Freddie Mercury : Biography, Criticisms and controversies , relgion

Freddie Mercury : Biography, Criticisms and controversies , relgion


Freddie Mercury [ˈfɹɛdi ˈmɜːkjəɹi] 1, stage name of Farrokh Bulsara, born September 5, 1946 in Stone Town in the Zanzibar Protectorate and died November 24, 1991 in London, is a British singer-songwriter, co-founder in 1970 and singer-pianist of the rock group Queen, in which he established his international reputation, along with guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon, all songwriters like him.

With a large range and a good command of a few opera techniques, he also composes most of the group’s greatest hits, including Bohemian Rhapsody, Love of My Life, Somebody to Love, We Are the Champions, Don ‘ t Stop Me Now and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. His stage performances with Queen are part of his great popularity, and his performance at Live Aid in 1985, in Wembley stadium will strongly mark the spirits. Solo, he produced two albums, Mr. Bad Guy in 1985 and Barcelona in 1988, which include among others the titles Living on My Own, I Was Born to Love You and Barcelona in duet with Montserrat Caballé.

Openly bisexual, he died at 45 of pneumonia, a day after revealing to the public that he was a carrier of HIV and had AIDS. In 2018, the film recalling his career with Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody won major international success and numerous awards (notably for its performer Rami Malek) and became the most profitable musical biographical film in history.

Freddie Mercury Biography

Childhood and studies (1946-1958)

Farrokh Bulsara was born in the British protectorate of Zanzibar (now Tanzania) on September 5, 19462. He was the son of Jer Bulsara (1922-2016) and Bomi Bulsara (1908-2003), accountant for the British colonial office. His parents are members of the Parsi community, of the Zoroastrian religion, whose Persian ancestors lived in the territory corresponding to modern Iran and had fled the Arab-Islamic conquest in India at the beginning of the Indian Middle Ages3. In 1952, his little sister Kashmira was born, today Kashmira Cooke4,5. The name Bulsara comes from the city of Bulsar (the current city of Valsad, in the Indian state of Gujarat), where his family is from. His parents, British civil servants, sent him to continue his studies with his aunt on the maternal side, in India, in 1953.

The young boy was educated at a boarding school, St. Peter’s Boys School7, in Panchgani, a mountain resort, 380 km south-east of Bombay and renowned for its schools. His results are generally excellent, especially in boxing, a discipline he chooses to toughen up in a difficult school context, and in table tennis6.

One of her formative musical influences at this time was singer Lata Mangeshkar8. In view of his results in music, the principal of Saint-Peter wrote to his parents to suggest that they pay their child for music studies, in addition to traditional lessons. They accept, and Farrokh begins to take piano lessons. He also joins the school choir and regularly participates in the theatrical productions of Saint-Peter6. In 1958, as part of his high school, he joined his first musical group, The Hectics, as a pianist, and acquired his nickname Frederick, then Freddie, whom the students of Saint-Peter found easier to remember9 and even his parents start using10. The young boy progresses quickly at the piano and reaches a high level (Grade IV) 6. In 1962 he entered St. Mary’s High School in Mazagon.

First groups (1958-1970)

The Hectics

In 1958, when Farrokh was twelve years old, a first rock formation was created in which the young boy played as a pianist: The Hectics. The other four members are Derrick Branche, Bruce Murray, Farang Irani and Victory Rana4,11. The quintet is made up of students from St. Mary’s School, where Freddie is educated. Few testimonies remain about this training. It is nevertheless established that the group is not authorized to perform outside the school. The Hectics plays typical rock ‘n’ roll of the era, covering songs by big names in this style12 such as Elvis Presley.

The Bulsara family had to return to Zanzibar for professional reasons, but very temporarily, since in 1964, when Freddie was then seventeen years old, the Zanzibar revolution, which chased the sultan and resulted in the creation of Tanzania, the force, his family and him, to leave for the United Kingdom.

First jobs and art studies

The Bulsara family first settled with friends in Feltham, just outside Heathrow Airport. She then found a small family house on which was affixed in 2016 a commemorative plaque in memory of the singer.

Freddie decided on artistic studies and enrolled, in preparation, at Isleworth Polytechnic. According to Record Collector magazine, it was shortly after arriving in England that he discovered Jimi Hendrix15, John Lennon and the Beatles. In a subsequent interview, Mercury said of Hendrix: “Jimi Hendrix is ​​very important. In a way, he sums up, through his performances on stage, all aspects of the work of a rock star. You can’t compare him to anyone. Either we have magic or we don’t. No one can match it. No one can take his place16 ”. He also discovers the stage performances of Liza Minnelli, who impresses him with the energy she releases and by her way of, in her words, “giving herself to the public16”. Finally, he really likes Elvis Presley, to whom he pays homage through a song written in a rockabilly style, Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Queen plays, on a few occasions, covers of Presley, including Jailhouse Rock and (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t CareN 1.17. On the sidelines of his art studies, he held odd jobs to earn a little money.

In the spring of 1966, he left Isleworth, having obtained the grade necessary for his admission to Ealing Art College in London15, from which he left before having obtained his final diploma12. At the start of the school year, he began studying graphic illustration and moved to the Kensington district, in an apartment rented by a friend. The district is then a cultural hive in which many very creative artists can be found. A few steps from his home is Kensington Market, a district frequented by London’s intellectual and artistic elite.


At this time, Freddie Bulsara began to create, in parallel with his studies, a line of clothing and short comics for small London newspapers18. In Ealing, he notably tried, unsuccessfully at first, to join the Smile group12,18. He got to know them through his schoolmate Tim Staffell, singer and bassist of the band, alongside guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor18. He thus follows Smile’s career very closely and later seizes the opportunity to replace Staffell18.

First, in August 1969, he crossed paths with a small group from Liverpool. Mercury then moved briefly in this city, above a pub that schedules concerts, the Dovedale Towers (it turns out that this pub is located on Penny Lane) 20. The group called Ibex, influenced by Cream, has just arrived in London to try to break into the business. Ibex originally existed as a trio comprising Mike Bersin on guitar and vocals, John “Tupp” Taylor on bass, and Mick “Miffer” Smith on drums12. The first two met in 1966 in a group called Color. A few days after the first meeting with the group, Freddie Bulsara already knows by heart all the pieces of the list played by the formation and leaves to join them on stage in the town of Bolton, in the region of Manchester. He made his very first public appearance there as a singer, on August 23, 1969.18 Two days later, Ibex performed outdoors in Queen’s Park in Bolton.

Ibex then returned to London and began to work, with his new singer, on new covers and compositions. The group hosted, a few weeks later, the evening at the start of the academic year at the school to which Bersin had just been accepted, in Liverpool12. For the members of Ibex and Smile, who live together and rarely leave each other18, a new period begins: in order to meet their needs, Freddie Bulsara and Roger Taylor opt for small businesses and buy second-hand clothes for them. resell on the market.

An Ibex appearance took place on September 9, 1969 at Sink, a small club in Liverpool. A thirty-five minute recording on magnetic tape is made, almost all of which has been lost23. According to witnesses, the singer stands at the foot of the stage, at the level of the public. That night, the members of Smile play at a club in the same town. The legend, propagated by many biographers but never confirmed, is that Roger Taylor and Brian May joined Freddie Bulsara on stage to play some of their own songs. The sound recording, of too limited duration, does not keep any trace of this possible musical encounter. On his own initiative, towards the end of 1969, Bulsara chose to rename Ibex; the group becomes Wreckage (“Naufrage”).


This is the time that Smith, the drummer, chooses to leave the squad. According to Mercury – who wrote about it years later in a letter to his friend Celine Daley – it’s possible that homophobic leanings caused him to withdraw from the group. Freddie Bulsara then wrote the majority of the pieces25.

The group turns little and erratically, with a first part for Iron Butterfly in early November 1969 and a final concert shortly after Christmas of the same year, at the Wade Dean Grammar School for Girls where Tupp Taylor’s sister is in school25. One of the most frequently reported anecdotes about Freddie Bulsara dates from this last evening. His microphone stand having broken or even refused to hold at the right height, he would have unscrewed it completely to keep only the upper part and include it in his stage performance, an accessory that then became a staple of appearances on stage. of Freddie Mercury and inseparable from his media image as the singer of Queen25.

After the separation of the group, Freddie Bulsara wants to move on and responds to an ad from the famous Melody Maker: “the group Sour Milk Sea is looking for a singer”. The hearing took place on February 6, 197025.

Sour Milk Sea

Sour Milk Sea is a professional quartet made up of Chris Dummett on vocals (Chris Chesney’s real name), Jeremy Gallop on guitar, Paul Milne on bass and Robert Tyrell on drums18. Seeking to diversify their style, they place their advertisement and audition Freddie Bulsara. The rhythm of the concerts is much higher than what the latter has known until then, since Sour Milk Sea tours about three times a week12.

The only notable concert of the group took place in Oxford in March 1970.26 According to an interview published the following day in the local press, Chris Chesney and Freddie Bulsara began, a short time before, to write together, repeating certain elements of compositions prepared for Ibex ; Mercury, who wins on stage, also steals the show in the press photo taken for the occasion25, N 2.

The arrival of the new singer, creative but domineering, deteriorates the relations between the members of the group. Chesney evokes a “lack of cohesion” due to the origins and influences of Bulsara, very different from theirs12. It’s the end of Sour Milk Sea, but it’s still on the same line-up that Freddie Bulsara keeps an eye out: Smile

Queen (1970-1991)

Related article: Smile (group).

In 1970, Smile signed with the American label Mercury Records18, which offered the group to record three tracks, then three others. The tapes are not commercially exploited and Tim Staffell is getting bored27. Seeing no future for Smile, he decides to leave the group and offers Farrokh Bulsara to replace him on vocals. The latter accepts and decides, without leaving much choice to the other members, to change the name of the formation, in November 197027. He chooses Queen, which during the next twenty years becomes one of the most famous rock groups in the world. .

First decade of success

In 1970, Freddie Mercury began a romantic relationship with a young woman, Mary Austin, whom he met in London in a clothing store28. If this relationship ended in the mid-1970s because of Mercury’s greater attraction to male partners, 29 Austin would remain a very close friend for the rest of the singer’s life30,31. During this period, Mercury resided at Stafford Terrace in Kensington, not far from his friend32.

In 1971, after several disappointing attempts with other bassists, John Deacon was chosen to complete the quartet33. Queen is complete, in its final form and can embark on a work of collective composition that lasts twenty years.

The success of Queen passes through important stages and technical evolutions. In 1972, Freddie Mercury took advantage of his training as a graphic designer to design the logo of the group, known as Queen Crest; in the middle is a capital Q, framed by symbols recalling the zodiac signs of the four members of the group27. The same year, while Queen rehearsed at Trident Studios for the recording of their first album, Beach Boys producer Robin Cable heard the singer from a hallway and offered to record a piece of his composition, I Can Hear. Music34, No. 3.18. The record did not come out until June 197318, a month before Queen’s debut album. In order not to risk damaging the notoriety of his formation, Freddie Mercury decides to release his very first “solo” work, to which he invites the other members of Queen to contribute, under the name of Larry Lurex35,18.

Still in 1973, Mercury decided to ask Mary Austin in marriage, to the surprise of the person concerned who nevertheless accepted. The couple lived under the same roof for a while, but after six years of relationship, the marriage proposal has still not been implemented36,37.

The group’s first albums were well received by critics and commercial success came fairly quickly. However, Freddie Mercury aims to create in truly innovative styles. In 1975, he succeeded with the album A Night at the Opera, which gave Queen real international notoriety18. The song Bohemian Rhapsody becomes, over the years, emblematic of the creativity of the group and especially of its singer, who composed it almost entirely by investing in it unprecedented means at the time38. From the first years, the group established itself as avant-garde of the clip, which it made a real means of artistic expression rather than a simple commercial promotion medium38.

In 1976, when their couple had been experiencing difficulties for several years, Freddie Mercury chose to reveal his bisexuality to his partner Mary Austin36. Austin, for his part, retorts to Mercury that he is gay and not bisexual: this discussion officially ends their intimate relationship. The scent of scandal due to Mercury’s sexual orientation becomes, with provocation and iconoclasty, an integral part of his image over the following years. At that time, Freddie Mercury sported a style common to many artists of the glam rock scene of the time: long hair and nails covered with black varnish. On stage, her outfits made up of leotards, capes and other accessories reinforce the theatrical side of her body language.

Towards the end of the 1970s, and although there was still commercial success, Queen received harsh criticism from influential music magazines, such as the New Musical Express and Rolling Stone. Most of the rock critics who speak out are seduced by the punk movement and criticize Queen’s songs for being overproduced. One of Rolling Stone’s critics said in 1974 that the album Queen II, of which Freddie Mercury is the principal author, was already “[of] abrupt and meaningless compositional complexity.”

Course with and without Queen

Freddie Mercury cut his hair and grew a mustache in the early 1980s18, following the “Castro clone” fashion started by some homosexuals at that time. He still rarely talks about his love life in public. At the end of 1982, Queen announced that the next tour would not take place until the following year. Mercury had been driven by the desire to compose a personal album for several years and flew to Munich to return to the studio at the beginning of 1983. He met Giorgio Moroder18, composer and arranger, who had been working for three years on a modernized version of the famous film by Fritz Lang, Metropolis, by coloring the images and adding contemporary music40. He invites Mercury and other artists to participate in the project18. The result was Mercury’s debut single, Love Kills, in 1984,441.

In May 1983, he attended an opera performance whose soprano happened to be Montserrat Caballé. Deeply impressed by the singer’s performance, he met her four years later18: the idea of ​​making a duet album then germinated.

After these isolated experiments, Queen embarked on large-scale world tours (The Works Tour, The Magic Tour, etc.) 18. Their performance at Live Aid in 1985, live from Wembley Stadium, near London, was hailed by critics as “the greatest live performance of all time” 43. “The rest of the band played well, but on this stage Freddie took it to another level,” said Brian May44. Indeed, he makes the 80,000 spectators clap their hands on Radio Ga Ga44, then makes them repeat his vocalizations45, until a note of an unexpected length which remains known as “the note which traveled the world” 44. The whole crowd also resumes in chorus We Are the Champions44. The participants and observers of this exceptional concert given before an estimated audience of 2 billion viewers46 then agree that Mercury and Queen “stole the show” from all the musicians who performed on two stages, in London and in Philadelphia on July 13, 198546.

In 1985, Mercury collaborated on the writing of the musical Time, with Dave Clark18. The same year released his first solo album, Mr. Bad Guy18. He also settles down with the one who remains his last companion, Jim Hutton47. The couple live between London and Montreux, Switzerland, where Mercury owns a home and personal recording studio.

1986 was a key year for the group, which collected several successes in various fields. The group recorded and released the album A Kind of Magic, composed to illustrate the film Highlander18,48. Six of the album’s nine tracks did appear on the film’s soundtrack, and the album was a commercial success. The group embarked on a European tour which is the last18, since Mercury’s disease will, shortly after, prevent them from repeating this type of experience, which is too tiring50. The members of the group also want to try to give, near their home, a concert of unprecedented dimensions for a single group. This is the “famous” Live at Wembley51. While the then Wembley Stadium had 70,000 seats, tickets for the two concert nights sold out in less than two days. N 6. Video recordings capture the style and exuberance of Mercury, who finished his two appearances. draped in an ermine-edged scarlet cloak with a perfect replica of the British Royal Crown on the head, all to the sound of the UK’s official national anthem, God Save the Queen51. After these two concerts, which definitely mark the fans18,51,52, the members of the group wish to organize an additional one to satisfy them: it takes place in Knebworth on August 9, 1986. The images of the arrival of the group flying over the crowd (over 125,000 people) by helicopter have remained famous. This is also Freddie Mercury’s very last gig with Queen53. The Magic Tour was a success18 and an album, Live Magic, was produced shortly after.

In 1987, The Great Pretender was released, a cover of the song by The Platters, rearranged by Freddie Mercury. In the video accompanying the song, Freddie Mercury recreates his performances from Queen’s song videos and solo videos. During the filming of this video, he cuts his mustache, which had been his “trademark” since 1980. That year, Freddie Mercury’s doctor told him that he had AIDS54,55.

In 1988 released the second and last album stamped Freddie Mercury and consisting of original material, Barcelona. This album is the realization of the singer’s avowed dream of getting closer to the world of opera, a desire already largely realized through certain compositions, the most famous being Bohemian Rhapsody, but above all through his desire to work with the Catalan soprano Montserrat. Caballé. The album was widely acclaimed by critics, and the title track of the disc became the anthem of the hometown of Montserrat Caballé (Barcelona) as well as the theme of the Olympic Games held there in 199242: “One the most magical musical moments in the 122-year history of the modern Olympic Games ”according to the IOC56. Finally, The Freddie Mercury Album (called The Great Pretender in North America) which was released in 1992 is a posthumous compilation.

His cover of The Great Pretender and his composition Living on My Own were two great solo hits. However, this last title only arrives in first position of sales in the United Kingdom on a posthumous basis thanks to the group No More Brothers which remixes it. This version was also number one in sales of singles in France for fifteen weeks57.

Illness and end of life (1990-1991)

If the Sun, a famous British tabloid, attributed the symptoms of AIDS to him in the fall of 1986, Freddie Mercury knew he was ill around 198,758.59.

In 1990-1991, he recorded his last takes with Queen, including his final composition, A Winter’s Tale, which evokes the region of Montreux, Switzerland, where he spent much of his time at the time. While the physical traces of the disease are not immediately noticeable, the singer’s latest appearances are unequivocal. The clips made for the Innuendo album, in particular I’m Going Slightly Mad, show him very thin and tired. He then hides his face under a thick layer of white and black makeup.

While ill, he insists on recording songs (Mother Love is the last he sings on, but he can’t finish it, Brian May singing the last verse) and music videos (Headlong, I’m Going Slightly Mad and These are the Days of Our Lives, his last recorded video). He also records The Show Must Go On, a sort of testament intended for his audienceN 7. During this recording, seeing him already very weak, Brian May asks him if he will only be able to ensure his vocals. Mercury replies “I’ll fucking do it, Darling”, and according to May “he drank a glass of vodka and tore it all up, he blew that vocal grip completely” 62. Mercury does as many vocals as he can, until pneumonia prevents him from doing so, a month before his death. If he first followed a treatment for the symptoms of the disease, treatment delivered to him from the United States, he decided to stop it so as not to suffer from undesirable side effects, contenting himself with analgesics63.

On February 20, 1990, Freddie Mercury made a final public appearance at the Brit Awards, during which Queen was rewarded by being named best English group of the 1980s58. He said only a few words, leaving the speech to Brian May: Rumor of the disease is spreading and the media is once again raising the possibility that Freddie Mercury has AIDS. The group denies it by means of an official press release27. Paul Prenter, one of his former assistants who has already sold many of the secrets of Mercury’s private life to the press, questions this denial27,64. On November 16, 1991, a new press release from the group indicates that Freddie Mercury does not suffer from AIDS61. But a week later, on November 23, 1991, on the eve of his death, his personal physician, Gordon Atkinson, met the journalists gathered outside the Kensington house and read a dictation from Freddie Mercury in which he announced that he was HIV positive and has AIDS61.

He died of pneumonia from which he had suffered for several weeks, at the age of 45, on November 24, 1991 – his disappearance eclipsed that of Eric Carr, drummer for the band Kiss, who died of cancer the same day65 . By virtue of Zoroastrian tradition, he requested that his funeral respect the modern rite of this religion and was cremated in the Kensal Green Cemetery66. Freddie Mercury bequeaths £ 500,000 to Jim Hutton, his companion (died January 1, 2010). Mary Austin, the “great love of her life” 30.67, is bequeathed half of the fortune of Freddie Mercury and her Georgian home in the Kensington district (at 1 Logan Place) in which she settles with her family, as well as a percentage of future sales of the artist’s records31,68 and Queen’s last four albums37.

In a 2013 interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mary Austin puts an end to speculation about the fate of Mercury’s ashes, explaining that she kept them for two years before respecting the singer’s choice to disperse them in a place kept absolutely secret and known only to her. On the other hand, she tells how having inherited the fortune from Mercury has been a major difficulty over the years, going so far as to cause a falling out with the former members of Queen, with whom she declares to have lost all contact after the funeral of the singer37. After his separation from Freddie Mercury, Austin had two sons with painter Piers Cameron. Mercury is the godfather of the eldest, Richard, the only one of Mary Austin’s two children to be born during her lifetime.

Musical abilities

In addition to his recognized singing qualities, Freddie Mercury’s talents as a composer are revealed in a number of Queen’s pieces, notably through major works such as Bohemian Rhapsody or Somebody to Love. He is also a confirmed pianist, composing his songs on this instrument and accompanying himself in concert on several titles69.

Mercury’s spoken voice naturally extended into a baritone range; however, he performed most of his songs in tenor tessitura70. Biographer David Bret describes his voice as “scaling a few ranges from deep, throaty rock grunt, to tender and vibrant tenor, then to high-pitched coloratura, perfect, pure and crystalline in the high peaks.” Montserrat Caballé says: “his technique was impressive. No problem with the tempo, he sang with an incisive sense of rhythm and glided effortlessly from one register to another. He had great musicality. His phrasing could be subtle, delicate and smooth, or energetic and snap. He was able to find the right coloring, the right expressive shade for each word ”

Opinions differ as to the real extent of its capabilities. If some enthusiastic sources give him an unusual range, others are more circumspect, based on admitted health problems, in this case the vocal cord nodules that he refuses to have an operation and which force him, at least on stage, to sing lower over the years. It is also likely that the long and grueling tours with Queen caused him some difficulty. His vocal qualities prompted a team of researchers to analyze recordings of Mercury and they deduced that, while the singer’s voice is “neither more nor less than normal for a healthy adult,” his exceptional character is due to the ability to “adapt his larynx to the needs of [his] music, thus deploying a wide variety of sound timbres for increased musical expression.” Montserrat Caballé says his voice ranged from F1 to F. She adds that he could reach the F in a chest voice.

Criticisms and controversies

Freddie Mercury has been the subject of criticism several times, mainly for his refusal to publicly discuss his origins74, and later, his illness. In addition, his proven bisexuality75 drew him, after his death, the wrath of certain British conservatives as well as Zanzibar Islamists76.

Late disclosure of HIV infection

The refusal of Freddie Mercury to warn the public that he had the human immunodeficiency virus has sometimes been criticized, considering that he could have used his great international notoriety to raise funds for research against this disease77. Conversely, according to some, his attitude could suggest to his admirers that AIDS is a shameful disease78,79.

Ethnic origins

A recurring criticism is that of Freddie Mercury’s decision to hide his Parish origins from the public. A close friend of the singer told journalist David Bret80: “Farrokh Bulsara is a name he buried. He didn’t want to talk about any period in his life before he became Freddie Mercury and everything about Freddie Mercury was made by himself. Roger Taylor, for his part, argued that Freddie Mercury would have rejected his origins because he considered them incompatible with his public figure80.

However, while the Sunday Times says of Freddie Mercury that he “managed to pass the crown of the first British pop star of Parsi origin” 81, Time Asia cites Mercury as one of the most famous people of Indian origin. most influential of the last sixty years82. The article says of Mercury that he “did in music what other Indians, like Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth, did in literature: take the art form of the colonizers and represent it in a richer and more attractive way. that many English speakers would not have thought possible ”.

Public image controversies

At the end of the 1970s, Mercury made a sulphurous reputation in the London arts community by organizing orgiastic parties mixing sex and cocaine, which he consumed in quantity. One of the consequences of this consumption is the cancellation of a collaboration project with Michael Jackson, who does not support the drug addiction of the leader of Queen22.

Freddie Mercury and Queen were then widely criticized, in 1984, for having deliberately violated a United Nations cultural embargo by leaving to give a series of nine concerts in South Africa, a country then practicing apartheid22. The group was placed on a blacklist of artists established by the UN and suffered the wrath of the New Musical Express.

In 1999, the Royal Mail released a stamp bearing the likeness of Freddie Mercury as part of its Millennium Stamps series. A journalist from the Daily Mail is then offended, evoking the “degenerate way of life” of Mercury which, according to him, does not make a suitable subject for a stamp celebrating the approaching end of the twentieth century. The controversy swells when we note that Roger Taylor is visible in the background of the stamp; the privilege for a living person to appear on British stamps was then reserved exclusively for members of the royal family, a tradition now abandoned. The Royal Mail will report, in order to silence criticism, that both the Queen herself and the family of Freddie Mercury have approved the stamp as is.

In 2006, the posthumous celebrations which were to take place in Zanzibar as part of the singer’s sixtieth birthday are the subject of a controversy: homosexuality has been outlawed in the country since 2004 and a Muslim association threatens to demonstrate. in protest against a star with manners “shocking for the overwhelming Muslim majority of the archipelago”, invoking the “religious duty to protect moralsN 8”. Rumors have indeed suggested that homosexual tourists would go to the island en masse on this occasion76. The organizers deny the rumors but nevertheless cancel the festivities, while noting that this cancellation prevents them from raising funds for AIDS patients in Zanzibar as originally planned.


During his career, Freddie Mercury has given approximately 700 concerts around the world with Queen. The group was the first to fill stadiums in South America, breaking world attendance records in Argentina and Brazil, most notably at Morumbi Stadium in São Paulo where their two concerts drew a cumulative audience of around 250,000. people86. In 1986, Queen’s European tour brought them to Budapest in front of 80,000 people, making the band one of the first bands in Western Europe to perform across the Iron Curtain. Mercury’s very last stage appearance with Queen took place on August 9, 1986 in Knebworth Park, with an estimated audience of 125,000.

After the death of Freddie Mercury, the group does not officially cease to exist, although Taylor and May have already embarked on solo careers. The remaining Queen members found the Mercury Phoenix Trust87 and organized the Freddie Mercury Tribute. On April 20, 1992, many artists gathered around May, Deacon and Taylor for a charity concert aimed at raising funds for AIDS research88. George Michael’s performance with Queen was so popular that a small five-track album, Five Live89,88 was produced. Only two Queen pieces appear there: Somebody to Love and These Are the Days of Our Lives, in a duet with Lisa Stansfield89.

After being honored posthumously for “outstanding contribution to British music” at the Brit Awards in 199290, he appeared in 2002 on the BBC’s 100 Greatest Britons (ranked 58th there). The American magazine Rolling Stone places him in the list of “greatest singers of all time”. As a member of Queen, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 200191, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 200392 and by public vote, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 200493.

On November 21, 1996, a statue in memory of the artist, sculpted by Irena Sedlecká, was inaugurated in Montreux, Switzerland, facing Lake Geneva94. The work, an order placed by family and friends of Mercury, as well as the remaining members of Queen, was initially to find a place in London. The inauguration is chaired by Pierre Salvi, mayor of Montreux, and it is the singer and friend of the singer, Montserrat Caballé, who unveils the sculpture. In February 2017, it suffered minor vandalism60.

In a Jan. 14, 2005 Guardian article, John Harris said of Freddie Mercury: “Those who rank rock’s top frontmen and give top spots to Mick Jagger, Robert Plant and the like are making a terrible mistake. Freddie, as his Dionysian performance at Live Aid proves, is easily, of all, the closest to a god ”83. In 2009, Freddie Mercury was elected “rock’s ultimate god” by the British polling institute OnePoll on a list of the 4,000 greatest figures in rock, ahead of Elvis Presley by a few votes95.

Another tribute is paid to Freddie Mercury at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, where he appears on a giant screen placed in the middle of the Olympic Stadium, engaging the Wembley audience in the Queen gave there in 198596. It was then Brian May, who followed up on the instrumental title Brighton Rock, before being joined by Roger Taylor for We Will Rock You in the company of singer Jessie.

A 2018 UK poll ranked Freddie Mercury as Britain’s favorite solo artist, while Bohemian Rhapsody became the most-listened 20th-century song on streaming platforms that same year.

(17473) Freddiemercury, asteroid of the main belt, discovered at the Observatory of La Silla (Chile), is named in this way by the UAI, in September 2016, to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the birth of the artist.

Are named “Freddy” and “Mercury” the two raccoons who make an intrusion in the villa guarded somehow by the pug Mike, in each episode of the animated series in French 3D Mike, a life of dog, diffused from from 2019.


Freddie Mercury was influenced by Zoroastrianism, his family’s religion.

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