- 1. Early life
Roger Meddows Taylor is an English musician, singer and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the drummer for the rock band Queen. As a drummer, Taylor was recognised early in his career for his unique sound. He was voted the eighth-greatest drummer in classic rock music history in a listener poll conducted by Planet Rock in 2005. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 as a member of Queen.
As a songwriter, Taylor contributed songs to Queen's albums from the beginning, composing at least one track on every album, and often singing lead vocals on his own compositions. He wrote or co-wrote three UK number ones ("These Are the Days of Our Lives", "Innuendo" and "Under Pressure") and wrote a further five major hits ("Radio Ga Ga", "A Kind of Magic", "Heaven for Everyone", "Breakthru", and "The Invisible Man"). He was also the main writer on the international top-ten hit "One Vision", although the track is credited to the whole band. He has collaborated with such artists as Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, Phil Collins, Genesis, Jimmy Nail, Kansas, Elton John, Gary Numan, Shakin' Stevens, Foo Fighters, Al Stewart, Steve Vai, Yoshiki, Cyndi Almouzni, and Bon Jovi. As a producer, he has produced albums by Virginia Wolf, Jimmy Nail, and Magnum.
In addition to his drum work, Taylor is well known for his falsetto vocal range. He sometimes played keyboards, guitars and bass on his own songs. During the 1980s, in addition to his work with Queen, he formed a parallel band known as the Cross, in which he was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist. During the early 1980s, Taylor was also a panellist on the popular UK quiz show Pop Quiz, hosted by Mike Read. In 2014, he appeared in The Life of Rock with Brian Pern as himself.
Roger Taylor was born on 26 July 1949 at West Norfolk & Lynn Hospital in King's Lynn, Norfolk. The new maternity ward was opened by Princess Elizabeth (the future queen, Elizabeth II), where she was introduced to 16 new mothers including Winifred Taylor, his mother. Taylor first lived at 87 High Street in King's Lynn and later moved to Beulah Street in the town. Taylor's first school was Rosebury Avenue school. Taylor moved to Truro, Cornwall, in south west England, with his mother Winifred, father Michael and younger sister Clare. When he was seven years old, he and some friends formed his first band, the Bubblingover Boys, in which he played the ukulele. He briefly attended Truro Cathedral School; at the age of 13, he joined Truro School as a day boy. At the age of 15, Taylor became a member of the Reaction, a semi-professional rock band formed mainly of boys from Truro School. Taylor had originally learned guitar, but became a drummer when he realised he had a more natural aptitude for it. Taylor taught himself to tune his drums, inspired by Keith Moon of the Who because of the "great drum sounds" on the early Who records. Another key influence on Taylor was drummer Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, who Taylor stated was his early role model.
In 1967, Taylor went to London to study dentistry at the London Hospital Medical College, but he became bored with it and changed to biology obtaining a BSc at East London Polytechnic.