Meet Tim Staffell, John Deacon's bass-playing predecessor in Smile, the band that became Queen

Tim Staffell
(Image credit: Cody Cloud)

Let’s get this out of the way: even 30 years after the death of their unique frontman Freddie Mercury, Queen are still huge, one of the biggest-selling bands in the world, despite falling in and out of fashion along the way. A quarter of the band’s success is due to the resident bassman, John Deacon, but before Deacon came onboard, the band went through several bassists before finding their man. 

Wind the clock back to the first half of 1970, and half of Queen, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, were in a band called Smile. The bassist in that group was Tim Staffell, whose character was immortalized in the Bohemian Rhapsody movie of 2018. Staffell’s relationship with May stretches back even further, as the pair took their first musical steps together in a mid-'60s band called 1984.

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