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.
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.
Writes 'Another One Bites the Dust'
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).
Opts for Quiet Life
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. Deacon also played bass on unfinished tracks from Mercury that made up the 1995 posthumous album Made in Heaven. And in 1997, Deacon reunited with his bandmates and Elton John for a rendition of "The Show Must Go On" at the premiere of Maurice Béjart's "Ballet for Life."
Deacon opted to retire and leave the public spotlight, with May and Taylor continuing to perform as Queen and put forth new productions. Deacon has lived near London with his wife and several children.
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