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November 24, 2016

Freddie Mercury Died 25 Years Ago Today: 23 Amazing Facts About the Queen Frontman

Born Farrokh Bulsara in the British protectorate of Zanzibar, Freddie's oversized talent was matched only by his flamboyance and exuberance. These qualities merged to create masterpieces of the group's songbook, and some of the greatest live performances on record. In life, his four-octave voice – since studied by scientists in an attempt to unlock the secrets of its intricacies and awesomeness – raised the bar for what a rock singer could be. In death, he gave voice to the millions suffering from AIDS.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of his passing, here are some lesser-known elements of Mercury's incredible legacy.

1. Freddie designed the famous Queen Crest logo himself, thanks to a degree in art and graphic design from Ealing Art College.

2. He had a long-term relationship with a girl in the early 70s named Mary Austin, who became his closest friend. When he died, he left her most of his money, his house, and his recording royalties.

3. His trademark 'bottomless mic' happened by accident. Whilst performing a show early in Queen's career, his mic stand snapped mid-performance. Instead of replacing it, he carried on performing and continued to use a mic stand from then on.

4. Queen won the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution in 1990. All four members of the band came to the stage to accept the award. It was Mercury's last appearance in front of an audience.

5. Freddie was a keen philatelist (stamp collector). His collection has been exhibited at stamp shows worldwide.

6. He was voted number 59 in the BBC's poll of the 100 greatest Britons, but was born in Zanzibar.

7. Freddie Mercury's birth name was Farrokh Bulsara. He legally changed his name to Freddie Mercury around 1970, when Queen was formed.

8. Freddie and his family were Parsi and practiced the ancient Zoroastrian religion. His funeral service was performed by a Zoroastrian priest.

9. Freddie wrote 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' in the bath. He was in the tub at a hotel and got inspired for the song, he even had the piano brought to his tub to allow him to compose.

10. Freddie Mercury was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame (as a member of Queen) in 2001.

11. Freddie's voice had a recording range of three (almost four) octaves, with a majority of his singing falling in the tenor range.

12. Although a flamboyant entertainer on stage, Freddie was very shy in real life and hardly ever gave interviews.

13. Freddie was an accomplished ballet dancer, even performing with the royal ballet in 1979.

14. He once owned as many as 10 cats, even dedicating an album ('Mr. Bad Guy') and a song dedicated to "to my cat Jerry—also Tom, Oscar and Tiffany, and all the cat lovers across the universe—screw everybody else".

15. A statue of Freddie was unveiled in Montreux, Switzerland on 25 November 1996. It stands at over three meters high and overlooks Lake Geneva.

16. In 1983 Freddie recorded several tracks with Michael Jackson - 'State of Shock', 'Victory' and 'There Must Be More To Life Than This'.

17. Freddie's favorite artists were Aretha Franklin and Jimi Hendrix.

18. Freddie first met future duet partner David Bowie in the summer of 1970 when he co-managed a stall in Kensington Market, with Roger Taylor. Freddie tried to sell Bowie a pair of suede boots. While he tried them on Mercury quizzed him about the music business. David was very unhappy about the music industry at the time and asked Freddie, ‘Why would you want to get into this business?’

19. Freddie helped Princess Diana disguise as a man so she could go to gay bars with him and his best friend Kenny Everett. The trio also loved watching Golden Girls together at the home of close friend Cleo Rocos. Says Cleo: “Kenny turned the sound down on the television and we improvised the voices, but with a much naughtier storyline. Kenny was Blanche, Diana was Dorothy, Freddie was Sophia and I was Rose – we were uncontrollable with laughter.”

20. Freddie was guarded about his sexuality, but did at one point speak about his love for partner Jim Hutton. Saying: “I’m very happy with my relationship at the moment and I couldn’t ask for better. So now I’ve finally found a niche that I was looking for all my life.”

21. Kurt Cobain mentioned Freddie Mercury in his suicide note, explaining how he admired and envied his ability to perform and embrace the love of his audience.

22. Freddie wrote the song 'Who Wants To Live Forever' in a car whilst the band were driving back from watching preview of the film Highlander.

23. Despite only revealing his illness days before he died, he dropped many hints about his failing health during has last 1986 tour, most famously in a brief speech before performing 'Who Wants To Live Forever' at Wembley.


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