Following the untimely death of Freddie Mercury in November 1991, Queen bassist John Deacon saw no point in continuing the band, knowing that their leader was impossible to replace. The 70-year-old retired from the music industry 25 years ago and lives a quiet life in South West London, but was still convinced to perform with Brian May and Roger Taylor three more times in the early 1990s. There was the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992, a benefit concert with the Queen drummer in 1993, and finally the opening of the Béjart Ballet in Paris on January 17, 1997, which he really struggled to top.
An earlier episode of Queen the Greatest below looks back at Queen’s collaboration with French ballet legend Maurice Béjart, who approached the band about a show inspired by the lives of Freddie and dancer Jorge Donn, who both died of AIDS.
Brian recalled: “The first proper public show was going to be in Paris, and we talked about being there and said we’d like to be there. We’re like ‘OMG’, because it’s kind of weird for us, first of all, we haven’t played in God knows how long. We don’t have a singer. It’s a song and you have to get a full production for a song, a performance. And then this message came from Elton saying, ‘Let’s play.
So, at the show’s premiere at the Théâtre de Challot in Paris, Queen performed The Show Must Go On with Elton John on vocals, in what would be the last time Deacon was with the band, a performance that really struggled.
Roger Taylor shared: “That was John’s last performance and I could tell he wasn’t happy because he was a chain smoker and he was very, very nervous and had been severely traumatized by the loss of Freddie.”
Added Brian: “Deacy, our dear friend John, I don’t think he got to the same places that we did. And John is there, but John is really so desperately uncomfortable with the whole thing. You can see it as if his whole body is reacting against it. And at the end, he says, ‘I can never do this again.’ I can not do this. And it was true, that’s the last time he played with us, John, in public.”
READ MORE: Freddie Mercury: The Queen song he felt made the band ‘the closest’
Since retiring, Deacon has chosen not to attend Queen’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. And while Brian and Roger have kept the band alive with Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert as live touring singers, the bassist remains a great current business partner even though they haven’t seen him in almost 20 years.
Queen will still be running things for Deacon to this day. If he doesn’t respond, he agrees. However, if they do get a response, she will have a strong opinion.
Brian previously told Express.co.uk: “He’s a big part of the team, he’s just a quiet part of the team, which in a sense, he always was, to be honest. He is quiet until the moment when he actually speaks and then you have to listen.
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