The Freddie Mercury You Didn't Know - Life, Love and Music | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

15 December, Saturday


The Freddie Mercury You Didn't Know - Life, Love and Music

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Freddie Mercury's songs have inspired millions of people around the world, and his performances, along with his band Queen, have filled stadiums in record-breaking numbers.

But despite his great public success, the man himself was notoriously shy. When he wasn't on-stage he preferred to keep to himself - something which led to many rumors and speculation about his personal life. 

With a biopic about Mercury having recently hit theaters, now is an excellent time to delve into the Rock'n'Roll legend's spectacular, shocking - and secret - life.

It's a Kind of Magic

It's a Kind of Magic

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Freddie Mercury was not always Freddie Mercury.

In fact, when Queen's front man - and one of the world's greatest music heroes - was born in 1946, his name was Farrokh Bulsara. 

He was born to Parsi parents - that is, Indian nationals of the Zoroastrian faith and Persian descent - in Zanzibar. His father was a British national, and had moved to Zanzibar with his wife to work as a cashier for the British Colonial Office. 

When Freddie was 7 he started studying classical piano, and when he was 8 he moved to a prestigious British boarding school just outside of Mumbai. There, it wouldn't be long before he formed his first band, which had some surprising members.

School Years

School Years

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When Freddie was 12, he formed a school band, The Hectics, with several classmates.

Freddie wasn't the only band member destined for fame and glory - his friend Derrick Branche would go on to become a successful actor on British television. Still, it was Freddie - a name Farrokh had adopted early on at the British school - who would outshine them all.

But before that would happen, he still had a long way to go, including a brush with unbelievable violence.

The Zanzibar Revolution

The Zanzibar Revolution

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When Freddie was 17, he completed his studies at St. Peter's, and moved back to Zanzibar with his parents.

Unfortunately, the violent Zanzibar Revolution would take place later that same year - 1964.

Freddie and his family were in danger but thankfully, the family managed to flee the country unharmed, and Freddie soon found himself in a London flat with his parents.

Could Have Been a Graphic Designer

Could Have Been a Graphic Designer

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Soon after their arrival in London, Freddie enrolled at Isleworth Polytechinc in West London, where he studied art. He later went on to receive a diploma in Art and Graphic Design from Ealing Art College.

While his mother encouraged him to seek out an office job as a graphic designer, the music-obsessed Freddie was set on a future in musical entertainment.

Going Through Bands

Going Through Bands

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Freddie went through one band after another, moving from one to the next when he felt like they weren't progressing at a fast-enough pace. 
He subsidized his lifestyle by working at a vintage clothes stall at the legendary Kensington Market with his bandmates, as well as with another, very special person…

Mary Austin

Mary Austin

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In the early '70s, Freddie met Mary Austin at the fashionable Biba store in Kensington.

While she was initially intimidated by the "wild-looking artistic musician," she also found him fascinating, and the two soon hit it off. "He was like no one I had met before," Mary later recounted. 

Mary and Freddie's relationship would blossom and grow, and the two spent 7 years together as a couple - with Freddie even proposing to her. 
Unfortunately, this was not to last.

Common-Law Wife

Common-Law Wife

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While Freddie and Mary eventually broke up due to Freddie's evolving sexuality, they always remained close, like family. 

"All my lovers asked me why they couldn't replace Mary," Freddie said in an interview once. "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."

Love of His Life

Love of His Life

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Freddie wrote one of Queen's most memorable songs, "Love of My Life," about Mary Austin. 
The song is exceptional not just because of its content, but also because Freddie taught himself how to play the harp for it.
When asked in an interview about this, Mercury, always self-deprecating, had this to say:

"Learning would be too strong a word. I did it chord by chord. Actually, it took longer to tune the thing than to play it. It was a nightmare because every time someone opened the door, the temperature would change and the whole thing would go out. I would hate to have to play a harp on stage. I just figured out how it worked – the pedals and everything – and did it bit by bit."

Stealing the Show

Stealing the Show

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One of Freddie's problems, early on, was that he was a born star.

Looking for bands to join, Freddie's big personality and clear artistic vision were sometimes cause for fights.

Before he joined the band 'Smile' and turned it into Queen, Freddie joined forces with a Liverpool-based group called Sour Milk Sea, and caused a rift from the get-go…

I Always Knew I Was a Star

I Always Knew I Was a Star

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Freddie insisted on doing things his way, and while some band members seemed to realize they were standing in the presence of greatness, and cooperated with him, others, including the band's original leader, were intimidated by Freddie's style - and the group ultimately split up.

Soon after, Freddie met guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, and history was made.
Years later, Mercury would say:
"I always knew I was a star, and now the rest of the world seems to agree with me.”

Smile, You're Now Queen

Smile, You're Now Queen

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In 1970, Freddie joined forces with the now-legendary guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, they were part of a band called Smile.

Like Sour Milk Sea, Freddie had his own ideas about how things should go - but unlike the previous group, Smile's members were willing to go along with it. 
Despite initial resistance to the name, at Freddie's insistence they changed it to Queen.

"It's very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid," Freddie said about naming the band Queen. "It's a strong name, very universal and immediate. I was certainly aware of the gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it."

Designing the Crest

Designing the Crest

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Every Queen needs a crest, and the band Queen was no exception.

With his degree in art and graphic design, Freddie soon set out to design a coat of arms fitting his grandiose vision for the band.

The "Queen Crest" is comprised of the zodiac signs of the band's members - two lions for Leo (Deacon and Taylor), a crab for Cancer (May), and two fairies for Virgo (Mercury).
The lions stand propped up on a stylized letter Q, and the whole arrangement is set on the backdrop of a giant phoenix, borrowed from the crest of Freddie's school, St. Peter's.

Recording at Trident

Recording at Trident

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Queen's first shows were wildly successful, and they soon secured a record deal.
They were set for recording at Trident Studios - a top-of-the line recording facility, where giants like the Beatles, Elton John and David Bowie had recorder as well. 
But things are never that simple…

Dark Time

Dark Time

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Queen, being a new and relatively unknown band, were only allowed to record in off-peak hours; usually between 3 and 7 a.m.
“They were given what was called ‘Dark Time,'” explained producer John Anthony in the band's biography, Is This the Real Life? The Untold Story of Queen. “That’s when an engineer can produce his favorite band or a tea boy can be used as a tape op.”

And that's exactly what Trident's house engineer, Robin Geoffrey Cable, was doing at the time, too. Cable had a pet project he was exploring, and after he heard Freddie sing, asked him to contribute some vocals.
Freddie's response would create a bit of a controversy…

Recording Solo

Recording Solo

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Robin Geoffrey Cable, Trident's in-house engineer, was trying to recreate legendary producer Phil Spector's 'Wall of Sound' effect on his own. After hearing Freddie sing in the late hours of the night, he approached him and asked him to sing the leading vocals on the tracks he was working on, "I Can Hear Music" and "Goin' Back."

Mercury agreed, but asked to be credited under a different name, so that there won't be any confusion between his work for Cable and Queen's upcoming album. 
The name Freddie chose, however, caused quite a stir.

Larry Lurex

Larry Lurex

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One of England's biggest glam rockers at the time was a man known as Gary Glitter. Known for his energetic showmanship and glittery outfits, he was an icon of the Glam culture of the '70s, and Freddie decided to take a jab at him by calling himself Larry Lurex - "Lurex" being a type of material heavily used in glam rock outfits. 
When the tracks were released, Glitter's fans were outraged, and the songs were boycotted by DJs and radio stations across the country.

First Album

First Album

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Soon after the Larry Lurex fiasco, Queen released their first, self-titled album, and it didn't take long for them to make waves in the music scene. 

The album was universally hailed as amazing, with many comparing it to Led Zeppelin's first album, with special praise for Brian May's guitar playing and Freddie's singing.

The album's sleeve credited the four band members, adding "And nobody played synthesizer," stressing the elaborate sound was a result of layered tracks and multiple recordings, rather than a synthesized effect.

The album's success opened the door for future record deals, and Mercury was well on his way to becoming a superstar.

The Broken Mic Stand

The Broken Mic Stand

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One of Freddie's signature props was his mic stand. He would carry his microphone on a mic stick, detached from a tripod, twirling it around like a baton.

While Freddie's special mic was much like a scepter, befitting a Queen, it originated in a mistake.

In one of the band's early shows, Freddie's mic-stand broke. Rather than replace it with a new stand, Freddie continued carrying it around, realizing he could use it in new ways around the stage - and has continued to use it ever since.

The Queen and The Thin White Duke

The Queen and The Thin White Duke

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During their recording sessions at Trident, Queen met up with many iconic artists - but Freddie had met David Bowie long before he reached stardom and recorded "Under Pressure" with him.

While Mercury was still in college, Bowie had come to Ealing to play a small lunchtime set.

Fascinated by the androgynous, ethereal performer, Freddie followed Bowie around and offered to carry his equipment. Bowie took him up on his offer, and soon had him arranging tables into an improvised stage.

Fitting David Bowie's Boots

Fitting David Bowie's Boots

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Later, while Mercury was working at the clothing stand in Kensington Market, David Bowie came by looking for a pair of boots for one of his outfits. The stall owner, Alan Mair, recalls the incident.

“‘Space Oddity’ had been a hit, but he said he had no money. Typical music biz! I said, ‘Look, have them for free.’ Freddie fitted Bowie for the pair of boots. So there was Freddie Mercury, a shop assistant, giving pop star David Bowie a pair of boots he couldn’t afford to buy.”

Holding the Audience in the Palm of His Hand

Holding the Audience in the Palm of His Hand

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After Freddie Mercury's death, David Bowie reminisced.

"Of all the more theatrical rock performers, Freddie took it further than the rest… he took it over the edge. And of course, I always admired a man who wears tights. I only saw him in concert once and as they say, he was definitely a man who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand."

Coming out

Coming out

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In the late '70s, Freddie Mercury was starting to come to terms with his sexual tendencies. He had left Mary Austin for a relationship with a man, and was frequenting gay clubs regularly - but he had not yet come out of the closet. 

Still, his performances, along with the band's name, left little doubt in the minds of conservative mid-20th century crowds - but that didn't mean he wasn't owning it…

Say It Again, Darling

Say It Again, Darling

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During one of Queen's performances, one of the concert goers shouted a homophobic slur at him from the crowd. 

Freddie stopped the show and had the spotlight single out the heckler.

The hall stood silent, but Freddie simply smiled and said

"Say it again, darling."

But this was not the only time Freddie faced off with a violent adversary.

Sid Vicious

Sid Vicious

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During their recording sessions, Queen once shared a studio with notorious punk rockers The Sex Pistols.

Known for their celebration of hooliganism, anarchy and profanity, Freddie's more refined approach to Rock 'n' Roll rubbed Pistols' front man, Sid Vicious, the wrong way.

Queen's roadie, Peter Hince, recalls one incident with Sid Vicious, interrupting one of Queen's recording sessions:

"Vicious stumbled in, the worse for wear, and addressed Fred: 'Have you succeeded in bringing ballet to the masses yet?'" - alluding to a statement Freddie had previously made in an interview. "Fred casually got up, walked over to him and quipped: 'Aren't you Stanley Ferocious or something?', took him by the collar and threw him out."

Not Afraid of Confrontation

Not Afraid of Confrontation

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Later, Freddie actually delivered on his promise and performed with the Royal Ballet in one of his shows.

Freddie himself recalled things slightly differently:

"I called him Simon Ferocious or something, and he didn't like it at all. I said, 'What are you going to do about it?' He was very well marked. I said, 'Make sure you scratch yourself in the mirror properly today, and tomorrow you're going to get something else.' He hated the fact that I could even speak like that. I think we survived that test."

Kenny Everett's Rhapsody

Kenny Everett's Rhapsody

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It's impossible to talk about Freddie Mercury without talking about his rock opera masterpiece, "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Mercury had been working on the song since the mid-'60s, and when it was finally recorded and completed in 1975, Mercury visited his good friend and popular radio DJ, Kenny Everett to let him have an early listen.

Coming in at over 6 minutes of playing time, Everett doubted the song would do well - if it got any airtime at all, but still, to humor Mercury, he put it on the turntable and listened. 

When the song was over, Everett exclaimed enthusiastically: "forget it, it's going to be number one for centuries!"

Pirate Playback

Pirate Playback

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Despite his radio station not having officially accepted the song, the chaotic Everett would talk incessantly about a track in his possession which he couldn't yet play. When he finally did play it - without authorization - his station's call center was flooded with calls demanding to know when the song will be released. Everett became an evangelist for the song, and once even played it 36 times in one day - over 3 and a half hours.

Recording With MJ

Recording With MJ

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Freddie had admired Michael Jackson for years. He would rave about the Jackson 5 to fellow Rock 'n' Rollers, and called Michael a genius.

In the early '80s, after Queen had become an international success, Freddie began collaborating with other artists - Michael Jackson among them. 

Unfortunately, despite their mutual professional admiration, their personalities didn't click.

Freddie just couldn't work with Michael, who, after "Thriller," had started becoming reclusive and odd.

Recording With Michael Jackson's Llama

Recording With Michael Jackson's Llama

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On one occasion, Freddie came in to the recording studio only to discover Michael had brought his pet llama in with him.
Queen's manager, Jim Beach, recalled the incident.

“I suddenly got a call from Freddie saying, ‘Can you get on over here? Because you’ve got to come get me out of this studio.'
I said, ‘What’s the problem?’ And he said, ‘I’m recording with a llama. Michael’s bringing his pet llama into the studio every day and I’m really not used to recording with a llama. I’ve had enough and I’d like to get out.'”

Clubbing With Princess Di

Clubbing With Princess Di

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In the mid-'80s, Freddie was close to more than one Queen.

The band's meteoric success had provided him with the opportunity to befriend Princess Diana, and the two began spending time together. 

One evening, Freddy, Princess Diana and Kenny Everett were spending time together at Everett's home, “drinking champagne in front of reruns of The Golden Girls with the sound turned down” and improvising “a much naughtier storyline.”

When Lady D asked what their plans were for the evening, they told her they'd be going to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern - London's most infamous gay nightclub. Diana, who was, by that time, plagued by paparazzi, insisted she come along.

But the Vauxhall was known for its rough crowds, and Freddie and friends asked "What would be the headline if you were caught in a gay bar brawl?"

Dragging Diana Along

Dragging Diana Along

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Still, Diana insisted she come along with them, and Freddie interjected on her behalf.

"Go on," he said. "Let the girl have some fun."

Freddie and his cohort dressed Diana up in male drag: an army jacket, dark aviator glasses and a leather cap. 

Scrutinizing her in the half light, we decided that the most famous icon of the modern world might just – just – pass for a rather eccentrically dressed gay male model.”

We Did It!

We Did It!

Image by James Gray / Daily Mail /Shutterstock (1042990a)

The group sneaked the princess in undetected, and the crowd, which were distracted by the celebrity of Everett and Mercury, didn't notice who they were with.
“We inched through the leather throngs and thongs, until finally we reached the bar. We were nudging each other like naughty schoolchildren.

Diana and Freddie were giggling, but she did order a white wine and a beer. Once the transaction was completed, we looked at one another, united in our triumphant quest. We did it!” 20 minutes later they left, not wanting to push their luck, but as they made their way back to Kensington Palace, Diana, who had been gifted anonymity and a great time, exclaimed "We must do it again!"

Partying Like It's 1987

Partying Like It's 1987

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Freddie's partying wasn't limited just to London nightlife. 
In 1987, on his 41st birthday, he threw a birthday party at the Pikes Hotel in Ibiza, which was later described as "the most incredible example of excess the Mediterranean island had ever seen."
With over 700 guests, a cake in the shape of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona and a bill for 232 broken glasses, it was a party the hotel management remember to this day.

Live Aid

Live Aid

Image by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7531429b)

In 1985, following BBC News reporter Michael Buerk's reports on the Ethiopian famine, a giant, international music event called Live Aid was set up to help fund humanitarian relief. 
With close to 200,000 attendees in stages in England and the US, and an estimated 1.9 billion viewers of the live television broadcast, this was history's largest, most watched musical events.

With multiple A-list acts gracing the stages, Queen were, of course, also invited… and they stole the show.

The Note Heard Round the World

 
The Note Heard Round the World

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Opening with "Bohemian Rhapsody" and closing with "We Are the Champions," Mercury's performance was later voted as the greatest live performance in the history of rock music.
In the a cappella section of the performance, Freddie's long, sustained note came to be known as "The Note Heard Round the World."

A Match Made in Heaven

 
A Match Made in Heaven

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In 1985, Freddie met the person who would be his romantic partner until his dying day in a gay nightclub called "Heaven."
Jim Hutton, an Irish hairdresser, was Freddie's rock. 

Moving in together, the two led a quiet, domestic life - and raised a pack of cats together.
Cats were extremely important to Mercury, to an almost unbelievable degree…

Cat Person

 
Cat Person

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Some say the world can be divided into cat lovers and dog lovers.

If that's true, Mercury falls firmly into the first category.

Freddie always loved cats, and raised up to six at a time in his giant Kensington mansion. 

His relationship with his pets was paternal, and he would even ask to speak with his cats over the phone during his frequent trips abroad.
But his relationship with his pets extended far beyond that…

Freddie's Children
 
Freddie's Children

Image by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7548189i)

“Freddie treated the cats like his own children,” Hutton wrote in his book, Mercury and Me. “He would constantly fuss over them, and if any of them came to any harm when Freddie was away, heaven help us. During the day the cats had the run of the house and grounds, and at night one of us would round them up and bring them inside.”

Missing Goliath

 
Missing Goliath

Image by @tomwmw/Instagram

When one of Freddie's cats, Goliath, went missing, Freddie became frantic and almost offered a 1,000-pound reward to his finder. Thankfully, they found Goliath before that.

“Freddie was over the moon,” Hutton wrote. “For five minutes or more he poured his attention on the kitten, cuddling and stroking him. Then, like a mother, Freddie scolded the cat, shouting and screaming at tiny Goliath for leaving Garden Lodge. The dark ball of fur just sat there, listening calmly to Freddie’s outburst and purring loudly.”

But perhaps the greatest display of affection to his pets came in the form of song.

Delilah

 
Delilah

Image by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7528676k)

Freddie wrote and recorded a love song to his favorite cat, Delilah.

Delilah was "the little princess" of Mercury and Hutton's home. 

“Of all the cats at Garden Lodge, Delilah was Freddie’s favorite and the one he’d pick up and stroke the most often. When Freddie went to bed, it was Delilah he brought in with us. She’d sleep at the foot of the bed, before slipping out for a night-time prowl.”

While the rest of Queen's members didn't love the song, they ultimately let Mercury have his way, complete with a cat meowing effect applied to Brian May's guitar.

 

Illness

 
Illness

Image by Gill Allen/Shutterstock (1958819e)

Sadly, Mercury's domestic bliss with Hutton and their cats wouldn't last long.

In 1987, shortly before Freddie's birthday, he tested as HIV-positive.

Keeping the news to himself, Freddie went on with business as usual, but a shadow was thrown over his burgeoning career.

The Show Must Go On

 
The Show Must Go On

Image by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7544911h)

Freddie's illness did not hinder his productivity.

If anything, it spurred him on to record more.

Over the next few years, Freddie and the band recorded multiple tracks, releasing three albums and numerous singles. 

Despite his visibly declining health, Freddie did not admit he suffered from aids, and his bandmates, being loyal friends, did not press the matter.

Still, it was clear to everyone that they didn't have much time.

These Are the Days of Our Lives

 
These Are the Days of Our Lives

Image via Queen Official/YouTube

In his last year, Freddie and Queen had released the album Innuendo, which featured the melancholy ballad "These Are the Days of Our Lives."
While not discussing Freddie's illness directly, it does look at the past with nostalgia and sadness. 

The song's music video confirmed rumors and the fears of fans: Freddie was sick, and he looked it.

"He spent hours and hours in makeup sorting himself out so it’d be OK,” Brian May recounted. “He actually says a kind of goodbye in the video.” 
Wearing a custom-made vest depicting his beloved cats, the black-and-white video's final shot is of Mercury smiling at the camera and saying “I still love you” - his last words recorded on video.

I'll Finish it When I Come Back

 
I'll Finish it When I Come Back

Image by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7527401ai)

Freddie asked his bandmates to keep writing songs for him, and said that he will sing them until he was completely unable to.
Guitarist and friend Brian May wrote "Mother Love" for him, a downtempo ballad that Mercury took on enthusiastically. 
recording sessions were slow, and depended on Mercury's fading health.

He had completed all but the last verse of the song when he said: "I’m not feeling that great, I think I should call it a day now. I’ll finish it when I come back, next time."
Sadly, he never came back, and in the final version of the song, May sings the last verse himself.

Going Home

 
Going Home

Image by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (9789347af)

After that final recording session, in the band's idyllic recording studio on Lake Geneva, Freddie returned home to London, where he was met by his partner, Jim Hutton, and Mary Austin.
“He’d given himself a limit," Austin later said, "and I think that when he couldn’t record anymore or have the energy to, it would be the end. Because his life and his joy had been that. And I think without it, he wouldn’t have been strong enough to face what he had to face.”

Facing his death head on, Mercury began to make arrangements for after he had passed.
"I’m leaving it all to Mary and the cats,” he told journalist David Wigg regarding his will.

Zoroastrian Funeral

 
Zoroastrian Funeral

Image via Wikipedia

In late 1991, Freddie Mercury passed away. Following a traditional Zoroastrian funeral, Freddie's body was cremated at Kensal Green cemetery in London, and the majority of his property was inherited by Mary Austin, including his multi-million-pound fortune and his massive Kensington mansion.
But these were not the only things he left her.

Lover of Life, Singer of Songs

 
Lover of Life, Singer of Songs

Image by Ben Cawthra/Shutterstock (9485770w)

Freddie's close friend and bandmate, Brian May, penned a simple epitaph for Freddie:
“Lover of life, singer of songs.” 
In a BBC documentary, May explained this by saying: “To me that summed it up, because he lived life to the fullest. He was a generous man, a kind man, an impatient man, sometimes. But utterly dedicated to what he felt was important, which was making music.”

Ashes

 
Ashes

Image by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7530678aj)

Freddie had entrusted Mary with one final task. 
He asked her to spread his ashes in a secret location, so that his burial site would not be disturbed, and that he could rest in peace.
The ashes rested in Mary's home for two years before she found the opportunity to carry out his will.

Carrying Out Freddie's Will

 
Carrying Out Freddie's Will

Image by Álvaro Serrano/Unsplash

“I didn’t want anyone to suspect that I was doing anything other than what I would normally do. I said I was going for a facial. I had to be convincing. It was very hard to find the moment,” Austin told The Daily Mail in a revealing interview. “I just sneaked out of the house with the urn. It had to be like a normal day so the staff wouldn’t suspect anything – because staff gossip. They just cannot resist it. But nobody will ever know where he is buried because that was his wish.”

Possible Gravesite?

 
Possible Gravesite?

Image via Imgur

In 2013, it seemed like the mystery of Freddie Mercury's final resting place was solved.
A small plinth with the following dedication was found at Kensal Green Cemetery:
"“In Loving Memory of Farrokh Bulsara, 5 Sept. 1946 – 24 Nov. 1991
Pour Etre Toujours Pres De Toi Avec Tout Mon Amour
– M.”
The French translates to “Always Close to You with All My Love," with many suspecting the "M" stands for "Mary."
But Austin denies this.
“Freddie is definitely not in that cemetery,” she said, and the plaque has since been removed.

Legacy

 
Legacy

Image via Imgur

Freddie's impact on the music world is huge and undeniable. 
After his death, Queen's albums continued to sell amazingly well, and estimates of Queen's total worldwide record sales have been estimated to surpass 300 million.
Freddie's death inspired Princess Diana to support the National AIDS Trust, and she made history by destigmatizing the disease in the mid-'90s.
In addition, multiple plays, musicals and films have been inspired by his life and music, including the upcoming Bohemian Rhapsody which will focus on his life between 1975 and 1987.

Understanding His Voice

 
Understanding His Voice

Image by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7544911b)

In 2016, a research team led by professor Christian Herbst analyzed all of Mercury's commercially available recordings, both with Queen and as a solo artist, as well as a series of interviews with him, in an attempt to understand the special appeal of his singing voice.
The team confirmed he could sing in a range of over 3 octaves - though they couldn't confirm he was capable of a 4-octave range - and found he made unique use of subharmonics and an exceptionally fast vibrato.

Still, it is difficult to pin down the magic that made Freddie the exceptionally moving vocalist that he was.

Finding the Right Actor

 
Finding the Right Actor

Image by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7527401e)

Starting in 2010, Freddie's bandmates announced a biographical film based on the events of Freddie's life was in the works. 
While finding the right director and screenwriter was crucial, the thing that would make or break the film was its leading actor. Several options were raised, before finally finding the perfect fit.

Sacha Baron Cohen

 
Sacha Baron Cohen

Image by Matt Baron/Shutterstock (7439369bv)

At first, actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen was attached to the project. 
His singing ability, as well as his physical resemblance to Mercury, made him a great choice - but he eventually dropped out of the production due to artistic differences.

Ben Whishaw

 
Ben Whishaw

Image by Dan Wooller/Shutterstock (9009405au)

After Cohen left the production, Ben Whishaw of James Bond fame was considered to play the part, but he too had to drop out, this time due to scheduling conflicts.

The Perfect Fit

The Perfect Fit

Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Finally, American actor Rami Malek, of Mr. Robot fame, was selected. 
With the film slated for release in October 24, 2018, initial photos of Malek as Freddie seem promising, and we can't wait to see how he performs.

 

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