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Freddie Mercury forever

Updated on December 23, 2017

Death of a legend

When Freddie Mercury died in his luxury home in London, on 24th November 1991, he was 45 years old.  AIDS related bronchial pneumonia was the cause of death.  It was the day after he had declared to the world that he was suffering from AIDS.  Prior to this there had been much speculation in the press about his haggard, drawn, rake-like appearance.  Freddie had vehemently denied any and all rumours that he was HIV positive as long as he could.  He was one of the rare breed of artists that were driven.  In the estimated two years that he had been living with the awful disease, he continued to make music and produced some of his finest work.

Multi-talented

Born in Zanzibar on September 5th 1946, Farookh Bulsara was sent to St Peter’s boarding school in India at age 8. It was there that he was given the name Freddie by his friends. He loved sports such as hockey and boxing and was excellent at table -tennis. He was also a very good artist and would regularly draw his friends and relatives.

As talented as he was in many areas, his musical ability was to prove exceptional. He mastered the piano and in 1958, he and four friends formed a school rock ‘n roll band called The Hectics.

In 1964, Freddie and his family moved to England and Freddie joined Ealing college of art. It was here that he met Roger Taylor and Brian May. They were part of a band called ‘Smile’. Freddie replaced their lead singer in 1970. He soon proceeded to change the band name to ‘Queen’ and his own surname to ‘Mercury’. That same year, Freddie met Mary Austin. He lived with her for seven years and their very close friendship was to last until Freddie died. Freddie wrote a number of songs about Mary. One of them was ‘My Best Friend’ and another was ‘Love Of My Life’.

The second of the two mentioned, (a ballad from their fourth album ‘A Night At The Opera’) is especially euphonic, and it is a song I will never tire of hearing.

Queen are born

In 1971, John Deacon became the bassist and Queen was complete.  The band’s logo was designed by Freddie using the band member’s birth signs:  The two fairies represented Freddie’s sign (Virgo).  A pair of lions covered John Deacon’s and Roger Taylor’s (Leo) and the crab was for Brian May’s (Cancer).

Queen released a total of 20 albums, as well as 10 compilation albums, and 48 singles.  Their music was extremely diverse – they could cover virtually any genre, from hard rock to soulful ballad – from disco to opera.  They first hit the UK singles charts in 1974 with ‘Seven Seas Of Rye’, written by Freddie.  It reached number 10. The next two singles,  ‘Killer Queen’ and ‘Now I’m Here’ reached number 2 and number 11 respectively.  The one that followed - ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has gone down as one of the - if not the best song ever.  Released in Winter, 1975, it was also written by Freddie and it stayed at the top of the UK charts for 9 weeks.

All four members were exceptionally gifted at both performing and writing music.  However no one would argue that it was always Freddie that stole the limelight in every possible way.  He was completely unique – both as a musician and as a performer.  His powerful, distinctive voice had more range and power than most other singers combined.  His dynamic, electrifying stage theatrics ensured every member of the audience got much more than their money’s worth.

Queen steal the show

Many polls have rated Freddie as the most flamboyant, dynamic frontman in the history of rock music. The Queen performance at the Live Aid benefit concert in 1985 was the one act that everybody agreed stole the show. Freddie had the audience in the palm of his hand, and they sang along with him. He often let them sing instead of him. This was in fact the case with every Queen concert, but the Live Aid one was special, with the 72,000 Wembley stadium crowd loving every second of it.

Irreplaceable

He released a number of recordings as a solo artist also.  Easily my favourite of these was his version of the old Platter’s hit ‘The Great Pretemder’.  The video for this is even better than the song.

In my view, Queen as a band died the second Freddie did, and no matter who sings with the remaining members, the band will not be Queen.

3 months after his death, ‘These Are The Days Of Our Lives’ was released in the UK as a double A side with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.  It entered the charts at number 1 with £1,000,000 from sales going to The Terrence Higgins Trust, which Freddie had supported.

These Are The Days Of Our Lives’ was partly a throwback to the aforementioned song ‘Love Of My Life’.  The line ‘I still love you’ is sung twice and then at the very end, spoken.  In the video for the song, this was to be the very last thing that Freddie ever said on film.

He was as good-natured, generous and philanthropic off-stage as he was elaborate and majestic on.  Some people ill-judged him, based only on his sexual orientation and hedonistic lifestyle.  Speaking for myself as a heterosexual, free-thinking individual, uninfluenced by any religious or minority group - I judge him by his musical and visual accomplishments, and also by his animated, enthusiastic, warm-hearted spirit.  I can only admire and miss him - and I am forever grateful for the legacy of his music and videos that I can enjoy over and over again at will.

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    • profile image

      Margaret 

      2 years ago

      Freddies whole personality, the entertainer, the man, the host, the lover, the friend, the partier has taught me about myself, and that its important to be truthful and live your life in the fullest way and happiness is priority. Amazing ! at 51 I get it, and he showed me through the veil between worlds. Freddie Mercury was a beautiful man, I believe his intention in his life was 'Love'.

    • profile image

      Rachael 

      6 years ago

      I am 21 years old and have loved Queen ever since I can remember. Freddie's voice is unmatched and the note he hits in the song 'mother love' is simply out of this world. Such a shame he had to be taken at the height of his career :( This is a great page and lovely to see so many positive comments!

    • profile image

      sophie 

      6 years ago

      i love all the songs they play.

    • profile image

      Queena 

      7 years ago

      I am in awe of his voice.

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR

      flinchwymer 

      7 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thanks Joe. Very kind of you.

    • Joe Badtoe profile image

      Joe Badtoe 

      7 years ago from UK

      I was never a big Queen fan (at least not in the latter years, I preferred the earlier stuff) but I was always impressed by the natural showmanship of Freddie. He was born into that role and Queen were a very talented band. The Live Aid performance will probably rank as one of the greatest pieces of showmanship I've ever seen. Even the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I was only watching it on TV!

      This is an excellent hub flinch really well presented.

    • Michael Ray King profile image

      Michael Ray King 

      7 years ago from Palm Coast, Florida

      Excellent Hub. As a Queen fan, I appreciate your writing this tribute. Even with all the accolades they garnered, I still feel they were underappreciated. And yes, Freddie was the heart and soul of this band...

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 

      7 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      I will always miss Freddie Mercury. A musical genius. Thanks for this hubpage.

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR

      flinchwymer 

      8 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Love that last word, epigramman. Pete Duel is one of many other deceased people who I shall never forget. Thanks for the positive comment.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      8 years ago

      Peter Duel forever too!

      A well researched, affectionate and moving tribute to Freddie - bravo, indeed!

      I must pay tribute to your hub writing - it's so righteous!!

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR

      flinchwymer 

      8 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      I'm glad you liked it, dianacharles. Thanks for the comment.

    • dianacharles profile image

      dianacharles 

      8 years ago from India

      Loved the hub......huge fan of Freddie Mercury's. am listening to Bohemian Rhapsody right now...since you reminded me of the great. :)

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR

      flinchwymer 

      8 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      You have great musical taste, ladyjane1. I'm pleased that you enjoyed the hub. Thank you.

    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 

      8 years ago from Texas

      What a great hub and it took me back to my youth, I was around 15 when the greatest song ever Bohehmian Rhapsody came out and It was the coolest. Freddie was incredible, I still have A night at the opera which is just genius. My best friend is one of my favorite songs and I was very saddened when I learned of Freddies death. Great hub you wrote it very eloquently. Cheers.

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR

      flinchwymer 

      8 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thank you agvulpes. Very generous comment.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Oh yes Freddie was the ultimate showman and in my book was one of the best singers going around.

      This is a great tribute to a great singer!

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR

      flinchwymer 

      8 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thanks for the comment Daniel. He was one of a kind. Glad you liked the hub.

    • Daniel Carter profile image

      Daniel Carter 

      8 years ago from Western US

      I think Freddie was one of the consumate artists and voices of his age. I was in England in the mid 70's at his height, and came back to the US with his songs in my head and heart. Thanks for a great hub. Looking forward to reading much more. Welcome to HP!

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR

      flinchwymer 

      8 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thanks very much, jayjay. My kids think I'm a dinosaur because most of the music I like is by people who have died. I'd be interested to see how many of their favourite current "musicians" (ha ha) will be remembered 20 or 30 years from now (alive or dead). Yes, I'm getting old.

    • jayjay40 profile image

      jayjay40 

      8 years ago from Bristol England

      Freddie Mercury is a legend, well done for writing this tribute to him so well.

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR

      flinchwymer 

      8 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thanks for your comment RunnerJane. Glad you approve.

    • RunnerJane33 profile image

      RunnerJane33 

      8 years ago

      He was a fantastic performer like Meatloaf or Prince, but it is that voice that really sets him apart

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