Brian May Finds Recording From One Of Queen's Earliest London Performances

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

February 5, 2021

Brian May has unearthed a recording of one of Queen's earliest live performances.

May tells Classic Rock magazine that the long-lost tape was from a performance at Imperial College, where May had studied physics. It's so early in the band's career that it pre-dates bassist John Deacon joining.

“We're always looking at finding stuff that is historically important,” May told the magazine. "And this one tape that cropped up very recently which I am excited about, which is one of the first gigs we played in a lecture theatre at Imperial College. I didn't even know I had the cassette.”

The guitarist did not specify the exact date of the performance. Queen played Imperial College several times in its early days, including its first-ever gig in London on July 18, 1970.

Queen is so unpolished on the record, May says he's hesitant to share the tape publicly, though its contents would be genuinely intriguing to any longtime fan.

"We were very unformed," he said. “Hearing Freddie at that point in his development is fascinating. He had all the will and charisma and passion, but he didn't have the opportunity to harness that voice yet. Which makes me hesitate a little bit, because I'm not sure Freddie would be that happy hearing himself at this stage. But strangely, if he were alive and sitting here at this moment, he'd probably be the same as me: ‘Oh darling, we were kids.’"

He continued: “We're debating what to do with it. A few years ago we'd have felt very protective and thought, ‘Nobody should hear this, because we’re very rough.’ But now, in the position that we are in our lives, we feel forgiving. We're not ashamed of where we were at that time. It was us against the world.”

Photo: Getty Images

QueenFreddie MercuryBrian MayRoger Taylor
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