John Richard Deacon was born 19 August 1950 and grew up in Leicester with father Arthur, mother Lilian and younger sister Julie. His father worked for the Norwich Union insurance company. But in 1962 when Deacon was 11, his father died of a heart attack. He was known to friends as 'Deaks' and attended Linden Junior School, Gartree High School and Beauchamp Grammar School in the city and achieved 8 GCE O level and 3 A level passes, all at grade A. It was in Leicester that he formed his first band, The Opposition, in 1965 at the age of fourteen. He played a rhythm guitar bought with money borrowed from one of the other band members. He became the bassist after the original bassist was fired for not being of the same quality as the rest of the band. As well as a dedicated musician Deacon also was the band's archivist, taking clippings from newspapers of even the advertisements featuring The Opposition. After being in the band for four years, Deacon played his final concert with the band (then called The Art) in August 1969. He left as he had been accepted to study at Chelsea College.
John, aged 14, playing bass.
John Deacon (foreground) and Nigel Bullen in Beauchamp School uniform, playing at the Land Of The Giants on an Oadby housing estate in the mid-60s.
1966 - An attention-shy John 'Suedehead' Deacon, in one of those legendary silk shirts, requesting no publicity.
1966: Castledine leaves the group
1966: Peter 'Pedro' Bartholomew ‘Bart’ – guitar, vocals, joins the group
1966: David Williams – guitar, vocals, joins the group
1966: Ron Chester – guitar, joins the group
1967: Peter Bartholomew leaves the group
1967: Richard Frew – guitar, & Carl – vocals, joins the group
1966 - The Opposition in action at the Roundhill Youth Club in Thurmaston, Leicester in late 1966. Ron Chester is in the foreground, while Deacon, on his 60 pounds EKO bass, obscures Nigel Bullen (on drums).
At the Roundhill, with Deacon, teenage drummer Nigel Bullen and singer Dave Williams. Note Richard Young and his two-tier Farfisa Compact Duo organ.
John Deacon's first group, the Opposition, pictured in early 1967, in a front room in Oadby, Leicester. Left to right: Nigel Bullen (drums), Richard Young (keyboards), Ron Chester (guitar), David Williams (guitar/vocals), and a 16-year old Deacon (bass).
Although he left his bass and amplifier at home in Oadby, Leicestershire after less than a year in London where he went on to achieve a First Class Honours Degree in electronics at Chelsea College, now part of King's College London, he decided he wanted to join a band.
By this time Queen had already been formed by Brian May, Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor, and Deacon even saw them in October 1970. In early 1971 he was introduced to Taylor and May by a friend at a disco who told him that they were in a band that had just lost its bassist. A couple of days later he auditioned in a lecture room at Imperial College London and became the last member of Queen to join the band. Since the band's last bassist drew attention away from Mercury, Deacon was selected for his musical talent, his quiet demeanour and his electrical skills. A persistent legend claims Deacon was the seventh bassist auditioned.