Queen’s Roger Taylor: George Michael ‘Wouldn’t Have Suited’ Band
"I remember hearing the rumors, but it wouldn't have suited us," the drummer recently told Classic Rock. "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. He thought he was on Concorde or something."
The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness benefit took place April 20, 1992, at London's Wembley Stadium. The all-star event, broadcast live for a TV special, honored the late Mercury, who died from AIDS the previous November.
Michael performed three songs with Queen: "39," "These Are the Days of Our Lives" (with Lisa Stansfield) and "Somebody to Love." The latter two tracks appeared on 1993's Five Live, an EP by Michael and Queen that benefited the Mercury Phoenix Trust.
Following the EP's release, Michael and May spoke to MTV about their collaboration, AIDS awareness and Mercury's legacy.
"It was probably the proudest, proudest moment for me of my career," Michael said, "because it was me living out a childhood fantasy, I suppose, to sing one of Freddie's songs in front of 80,000 people. It was a really strange mixture of incredible pride and real sadness for me."
May enthused about Michael's performance, saying it was "staggering" to play with him — even in rehearsal.
"Strange enough, the rehearsals were very memorable," the guitarist recalled. "The caliber of people we had there was so incredible, and the commitment, the feeling was so wonderful. It was great. It did feel good. People like Mr. Michael — it was staggering to work with people of that caliber.
"I would have to say it was a thrill to work with George Michael," he added. "Without any kind of falseness, he was one of the great surprises to most people of the evening, I know. It wasn't a surprise to me because I knew he could do it. I knew he had that in him. In addition to the great delicacy which he has — the great control, great dynamics — he has enormous power. And from the moment he stepped into the rehearsal room and was doing 'Somebody to Love,' we went, 'Whoa.' I think in most people's feeling, he got closest to the range of Freddie himself."
May also paid tribute to Michael after the singer's death in 2016. ”I don't have the words," he wrote. "This year has cruelly taken so many fine people way too young. And George? That gentle boy? All that beautiful talent? Can't begin to compute this. RIP George. Sing with Freddie. And the Angels."