You're familiar with Queen as that brilliantly bombastic crew that melded operatic pomp and hard rock. But did you know they could have had completely different careers?

In this episode of You Think You Know Classic Rock?, we offer some lesser-known facts about an astrophysicist (Brian May), an art student (Freddie Mercury) an electronics engineer (John Deacon) and a dentistry student (Roger Taylor) who somehow ended up as platinum-selling arena rockers.

That couldn't have gone over well with their folks. Still, Queen used those smarts to come up with one of rock's most inventive careers.

Find out about the instrument one of them created, as a kid, out a 200-year-old mantelpiece – he still plays it today, by the way – as well as the utterly distinctive rhythm that formed the foundation of one of Queen's most memorable songs (we'll give you a hint: The stadium staple's iconic intro doesn't feature any instrument at all.) Then there's the story behind Queen's ubiquitous band crest, which was designed by one of the members and represents the quartet's individual pieces.

But even with all of that brain power, there were bound to be some happy accidents along the way. In fact, an early-'80s duet took place only because David Bowie just happened to be recording in an adjacent studio. Then he took things one step further ... as you'll see in the above video.

See Queen and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the '70s