Roger Taylor and Brian May wanted to "laugh" the first time Freddie Mercury sang for them.
The Queen musicians met at college in London in 1968 and the drummer and guitarist were originally in a band called Smile with Tim Staffell, but once the bassist-and-singer decided to leave, their friend asked to step in.
Roger recalled: "He was so extreme, one was tempted to laugh at first, because he hadn’t developed his voice; he didn’t have the control he had later.
“But he had this thrusting energy and zeal for everything. And, really, a massive array of hidden talents. We were big pals. We had a stall in Kensington Market and he was so delightful, just great to be around, with a tremendous lust for life. He sort of invented himself.”
Roger used to play guitar but gave up the instrument when he met Brian and was blown away by his talent.
He recalled to the Daily Telegraph: “I just thought, ‘Wow!’ I’d never met anyone with Brian’s facility. It’s a natural-born gift.”
The 72-year-old drummer thinks "chemistry" between the trio and bassist John Deacon, who joined Queen in 1971, was key to the band's success.
He said: “We were a gang, very tight-knit. The whole thing was greater than the sum of the parts. We were very lucky with that chemistry. Fred had an incredible faith in us and our path. As he would endlessly say: ‘Talent will out, my dears!’”
And Roger is convinced the agreement between the 'Bohemian Rhapsody' hitmakers to share songwriting royalties was vital to their progress and continued good relationships, even though it meant he missed out on more money.
He said: “Freddie and Brian were the main writers at first and then John and myself sort of took over in the Eighties.
"And Fred came up with a wonderful solution. He said, ‘Look, everything is under the heading Queen, so we split it equally.’
"Which actually didn’t go that well for me, because I was writing most of the hits by then. But I can’t complain.”