Bohemian Rhapsody – before Queen, there was Smile
Bohemian Rhapsody premieres at Wembley Arena tonight. The much anticipated biopic charts Freddie Mercury’s life story, starting with the formation of Queen when Freddie takes singer Tim Staffell’s place in the band, which was then called Smile.
A Smile concert is depicted in the early scenes of the film, with Staffell played by actor Jack Roth. They play their song ‘Doin’ Alright’, co-written by Staffell and May (and later re-recorded for Queen’s first album). The vocals for the scene were recorded by Staffell at Abbey Road Studios in 2018, a reunion with Brian May and Roger Taylor nearly 50 years after the original Smile recording.
Staffell also recorded a new bass part for the track, which is third on the film’s official soundtrack: ‘Doing All Right … Revisited’.
After Smile, Staffell never stopped making music and playing live, and he subsequently collaborated with renowned musicians including Colin Peterson (Bee Gees), Snowy White (Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy), Morgan Fisher (The Love Affair, Mott the Hoople), Chaz Jankel (Ian Dury & The Blockheads), Jonathan Kelly, and others.Staffell released his first solo album, aMIGO, in 2003, featuring vocals and trademark guitar work from Brian May on revisited Smile tracks ‘Earth’ and ‘Doin’ Alright’.
His second solo album, Two Late, is released this week on all digital platforms.