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November 15, 2022

Freddie Mercury During ‘Mr. Bad Guy’ Cover Album Photo Session in 1985

In early 1983, hot on the heels of exhaustive Queen tours of Europe, Canada, North America and Japan, Freddie Mercury and German record producer Reinhold Mack returned to Musicland studios in Munich to commence recording sessions for Freddie’s first solo album, Mr. Bad Guy. Mack had already forged a working relationship with the band, having co-produced Flash Gordon, The Game and Hot Space.

What emerged in April 1985, was a rich fusion of material spanning the entire spectrum of human emotion; from the upbeat optimism of “I Was Born To Love You” and “Let’s Turn It On,” to the subdued poignancy of “Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow” and “There Must Be More To Life Than This.”

For the most part, Mr. Bad Guy finds Freddie in typically jovial mood, enjoying a particularly creative period, and in fine voice. The music is vibrant and the lyrics as candid as ever, taking on issues never very far from Freddie’s consciousness, evident on songs like “Living On My Own,” “Your Kind Of Lover,” “Foolin’ Around,” “My Love Is Dangerous” and the album’s semi-autobiographical title track.

Freddie: “I’ve put my heart and soul into this album. It has some very moving ballads – things to do with sadness and pain, but at the same time they’re frivolous and tongue-in-cheek, because that’s my nature. I’ve wanted to do a solo album for a long time and the rest of the band have encouraged me to do it. I wanted to cover such things as reggae rhythms and I’ve done a couple of things with a symphony orchestra. It has a very rich sound and it’s very beat orientated. I think it’s a very natural album, and I hope people will like my voice.”

“I’m possessed by love. I’m a romantic. I’m also a man of extremes. I think the songs on this album reflect the state of my life; a diverse selection of moods. I wanted to write a batch of songs that came out under the name of Freddie Mercury. It’s not like starting a new career, it’s more like going off at a tangent. I feel I’m doing this with all the experience I’ve gained with Queen. But this is just me. I’m in control.”

“It’s like painting a picture; you have to step away from it to see what it’s like. I’m stepping away from Queen and I think it’s going to give everybody a shot in the arm. But of course I’ll be working with Queen again, there’s no doubt about that.”

“Yes, I would like it to be successful. It matters to me a lot. I’ve made a piece of music which I want to be accepted in the biggest way possible. But I’m not worried about the fact that it might not be successful, because if it isn’t, I will just go out and make another one.”

Originally titled Made In Heaven, Freddie changed his mind just weeks prior to the album going to press, preferring instead the aptness, as he perceived it, of Mr. Bad Guy. However, Made In Heaven was destined to provide Roger, Brian and John with a fitting title to the final Queen album - albeit a decade later, in November 1995.

Freddie: “Basically, I was lost for a title, but as far as I’m concerned album titles are immaterial. I didn’t know what to call it, but I had what I thought was a very beautiful track called Made In Heaven, which seemed to conjure up an image of some kind. But to be honest, I’m not really worried about it. It’s what you listen to that matters, not what the title is. Don’t judge a book by its cover! – although, there is a beautiful photograph of me on this cover.”

Due to commitments with Queen, Freddie never had the opportunity to tour with Mr. Bad Guy. Within two weeks of the album’s release, the band had embarked upon tours of New Zealand, Australia and Japan. 1985, of course, concluded with the band’s unforgettable performance at Live Aid, on July 13, and arguably Freddie Mercury’s finest ‘hour’ on stage – one for which he will be fondly remembered.

Freddie dedicated the Mr. Bad Guy album thus: “to my cat Jerry – also Tom, Oscar and Tiffany and all the cat lovers across the universe - screw everybody else!”

(Photos by Andrzej Sawa)

1 comment:

  1. The solo album was a cash grab offered by the record company as an effort to duplicate Michael Jackson's Thriller with Freddie's voice. It failed. Freddie was disappointed but he knew it wasn't as good as a Queen effort and lacked the other members guiding influence.

    I bought the original release then bought the follow up remix version which stripped out the original instrumental tracks and replaced them with disco droning dance tracks. It was almost unlistenable and I never replayed it.

    His follow up was "The Great Pretender" which was a slight improvement with that one track but with nothing else to build upon. It had sales worse than "Mr. Bad Guy" and ended the solo efforts by the record company and by Freddie.

    This was a clear case of "if it isn't broken don't try to fix it." Freddie had global success through Queen. Their albums following the solo releases were solid and achieved high chart positions. B"A Kind of Magic", "The Miracle", and "Innuendo" all are monumental efforts of a band at the top of their form. The title track of "Innuendo" easily is as grandiose and bombastic as the better known "Bohemian Rhapsody" features highly skilled vocal acrobatics from Freddie, and if more musically powerful.

    Freddie was offered a large sum of money by a record company that sensed a fatted cow ready to reproduce a "Thriller" sales event for them. It didn't happen from Freddie alone. It couldn't have worked here with only a voice and not one noteworthy song (pun fully intended).




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