John Deacon


Jump to: navigation, search
John Deacon, 1986


John is probably the least known member of Queen. He rarely does interviews, is never really in the news, and when on stage, got on with playing the bass whilst the others were the showmen. In fact this is much the reason why John was picked to be the band's fourth and final member of the band. Queen had been through many bass players, but none had worked out. Roger, Freddie and Brian were fairly outgoing on stage, and they felt "because [John] was quiet he would fit in with us without too much upheaval", according to Roger.

His interest in music began at an early age. By seven, he had a red plastic Tommy Steele special. He was pretty adept at electronics, and modified an old reel-to-reel tape recorder to record music off the radio - preferably the Beatles. By the age of eleven, he bought a cheap acoustic guitar and learned to play it, and was soon playing with friends. By the age of fourteen he was in his first band - The Opposition, and played (a borrowed) rhythm guitar. They tended to play pop, soul and motown material. In December they played their first major gig, and were paid all of two pounds. By April 1966, John became the bass player when the original bassist left.

They became the New Oppostion in May, so that people knew they weren't quite the same group as before. In September John started at Beauchamp Grammar School in Leicester. In October the band entered a Midlands music championship, and reached the semifinals (by default - another band didn't turn up). During 1967 they played quite a lot of gigs, and their attention turned to image. So they gained two 'go-go' dancers (Jenny and Charmain, if you must know) and started wearing different coloured silk shirts. In March they underwent another name change, to 'Art', and they did well for themselves.

But in 1969 John left Leicester for London to study electronics at Chelsea College (part of the University of London), thus finishing his time with Art. John did little in regards to music for his first year, although he went to quite a few gigs - including one by a group called Queen. "They didn't make a lasting impression on me", John recalls. In his second year he started working his way back into music, jamming with friends. But in 1971 John was introduced by a friend to Roger Taylor and Brian May - who asked him to audition for Queen, as they were lacking a bassist.

John agreed, and arrived at the audition with his guitar and his rather tiny amplifier - later nicknamed the Deacy Amp. They played a few songs, and ended with a jam session, and impressed the boys. Not only because of his quiet personality, but also because he was good at electronics, and pretty good on the bass too. So by February 1971, Queen as we know them were complete with John's addition to the line-up. After intense rehearsal, his first gig with the band was in July. John wanted to wear one of his favourite shirts, but Freddie Mercury insisted he wore one of his T-Shirts, which John wasn't too happy with. But the gig went pretty well.

For the release of the first album, both Freddie and Roger decided that John's name would sound better reversed. And so bass was credited to 'Deacon John' on Queen, something John wasn't too happy about. But because he felt like he was the new boy, he didn't put up a fight. By the time Queen II was released, he insisted on being John Deacon - he seemingly had gained some confidence.

John has never sung on a Queen album. By his own admittance, he can't sing a note. Nevertheless, he has written his fair share of Queen tracks. His first was Misfire on Sheer Heart Attack, where he played most of the guitars. The first single to be written by John was You're My Best Friend from A Night At The Opera. Other notable tracks by John include Another One Bites The Dust and I Want To Break Free.

John hasn't really indulged in solo work like the rest of Queen. The closest he has come is with The Immortals, a group formed to record one song - No Turning Back, for the film Biggles, in 1986. The other members were Robert Awhai and Lenny Zakatek, good friends of John. The video is one John would rather forget, as it involves the band and a few backing singers in flying helmets and goggles. But at least Peter Cushing cameos in it.

He has also guested on a few records too - on Freddie's Barcelona, Roger's Strange Frontier, and on two of Elton John's LPs, among others. But since Made In Heaven, John has done little musically. At the ballet premiere of the ballet based on Freddie's life in Paris, he played bass with Roger, Brian and Elton John for The Show Must Go On earlier in 1997. But he seems to be distancing himself from the music business and Queen for the most part, and has neglected an offer from Brian and Roger to tour with them and Paul Rodgers. It seems that John is happiest concentrating on his family life (wife Veronica and six children) and going on holiday to Biarritz periodically, which is certainly not a bad way to spend one's retirement!

—Simon Davies (Ramirez), originally appeared on the now-defunct Queen Heaven site. Minor edits made by Lester Burnham.


Songs credited to John on Queen albums


  • Married to Veronica Tetzlaff (18 January 1975) and had six children with her:
- Robert (18 July 1975)
- Michael (3 February 1978)
- Laura (25 June 1979)
- Joshua (13 December 1983)
- Luke (5 December 1992)
- Cameron (7 November 1993)