I truly believe that all great performers have a piece of Freddie Mercury buried somewhere between their vocal chords and their hearts. I only wish I could have seen him in concert…damn.
On the 25th anniversary of his passing, I stumbled upon this old interview he did before he released his solo record. Listen to the way he describes genuine writing:
His birth name was Farrokh Bulsara, but he even found a way to get his passport to read Frederick Mercury.
He wasn’t very confident in his piano skills – he dreaded performing Bohemian Rhapsody. Piano would show up less and less in Queen music so he was free to parade around the stage.
Did you notice: At the end of the ‘It’s A Hard Life’ video when he sits down on the steps, you only see once side of his body. “At the time of filming, he had only just had a plaster cast removed, a souvenir after drunken horseplay went awry one night in the New York bar in Munich.”
One time he noticed he had boarded a DC10 flight, a model he recalled had some problems. He got off the plane and waited 14 hours for his next economy flight, giving up his first class seat out of fear.
How he got revenge one time…
When Mercury was on tour in the United States, he found out the man he was seeing, Tony Bastin, had been seen out with someone else. For revenge, Mercury paid for Bastin to fly out to see him in the US under the pretense of visiting. Mercury met him immediately after his arrival, told him it was over and then put him on the next plane back to London that day. Mercury also kept Bastin’s cat, Oscar.
He was a cat-man.
Mercury loved his cats, so much so that while on tour he would periodically call home to talk to them. His one-time girlfriend and long-time close friend Mary Austin would hold the cats up to the phone so they could listen to him speak. He also had portraits painted of them.
Mercury’s assistants were required to have a pen and paper on them at all times in case inspiration hit unexpectedly. Lyrics for ‘Life Is Real’ were started suddenly while flying over the Atlantic from New York, with what is now the classic line “guilt stains on my pillow” originally taken down as “c*nt stains on my pillow”.
Bohemian Rhapsody is said to be his “coming out song,” as Tim Rice shares with Lesley for her biography on Freddie Mercuy:
“It was Tim who sat me down once and talked me through the words for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ ” Jones says. “He pointed out that it was very obvious to him early on it was Freddie’s ‘coming-out’ song.” But Jones describes Mercury as having been “incredibly mischievous,” pointing out that two greatest love affairs in the once-married Mercury’s complicated emotional life were with women. “But with his sex life, he could only really satisfy his needs with men,” she says.
On the song Under Pressure with David Bowie:
“In the end, David said, ‘This is stupid, why don’t we just write one?’ ” The result was their collaboration “Under Pressure” — initially entitled “People on Streets.” “It came about by pure chance,” Mercury explained later. The tune, which was recorded in Queen’s Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, after David had met up with the band in the Swiss town’s “pub,” turned out to be among Queen’s most challenging. The mixing desk collapsed, Bowie wanted to remake the track from scratch, and things came to a head. At one point, Bowie refused to allow its release but later backed down. The October 1981 release was Bowie’s first single with another artist. It reached No. 29 in the U.S. and became Queen’s second U.K. No. 1.
The Muppets did a pretty good re-make of Bohemian Rhapsody, eh?
Even angry birds found a way to honour him: