the demands of touring and recording with Queen prevented him from promoting the record beyond a few appearances on European television. Despite this challenge, Fun in Space sold well enough to generate a second solo effort, Strange Frontier (1984), which featured appearances by his Queen bandmates.

Two years later, Queen would give its last world tour in support of the album A Kind of Magic (1986), due largely to Mercury's diagnosis with HIV. Taylor would subsequently form his own group, The Cross, which released three albums between 1987 and 1993. Their output, which featured Taylor on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, featured a decided dance-influenced sound on their first album, Shove It (1988). The Cross returned to a more rock-friendly sound for their next two albums, but none of these directions proved popular with listeners, prompting the band to fold in 1993. Ironically, one of the band's singles, "Heaven for Everyone," which featured Freddie Mercury on backing vocals, became a posthumous hit for Queen after the band reworked it for their 1995 album Made in Heaven. Taylor returned to his solo career in 1994 with Happiness?, a collaboration with Yoshiki Hayashi of X Japan that generated his first U.K. hit single, "Nazis 1994." The song, which criticized the rise of the Neo-Nazi movement in Europe, was briefly banned by the BBC's Radio 1 for fear that it would inspire riots by the same said group. No such incidents occurred, and the album would go on to produce two more Top 40 U.K. hits with "Happiness" and "Foreign Sand." However, its follow-up, Electric Fire (1998), failed to reproduce its degree of popularity.

Taylor would continue to perform and record with May and Deacon as Queen in the years following Mercury's death. Deacon would officially retire from the group after a 1997 performance with Elton John in Paris, after which May and Taylor would team with a diverse array of vocalists under the moniker of Queen +, including Robbie Williams, Wyclef Jean, George Michael and opera legend Luciano Pavarotti. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Queen, shortly before announcing that he and May would team with Bad Company and Free vocalist Paul Rodgers to return to touring as Queen + Paul Rodgers. The new lineup launched a world tour in 2006 as well as a studio CD, The Cosmos Rocks (2008), which reached the Top 5 on the U.K. albums chart despite mostly poor reviews. Queen + Paul Rodgers would amicably end their union the following year while keeping the door open for future collaborations. May and Taylor would continue to perform together, mostly on television competitions like "American Idol" (Fox, 2002- ) and award shows where they would break out "We are the Champions" for a new generation. Taylor then began recording new solo material in 2008 and 2009 for his fifth studio album, The Unblinking Eye (Everything is Broken. He and May relaunched the Queen + moniker with "Idol" finalist Adam Lambert for a series of high-profile shows in Europe in the summer of 2012, shortly before performing with English singer Jessie J at the closing ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in London.

By Paul Gaita

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Magic-Queen in Hungary (1986) Queen Band Member
2.
 We Will Rock You (1983)
3.
 2001: The Year in Music (2001) Interviewee
4.
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