Freddie Mercury – Legend of Rock
Freddie Mercury was a British singer, songwriter, lead singer of rock band Queen. He was the author of hits including Seven Seas of Rhye, Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody to Love, We Are the Champions, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and others. In 2002, Freddie took 58th place in the list of 100 Greatest Britons. In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine placed him 18th in the list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Allmusic described him as “one of the greatest rock singers, and the owner of one of the greatest voices in the history of music”.
Farrukh Bulsara (his real name) was born on September 5, 1946 in Stone Town, Zanzibar. His father worked as a clerk at the Supreme Court of England and Wales. In 1952, Farrukh’s sister was born.
In 1954, the boy was sent to St. Peter’s School in Panchgani. Bollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar had a great influence on Farrukh. His name was inconvenient for pronunciation, so his English-speaking classmates called him Freddie.
At the age of ten the boy became school table tennis champion and two years later he received the cup for a victory in the junior all-around. Freddie was a good student, took an interest in music and painting, and drew for friends and relatives. He also sang in the school choir and participated in school plays.
In 1958, five friends formed their first rock band, which they called The Hectics. In 1962, Freddie graduated from St. Peter’s school and returned to Zanzibar. In early 1964, there were political unrests in the country and his family went to the UK. The family had money problems, so during the holidays Freddie had to earn money himself.
In 1966, Freddie entered Ealing Art College in London. He drew a lot of pictures and his idol guitarist Jimi Hendrix took a special place in his drawings. In 1969, Freddie graduated college with a degree in graphic design.
In the same year he joined Liverpool band Ibex and began to perform with them. Soon the group disbanded.
In April 1970 Tim Staffell decided to leave Smile, and Freddie took the place of the singer in the group, which was renamed Queen.
In 1972, while recording debut studio album, Freddie decided to change his surname – Mercury became his stage name.
Freddie was the author of the first Queen’s song that entered the British charts – Seven Seas of Rhye (1973). He also wrote the first hit – Killer Queen (1974), as well as the most successful song – Bohemian Rhapsody.
In 1975, the Queen toured Japan. Freddie fell in love with the country and became a fanatical collector of Japanese art.
On October 7, 1979 Queen performed with the Royal Ballet.
In early 1983, he became acquainted with composer Giorgio Moroder and on September 10, 1984 their joint song Love Kills was released.
At the end of May 1983 Mercury went to Verdi’s A Masked Ball. There he first saw and heard outstanding Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballe. The extraordinary beauty and power of her voice made a great impression on him. In March 1987 Freddie met Montserrat Caballe in Barcelona and gave her a cassette with several of his new songs. These songs made a strong impression on Caballe, and she even performed one of them at a concert in London’s Covent Garden. At the beginning of April 1987 Mercury and Caballe began working on a joint album.
In late May, they performed the song Barcelona in the famous Ku Club. On October 8, 1988 Mercury and Caballe performed three songs: Golden Boy, How Can I Go On and Barcelona. It was Mercury’s last performance, as the musician was already ill with AIDS.
Barcelona album was released on October 10, 1988. The album’s title song, Barcelona became one of the anthems of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.
Freddie Mercury died from pneumonia on November 24, 1991 in London, UK.
In late 1969 Freddie met Mary Austin in West Kensington. They lived together for about seven years, but then they broke up. They remained close friends, and Mercury made her his personal secretary. The singer dedicated her several songs, one of which is Love of My Life. Mercury was the godfather of Mary’s eldest son, Richard, and after the death she became the owner of his house.
Freddie had a brief relationship with famous Austrian actress Barbara Valentin, whom he met in 1983.
– Freddie made four demos with Michael Jackson: two versions of There Must Be More to Life Than This, State of Shock and Victory.
– In his childhood Mercury was an enthusiastic philatelist. His collection was exhibited in different countries.
– Mercury was very fond of cats and even dedicated a song to his cat Delilah.
– Elton John and Dave Clarke were among Freddie’s friends.