Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara, 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range. As a songwriter, Mercury composed many hits for Queen, including "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Killer Queen", "Somebody to Love", "Don't Stop Me Now", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and "We Are the Champions". In addition to his work with Queen, he led a solo career, and also occasionally served as a producer and guest musician (piano or vocals) for other artists. He died of bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS on 24 November 1991, only one day after publicly acknowledging he had the disease.
Mercury was a Parsi born in Zanzibar and grew up there and in India until his mid-teens. He has been referred to as "Britain's first Asian rock star". In 2002, Mercury was placed at number 58 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, in 2006, Time Asia named him one of the most influential Asian heroes of the past 60 years, and he continues to be voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music. In 2005, a poll organised by Blender and MTV2 saw Mercury voted the greatest male singer of all time. In 2008, Rolling Stone editors ranked him number 18 on their list of the 100 greatest singers of all time. In 2009, a Classic Rock poll saw him voted the greatest rock singer of all time. Allmusic has characterised Mercury as "one of rock's greatest all-time entertainers", who possessed "one of the greatest voices in all of music".
In 1985 Freddie Mercury began a relationship with hairdresser Jim Hutton. Hutton, who was tested HIV-positive in 1990, lived with Mercury for the last 6 years of his life, nursed him during his illness, and was present at his bedside when he died. Hutton claimed that Mercury died wearing a wedding band that Hutton had given him. In his will, Mercury left his London home to his former lover and only true friend Mary Austin saying, "You would have been my wife and it would have been yours anyway".
In the early 1970s Mercury had a long-term relationship with Mary Austin, whom he had met through guitarist Brian May. He lived with Austin for several years in West Kensington. By the mid-1970s, however, the singer had begun an affair with a male American record executive at Elektra Records, which ultimately resulted in the end of his relationship with Austin. Mercury and Austin nevertheless remained close friends through the years, with Mercury often referring to her as his only true friend. In a 1985 interview, Mercury said of Austin, "All my lovers asked me why they couldn't replace Mary [Austin], but it's simply impossible. The only friend I've got is Mary and I don't want anybody else. To me, she was my common-law wife. To me, it was a marriage. We believe in each other, that's enough for me." He also wrote several songs about Austin, the most notable of which is "Love of My Life". In his will, Mercury left his London home to Austin, rather than his then partner Jim Hutton, saying, "You would have been my wife and it would have been yours anyway". Mercury was also the godfather of Mary's oldest son, Richard.
During the early to mid '80s, he was romantically involved with Barbara Valentin, an Austrian actress, who is featured in the video for "It's a Hard Life". By 1985, he began another long-term relationship with hairdresser Jim Hutton (1949-2010). Hutton, who was tested HIV-positive in 1990, lived with Mercury for the last six years of his life, nursed him during his illness, and was present at his bedside when he died. Hutton claimed that Mercury died wearing a wedding band that Hutton had given him. Hutton died from cancer on 1 January 2010.
Mercury was an acknowledged bisexual. While some critics claimed he hid his sexual orientation from the public, others claimed he was "openly gay". In December 1974, when asked directly, "So how about being bent?" by the New Musical Express, Mercury replied, "You're a crafty cow. Let's put it this way; there were times when I was young and green. It's a thing schoolboys go through. I've had my share of schoolboy pranks. I'm not going to elaborate further." Homosexuality was legalised in the United Kingdom in 1967, only seven years earlier. In the 1980s, he would often distance himself from his partner, Jim Hutton, during public events.
In 1992, John Marshall of Gay Times expressed the following opinion: "[Mercury] was a 'scene-queen', not afraid to publicly express his gayness but unwilling to analyse or justify his 'lifestyle' ... It was as if Freddie Mercury was saying to the world, 'I am what I am. So what?' And that in itself for some was a statement." A writer for a gay online newspaper felt that audiences may have been overly naïve about the matter: "While in many respects he was overtly queer his whole career ("I am as gay as a daffodil, my dear" being one of his most famous quotes), his sexual orientation seemed to pass over the heads of scrutinising audiences and pundits (both gay and straight) for decades".
Although he cultivated a flamboyant stage personality, Mercury was a very shy and retiring man in person, particularly around people he did not know well. He also granted very few interviews. Mercury once said of himself: "When I'm performing I'm an extrovert, yet inside I'm a completely different man." While on stage, Mercury basked in the love from the audience, which was famously noted by Kurt Cobain, in his suicide note, when he wrote of how he both admired and envied Mercury for being able to do so.
Stern, Keith (2009-09-01). Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals (Kindle Locations 8530-8536). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.
Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender by Sean O'Hagan
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions; Har/Com edition (October 16, 2012)
Amazon: Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender
Freddie Mercury was an iconic singer who was hugely popular throughout his brilliant music career, as the lead singer of Queen and as a solo artist. The world mourned his untimely death in 1991, but he was incredibly prolific and left behind a rich legacy of recordings, not all of which have been released to date.
The twentieth anniversary of Freddie’s death will see the reissue of Barcelona, the groundbreaking album he recorded with Montserrat Caballé, and everyone is talking about the movie that stars Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury. In addition, Queen remains one of the most popular bands in history.
This lavishly illustrated book celebrates one of the key players in the influential British music scene. Freddie’s colorful life is lovingly and painstakingly recounted in photographs and insightful text. Famed as an electric showman with no equal, these images capture the man in the moment, through many stages of his incredible life.
Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (July 3, 2012)
Amazon: Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury
A REVEALING, INTIMATE LOOK AT THE MAN WHO WOULD BE QUEEN
As lead vocalist for the iconic rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury’s unmatched skills as a songwriter and his flamboyant showmanship made him a superstar and Queen a household name. But despite his worldwide fame, few people ever really glimpsed the man behind the glittering façade.
Now, more than twenty years after his death, those closest to Mercury are finally opening up about this pivotal figure in rock ’n’ roll. Based on more than a hundred interviews with key figures in his life, Mercury offers the definitive account of one man’s legendary life in the spotlight and behind the scenes. Rock journalist Lesley-Ann Jones gained unprecedented access to Mercury’s tribe, and she details Queen’s slow but steady rise to fame and Mercury’s descent into dangerous, pleasure-seeking excesses— this was, after all, a man who once declared, “Darling, I’m doing everything with everyone.”
In her journey to understand Mercury, Jones traveled to London, Zanzibar, and India—talking with everyone from Mercury’s closest friends to the sound engineer at Band Aid (who was responsible for making Queen even louder than the other bands) to second cousins halfway around the world. In the process, an intimate and complicated portrait emerges. Meticulously researched, sympathetic yet not sensational, Mercury offers an unvarnished look at the extreme highs and lows of life in the fast lane. At the heart of this story is a man . . . and the music he loved.
Queen Unseen: My Life with the Greatest Rock Band of the 20st Century by Peter Hince
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: John Blake (August 1, 2013)
Amazon: Queen Unseen: My Life with the Greatest Rock Band of the 20st Century
An intimate and affectionate insider's story of his years spent alongside Queen, with exclusive personal photos
For more than a decade, Peter Hince worked with one of the greatest bands in the history of rock, touring the world and heading up their road crew as they performed at some of the best and biggest music venues in the world. Here he recalls the highlights of those years with the band. He was with Freddie Mercury when he composed "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," he was responsible for making sure that Freddie's stage performances went without a hitch, and he was often there to witness Freddie's famed tantrums. He was also party to the sex, drugs, and rock and roll which are invariably part of life on the road with a rock band. Many books have been written about Queen and Freddie Mercury, but this is the first real insider's story. Packed with the author's own exclusive photos, including never-before-seen shots of Freddie, his female lover Mary, and other band members, this warm and witty book will entertain and inform as a must read for any music fan.
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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