An artist who needs no introduction is Freddie Mercury, the Queen vocalist and solo performer extraordinaire who, for many, will go down as the finest rock front man of all time.
Born Farrokh Balsara, the singer changed his stage name upon joining the group Smile – which featured Roger Taylor and Brian May – in 1971. Altering the name to Queen and added bassist John Deacon, the group released their self-titled debut album in 1973 to little fanfare, instead making a true breakthrough with third album ‘Sheer Heart Attack‘ in 1974, which featured the UK number two charting single ‘Killer Queen’. All that was to be superseded however with the following year’s ‘A Night At The Opera’ which featured mega selling hit ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ which went on to spend nine weeks at the top of the UK Single Charts and also earned the band their first top 10 hit on the US Billboard Charts.
From there the rest was history, with the band eventually releasing 18 number one albums and 18 number one singles with estimates on complete worldwide albums sold ranging 150 million to a staggering 300 million copies.
Though the band as a whole were superb, a lot of acclaim has always fallen on the charismatic Mercury, an opera-trained singer whose stunning range, combined with his extroverted on stage theatrics made him one of the most-loved stars in music, with notable performances including two shows at Wembley Stadium, London for Live Aid in 1985 and on what would amount to Queen’s final tour in 1986.
Freddie Mercury still influences the music scene like no one else of his time. In 2009, he was voted “the biggest rock singer of all time”, by the readership of ‘Classic Rock‘ magazine. The ‘Rolling Stone‘ lists him on rank 18 of the greatest singers in history. Freddie Mercury will never be forgotten and he was right when he said: “I won’t be a rock star. I will be a legend.”
Fans wishing to hear new material from Freddie should brace themselves for a treat as new posthumous material is due to be released next year. Queen‘s Brian May and Roger Taylor have revealed they’re in possession of recordings by Freddie Mercury singing with another legendary artist: Michael Jackson. The Jackson estate has granted Taylor and May permission to work with the material, recorded in 1983 at Michael’s house. At the time Queen were touring America.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the sad death of Freddie Mercury.
Freddie Mercury caught HIV in 1987. Back then, HIV treatments were not as effective as they are today and he eventually died of AIDS. Although the media was full of speculations about his state of health for a long time, he admitted to having the disease on 23rd November 1991. Within 24 hours after this announcement, he had fallen into a coma and passed away. He died of pneumonia in consequence of his HIV infection. He did not live to see the Olympic Games in 1992, which he composed the official anthem ‘Barcelona’ with opera singer Montserrat Caballé.
As one of the highest-profile victims of AIDS, Freddie Mercury’s death drew greater media awareness of the virus and started the fight to remove the stigma, discrimination and prejudice from a disease which could affect anyone.
Yes Freddie, you were a rock star, you were a legend, and now you’re a legacy! Thank you Freddie. We love you.
Information about the effort and influence surrounding HIV/AIDS prominent activists is available here