Years active:






Band Members:                                         

Brian May (Guitar)
Tim Staffell (Bass)
Roger Taylor (Drums)               


Roger Taylor, the future drummer with Queen, formed Smile with Brian May and Tim Staffell in the Autumn of 1968. Roger had been in The Reaction from 1965 to 1968 and despite the fact he was a schoolboy, the band had been one of the hardest working on the cornish circuit. A measure of his ambition and enthusiasm, he continued to gig with The Reaction in Cornwall regularly during his first academic year in London when he was supposed to be attending lectures at the London Hospital Dental School. When he joined Smile that Autumn, however, Roger Taylor had decided to give up both dentistry and The Reaction.

Whilst Smile played at Imperial College where Brian was studying, they performed in Cornwall more frequently, hence their inclusion on the Kernow Beat site. Their biggest gig was early in 1969 when they played at the Albert Hall, but during 1969 they played at PJs in Truro nine times, then in 1970 they played there a further five times. There are adverts for Smile playing at The Flamingo and The Garden, but there are verbal reports of them also playing at beach parties, Fowey Carnival and St Ives (Tim Staffell), St ?Buryan (Nigel Chappell), St Georges, Truro (Pete Gill-Carey), Wadebridge Town Hall, Falmouth Art School (Pete Edmonds) and a hotel in Portreath (Graham Hankins). Some of these dates need further confirmation.

At many of these gigs a certain Freddie Bulsara would be in the audience. He was close friends with the three members of Smile, and was desperate to join the band himself.

Freddie would later change his name to Freddie Mercury, and, at the same time he would persuade Smile to take him on as lead singer and change its name to Queen. This change took place in the Summer of 1970, when Smile had been booked to play at the City Hall in Truro by Roger Taylors mum. The gig at the City Hall is now recognised as being Queens first, and the bass player that night was Mike Grose previously of The Individuals, Smokey Joes, Jasons Mind and Bent Cement who had got to know the members of Smile at PJs where he was working.

Despite having a different singer, Smile's sound was not that different to Queens, proof really of the influence of Brian and Roger in forming the Queen sound. They were inspired by the likes of Led Zep and Cream and were what might be decribed as heavy rock with vocal harmonies. Freddie Mercury brought Queen a visual focus and a kind of showbiz razzamataz that Smile didnt have. Also, later he became their most important song-writer.

For more information on Smile and Queen in Cornwall see www.queenincornwall.blogspot.com. The early Smile and Queen gigs in Cornwall have never been properly documented. If you saw Queen or Smile play in Cornwall please contact Rupert at queenincornwall@gmail.com and share your knowledge of those events.




Links to other bands:

Roger Taylor played in The Reaction

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