When the long anticipated Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody finally makes it to screens across the country, most viewers will be focused on the performance of Rami Malik in his role as Freddie Mercury. As the lead vocalist and front man, the charismatic Mercury was naturally the face of the band.
Fans of that unique electric guitar that enhances most of Queen ‘s songs will no doubt be paying close attention to the performance of Gwylim Lee, who in the film will be portraying Brian May.
People who appreciate the group’s percussion, especially on hits like “You’re My Best Friend” and “We Will Rock You,” might focus more of their attention on Ben Hardy as drummer Roger Tay!or.
Probably the least examined role will be that filled by actor Joseph Mazzello, who will appear as bass player John Deacon. Even though he was the composer of several of Queen’s biggest hits, Deacon has always been the least recognized among the glam rock quartet.
While the other three members have all been contributing songs since the band’s self-titled debut record, it was not until the Sheer Heart Attack album that Deacon offered his own composition.
“Misfire” may not rank as high as “Killer Queen” or “Flick of the Wrist” on that album, but it did portend that Deacon had a knack for coming up with a pop hook.
In fact, on the next album A Night At the Opera, Deacon was responsible for showing off a sweet side of the band that had hitherto been absent. His “You’re My Best Friend” serves as a tender complement to the wrath of tracks such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Death On Two Legs”, helping Queen draw more mainstream listeners.
His sole track on album four, A Day At the Races, provided an acoustic love ballad simply titled “You and I.” That acoustic approach was greatly enhanced on Deacon’s pieces for the next record, News of the World.
On no other Queen song is the acoustic guitar as elegant as it is on “Who Needs You”, a song whose bitter lyrics are placed on a beautiful musical background. The only song on the album that comes close to being as good is “Spread Your Wings”, which is Deacon’s second offering for News of the World.
He also have two songs to the follow up called Jazz, one a pop rock dirty and the other a love ballad with the title “In Only Seven Days.” Neither became a huge hit, but Deacon would soon pen the song that helped Queen become a standard at sporting events all across America.
The bass line has become one of the most recognizable musical introductions in the history of rock, as people from three generations can easily identify “Another One Bites the Dust” by just a few notes into it. That huge hit send the album The Game to the top of the charts, also aided by another Deacon song that became a minor single called “Need Your Loving Tonight.”
Deacon continued to pen hits for the quartet, his “I Want To Break Free” becoming the highlight of a record called The Works. That title could have provided insight to the personality of its writer, who never seemed to relish the attention that comes with being in a famous rock band.
His voice is seldom heard on a Queen song, and he passed on numerous opportunities to do reunions after Mercury passed away. May and Taylor did a tour with vocalist Paul Rodgers, but Deacon politely declined to join them.
Nor did he take part in the making of the upcoming biopic, allowing Taylor and May to preside over its progress. It appears that once Freddie Mercury died, Deacon did indeed break free of any tie the band held on him.