Special thanks to the guys at http://www.theloveaffair.co.uk/ for allowing queenzone.com to publish this article :)
Tim Staffell was the vocalist, bassist and founder member of the pre-Queen outfit, Smile - a band that also included Brian May and Roger Taylor. One of his friends was Frederick Bulsara, who, after changing his name to Freddie Mercury, would join the band on vocals when Tim left in 1970 - and Queen was born. Tim Staffell subsequently joined Morgan Fisher's prog-rock band Morgan, and when Morgan folded in 1973, Staffell worked with underground artists such as Jonathan Kelly, Kieran White and Tailfeather. He gradually dropped out of the music business, though - to concentrate on a career in model-building career instead (hint: Thomas the Tank Engine)!
Author's note: the quotes in this article are mostly taken from my own e-mail correspondence with Tim Staffell and Morgan Fisher conducted during 1998 and 2000. A couple of quotes are lifted from Uncle Tim's Answers..., a Tim Staffell question/answer website run by Tim's friend Paul Culmsee.
- with SMILE -
Tim Staffell was born in London on February 24, 1948. He met Brian May for the first time in 1964, at a Chris & the Whirlwinds concert in Murray Park in Whitton. Brian May was there with his friend and bassist Dave Dilloway. Tim already knew Brian by sight - they were both attending Hampton Grammar School. At the time, Tim Staffell was the singer of a band called the Railroaders, but Brian and Dave, intrigued by Tim who played harmonica in the wings during the Wirldwind set, persuaded him to join their new band called 1984 instead, as singer and harmonica player. Other than Brian and Dave, 1984 comprised John Garnham (guitars), Dave Dilloway (bass), John Sanger (keyboards) and Richard Thompson (drums). With Staffell on board, 1984 played their first concert in Twickenham on Oct 28, 1964 - but John Sanger would soon leave the band, and was not replaced. For the next three years, the quintet played schools, pubs and clubs with a set that consisted of classic rock and rhythm 'n' blues songs (by the Beatles, the Who, the Byrds, the Small Faces, Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, Bo Diddley, etc). In 1965, Brian May enrolled at the Imperial College, studying Physics and Astronomy, while Tim Staffell started a Graphics and Drawings course at the Ealing College Of Arts. Pete Townsend and Ron Wood had graduated from Ealing a couple of years earlier. In 1966, Tim met a new student, Frederick Bulsara (aka Freddie Mercury) and they soon became best friends, sharing a love for music. 1984, meanwhile, continued to gig around London, and on May 13, 1967, they opened for Jimi Hendrix at The Imperial College, and had the nerve to play "Purple Haze"(!) and reportedly met the Rolling Stones backstage ! This was a memorable date for Tim because he will always remember his short meeting with Jimi Hendrix who asked him "Which way's the stage, Man?" Another interesting gig was Sept 9, 1967 (Top Rank, Croydon) when they played "Stone Free" and won a talent competition. On Dec 23, 1967 (the Olympia, London), they supported Tyrannosaurus Rex, Herd, Hendrix, Traffic and Pink Floyd at a festival called "Christmas On Earth" (only to find their booking fee stolen and their vehicle impounded!) This really marked the end for the band, and at the beginning of 1968, both Brian May and Tim Staffell quit the band.
With the addition of Chris Smith (keyboards), they put together a new project they called Smile. Chris was a friend of Tim from school. Roger Meddows-Taylor joined them on drums - after successfully auditioning on a pair of bongos! He had replied to their "Wanted Ginger Baker / Mitch Mitchell type drummer" ad, but he turned up at the audition without his drums. Brian and Tim were suitably impressed, though - and decided to give him a try. Roger Meddows-Taylor had pre