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Queen’s Marquee Launch Of ‘73

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Queen have been a worldwide rock institution for so long that it’s strange to think of the day that EMI Records launched them as a new signing. That date was Monday, 9 April 1973. After joining the label in November 1972, the month the band started work on a debut album during “down time” at Trident Studios, Queen made their first appearance at the Marquee Club in London.

1973-04-09 QueenThe band’s very first gig had come fully two years before, at Hornsey Town Hall, the first of countless date at which Freddie, Brian, Roger and John honed their reputation, even as each of them pursued other interests outside music. During the year of 1972, Queen began to turn heads in the industry, leading engineers Roy Thomas Baker and John Anthony to recommend them to their employers at Trident Audio Productions.

A production, management and publishing deal was duly agreed, and the band’s demo tape was circulated around the business. By February 1973, Queen were recording their first session for BBC Radio 1, at Maida Vale Studios, for the Sounds Of The Seventies programme. With Radio 1 producer Bernie Andrews, they taped four songs, ‘Keep Yourself Alive,’ ‘My Fairy King,’ ‘Doing All Right’ and ‘Liar.’

That session was broadcast ten days later to great public response, which was enough to convince EMI, already interested in the band, to sign them. The Marquee showcase duly made a strong impression, including on Trident’s Ken Scott, who was in the audience that night. Well known for his production work with David Bowie, he later said of the gig: “My view now is exactly as it was then: ‘Wow.’”

queen-at-the-marquee-club-1973

Ironically, when ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ was released in July as Queen’s first single, Radio 1 rejected it for the station’s playlist, reportedly on five separate occasions. But it won support from the BBC’s music TV institution, The Old Grey Whistle Test, and another Radio 1 session followed, as EMI released the band’s self-titled debut album.

After another Marquee show, opening for Mahatma in July, and a first tour in the autumn, supporting Mott The Hoople, Queen were en route to their big breakthrough of 1974.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Shane McDonald

    April 9, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    This is a great insight in to the starting point of Queen. It would be great to know if the Marquee is still there, Thanks for this.

    • uDiscover

      April 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      The old Marquee is long gone.

      • Taylor

        April 9, 2018 at 5:30 pm

        The old Marquee building is still there and the 9th April wasn’t there first appearance at the Marquee and Hornsey was not their first gig. Bad research.

  2. Adam Sieff

    April 12, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    I was the guitar player in Jaded who were the support band that night.

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