This footage of Queen's first ever recorded performance is sensational - video

22 December 2021, 14:26

Video footage of Queen's first ever known recording has resurfaced after nearly 40 years.
Video footage of Queen's first ever known recording has resurfaced after nearly 40 years. Picture: Youtube/Queen/WarnerMusic/EMI/UMG

By Giorgina Hamilton

Queen were shooting the music video for their first single 'Keep Yourself Alive' but the footage was discarded and never used officially.

This video footage of Queen's first ever known recording is over 40 years old - and it's absolutely incredible.

The recording was filmed as the official video for the song 'Keep Yourself Alive' but due to the neon effects it was eventually discarded and reshot with darker, more atmospheric lighting - leaving the first video to be forgotten.

It was never released publically and was only ever seen by fans one of four bonus tracks on the Queen discography Box of Flix released in October, 1991, shortly before Freddie Mercury's death.

The video was meant to be the official video for the song 'Keep Yourself Alive' but due to the neon coloured effects it was eventually discarded
The video was meant to be the official video for the song 'Keep Yourself Alive' but due to the neon coloured effects it was eventually discarded. Picture: Youtube/Queen/WarnerMusic/EMI/UMG
Filmed at St Johns Wood Studio on August 9th, 1973 the footage shows the band appearing for the very first time in front of the cameras.
Filmed at St Johns Wood Studio on August 9th, 1973 the footage shows the band appearing for the very first time in front of the cameras. Picture: Youtube/Queen/WarnerMusic/EMI/UMG

Filmed at St Johns Wood Studio on August 9th, 1973, the footage shows the band appearing for the very first time in front of the cameras.

The vocals for 'Keep Yourself Alive' were recorded at Trident Studios in 1972 and the single was released on July 6, 1973, seven days before the band released their first album, Queen.

Bandmates, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor, who were still students at the time, spent six months recording the album in Soho.

The first neon-coloured video was eventually discarded and refilmed with darker, more atmospheric lighting.
The first neon-coloured video was eventually discarded and refilmed with darker, more atmospheric lighting. Picture: Youtube/Queen/WarnerMusic/EMI/UMG

Roger Taylor later recalled on the 2011 Queen: Days of Our Lives documentary that the four band members would record the album late into the night at the studios in the heart of the red light district.

“You could see the working girls at night through their laced curtains. So while we were mixing, we would have a little bit of diversion," Roger laughed.

Despite not charting in the UK or the US at the time of its release, 'Keep Yourself Alive' has retrospectively become a hit, with Rolling Stone rating it No31 on its list of 'The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time' in 2008.

The song was written in 1970 by Brian May in acoustic sessions at Imperial College and his flat in Ferry Road in London.

Rolling Stone said of the track: "Brian May's statement of purpose: a phalanx of overdubbed guitars crying out in unison, with rhythm and texture from over-the-top effects. . . . an entire album's worth of riffs crammed into a single song."

The video comes after footage of Queen stepping in for David Bowie on Top of The Pops has been revisited.

The rare footage of the momentous performance was feared lost in 1975, but was found and restored in the nineties.

The clip is from in February 21, 1974 when a video with a pre-recorded performance of David Bowie singing his latest hit 'Rebel Rebel' had failed to arrived at the studios and the show was in panic.

Queen pose for a group portrait in London, January 1973. (Clockwise from left) John Deacon, Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor.
Queen pose for a group portrait in London, January 1973. (Clockwise from left) John Deacon, Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor. Picture: Getty

Unknown band Queen stepped on at the last minute and performed 'Seven Seas Of Rhye', the third single released by the EMI-signed band had since their 1973 debut album.

The single was rushed to vinyl just two days after the performance and the thrilled members of Queen got their first song in the UK singles chart, eventually peaking at number 10.

The young band had made it, and the boost of overnight fame from their Top Of The Tops appearance saw them release their second album Queen II, just three weeks after the performance in March 1974.