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The online resource for Queen song versions, B-sides, remixes, and unreleased tracks.


Tim Staffell
Tim Staffell
Brian May
Brian May
Roger Taylor
Roger Taylor

Background Information

Smile was a 'semi-pro outfit' that was built from the ruins of the pre-Queen band 1984. Guitarist Brian May left 1984 in 1968 and was soon followed by singer Tim Staffell. Staffell and May decided they wanted to continue working together in a band; all they needed was a drummer. May posted a note on the Student Union notice board at Imperial College in London. The note stated they were looking for a "Ginger Baker/Mitch Mitchell style drummer". Roger Taylor responded. Smile went on to become a popular live band locally, playing support gigs for Free, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and Yes. Smile signed a recording contract with Mercury Records and went on to record six tracks over the course of two sets of studio sessions.

First Smile Studio Sessions - June, 1969
Recorded at Trident Studios, Soho, England
Producer: John Anthony
Executive Producer: Lou Reizner
Vocals, Bass Guitar: Tim Staffell
Guitars, Vocals: Brian May
Drums, Backing Vocals: Roger Taylor
Keyboards on 'Earth': Uncredited Session Musician
Keyboards on 'Step On Me': Brian May
Lead Vocals on last verse of 'Doing All Right': Roger Taylor

Tracks Recorded

1. Earth
2. Step On Me
3. Doin' Allright

Second Smile Studio Sessions - September, 1969
Recorded at De Lane Lea Studios, Holborn, London
Producer: Fritz Freyer
Vocals, Bass Guitar: Tim Staffell
Guitars, Vocals: Brian May
Drums, Backing Vocals: Roger Taylor
Lead Vocals on April Lady: Brian May
Lead Vocals on Polar Bear: Brian May and Tim Staffell

Tracks Recorded

1. April Lady
2. Blag
3. Polar Bear

The first session produced their only proper single, 'Earth'. After little success, singer Tim Staffell left the band, leaving Brian May and Roger Taylor without a singer. Brian and Roger joined forces with a singer who was a college classmate and friend of Tim Staffell's at Ealing Art College. Farrokh "Freddie" Bulsara had been the lead singer for the bands Ibex, Wreckage, and Sour Milk Sea. Freddie was a fan of Smile and saw potential for them to do more. In 1970, the new band was formed with Roger Taylor, Brian May, and Farrokh "Freddie" Bulsara. They would take the name Queen.

Earth

Earth 4:02
Written by Tim Staffell
Appears on:
US Earth 7" vinyl, Ghost Of A Smile, Gettin' Smile
Earth was recorded during Smile's first set of sessions in June 1969 at Trident Studios, London. Earth was a sci-fi folk rock song, similar in style and genre to David Bowie's "Space Oddity." This was Smile's only release at the time. Mercury Records had failed get behind the single and did not give it any promotion. As a result, Earth had no chart success. That lead to Tim Staffell leaving the band, Freddie Mercury joining, and the formation of Queen. Also of note about this track, vocally Brian and Roger switch from their usual roles; Brian sings high falsetto and Roger sings the low end.

Step On Me

Step On Me 3:11
Written by Tim Staffell/Brian May
Appears on:
US Earth 7" vinyl, Ghost Of A Smile, Gettin' Smile
Step On Me was a song originally performed and recorded by Brian May and Tim Staffell's previous band, 1984. The song was re-recorded in June 1969 to serve as the B-side to their single 'Earth'. The melody and lyrics were written by Brian May; Tim Staffell provided additional lyrics. This version is pretty close to the 1984 demo versions, but is a much cleaner, fuller recording.

Doin' Allright

Doin' Allright 3:49
Written by Tim Staffell/Brian May
Appears on:
US Earth 7" vinyl, Ghost Of A Smile, Gettin' Smile
Doin' Allright was recorded during the first set of Smile studio sessions, but was not included on their single release of 'Earth'. Lead vocals are provided by Tim Staffell, except for the final verse, which is sung by Roger Taylor. This track is also the only Smile song mixed in stereo. The song was later re-recorded by Queen and appeared on their first studio LP. The Smile version here is not too different from the later Queen versions, though instead of piano, it features acoustic guitar in the quiet sections. Tim Staffell also recorded a version for his solo album 'aMIGO' in 2001.

April Lady

April Lady 2:44
Written by Stanley Lucas
Appears on:
US Earth 7" vinyl, Ghost Of A Smile, Gettin' Smile
April Lady was a track not written by members of Smile, but instead was written by Stanley Lucas. The track was presented to Smile by Mercury Records to record. This song features a lead vocal by Brian, with a very recognizable vocal performance by Roger in the chorus.

Blag

Blag 3:13
Written by Roger Taylor (credited)
Appears on:
US Earth 7" vinyl, Ghost Of A Smile, Gettin' Smile
Blag is a very simple, mostly instrumental rock song. The song is credited to Roger Taylor on the Ghost Of A Smile CD, but there is some obvious influence from Brian May. The song features the earliest known recording of Brian May's Brighton Rock guitar solo.

Polar Bear

Polar Bear 4:05
Written by Brian May
Appears on:
US Earth 7" vinyl, Ghost Of A Smile, Gettin' Smile
Polar Bear is a gentle ballad written by Brian May. Brian and Tim share the lead vocals on this track. Polar Bear would later be revisited by Queen during sessions for their first LP. Queen's version would remain officially unreleased, but would later appear on bootlegs.