Roger Taylor


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1981-)

- Roger Taylor -- vocals, drums, synthesizers, guitar

 

  supporting musicians: (1981)

- David Richards -- keyboards

 

 

- The Cross (Roger Taylor)

- Queen (Roger Taylor)

- The Reaction (Roger Taylor)

- Smile (Roger Taylor)

- The Stonkers (Roger Taylor)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Fun In Space

Company: Elektra

Catalog: 5E-522
Year:
 1981

Country/State: Dersingham, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: small tear upper left corner of back cover; original custom inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $18.00

 

I'll be the first to admit I've always found drummer Roger Taylor to be the secret sauce in Queen's success.  Listing through any Queen album, his occasional compositions always brought relief from the drama and pretense that could overwhelm material Freddie Mercury and company penned.  Taylor's material could be quirky, but listening to songs like 'Radio Ga-Ga', 'I'm In Love with My Car' and 'Innuuendo' there was no denying the many knew how to write something catchy and commercial.

 

By 1981 Taylor had accumulated enough material for a solo album.  Most of it reflected stuff he was unable to get Queen to include on a band, hence the decision to record and release a solo album.  The first Queen member to issue a solo album, Taylor's Queen connection saw him quickly score a contract with EMI; Elektra signing him to a US distribution agreement.  A true one-man-band effort, "Fun In Space" was recorded in-between Queen touring dates at Mountain Studios in Montreaux, Switzerland.  Taylor was credited with producing, writing all of the material, handling the vocals and all  instrumentation, with the exception of sharing syntheszer duties where he was supported by engineer David Richards. Musically it wasn't a total shock to my ears.  Taylor was always the commercial influence in Queen and that sensibility shows through on tracks like the opening rocker 'No Violins', the pretty ballad 'Laugh or Cry' and 'Good Times Are Now.'  As you can surmise from the album packaging and performances like the title track, the title track, 'Future Management' and 'Interlude in Constantinople ', Taylor seems to have gotten caught-up in the early-'80s mania for all things space and sci-fi oriented.  Elsewhere, tracks like 'My Country I & II ' and and the single 'Future Management' reflected a new wave influence, not that he'd decided to become Spandau Ballet.  Overall it sounds a little dated, but still makes for a fun and occasionally quirky  listening experience (check out the Elvis-styled rocker 'Let's Get Crazy').  A classic album?  Nah, but sometimes fun is better than classic status.

 

Outside of a handful of television appearances, Queen's existing touring commitments in support of "The Game" and their soundtrack for "Flash Gordon" limited Taylor's ability to support the album.  The Album went op-20 in the UK, nut in spite of favorable reviews from the critics, peaked at # 121 on the US charts. 

 

"Fun In Space" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) No Violins (Roger Taylor) - 4:30 rating: **** stars

An autobiographical look back at the start of Queen?  Who knows.  What I can tell you is the opener 'No Violin' rocked harder than 90% of the Queen catalog.  I've always loved Taylor's growling voice and he seldom sounded better than on this track.  Also easy to hear why his drumming is held in such high esteem.

2.) Laugh or Cry (Roger Taylor) - 3:07  rating: **** stars

'Laugh or Cry' was a nice ballad showcasing Taylor's "hoarse" vocals.  Awesome guitar solo and no it wasn't Brian May ...  The song's feel has always reminded me a touch of a tripped down version of Queen's 'Drowse.'

3.) Future Management (Roger Taylor) - 2:57 rating: *** stars

Featuring a reggae beat and an interesting sci-fi tinged lyric, the 'Future Management' has always reminded me of an early Police performance.  At the same time, the song wasn't particularly melodic or dynamic.  Imagine having a great refrain, but nothing else.  The song was released as the first single:

 

- 1981's 'Future Management' b/w 'Laugh or Cry' (EMI cataog number EMI catalog number EMI 5157)

 

Taylor promoted the single with appearances on a number of television shows including this YouTube clip of him lip-synching the tune for an April, 1981 broadcast by the Dutch TopPop program: Roger Taylor - Future management TopPop - YouTube

 

 

 

 

4.) Let's Get Crazy (Roger Taylor) - 3:42 rating: *** stars

The opening momentarily reminded me of a Sweet song. After that the'50s-tinged rocker 'Let's Get Crazy' found Taylor trotting out his best Elvis voice and attitude.  It certainly wasn't the most original song on the album, but I'm guessing the Elvis sound is why Elektra tapped this one as the US single.

- 1981's 'Let's Get Crazy' b/w 'Laugh or Cry' (Elektra catalog number E-47151-A/B)

 

5.) My Country I & II (Roger Taylor) - 6:55 rating: *** stars

Hard to accurately describe 'My Country I & II - imagine a new-wave styled anthem expressing frustration and disillusionment with the system (and lots of tribal percussion).  Whether you agreed with Taylor's sentiments or not ("I would not fight for my country; I would not work to no rule; Don't have no truck with no power game; Won't be some other jerk's tool ..." you couldn't question his passion on the track.  An edited version of the song was released as the album's second UK single:

 

 

 

 

 

- 1981's 'My Country' b/w 'Fun In Space' (EMI catalog number EMI 5200)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(side 2)
1.)
Good Times Are Now (Roger Taylor) - 3:28 rating: *** stars

'Good Times Are Now' was a nice, drum heavy rocker.  Had no idea Taylor was such an accomplished guitarist.  Autobiographical tune inspired by meeting his wife Dominique?  "Nobody gets out of here alive."

2.) Magic Is Loose (Roger Taylor) - 3:24  rating: *** stars

The album's big ballad ... You know, on this one Taylor might have given Mercury a run for his money.

3.) Interlude in Constantinople (Roger Taylor) - 2:04  rating: *** stars

LOL - the opening has always reminded me of the Star Wars Cantina scene ...  Always loved the cheesy '80s synthesizers and the treated vocals.  No idea what the song is about.

4.) Airheads (Roger Taylor) - 3:41  rating: *** stars

'Airheads' was the album's toughest rocker. Not saying it was particularly original, or impressive, but once again I suspect Brian May would have been pleased with Taylor's lead guitar work.

5.) Fun in Space (Roger Taylor) - 6:25 rating: ** stars

The synthesizer washed title track was very atmospheric ...  Great '80s vibe on this one, but it wasn't a standout performance.  

 

 

 

 

 

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