The life of superstar Queen Roger Taylor in Cornwall
Queen’s Roger Taylor has a special relationship with Cornwall. It’s where the legendary rock star first played drums, formed his first band as a teenager and hosted Queen’s first-ever concert. It is also there that, 50 years later, he partly recorded a confined version of We Are The Champions by Queen and Adam Lambert.
“You definitely can’t take Cornwall away from the boy,” he previously confessed to CornwallLive. “I don’t live permanently in the county, but I still have a home in Helford. Something always reminds me of the sea.
Taylor’s life in Cornwall began in the 1950s when her family decided to move to a bungalow in Park View, Truro. At the age of seven, he formed his first band called the Bubblingover Boys, for which he played guitar and ukulele.
Read more: The life of Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan in Cornwall
But his first experience as a drummer was with Beat Unlimited – which led to him joining semi-professional rock band The Reaction at the age of 15. With the band, formed by other students from Truro School, Taylor played in different pubs and venues. through Cornwall.
“The first serious band I got in school was The Reaction,” Taylor previously said. I also remember the first concerts at the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth and at Truro Town Hall and its annex. Many strange people came to the town hall.
Offstage, her life in Truro involved hanging out with friends, taking dance lessons and visiting the local record store. “Roger’s all-consuming passion for performing was always evident to those who knew him, but away from his drums he hung out with his friends in Truro’s coffeeshops, particularly The Riverside, which is now the Guild of Ten”, the Art Reports of Cornwall website.
“Next to The Riverside was The WI Hall – now The Office – which was one of the first venues in Cornwall to hold Rock ‘n’ Roll dances in the late 1950s. Roger took dance lessons there de salon in 1963. Nearby is, of course, the cathedral where Roger was an altar boy for six months in early 1960. He then attended the cathedral school which was in an adjacent building.
“At the bottom of Pydar Street was another important place: Ford’s record store – now WHSmith’s – where Roger bought most of his records, while further up the hill in a two-storey cinderblock building which was once an armory, there was a club called PJ’s This location – now New Look – was particularly significant to Queen’s early days, as it was where Smile, the band that preceded Queen, played 14 times.
But everything changed for Taylor when he moved to London to study dentistry. Taylor met a certain Brian May in 1968, who was looking for a drummer. And, instead of becoming a dentist, Taylor formed one of the greatest bands in rock history.
Originally called Smile, Taylor and May’s band have played Cornwall many times. And, on June 27, 1970, Truro Town Hall – now the Hall For Cornwall – hosted a major event in music history: the first-ever performance of Queen.
Taylor previously said, “It was actually arranged by my mum for the benefit of the Red Cross. We were paid £50, which was a lot of money at the time. I’m not sure many people came.
Taylor’s mother, Win, had placed two advertisements in The West Briton newspaper ahead of the gig, again in Smile’s name. However, the band had already decided to perform under the new name Queen. She recalled Freddie Mercury explaining the new name: “He kept saying how royal it sounded.”
The group frequently stayed in Taylor’s parents’ bungalow, where they slept on the living room hardwood floor. Taylor’s favorite pub at the time was the Navy Arms, a Truro building on Fairmantle Street which has since been demolished. Brian May and Freddie Mercury also frequented the pub with him.
But after Queen’s first gig, Taylor had less and less time to return to Cornwall. “It was a flurry of activity after that,” he said. “From then on, our lives were 98% queens and 2% normal. We barely had time to see girlfriends and our families.”
The rest is history. Taylor wrote or co-wrote three UK No. 1s (These Are the Days of Our Lives, Innuendo and Under Pressure) and contributed to six other major hits (Radio Ga Ga, A Kind of Magic, One Vision, Heaven for Everyone, Breakthru and The Invisible Man).
Despite Queen’s runaway success, Taylor cherished her connection to Cornwall. He bought property in Helford, where he enjoys a pint at the Shipwrights Arms, and even unveiled the Truro drummer statue on Lemon Quay in 2011.
The statue, which depicts a naked man playing the drums, is a symbol of Cornwall identity. Mr Taylor joked at the time: “No anatomical parts were modeled on me.”
Taylor, now 72, is also an official Cornwall Pride sponsor. He previously said: “I’m really proud to be associated with the pride of Cornwall. For me, it represents in a significant way that Cornwall is very much part of the 21st century, which has to be a positive change for the better. Forward together.”
Last year his daughter Rory, a doctor who works in west London, got married in Cornwall. For the occasion, Queen’s teammate Brian May landed his helicopter in the village of Mawnan Smith, near Falmouth, causing a cricket match to be delayed.
During the pandemic, he recorded his new album ‘Outsider’ at his Cornish home, after what was supposed to be a three-day visit ended up lasting four months. He said: “It was a strange and leveling time when everyone was reduced to their immediate surroundings and worried (about) what happened next and how devastating the pandemic was going to be.
“It was just me and my wife, we haven’t seen anyone for weeks and weeks. How weird… So it started me writing things like ‘Isolation,’ which just goes, ‘Really? Well, listen, we “Just sit down, quell the boredom, and go all the way, and we’ll come out the other side.” I guess that’s how it started. of bursting.”
The house is also where he partly recorded a locked version of Queen and Adam Lambert’s We Are The Champions to raise money for health workers. The band members all filmed themselves on their mobile phones in their respective homes, meaning the single was recorded between London, Cornwall and Los Angeles.
Taylor said at the time: “As a father with a daughter on the front line, I am very aware of the vital work they do daily to save us and our society. Their bravery and sacrifice should not be compromised by nothing less than a one hundred percent effort by our governments to protect them.They are precious to all of us and they are truly our champions.