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
Piano on 'Earth': Uncredited Session Musician
Piano on 'Step On Me': Brian May
Lead Vocals on last verse of 'Doing All Right': Roger Taylor

Tracks Recorded

1. Earth (Staffell)
2. Step On Me (Staffell/May)
3. Doin' Allright (Staffell/May)

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 (Lucas)
2. Blag (Taylor)
3. Polar Bear (May)

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.

Related Songs
Silver Salmon (Staffell)


Earth 4:02
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. Tim Staffell (along with Brian May) recorded a version for his solo album 'aMIGO' in 2001.

Step On Me

Step On Me 3:11
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
Appears on: 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 split between Roger Taylor and Tim Staffell. Roger sings the beginning and ending verses while Tim sings the middle. 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, the Smile take features acoustic guitar in the quiet sections. Tim Staffell (along with Brian May) recorded a version for his solo album 'aMIGO' in 2001.

Doing All Right... revisited 3:16
Appears on: Bohemian Rhapsody - The Original Soundtrack

The Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack is an interesting blend of hits, revisited classics and excellent live performances. One of the revisited classics (and a standout track on the album) is a new Smile version of Doing All Right. Brian May and Tim Staffell reunited at Abbey Road studios in May 2018 to record new vocals and in Tim's case, a new bass performance. Original multitracks from the Queen and Smile sessions were mixed with new guitar parts from Brian and bass guitar from Tim. A new lead vocal performance from Roger was recorded later and mixed into this new version. The song begins with Roger contributing the aforementioned lead vocals to the first verse. The second verse features Tim's newly recorded lead vocal, whereas the third verse starts with classic Staffell vocals from 1969 and ends with current-day performance. The final verse is sung by Brian, whose vocals are double tracked. All three sing harmony during the chorus parts, sounding just as good (if not better) than they 50 years ago.

April Lady

April Lady 2:44
Appears on: 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 3:13
Appears on: 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
Appears on: 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.

Silver Salmon

Silver Salmon
Appears on: Unreleased

Silver Salmon is best known as an unreleased Queen track recorded most likely during the News Of The World sessions. The song, however, was actually the first track Tim Staffell wrote for Smile. Unforunately, a Smile version was never recorded and the Queen version remains officially unavailable.