Jul 27, 2023

Taylor Hawkins once named his favourite Queen song

The late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins always proudly shouted about his love of Queen. In his mind, the Freddie Mercury-fronted outfit was the greatest band ever to exist, and on a personal level, their music played a significant role in his decision to start playing the drums.

During shows with Foo Fighters, Hawkins regularly left his position behind the drum kit to lead the audience through a mass singalong of one of their hits.

Hawkins also built a friendship with Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, who were both devastated upon news of his passing in 2022. Taking to social media, Taylor said it was comparable to “losing a younger favourite brother” and thanked him for being an “inspirational mentor” to his son Rufus.

Meanwhile, May said: “[The Foo Fighters] feel like family to Roger and I, and Taylor Hawkins was the link – the boy who would always ring me up at 3 AM. I miss that call. Always full of enthusiasm. ‘Hey Brian, you should come over and jam.’ Of all people to be taken too young, he is the most sadly missed.”

Following his death, Taylor and May participated in a tribute concert in Hawkins’ honour at Wembley Stadium in London. At the show, they performed a mini-set of Queen hits with an array of special guests, including Rufus Taylor and The Darkness singer Justin Hawkins.

Before they took to the stage, the Wembley crowd were shown archival footage of Hawkins explaining the impact of Queen on him. In the clip, he said: “When I was ten years old, my older sister took me to go see Queen in concert – the first concert I ever saw – and I watched the fucking drummer, and I said, ‘I wanna fucking be him, I wanna do that.”

Furthermore, during an interview with NME in 2016, Hawkins named their track ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ as the song that made him want to become a drummer. With Taylor as inspiration, Hawkins set out to achieve his dream and became a drumming superstar on a comparable level to his hero.

However, Hawkins’ favourite Queen song wasn’t ‘Keep Yourself Alive’, it was ‘Under Pressure’. While Taylor was his idol from a drumming perspective, it was the whole package with Queen that he found appealing.

During an interview with Rhythm in 2003, the Foo’s drummer spoke about his love of Taylor, who he said was “impossible to emulate”, and named a series of his most beloved Queen tracks.

“The drumming is not the main part of the show here, but this is my favourite Queen track ever,” he said. “It’s such a cool, deep song, and it’s one of Roger’s favourites too. It’s got a great dancey, pulsey groove, and it’s a very simple drum track with some great fills,” he explained.

Hawkins continued: “As a drummer, I tend to be self-gratifying sometimes, but Roger is all about the music. In almost every song, he finds a little space, though, and throws things in.”

Poignantly, when Foo Fighters had the honour of headlining Glastonbury in 2017, Hawkins used his allotted time on vocals to lead the 150,000-strong crowd through a riveting performance of ‘Under Pressure’, and had his very own Freddie Mercury at Wembley moment.