Queen was comprised of some colorful characters, but the group's quiet and reserved bassist, John Deacon was an exception. Although he would often remain in the background, Deacon proved to be as talented as his bandmates when it came to songwriting, and he penned some of the band's biggest hits. Born on August 19, 1951 in Leicester, England, Deacon began playing the guitar in the early '60s before joining his first band, Opposition, in 1965. The following year, he switched to the bass guitar, and the group changed their name to the New Opposition (and a few years later, the Art). In late 1970, Deacon caught an early gig by Queen at a nearby college, yet left unimpressed. A few months later, he was introduced to Queen's drummer, Roger Taylor, who convinced the bassist to try out for the band, which led to his joining in January 1971. Queen signed a recording contract with EMI shortly thereafter, but it wouldn't be until 1973 that they would release their self-titled debut (on which the bassist is listed as Deacon John). It would take Deacon a few releases before he began to contribute songs to the group, but the wait was worth it, as he subsequently wrote (or co-penned) such Queen classics as "Stone Cold Crazy," "You're My Best Friend" (a worldwide hit), and "Spread Your Wings." Deacon's crowning songwriting achievement would come on Queen's 1980 release, The Game, an album which saw the band experiment with a variety of musical styles and sounds (the first release on which synthesizers were permitted to be used).