On November 24, 1991, the world lost a legend when Queen frontman Freddie Mercury passed away. Queen is known as one of the greatest rock bands of all-time, and Freddie Mercury is known as one of the greatest performers to ever take a stage. In addition to Mercury, Queen consisted of three other phenomenal musicians: Brian May (guitarist), John Deacon (bassist), and Roger Taylor (drummer).
Queen — The Legends
The list of Queen’s accomplishments is unbelievable. They have been inducted into a number of organizations including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the U.K. Music Hall of Fame, and three of their songs (“We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”) are in the Grammy Hall of Fame. They are also the first band, as opposed to an individual artist, to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
— Freddie Mercury (@MercuryMOTG) November 25, 2016
They are in the Guinness World Records for U.K.’s best single of the past 50 years, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Queen and Freddie Mercury received dozens of awards, but like other legendary artists like Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix, they never won a Grammy. In 1990, Freddie Mercury made his final appearance on stage with Queen to receive the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
With multi-platinum albums and record sales estimating near 300 million, Queen is one of the world’s best-selling artists. They performed in stadiums around the world, and they set the world record for the largest paying audience of over 131,000 people, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. All the members of Queen were exceptional musicians, but the stage belonged to Freddie Mercury.
— Tony Platt (@Barcelona99_) November 24, 2016
Freddie Mercury — The Icon
Farrokh Bulsara, better known to the world as Freddie Mercury, was born in East Africa, in the British territory of Sultanate of Zanzibar. He would end up spending most of his childhood in India, and at age seven he started taking piano lessons. He formed his first band at 12-years-old, The Hectics, and they covered several songs from rock artists like Little Richard. He was known for having the ability to listen to a song on the radio, and then being able to immediately play it on the piano.
Freddie Mercury: 1946 – 1991 – Messenger Of The Gods pic.twitter.com/oqcvbFWRNH
— Freddie Mercury (@MercuryMOTG) November 24, 2016
After graduating college in West London, earning a degree in Art and Graphic Design, Mercury pursued his passion of music and was in numerous bands. In 1970, he joined Brian May and Roger Taylor who were in the group, Smile. By 1971, the trio met John Deacon and Freddie called the new band Queen. Mercury used the knowledge he learned in college to design the logo of Queen. As seen in the video below, Freddie Mercury had great aspirations.
Though Mercury was known to be shy and reserved in his personal life, on stage he was anything but. He had the uncanny ability and charisma to connect with the entire audience on a personal level, making the person in the very back feel like they were in the front of the crowd. It wasn’t just charisma that drew people to Freddie, or his amazing skills as a piano player, but his enormous vocal ability as well. His vocals ranged from bass low F to soprano high F. As the video below describes, Freddie Mercury had the “intriguing physical phenomenon called subharmonics.”
Freddie Mercury passed away at just 45 from pneumonia because of AIDS. On April 20, 1992, at Wembley Stadium in London, England, the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness was held and was broadcast on radio and TV around the world with an approximate audience of 1 billion people tuning in. The proceeds went to AIDS research, and numerous artists joined the stage to pay homage to the legend: Metallica, Def Leppard, U2, Guns N’ Roses, Elton John, George Michael, and many more.
“I’m outrageous, camp, theatrical and dramatic, but I haven’t chosen that image.” pic.twitter.com/agYXXhL5WM
— Freddie Mercury (@MercuryMOTG) October 25, 2016
Queen And Freddie Mercury — The Legacy
Queen and Freddie Mercury influenced countless musicians. As Gigwise reported, Lady Gaga (who got her name from the Queen song “Radio Ga Ga”) explains the influence Queen and Freddie Mercury had on her.
“I adored Freddie Mercury and Queen…Freddie was unique — one of the biggest personalities in the whole of pop music. He was not only a singer but also a fantastic performer, a man of the theatre and someone who constantly transformed himself. In short: a genius.”
Though Freddie Mercury left the world 25 years ago, his music with Queen still inspires musicians, artists, and people from around the world. In the touching video below, you can see how Freddie teaches children in a sing-along. In the video’s description, it explains that the teacher is a fan of Freddie and wanted to honor the anniversary of Mercury’s passing. And just like he did for over 20 years performing with Queen, Freddie interacted with the audience.
Brian May and Roger Taylor still perform with various singers under the moniker of Queen, including phenomenal performances with Adam Lambert. John Deacon performed with the band only four times after Freddie Mercury passed before retiring. He has chosen to live a quiet life and was even absent during Queen’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It has been reported that the bassist didn’t see the point of carrying on musically, because no one could replace Freddie Mercury.
In an interview with Guitar World, Brian May discussed saying goodbye to Freddie Mercury.
“We were with him a lot in the final days, but it wasn’t a question of saying goodbye; it was a question of just sharing a moment. I remember a particular occasion when we were talking about his garden, because he was lying in bed and he couldn’t see out into his garden very well from where he was. We were talking about his plants, which he loved.
“Actually, Anita [May’s wife] and I were there. He said, ‘Guys, don’t feel like you have to talk to me. Just you being here is what’s important, and I’m enjoying that. So don’t feel like you have to entertain me.’ So I think, in a way, that was him — amazingly — finding acceptance of the way things were. So, no, the word ‘goodbye’ didn’t happen but we definitely reached a very peaceful place.”
A singer, songwriter, and perhaps the greatest frontman of all-time, Freddie Mercury is adored and missed by millions; but the legend of Queen still lives on stronger than ever.
[Featured Image by EMI Films & Hollywood Pictures]