Nowhere to go nothing to do with my time,
I get lonely, so lonely, living on my own.
Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara, 5 September 1946 — 24 November 1991) was a British singer-songwriter and musician who was most famous as the lead vocalist of Queen. A flamboyant show man with incredible vocals, he is perhaps one of the most iconic examples of Face of the Band, although he would be the first to tell you that Queen was a collaborative effort.
Born in Zanzibar (then a British protectorate) to Indian Parsinote parents, he spent much of his early life in India, before returning to Zanzibar in 1963. A year later, he and his family were forced to flee the island, eventually settling in Britain.
After graduating from college in 1969, Mercury worked odd jobs and joined a couple short-lived bands, around this time meeting future Queen bandmate Roger Taylor. The two joined guitarist Brian May, founder of the rock band Smile, to be joined shortly by bassist John Deacon. And so, in 1970, Queen was born.
In the late 1980s, Freddie recorded two solo albums. The first one, Mr. Bad Guy from 1985, was notable for the hit "Living on My Own", which would become a much bigger hit after a posthumous remix by No More Brothers was released in 1993. Barcelona from 1988 was notable for the fact that he recorded it with famous opera singer Montserrat Caballé, with whom he also sang the iconic Title Track, which was meant and used for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, becoming one of his biggest hits. Freddie also scored a hit single with his Cover Version of "The Great Pretender" from 1987. At the time rumours went about that Queen had disbanded because it took so long before another album was released, but Mercury assured everyone that his solo albums were just a Solo Side Project. Other rumours claimed that Mercury was seriously ill, as he didn't appear as much in public or in music video in the later half of The '80s and at the turn of The '90s and when he did he looked gaunt and pale. He denied it, to protect his family from being harassed by the tabloids, but in the end, on November 23, 1991, the singer finally made public that he had AIDS, having been diagnosed all the way back in 1987. Before the world could overcome the shock, he had already died, 24 hours after making the statement. He was 45 years old.
Freddie's death caused a huge renewed interest and appreciation of Queen, whose albums sold in spectacular numbers. In 1992 a tribute concert was held for Freddie to raise money for AIDS research. Several huge pop stars such as Guns N' Roses, George Michael, Annie Lennox, David Bowie and Elton John performed Queen songs that night. He remains well-beloved worldwide as a performer, and is widely considered one of the greatest vocalists and live performers of all time for his ability to unify and captivate stadium-sized audiences with his sheer charisma and showmanship.
He ended at #58 in 100 Greatest Britons. He is the only person not of European ancestry to make the list.
For Freddie's copycats in fiction, see also Freddie Mercopy.
- Mr. Bad Guy (1985)
- Barcelona note (1988)
Freddie Mercury's works provide examples of:
- Ascended Fanboy:
- Freddie (before he was Freddie Mercury) was a big fan of Smile, a band consisting of Tim Staffell, Brian May, and Roger Taylor. After Staffell left to join another band, Freddie got his foot in the door, and was soon offered to join the group. He encouraged the remaining members to change the name to Queen — the rest, of course, is history.
- He was also completely in love with the singing voice of Montserrat Caballé, a renowned Spanish opera singer. Eventually he got the chance to collaborate with her, the result being the album Barcelona.
- He was also a huge fan of Aretha Franklin, and once said that he wanted to do a duet with her, in which she'd basically sing it all and he'd come in at the end and say "Ah!"
- Badass Mustache: Sported one through The '80s, at the same time he cut his hair shorter.
- Beard of Sorrow: Grew a beard to hide the scarring from Aids.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Freddie was, by virtually universal account, one of the kindest and most legitimately decent people in the music industry during his day. This did not, however, hold him back from writing a lovely little tribute to Queen's unscrupulous manager.
- Camp Gay: Although there is debate on whether he was gay or bisexual. In some performances he came across as more of a Manly Gay.
- Clothes Make the Legend: The white slacks and yellow jacket he donned during the Magic Tour. The chest-exposing checkerboard leotards from 1976—1978 are also iconic.
- Cover Version: His biggest solo hit, "The Great Pretender", is a cover of a song by The Platters.
- Face Death with Dignity: Not only alluded to in "The Show Must Go On" ("I'll face it with a grin/I'm never giving in/On with the show"), but Freddie's own send-off was like this since, knowing that the end was inevitable at that point, he simply stopped taking the medicine that would keep his HIV at bay.
- Gag Boobs: (In)famously wore these with the mustache in "I Want to Break Free".
- Iconic Item: His bottomless microphone stand; during a gig very early in the band's career his mic stand snapped in half in the middle of a song, but he carried on with the intact bit and decided it would be more interesting to keep it like that.
- Important Haircut: He cut his long hair at the start of the '80s and kept it that way until his death.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Freddie loved his cats so much that he dedicated his first solo album, Mr. Bad Guy to "cat lovers across the universe - screw everybody else." "Delilah" from Innuendo was a farewell to them.
- Large Ham: He was famous for his showy and theatrical on-stage personality.
- Let's Duet: Sang "Barcelona" with opera singer Montserrat Caballé on their album Barcelona.
- Meaningful Name: Mercury is the planetary ruler of Virgo, Freddie's Zodiac sign
- Nice Guy: In sharp contrast to his extremely showy and boisterous stage persona, Freddie was universally acknowledged as one of the nicest people in the music industry at the time. In private and among friends he was also very shy and quiet and at times excessively polite.
- Nice to the Waiter: plenty of stories in existence about his generosity to roadies and other staff members.
- The Nicknamer: Freddie gave almost every one of his friends and bandmates feminine nicknames, including "Sharon" for Elton John, "Phyllis" for Rod Stewart, "Maggie" for bandmate Brian May, and even had "Melina" for himself. The only person he didn't nickname was bandmate John Deacon, who Freddie thought was too masculine to be given a feminine nickname.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Mary Austin. Even after they stopped dating, they remained close for the rest of Freddie's life. He wrote numerous songs about Austin (including "Love of My Life"), and considered her his only real friend.
- Scatting: "Living On My Own" is the most obvious example; it has an entire verse of scatting in the original album version, which was shortened for the club remix. He also had scatting duets with the audience in concerts.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: His range was quite large and he was really pleased with what technology allowed him to do, so he sang a lot of his own backing vocals. Some Queen ballads like "Love of My Life" and "You Take My Breath Away" have absolutely no input from Brian or Roger (or John, but he didn't sing anyway). The intro to "Bohemian Rhapsody" is just a bunch of Freddies. On his solo album, he made a point of singing absolutely everything, even wiping out some backing vocals Roger had done and a duet with Michael Jackson. On his duets album (with Montserrat Caballé), he also sang the vast majority of the backing vocals.
- Shirtless Scene: Is well remembered for often appearing bare chested during concerts.
- Solo Side Project: Released two solo albums while still part of Queen, namely Mr. Bad Guy and Barcelona, in collaboration with opera singer Montserrat Caballé.
- Stage Names: He was born Farrokh Bulsara but gained the nickname Freddie during his school days. "Mercury" was inspired from a line in "My Fairy King" and thus, Freddie had his legal name changed.
- Also, in the early '70s, he recorded a single as "Larry Lurex".