Freddie Mercury – real name: Farrokh Bulsara – was a British singer, the lead vocalist and pianist of the rock band, Queen. He formed Queen in 1970 with drummer, Rodger Taylor, and guitarist, Brian May. Queen are, to this day, a world-renowned band.
- On the 5th September 1946, Freddie was born with four supernumerary incisors (basically, four extra teeth!), to which he attributed his enchanted vocal range.
- His parents stayed together, and he had a younger sister called Kashmira.
- Freddie began learning piano at the age of 7 and stopped at the age of 9. He took up guitar after that.
He met Brian May and Rodger Taylor, along with another singer, at a gig – they were in a band named Smile. When the other singer left the band, Freddie joined them and, in April 1970, renamed the band, Queen. At the same time, he changed his surname to Mercury. He was already calling himself Freddie from his boarding school days. The band were joined by John Deacon in 1971, who played bass.
In his career, Mercury wrote 10 of the 17 songs on Queen’s Greatest Hits album: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Seven Seas of Rye”, “Killer Queen”, “Somebody to Love”, “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy”, “We Are the Champions”, “Bicycle Race”, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, and “Play the Game”.
On stage, people would say he was definitely a man who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand. Brian May wrote that Mercury could make “the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected.” One of Freddie’s most notable performances with Queen took place at Live Aid in 1985.
Life and Love
In the early 1970s, Mercury had a long-term relationship with Mary Austin. He lived with her for several years, but by the mid 1970s, he had begun to have an affair with a male American record executive.
In 1976, he told Austin of his sexuality, which ended their romance. Mercury moved out of the flat they shared, into 12 Stafford Terrace, Kensington and bought Austin a place of her own nearby. They remained close friends through the years, with Mercury often referring to her as his only true friend.
In 1985, he started another long-term relationship with Jim Hutton, who lived with Mercury for the last 6 years of his life, nursed him during his illness and was there when he died. While some commentators claimed Mercury hid his sexual orientation from the public, others claimed he was “openly gay”.
The Show Must Go On
Unfortunately, Freddie died on the 24th November 1991, aged 41, due to complications from AIDS. He was diagnosed in late April 1987, but he denied to the press that he had the disease. He kept his condition private, and only later confirmed he had the illness to his band.
In 1992, a year after his death, he was awarded the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, and a tribute concert was held at Wembley Stadium. In 2018, a film about Mercury and Queen was released, named Bohemian Rhapsody.