Barry Mitchell Story

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Barry Mitchell Story

Postby John S Stuart » Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:00 am

Barry Mitchell 1965 - 1968
2006 revised & improved, ammended & updated version.


Summer 1965 7” Acetate
Rock Me Baby/ Telephone Blues
Barry Mitchell first acetate recorded 1965, Barry’s front room (includes Alan Parsons).
Usual line up - Vocals: Ian Harris, Guitar/ vocals: Alan Parsons, Guitar: Alan Owen, Bass: Barry Mitchell, Drums: Phil Brockton.
Only 5 copies cut.

Began life as a soul band around 1965 – 66, as the brainchild of lead vocalist Ian Harris, playing mainly Ottis Reading and Commitment type covers. Converted to Blues circa 1967, when they played such illustrious places as Ronnie Scott’s Blues Club – where they were compared to the likes of Cream and Fleetwood Mac.

By 1968 totally psychedelic, converted to hippies, and started writing own material. Spotted by American A&R man Doug Mews of Mercury Records – who was specifically searching for a “London” sound.



January 10
Conviction recorded an album’s worth of material at De Lane Lea Studios for release on the American market. Mercury wanted to change the band’s name to London, the band preferred Earth, and wanted the album to be called Metamorphous or some other psychedelic title. Recorded in the same studio as the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse album, the eponymous LP Earth, although never issued, was cut as a 12” acetate (of which only a solitary copy seems to exist). This record is not only valuable because it features a very young Alan Parson’s but also highlights future Queen bassist Barry Mitchell.
Recorded January 10 1969, Mercury Records, De Lane Lea, London. Produced by Douglas Mews.
Blues Tattoo (Mitchell). Don’t See You Much (Mitchell wrote bass). Song To
Katherine (Ray Quilly – only drafted in for the day).
Vocals: Ian Harris, Alan Parsons: Lead guitar/ acoustic guitar, flute, Organ/ mouth organ: Ray Quilly, Bass guitar: Barry Mitchell, Drums: Phil Brockton.
Miseducation, Sea Of Faces, Earthworm, Rain On The Roof, Something Above Us, Blues Tattoo, Don’t See You Much, In The Land Of The Blind, Angel Of Death, Song To Katherine.


After the departure of original Queen bassist Mike Grose, Barry’s friend Roger Crossley, who had met Roger Taylor, set up an audition at Imperial College. After passing the audition, Barry was invited to join, and like Brian and Roger, brought a degree of hardened studio professionalism to the struggling out-fit, and also, coincidently cut unreleased material for Mercury Records, specifically aimed at the US market.

This new Queen practiced a variety of material. Covers of Jimmi Hendrix’s Electric Lady and Voodoo Chile proved to be particular favourites, as did, Shirley Bassey’s Big Spender and Cliff Richard’s Bachelor Boy. Live sets included the old Wreckage number Stone Cold Crazy, and the perennial Elvis Presley and Little Richard encores.

A particular highlight for the band (and Brian in particular) was the appearance of the Tornados guitarist Heinz (Just Like Eddie), at their first Imperial College gig. Brian May amassed a large private collection of band photographs during this period, but unfortunately none seem to survive.


January 9
Ewell Technical College, Surrey
Does Not Exist - For Information Only
Barry Mitchell's final gig, supporting Kevin Ayres And The Whole World Band and Genesis.
Jailhouse rock, Stupid Cupid, Bebopa Lula, Big Spender, Bamalama Lamaloo

January 10
Barry Mitchell left the band for personal reasons, the departure was amicable and on good terms. In fact Barry was persuaded by the rest of the band to stay on, but his mind would not be changed.

Primarily, he left because he wanted to marry and settle. Also, he could not afford his rock and roll lifestyle. If that sounds a little romantic, he also confesses to being impatient and in his own words; "Queen were an excellent band, but we were going nowhere fast". In essence, he wanted bigger things, sooner.

In yet another twist of rock 'n roll irony, Mitchell was head-hunted to be part of a new manufactured band to be lead by the re-invented 1960's pop failure Paul Gadd.
The singer? - Garry Glitter. The band? - The Glitter Band.

Mitchell declined the invitation, because he just settled into a new home and job and saw no reason for swapping his new found security for the uncertainties of show business.

Mitchell has never been resentful of his colleagues’ success, and remains philosophical. He would not trade his life of love and joy, for Freddie's life of fame and isolation, defining the meaning of life in "spiritual" terms.

Queen would go through another bass player, Doug Bogie, before John Deacon would complete the finalised line-up circa February 1971.


Jayne Radio
Portable 8-track machine studio demos. (All original material)
After an absence from the music business for over twenty years, Barry has finally decided to tread those boards once again for a local pub band called Jayne Radio.
Vocals: Steve Ray, Guitar: Frank Carter, Bass: Barry Mitchell, Drums: Darren Claxton.
Follow The Sun, I Want To Be You, What Else, Wild Horses
Last edited by John S Stuart on Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Gospel According To Barry Mitchell.

Postby John S Stuart » Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:09 am

The Gospel According To Barry Mitchell.

Quite recently, Barry kindly performed an inpromptu Q&A with some of our Queenzone readers. As Barry was the bassist with Queen before they entered any recording studio, his memories of the band are quite a keen snapshot of the period. (This also demonstrates that all those illegal MP3 downloads claiming to be pre-John Deacon are nonsense - as Queen never recorded in any studio - without John).

Here, I have distilled his answers into some sort of coherent feature, which hopefully sheds some new light on the Eponymous Queen debut album.

Again, my thanks to Barry, who took the time to answer these questions.

Queen Live
Q: Setlist - Live, Ewell Technical College, London, 9 January 1971?
A: If my fading memory serves me right the set consisted of these songs; Keep yourself alive, Doing alright, Liar, Great king rat, Modern times rock and roll, Son and daughter, Hangman, And of course the rock`n roll medley

Queen: Unreleased, Live, Ewell Technical College, London, 9 January 1971
Does Not Exist - For Information Only
Freddie Bulsara: Vocals
Brian May: Guitar
Roger Meddows Taylor: Drums
Barry Mitchell: Bass
Supporting Kevin Ayers And The Whole World Band, Flying Fortress and Genesis.
A flyer for this concert is briefly viewed in the official “Genesis - Archive” video
Keep Yourself Alive, Doing Alright, Liar, Great King Rat, Modern Times Rock and Roll, Son and Daughter, Hangman
Rock and Roll Medley: Jailhouse Rock, Stupid Cupid, Bebopa Lula, Big Spender, Bama Lama Lama Loo

Studio Material
Q: When you were with the band, was there any talk at that time of going into a studio with you? It would be interesting to know what the extent of the band's ambition was at that time
A: I dont ever remember any talk about recording. We were really focused on getting a full set of material together for live shows. However there was an obvious desire to take the band forward. Particularly on the part of Freddie (no surprise there).

Q: In terms of the material that you guys were playing - in sound checks and rehearsals etc - what were you playing? Was it all original Queen material or were you trying more cover versions? Were you playing Smile material still at that stage?
A: I think it was mostly Smile material, some of it might have been written after Smile. I dont really know to be honest.

Doing All Right
Q: Doing All right must have sounded very different in those early days. Without piano it must have been a guitar-arranged version closer to the Smile version than the final piano version we can hear on Queen. Any memories on the development of that song?
A: It was probably the first song that I worked on with the guys, and we did it much the same way that Smile did it. Any development of it came after my departure.

My Fairy King
Q: did you guys ever work on songs that didn't make it to shows or later- albums? Did you ever contribute any songs but they weren't used? Or maybe someone else brought a tune and it wasn't considered good enough to be played?
A: I don’t remember any songs that we worked on not making it. I do remember a song that was not ready for performance by the time I left, My Fairy King.
Q: My Fairy King, was it already completed? if so, was it a guitar version or a piano version? What do you think about Fred's piano abilities back then?
A: No, Fairy King was just the germ of an idea of Freddie’s. Back then I had no idea that Freddie played any instrument.

Q: Did you write the bass line to "Liar"?
A: Liar sounds much the same as when I played it.

The Night Comes Down/Jesus
Q: Do you remember if songs like The Night Comes Down or Jesus were included in the set at least once?
A: I don’t believe so. I do recall working on Jesus at rehearsals I think.

Modern Times Rock ‘n Roll
Q: Do you remember if Roger sang Modern Times Rock N' Roll live in those days?
A: I don't think Roger ever sang the lead vocals on any song when I was with them.

Son And Daughter
Q: Did Brian do the little solo during "son and daughter" like in '73 gigs and BBC versions?
A: No, I dont think Brian did do the little solo thing in my days.

Silver Salmon/Mad The Swine/Polar Bear
Q: Do you recall tunes "Silver Salmon", "Mad The Swine" and "Polar Bear"? Did you guys ever play them live? It seems logical that when a new band wrote something- it was tried with an audience?
A: I have never heard those songs.
Q: If I'm right and it is you on Polar Bear you are quite distinguishable from John Deacon on bass.
A: The only Polar Bear I know about was one I saw at London Zoo.

Rock ‘n Roll Medley
Q: Were any songs ever rehearses/performed which we haven't heard about yet? I'm talking mainly about covers, as I think it's unlikely that there was any 'new' material which went unused in the early days, but still.
A: I think that all the covers that we ever performed are well known. Freddie just loved all the old rock`n roll stuff.
But the most memorable covers for me, we never performed in any shows.
We had a rehearsal at Imperial College on 18th September 1970, the day Jimi (Hendrix) died. We were all so stunned that Jimi had gone; we all loved him so much. I think we tried to run through some of our own material, but our hearts weren’t in it. It was Freddie who suggested we do a tribute to the man. So we played Jimi`s songs through to the end of the rehearsal. Voodoo Chile, Foxy lady, Purple haze and maybe Stone Free. Just one long jam, it was memorable, made all the more so because he died less than a mile from where we were rehearsing. It is a shame that there was no tape machine running that night.
They are the only covers that I can recall never performing.

Q: A lot of mystery surrounding this song. We already know, as reported by Brian himself, that it was written by Freddie (words) and Brian (music). But since you were there at a very early stage: were you in any way involved in writing this song (or any other 'known' Queen song) or was it already 'finished' when you became involved?
A: My recollection is, that what you know is spot on.
I just contributed appropriate bass lines to fit the chords. In no way could I be considered a contributor to the writing of the song.
The trouble is it is all so bloody long ago, and the memories get harder to dig up.

Stone Cold Crazy
Q: Did you ever play Stone Cold Crazy with the guys? If so, I wonder if it's the same version as heard on the Sheer Heart Attack album or not? Because there are rumours that the "early live" version went a bit slower than the final version.
A: Yes we did that song, and it sounds the same to me.

Hopefully this should open a little insight into Queen just before they opened those recording studio doors. This also means we can divide the album into two sepeate sections:

Queen songs "contemporary" Mitchell:
Doing All Right, Liar, Jesus, Son And Daughter, Rock ‘n Roll Medley, Hangman, Stone Cold Crazy

Queen songs post-Mitchell:
The Night Comes Down, Silver Salmon, Mad The Swine, Polar Bear, My Fairy King
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Re: Barry Mitchell Story

Postby Dazzathedrummer » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:22 pm


My name is Darren Bullough, I just thought I'd add that I played drums in Jayne Radio from 1998 to 1999 (which allowed Darren Claxton to go back to playing guitar.).

We played in pubs and clubs in and around Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. (I'm sure I've got some recordings somewhere!)

Barry is, by far, the best bass player I've ever played with. Spot on timing, great feel and very entertaining to watch!


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