The history of Queen would have been drastically different had they lost two of their founding members to other bands in the early ’70s.
Brian May and Roger Taylor tell about offers they could refuse. Taylor recalls being recruited by Genesis, while May was being wooed by the L.A.-based band Sparks.
While never getting a formal offer, Taylor was invited to a studio to hear Genesis and then joined them at a pub, where he “[got] the impression that’s what they wanted, because their drummer had left. They’re all lovely people, but I didn’t really get the music, to be honest. It was a bit too prog[ressive] for me.” Around that time, Taylor did receive “a wonderful offer from Mick Ronson and Ian Hunter, actually.” The band would have been branded “Hunter Ronson Taylor. I think that would have been good.”
May says that Sparks approached him in 1974, when their single “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us” reached the Top-five in the U.K. — at the same time “Killer Queen” came out. Sparks founders Ron and Russell Mael tried to convince the guitarist that their band had more potential than his. They bragged, by saying, “Look, Brian, Queen isn’t going anywhere, you’re not going to have any more hits, but we’re going to conquer the world.” Wisely, May gave a quick, “Thanks but no thanks.”