Queen’s Drummer: George Michael Wasn’t Offered to Replace Freddie Mercury

George Michael in 2012. Photo by Joseph Kerlakian/REX/Shutterstock (1843449i)

Following Freddie Mercury’s death in early 1991, there was a lot of chatter about who could take his place as Queen’s vocalist. Pop star George Michael, who performed with the band at 1992’s Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, was rumored to be the favorite for the gig and reportedly even got an offer before deciding to take a pass.   

Decades later, Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor decided to set the record straight on this rumor in a recent interview with Classic Rock. According to Taylor, Michael was never offered the spot as he wasn’t the right fit.

“I remember hearing the rumors but it wouldn’t have suited us,” said Taylor. “George wasn’t really used to working with a live band. When he heard the power he had behind him in rehearsal, he couldn’t believe it.”

Michael performed three songs at the Wembley Stadium concert with Queen including “39,” “These Are the Days of Our Lives,” and “Somebody to Love.” The performance was later released as Five Live EP and made to No.1 on UK Singles charts.

Queen’s guitarist Brian May and Taylor later teamed up with Bad Company’s lead singer Paul Rodgers in 2004 for a new iteration of the band. After splitting with Rodgers five years later, the duo recruited American Idol finalist Adam Lambert as their new singer.