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45 Years Ago: John Deacon Joins Queen

Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

In their earliest days, Queen went through a number of bass players with none of them proving to be satisfactory. But that all changed on March 1, 1971, when 19-year old John Deacon joined the band, giving them the fourth and final piece in the puzzle.

As a child, Deacon had a keen interest in electronics, and spent much time fiddling with radios and reel to reel tape machines. That could have been his calling were it not for a certain musical explosion that hit him hard. As with countless teenagers across the globe, it was the Beatles that cemented Deacon’s interest in playing rock and roll. Deacon quickly learned his way around a guitar, and by age 14 had formed his first band, the Opposition.

They made some noise around his home turf of Leicester, England, but in 1966 when the Opposition’s bass player quit, Deacon decided to make the move to the rhythm section. With John on bass, the band carried on for a couple more years in various lineups and names. Eventually, Deacon left the band to study electronics at Chelsea College, University of London. For a moment, his first interest had won out, but that would soon change once again.

One night in October 1970, Deacon caught a performance by a new band calling themselves Queen. His initial reaction, however, was less than enthused. “They were all dressed in black, and the lights were very dim too, so all I could see were four shadowy figures,” he stated in a band bio. “They didn’t make a lasting impression on me at the time.”

But Deacon ran into two of its members, Brian May and Roger Taylor, a few months later, when they were on the hunt for yet another bassist. They invited Deacon to an audition. It was not only his style on the bass, but his reserved stance and personality that endeared him to the other members and helped him secure the gig.

Since the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991, Deacon has remained a recluse, retiring from the music business, and opting out of almost all post Mercury Queen activities.

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Next: Top 10 John Deacon Queen Songs

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