How Roger Taylor Got The Short End Of Queen's Great Compromise


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One of the turning points in Queen's 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is Freddie Mercury's novel suggestion that the band finally put a stop to its inevitable bickering over writing credits.

The scene depicted in the film is based on a real-life compromise the band reached in the early-'80s to ensure that arguments over royalties wouldn't torpedo Queen in its second decade.

Drummer Roger Taylor notes in a recent conversation with The Telegraph that the compromise was a "wonderful solution" to a problem that threatened the band from its early days.

When the agreement was made, Taylor was the only one of the quartet without several major hits to his name. That meant that by the time he authored classics like "Radio Ga Ga," "One Vision," "Innuendo" and "These Are the Days of Our Lives," he only got a quarter of his due royalties at best.

"Freddie and Brian [May] were the main writers at first, and then John [Deacon] and myself sort of took over in the ‘80s," Taylor said. "And Fred came up with a wonderful solution. He said, ‘Look, everything is under the heading Queen, so we split it equally.’ Which actually didn’t go that well for me, because I was writing most of the hits by then. But I can’t complain.”

Some 40 years later, Queen is one of the most popular musical acts in history and nearly every song in the band's catalog is a hit by most standards. While Taylor might have missed out on the big bucks at the time, Queen's enduring success would suggest that he's gotten his due on the back end.

Taylor recently announced his first solo album in eight years, Outsider, which is due everywhere October 1.


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