Skip to main content

Queen have unearthed a lost tape of one of their earliest gigs

Roger Taylor and Brian May at the site of Queen's first London show at Imperial College
Roger Taylor and Brian May at the site of Queen's first London show at Imperial College (Image credit: AFP / Getty Images)

Queen have unearthed a tape of one of their earliest gigs – and they may consider releasing it.

Speaking exclusively in the brand new issue of Classic Rock, guitarist Brian May says he recently rediscovered a tape of one of the fledgling band’s gigs at London’s Imperial College.

“We're always looking at finding stuff that is historically important,” says May. "And this one tape that cropped up very recently which I am excited about, which is one of the first gigs we played in a lecture theatre at Imperial College. I didn't even know I had the cassette.”

While May doesn’t specify the date of the Imperial College gig, the band played several shows there during their very early days, including their first ever London gig, on July 18, 1970, with original bassist Mike Grose.

“We were very unformed [on the tape],” May continues. “Hearing Freddie at that point in his development is fascinating. He had all the will and charisma and passion, but he didn't have the opportunity to harness that voice yet. Which makes me hesitate a little bit, because I'm not sure Freddie would be that happy hearing himself at this stage. But strangely, if he were alive and sitting here at this moment, he'd probably be the same as me: ‘Oh darling, we were kids.’

“We're debating what to do with it. A few years ago we'd have felt very protective and thought, ‘Nobody should hear this, because we’re very rough.’ But now, in the position that we are in our lives, we feel forgiving. We're not ashamed of where we were at that time. It was us against the world.”

The brand new issue of Classic Rock features an exclusive interview with May and Taylor as the pair look back over Queen’s career - and forward to what the future holds.

Buy the Queen issue of Classic Rock.