Freddie Mercury was born on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, sent him off to a private school in India, from 1955 til 1963. In 1964, he and his family flew to England. In 1966 he started his education at the Ealing College of Art, where he graduated in 1969. He loved art, and because of that, he often went along with his friend Tim Staffell, who played in a band called Smile. Also in this band where Brian May and Roger Taylor.
When Staffell left the band in 1970, Mercury became their new singer. He changed the band’s name into Queen, and they took on a new bass-player in February 1971, called John Deacon. Their first album, “Queen”, came out in 1973. But their real breakthrough was “Killer Queen”, on the album “Sheer Heart Attack”, which was released in 1974. They became immortal with the single “Bohemian Rhapsody”, on the 1975 album “A Night At The Opera”.
After their biggest hit in the USA in 1980 with “Another One Bites The Dust”, they had a bad period. Their album “Flash Gordon” went down the drain, because the movie Flash Gordon (1980) flunked. Their next, the disco-oriented “Hot Space”, was hated not only by rock critics but also by many hardcore fans. Only the song “Under Pressure”, which they sang together with David Bowie, made a difference. In 1983, they took a year off. But, in 1984 they came back with their new album called “The Works”. The singles “Radio Ga Ga” and “I Want to Break Free” did very well in the UK but a controversy over the video of the latter in the USA meant it got little exposure and flopped. Plans to tour the USA were cancelled and the band would not recover their popularity there during Mercury’s lifetime.
In April 1985, Mercury released his first solo album, the less rock-oriented and more dance-oriented “Mr. Bad Guy”. The album is often considered now to have been a flop, but it actually wasn’t. It peaked at number six in the UK and stayed on the chart for 23 weeks, making it the most successful Queen solo project. The band got back together again after their barnstorming performance at Live Aid (1985) in July 1985. At the end of the year, they started working on their new album, “A Kind Of Magic”. They also held their biggest ever world tour, the “Magic Tour”. They played Wembley Stadium twice and held their very last concert in Knebworth, in front of 125.000 people.
After 1986, it went silent around Queen. In 1987, he was diagnosed with AIDS but he kept working at a pace. He released a cover of the 1950s song “The Great Pretender”, which went into the UK top ten. After that, he flew to Spain, where he made the magnificent album “Barcelona”, together with Montserrat Caballé, whom he saw performing in 1983. Because Mercury loved opera, he became a huge fan of her. For him, this album was like a dream becoming reality. The single “Barcelona” went huge, and was also used as a theme song for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
After “Barcelona”, he started working with the band again. They made “The Miracle”, which was released in early 1989. It was another success, with hits such as “Breakthru”, “I Want It All”, “The Invisible Man” and the title track. At this point, Mercury told the band he had AIDS, meaning that a tour of the album was out of the question. After Mercury told the band, he refused to talk about it anymore. He was afraid that people would buy their records out of pity. He said he wanted to keep making music as long as possible. And he did. After “The Miracle”, Mercury’s health got worse. They wanted to do one more album, called “Innuendo.” They worked on it in 1990 and early 1991. Every time when Mercury would feel well, he came over to the studio and sang. After “Innuendo” was released in January 1991, they made two video clips. The first one was the video clip of “I’m Going Slightly Mad”, shot in March 1991. Because Mercury was very thin, and had little wounds all over his body, they used a lot of make-up. He wore a wig, and the clip was shot in black and white.
Mercury’s final video clip was released in June 1991. The clip, “These Are The Days Of Our Lives”, later turned out to be his goodbye song, the last time he appeared on film. You could clearly see he was ill, but he still hadn’t told the world about his disease. Rumours went around that he some kind of terrible disease. This rumor was confirmed by Mercury himself, one day before he passed on. His death was seen as a great loss for the world of popular music.
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