After seven years together and three albums, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon were seeking creative and financial independence for Queen. This is the subject of this week’s Queen The Greatest (which can be viewed below); looking back at the band’s 50 year history. The new episode features fascinating archive footage of Freddie and John from 1978, plus a rare interview with Queen’s long-term manager Jim Beach.
In one clip, John shared: “We didn’t get a penny of record royalties from the first three albums.
“What we were looking at in that point in time was basically to just look after ourselves, and do it completely on our own.”
While Roger added: “It’s the long road to artistic, financial freedom which is so hard to find if you’re successful to any degree ‘cos there’s a million sharks out there.”
It was early 1978 when Queen finally took control of their business affairs, as they set off to record their new album Jazz.
Queen set up three entities to operate and manage the band’s creative endeavours in Queen Productions Limited, Queen Music Limited and Queen Films Limited.
At the time, the independence move was very unusual for a band, as the four turned to Jim Beach to run the business side of things.
Remembering their first meeting, the 79-year-old said: “I first met Queen when I was a solicitor at Harbottle & Lewis in London.
“I was a partner and I was running what was then a very fledgling music department.”
Jim added: “And I said, ‘Don’t be silly, come on, send them up.’
“I always remember Freddie walked in first, they sat down and Freddie kicked straight off.
The singer said: “We’ve recorded three albums, our manager’s just bought his second Rolls Royce and we’re on sixty quid a week, so something’s wrong.”
Queen also took full creative control in the studio, having proven their worth with the News of the World album.
In another clip, John commented: “It comes to a stage where all you really need is an engineer, because the idea of balancing and sounds you want, an artist or musician should really know what they want.
“And the only person needed to implement that is an engineer.
“And when you’re doing a mix, when you’re mixing down the track from the tapes, I mean it’s setting it up and then we actually sit down and work the controls as well.”
To watch other episodes in the Queen the Greatest series click here.