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John Deacon is a bassist and songwriter who played with the band Queen. He penned the hits "You're My Best Friend" and "Another One Bites the Dust."
Freddie Mercury - Full Biography (44:46)
Lesley-Ann Jones, author of "Mercury," describes Freddie Mercury's personality both on and off stage, as well as his legacy as a musician and the lead singer of Queen. Video courtesy of Simon & Schuster © 2012.
Born in Zanzibar to Indian parents, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury became a rock legend with songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody." Queen's album sales rival the Beatles, with Mercury's four octave range contributing to the band's success.
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Born on August 19, 1951, in Leicester, England, John Deacon went on to become the bassist for world-famous band Queen. He penned major hits like "You're My Best Friend," "I Want to Break Free" and "Another One Bites the Dust," which had international crossover success. Deacon had several side projects during the '80s and retired from the business after Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury's death.
"I listened to a lot of soul music when I was in school ... I'd been waiting to do a track like 'Another One Bites the Dust' for a while, but originally all I had was the line and the bass riff. Gradually I filled it in and the band added ideas."
"If I'd just been a bass player all my life with the band, I wouldn't be as satisfied as I am because I only consider that as part of what I do. The songwriting and being involved in the decision making processes means I've been able to have a part in the band's destiny."
John Richard Deacon was born on August 19, 1951, in Leicester, England. As a child, he developed a passion for electronics while also taking up music, heaving influenced by the Beatles. He started playing guitar with the band the Opposition when he was 14, and eventually switched to bass, with the band thus becoming The New Opposition.
By the late 1960s, Deacon had enrolled at the University of London, Chelsea College, to continue his electronics studies while still leaving room for music. In the fall of 1970, he saw a band called Queen perform, but wasn't moved.
Months later, Deacon met the band's guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, and was invited to audition for the position of bassist. Deacon got the gig, and thus, with virtuosic singer Freddie Mercury already at the helm, the Queen lineup that would last for two decades was born.
The group carried on to become one of the biggest musical acts in the world, known for innovative musical fusions and theatrical, bombastic shows. The band released more than a dozen albums, including Sheer Heart Attack (1974) and Jazz (1978), and had hits like "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You," "We Are The Champions" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Deacon was known for being the quietest, introverted band member.
All of Queen's four members were songwriters and contributed to the group's canon. Deacon had a hit with the tune he penned—the cheery, affectionate "You're My Best Friend"—from the seminal album A Night at the Opera.
He also had R&B/soul leanings and found his sonic outlet in the massive funk/disco hit, "Another One Bites the Dust," from 1980's The Game. The tune, which Michael Jackson suggested be released as a single, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 2 on the R&B chart, won an American Music Award and has been hailed as a pop music classic.
Deacon had another hit from the 1984 album The Works with the defiant single he wrote, "I Want to Break Free." (The track was accompanied by a fun video of the band in various types of domestic drag.)
By the mid-1980s, Deacon had started to play with other bands as well. He performed on the single "Picking Up Sound" by Man Friday & Jive Junior and played with The Immortals, which released the track "No Turning Back." Deacon also worked with Elton John and was part of the soundtrack to the film Biggles: Adventures in Time (1988).
The world lost Freddie Mercury to AIDS in 1991, and Queen's surviving members performed a memorial/fundraising concert at Wembley Stadium the following year with a range of guest artists.
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Queen, the famed British glam-rock band, reached the top of U.S. and U.K. charts with songs like "Killer Queen," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You" and "Another One Bites the Dust." Explore this group to learn more about the popular foursome, including Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor.
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