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'Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury'

Freddie Mercury hit the news twice this week with a new tour from Queen (without Freddie of course) and a new book! 'Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury' by Matt Richards & Mark Langthorne, published by Weldon Owen. So to celebrate the new release, we thought we would do our very own tribute/biopic about the wonder that is, Freddie Mercury.


There’s not an ear in the world that hasn’t been soulfully soothed by the delectable, velvet voice of Mr Freddie Mercury.
He still haunts us to this present hour, with countless hours of radio air-time, and numerable film and television appearances (Even long after his untimely death).
Sport events have made an increasing habit of playing ‘We are the Champions’ at any available opportunity they can scrounge, irony though it be.  

The late, great Freddie Mercury would have reached the ripe, old but still bold age of 66 this year. Imagine it now:  A sprinkling of grey adorning his thick black hair – perhaps like Brian May’s recently infamous ‘Hair Do’ – and coming with the extraordinary revelation that his signature holding of a long microphone stand is doubling up as a rather demeaning, yet successful walking stick.

It’s increasingly hard to believe that Freddie Mercury escaped us over 20 years ago, because a man of such talent and soul seems to have left a permanent tattoo on the minds of the living.
All of us can recall his exuberant Live Aid performance, modelling his trade-mark handle bar moustache and far-too-tight white vest with the infamous yellow leather jacket, belting out in perfect pitch Queen’s greatest hits to billions of adoring fans and tens of thousands of not so adorably sweaty live fans.
(If you have really not heard of Queen you have shocked me to the very marrow- what do you listen to exactly?)  Listen to one of their beautifully remastered albums, and let your parched ears drink up the vintage glam rock and rock, equivalent of a fifty year old Chardonnay.    

 Freddie stayed loved in the hearts of the public throughout his entire musical career, even when his mid-80’s drug scandal hit the headlines, with rumours (later to be confirmed by himself) of wild androgynous themed parties, where it wasn’t uncommon to find transsexuals, sexual deviants and a rather revealingly dressed Freddie mercury, his pupils wide with more than adrenalin.
Still, in the business and outside, everyone managed to convince themselves that there was justification for his substance abuse in his genius.

As well as the mercurial mark printed in the hearts of rock lovers, he also left physical ones.
Pop them into a CD player and experience once again the harmonious bliss, close to perfect vocal skills and Queen’s early Pink Floyd guitars, with their own unique atmospheric, out of space spin, it will be as if Queen never left.

Freddie’s life was never shy of controversy, but despite his extraordinary confidence on stage, and outspoken tendencies in his song lyrics; behind closed doors he was very much a private man, particularly in his very under cover personal life.
He enjoyed recreational living, and was no stranger to shockingly inebriated nights out in infamous gay clubs, his eyes wide with far more than adrenalin.
It’s rather hard to believe that very few people guessed Mercury’s sexual preference earlier… Well, even if they managed to fathom it out, it was never really spread around in the media, or even spoken of; In fact the now widely- known homo-sexual never did officially come out in public at all. You would have presumed, with all the prancing around in outlandishly tight costumes, including dressing in drag completes with his moustache and the continual referencing of ‘lover boys’ in his music.
Typically those substantial clues might have just given away the truth for even the repressed pop audience of the 70’s and 80’s. We’re talking about a band named Queen:  Was that really not enough of a clue? Apparently not, for some.

Live shows were the foundation of Queen’s legend. Freddie and the band performed them flawlessly, right down to the last ‘Galileo’ to thousands and millions of devout fans. Mercury had an increasing habit of captivating the audience mid-show by improvising audience participation, the fans seemed to enjoy following and repeating Freddie’s immaculate voice, so much so that it soon became a permanent addition to the show.
He always had an amazing stage presence, proudly walking through the wings to meet the worked up crowd, Freddie head held high with a brilliant sense of amour-propre; every face instantly morphed to a positively beaming expression.  Mercury’s timing was impeccable, his confidence shining through his lively dancing and banters with the audience.
However, there was no song that built the audience to a loving crescendo quite so much, than Freddie’s own creation: Bohemian Rhapsody.

The song first flooded public ears in 1975. The lyrics were nothing short of genius, but utterly insane.
It sounds immensely like the telling of a heartfelt story, but even now, as I sit listening, I’m reluctant to say, I haven’t the slightly idea what  this creative madness is about… But perhaps that’s the beauty of it; Bohemian seems to be split into an array of conjoined songs.
It captivates every audience with the dramatic transcend of gentle melodies to a full on rock ballad.
The song has the uncanny and unnatural ability to affect all roots of one’s emotion, from the emotional tugging beginning, moving to a soul rising heavy rock solo soon to be joined with an operatic segment and finally the end which on many occasions dragged un-willing tears from available eyes, leaving the listener panting to an eventual hearts on situation with the famous bang on the cymbal finale. It was a work out of pure genius on a black vinyl.

It’s a certainty that Freddie Mercury will not be forgotten, not after another 20 years, and not after a hundred. He was, if you please, what many would call ‘true rock and roll’, and will remain in history as a standard and symbol of the genre.
  Mercury wrote or co-wrote the majority of the songs he fronted: The playful but beautifully composed drum solos, leading into Freddie’s own semi falsetto, silky smooth voice, which toned down to a painfully perfect whisper  and outwards to his signature, belted out, almost shouted, but still mesmerizingly pitched notes. 

Due to a craze of experimentation, perhaps to urges and pressures to be promiscuous, and the little known about virus that preyed particularly on gay men… That diabolical disease was what caused Freddie’s downfall.        

Mercury confirmed to the public about AIDS taking his body hostage on the 23rd of November 1991. He died the next day.  With true rock and roll sprit, Mercury lived up to the ‘Sex, drugs and Rock and Roll’ slogan. It may have ultimately killed him, but didn’t that fabulous Queen from Queen live the life.


Buy the new book now, here:


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