Foo Fighters firestorm Taylor Hawkins selects his favourite Roger Taylor tracks..
"Roger Taylor playing 'We Are The Champions' with Queen - I will never forget watching that. I remember all this sweat flying off his hair - he was so visual, the ultimate in cool and collected. He was rock'n'roll."
"Roger has been a huge influence on lots of drummers and for many guys in America - including Stephen Perkins, Matt Cameron and myself - Queen was our first ever concert. The band were big in America in the 70s and early 80s and if you ask drummers what it is about Roger Taylor that impressed them, they all say it was his feel and the way he played. He swings like no-one else, and that's impossible to emulate. You know it's him when you hear the hi-hat open up every time he hits the snare. I can play every fill he's ever done, but I could never get his feel. I've tried and it's impossible!"
"Roger gave Queen their heavy feel and big sound. His playing was laid back, loose and - I use this term loosely - punk rock, because he did have that sort of rough edge to his drumming too. And he always put on a real show - he was a very theatrical drummer."
"He is also a songwriter, which I think plays a part in his fills - they are always musical, almost orchestral. But he can also rock out - just check out 'Live Killers', some of my favourite drumming from him. People forget that he also had an amazing rock'n'roll voice. His songs were always eccentric - not in Freddie's way, or Brian's - but darker, and his voice was raw and raspy."
"Roger and I hang out and we're friends, but he is also still this mythical superhero to me. We played double drums at Shepards Bush a few years ago and more recently in 2001 when Queen were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame, which was amazing. If you watch my face on that Hall Of Fame thing, I'm just smiling the entire time."
"In the tracks I've chosen I tried to cover all of Roger's different feels. He's so versitile - he can sound like a heavy metal, dixieland or orchestral drummer, but filtered through who he is. Hope you enjoy them."
'Earth' from 'Ghost Of A Smile'
"This was from the first band that Roger was in with Brian May. This is really cool because he's developing, and you can hear the Keith Moon and little Ginger Baker-style influences. It's kind of 60s drumming - still loose - but this is his first recording and it's fun for that reason."
'Great King Rat' from Queen
"There is some very cool - and very quick - drumming on this track, and some really interesting beats."
'Ogre Battle' from Queen II
"This is heavy in that early Deep Purle way - which has a lot to do with Brian's guitars as well. And the drums are actually quite Mettalica-esque - without the double kick but with the same kind of patterns."
'In The Lap Of The Gods Revisited' from Sheer Heart Attack
"This has a great 6/8 swing and a cool kick drum pattern that feels really good. It's hard to pull off - even though it sounds simple - and Roger does it very well."
'Prophet's Song' and 'Good Company' from A Night At The Opera
"'Prophet's Song' is a long prog-rock type 70s song with a march-like feel to it, while 'Good Company' has a ragtime/dixieland vibe. Roger is able to emulate all these styles but still be himself."
'The Millionaire Waltz' from A Day At The Races
"A very orchestral track. There aren't a lot of drums, but when they do come in they are colossal, have a huge sound and sound like timpani."
'We Are The Champions' from News Of The World
"This is one of my favourite drum tracks of Roger's - the fill that he does before the chorus is so interesting. Never in a million years would I have thought of doing some of the stuff he did! It's his feel in this too - he is so good at that 6/8 swing and making things feel good."
'More Of That Jazz' from Jazz
"This is a Roger Taylor song. It has a really cool beat and a stiff, almost mathematical-type drum feel to it - very creative."
'Keep Yourself Alive' and 'Brighton Rock' from Live Killer
"Although Roger completely dismissed this record when it came out, I love the drum sound on it - it's amazing! It's live and has that natural ambience. Roger's drumming throughout Live Killers is great - he plays everything a little faster, more extended and has that real live edge. 'Keep Yourself Alive', with it's drum solo, rotoms and cowbell, just sings. It's not the most difficult, but Roger makes even the simple things sound very creative. It's awesome.
This version of 'Brighton Rock' is amazing too. Just the groove itself and the fills he does - it's so high powered and it's Roger at his craziest."
'Dragon Attack' from The Game
"The drum solo in the middle, and the pounding Bonham-esque beat, gives this a dancey groove. As a band, Queen were always creating and going deeper."
'Let's Get Crazy' from Fun In Space
"His first solo album and a must buy for any fan. This track has a real rockabilly feel that shows off Roger's diversity once again."
'Under Pressure' from Hot Space
"The drumming is not the main part of the show here, but this is my favourite Queen track ever. 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.
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."