City: London, UK
Venue: Imperial College
Date: July 18, 1970



     

Seen above is the band's first advertisement as Queen. Their second show was played to about fifty people, during which the band announced to the small crowd that Tim Staffell had left the band and that Freddie Mercury (who now no longer goes by the name Freddie Bulsara) is their new frontman. After a stint of reading Roman mythology around this time, he would change his last name to Mercury, meaning "messenger of the gods." However, when he made the change legally is another matter. This cue sheet from Queen's first BBC session reveals him still using his birth name in 1973.

Brian May later reflected on this show: "The first proper gig we did was at Imperial College in the Union Hall. I remember it very distinctly because Id seen all sorts of people playing in there. I'd been part of the Entertainment Committee [as a student] and we booked a group every Saturday night in those days. People like Spooky Tooth and Steamhammer! We booked Jimi Hendrix too. So for us it was a dream come true to actually play on that stage. It used to get packed in there so it was a major stepping stone for us."

Roger Taylor added: "Imperial College was effectively our positional and spiritual base and so means a lot to Queen. Many good memories, without it... who knows?"

The photos seen above (picturing Freddie and original bassist Mike Grose) are the earliest known pictures from a Queen show. They were taken by Doug Puddifoot, who took all of the known pictures of the band during this period. The black image of Queen that stuck with them through 1976 (particularly on the cover of Queen II and later in the groundbreaking Bohemian Rhapsody video) was born right at the beginning of their existence.

Doug also filmed the only known video footage of Smile (at the Royal Albert Hall in London, 1969) and later designed Queen's debut album cover using photos he took at a party in June 1971.




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