Now, Queen are one of the biggest bands of all time – with a new, massive generation of fans thanks in part to the success of recent biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
But their followers have been loving a photo Roger Taylor posted to social media yesterday.
It’s a handwritten invite to one of their very earliest shows – before they hit the big time.
May redistributed the snap on his own Instagram feed and captioned it: “A great piece of memorabilia !! From @rogertaylorofficial – in Rog’s own hand – an invitation to one of our first QUEEN shows, in a lecture theatre at Imperial College (my college) in 1970.
“It held about 100 people, and we made popcorn and orange juice for the audience!
“This invitation was sent to friends and people we thought might record us!
“What did we play ? Keep Yourself Alive, Jesus, Great King Rat, Doin’ All Right, Hangman … and others. I’m sure there must be a tape of it somewhere !”
Taylor had captioned the picture: “Hand drawn by me! The flyer for our 1970 gig at Imperial College. #scrapbookfindings.”
1970 was well before Queen made their mainstream breakthrough: they didn’t sign with Trident/EMI until 1973, the same year their eponymous debut album was released.
Now, estimates of their record sales range from 170 million to 300 million worldwide.
Frontman Freddie Mercury, played by Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody, is an all-time icon of modern music. He passed away in 1991.
May said late last year as the hit film gathered momentum: “The whole deal was to do Freddie justice in a way that he would enjoy and would be worthy of him.
“It’s all there, the humour is there, the talent is there, the heartbreak is there.
“There’s a lot of tears and a lot of joy in this movie. So yes, it’s always Freddie. Freddie, Freddie, Freddie.
“Because this is the one chance we got to make the film about Freddie.”
It worked: Bohemian Rhapsody won four Oscars and broke box office records for its genre.