He is often referred to as a ‘recluse’, the quiet unassuming fourth member of Queen. In a band dominated by three large personalities, Deacon easily stayed in the background. It’s clear he was quite happy there, but that is also a terrible oversimplification. Twelve years after he completely retired from the music industry and disappeared from view, it is too easy to dismiss him as never interested in fame and fortune, never wanting to be a major rock star. It’s his 68th birthday this week and a fitting time to remember John Deacon as Freddie saw him. Watch the archive video below.
Whatever anyone may say or think, Deacon was a major rock star and member of a hugely iconic band for twenty years.
In a typically colourful and sincere old interview, Freddie revealed there was a completely different side to his friend that few knew about.
Freddie said; “He’s sort of quiet, lots of people think that. Don’t underestimate him, he’s got a fiery streak underneath all that…”
The pair were always extremely close in the band, both out of friendship and also a mutual love for certain types of music, to which Freddie also paid tribute.
Freddie said: “John been writing quite a lot and he writes in that one area he likes, almost like Tamla Motown and I love that. I love to sing songs like that…”
John, of course, wrote the funk anthem Another One Bites The Dust and was heavily involved in the 1982 album Hot Space.
Many close to the band commented on the way Freddie and John’s different personalities complemented each other perfectly. The typical perception of John as rather serious and humourless is dispelled by images and footage of him laughing backstage with Freddie.
Their bond was undeniable and it was no surprise that John would leave the band after Freddie’s death.
Jacky Smith ran the Queen fan club for 37 years and said: “John just gave up after Freddie died. He and Freddie were opposites really because John is so shy and he was the youngest in the band. Freddie took him under his wing and they were very close for all those years.
“Freddie drew the attention away, and without Freddie there, I don’t think John could face any of it.”
Most famously, John declared in 1996: “As far as we are concerned, this is it. There is no point carrying on. It is impossible to replace Freddie.”
He continues to live in South Putney, London, with his wife of 44 years Veronica, in the same house where they raised their children.
Peter Hince was on the road for 12 years with Queen and said; “John is virtually a recluse now. He wants to remain private and I think people should respect that. John was always a very down to earth, regular guy. He had six kids and was really into his family, but he also just happened to be in one of the biggest bands in the world.”
Queen fans remain staunchly protective of the bass player and defend his privacy and decision to leave the band.
Among the birthday messages this week, one fan wrote: “John we love and miss you but we understand! I hope you are having a wonderful life!!!!”