Queen are an English rock band. Formed in London in 1970 following the demise of the band Smile, Queen consisted of vocalist Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor. The band became popular with audiences via their hit singles, live performances, originality and showmanship, being voted the greatest British band of all time in a national BBC poll. Their 1985 Live Aid performance was voted the best live rock performance of all time in an industry poll. According to the BBC, Queen have sold more than 300 million albums as of 2009.
Queen enjoyed success in the UK in the early to mid-1970s with the albums Queen and Queen II, but it was with the release of Sheer Heart Attack in 1974 and A Night at the Opera the following year that the band gained international success. They have released fifteen studio albums, five live albums and numerous compilation albums. Since Mercury’s death and Deacon’s retirement, May and Taylor have performed infrequently together at special events and programmes as members of other ensembles. Between 2004 to 2009 the duo collaborated with Paul Rodgers under the moniker Queen + Paul Rodgers.
In 1968, guitarist Brian May, a student at London’s Imperial College, and bassist Tim Staffell decided to form a band. May placed an advertisement on the college notice board for a “Mitch Mitchell/Ginger Baker type” drummer; Roger Taylor, a young dental student, auditioned and got the job. The group called themselves Smile.