Roger Taylor Biography
Roger Meddows Taylor (Meddows being a name passed down from generation to generation in Roger’s family, and therefore to him), was born on July 26th, 1949 in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. Roger had attended his first school, Gaywood Primary in King’s Lynn, for 3 years when his family (now including his sister Clare) decided to move down to Truro in Cornwall, where Roger was enrolled in Bosvigo School. He learned how to play the ukulele at the age of 6, and when he was 8, became interested in the guitar. For a while he made due with the ukulele, on which he learned to play the basic chords. That was enough to influence him to want to be in a band. His first band was called Bubblingover Boys. They didn’t play much, and their last gig was at the Bosvigo school dance. It was a short lived band, since they weren’t really good at their instruments.In May 1960, Roger started at Truro Cathedral School. He was awarded a choral scholarship to the school, which involved joining the cathedral choir, which he did not enjoy as it involved singing 3 times every Sunday and at special occasions such as weddings. Even though the experience was priceless, Roger never considered himself to be the choirboy type.In September 1960, Roger won a place at Truro School. This public school was academically the best in the area, and Roger was the only student from the cathedral school to get a free place there. It was a boarding school but as Roger lived nearby he went as a day boy.The joys of the guitar were already fading for Roger, as he found he like percussion more.He started off by bashing upturned saucepans with his mother's knitting needles, using the lids as cymbals. He actually found a snare drum one day while out playing with friends, and was given a hi-hat cymbal. For Christmas 1961, his father presented him with a bass drum and a tom-tom. Although it was a mismatched kit, Roger was extremely proud of it. After Christmas he went and bought himself a brand new Zildjian crash cymbal for eight shillings - his first proper cymbal - and eventually another tom-tom as well. During 1963, he and some friends formed a band called The Cousin Jacks. Roger was originally their rhythm guitarist, but didn’t really like this, as he wanted to play drums, so he took over the drums. The band split after a year.In 1965, Roger joined a local band called Johnny Quale and the Reaction. On March 15th, after rehearsing together for a couple of weeks, they considered themselves competent to enter 'The Rock and Rhythm Championship', an annual event run by the Round Table in Truro City Hall, at which bands from all over Cornwall and Devon would compete. They entered, but didn’t win.In September 1965, Johnny Quale left the band. He left right before they were to play a gig, so Roger, the only other one who could sing, took over the vocals, as well as the drums. Since J.Q. was no longer in the band, they became “Reaction”. On March 7th, 1966, they entered ‘The Rock and Rhythm Championship’, but this time they won.Roger graduated from Truro school in 1967, and, listening to the advice of his teachers, decided to study dentistry. Reaction later split, when Roger went to London, to go to London Hospital Medical School. Roger went back to university intent on getting into another band. His appetite for fame and fortune was keen and he read the music press regularly, looking for an opportunity. In early autumn Les Brown noticed a postcard pinned to the Imperial College notice board asking for a 'Ginger Baker/Mitch Mitchell type drummer' for a new band. He passed on the information to Roger, who, intrigued, contacted the name on the card the following day. The band was Smile. Brian & Tim were impressed with Roger’s audition, and Roger became the 3rd member of Smile.