How Freddie found Rock in the bars of Herne Bay


23 January 2014

THERE will be a Kind of Magic in the air next month when a Queen tribute act perform in the town.

Queen II will be retracing the footsteps of the band’s famous frontman, Freddie Mercury, who visited Herne Bay in the 1970s.

QEII poster
A KIND OF MAGIC: Queen II will play the Kings Hall next month

His trip is commemorated with a statue behind the bar of the Four Fathoms, where he stayed for one night. A second night was spent a the Prince of Wales. It seems the town had quite an effect on the band, as according to archivists, Brighton Rock, on the Sheer Heart Attack album, had Herne Bay as a working title.

Freddie was in Herne Bay as Larry Lurex, a name he used for a musical project with Trident Studios’ engineer Robin Geoffrey Cable in 1972. Larry Lurex was a pun on the stage name of glam rock star Gary Glitter, and Cable enlisted Freddie as lead vocals for two tracks, I Can Hear Music and Going Back.

At the time, Queen were recording their debut album at Trident Studios, and Freddie suggested bringing bandmates Roger Taylor and Brian May to add percussion, guitar and backing vocals to the songs. They were released on EMI in 1973, before Queen’s first album, and did not chart, although the tracks were later included in compilation albums.

Queen went on to record 18 number one albums, with sales estimated to total up to 300 million copies. Sheer Heart Attack, the album containing Brighton Rock, went to number two in the UK chart.