Queen receive PRS for Music Heritage Award

Quintessential British rock band Queen have been honoured with a PRS for Music Heritage Award.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 5 Mar 2013
  • min read
Quintessential British rock band Queen have been honoured with a PRS for Music Heritage Award at the site they played their first London show in 1970.

The group's legendary guitarist and songwriter Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor accepted the plaque today (5 March) at Imperial College, commemorating the significant gig which took place on 18 July 1970.

Guy Fletcher OBE, PRS Chairman, unveiled the plaque in front of an audience comprising close friends and family including Kashmira Cooke, Freddie Mercury’s sister.

One of the world’s most prolific groups, Queen have produced 16 number one albums, 18 number one singles and sold 300 million records worldwide. Bohemian Rhapsody, one of their biggest hits, stayed at the top of the UK singles charts for nine weeks, while their performance at the Live Aid concert in 1985 is widely regarded as a seminal moment in rock history.

Brian and Roger formed the group with enigmatic vocalist and songwriter Freddie Mercury in 1970. Bassist John Deacon joined a year later. All of the band members were songwriters in their own right and each contributed at least one number one hit to the band's impressive arsenal.

Brian May said: 'The first proper gig we did was at Imperial College in the Union Hall. I remember it very distinctly because I’d seen all sorts of people playing in there. I’d been part of the Entertainment Committee and we booked a group every Saturday night in those days. People like Spooky Tooth and Steamhammer! We booked Jimi Hendrix too. So for us it was a dream come true to actually play on that stage. It used to get packed in there so it was a major stepping stone for us.'

Roger Taylor continued: 'Imperial College was effectively our positional and spiritual base and so means a lot to Queen. Many good memories, without it…who knows?'

Fletcher said: 'It is a true honour to be here today to recognise some of the best British songwriters this country has ever produced and celebrate with so many friends and family. Days like this make me feel very proud and remind me how lucky I am to work at PRS for Music. In Great Britain, music is what we do best, but Queen took it to a whole other level - they are our heritage.'

PRS for Music established the Heritage Award scheme in 2009 to recognise important live music venues where iconic bands and songwriters performed. Previous awardees include Blur, Elton John, Soul II Soul, UB40, Snow Patrol, Faithless, James, Jethro Tull, Dire Straits and Supergrass.

Read part one and part two of our exclusive interviews with the band's Brian May ahead of today's presentation.

Picture credit: Johnny Dewe Mathews © Queen Productions Ltd