He was one of the most sensational musicians ever known. Here are a few things you might not know about the artist.
The power of good music and musicians is that they stay alive forever. Freddie Mercury, a significant figure in the history of rock music is such an artist. This Tanzania-born British singer, songwriter, and vocalist entertained millions of people around the globe with his four-octave vocal range and flamboyant stage presence. The performer, who blew the minds of people with his infectious energy and dynamic personality took the band Queen to great heights. Though the artist passed away in 1991, the world still remembers and respects his legacy. Here are a few unknown facts about the legendary artist.
Freddie and Lady Diana were great friends. According to a memoir by actress Cleo Rocos, the actress along with the singer and the Princess were drinking champagne at the residence of comedian Kenny Everett one evening. When Diana came to know they were heading to a gay bar, the Princess is said to have asked if she could join. They helped her disguise as a male model. “When we walked in… we felt she was obviously Princess Diana and would be discovered at any minute. But people just seemed to blank her. She sort of disappeared. But she loved it,” wrote Cleo.
“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!" added the actress.
Freddie Mercury met Mary Austin in 1969, a year before the formation of the band Queen. The couple, who moved in together, were in a relationship for about 6 years. Though they eventually broke up, Mary remained an important part of his life. “All my lovers asked me why they couldn’t replace Mary, 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,” said the singer years later. When Freddie passed away, he left his home and recording royalties to her.
Freddie Mercury idolized the King of Pop and had admired him since young. Soon after Jackson's Thriller topped every chart around the world, Freddie got a chance to collaborate with the artist. Though the two started recording demos, it was never completed. Queen's manager revealed that the King of Pop often came with his pet llama into the studio which frustrated Freddie.
Freddie loved his cats so much that he would call them while on tour. He would ask his assistants to keep the phone close to their ears so they could hear his voice. The singer was so fond of the animals that he kept up to 6 cats in his house.
While the song Bohemian Rhapsody sounded a unique masterpiece to everyone who heard it, the singer and songwriter said that it meant nothing special. According to him, the song had no meaning and was just “rhyming nonsense.” He went on to say, "It's one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then make up their own minds as to what it says to them."
Freddie was always conscious of his overbite and was known as Bucky because of his teeth. “[O]n screen he always covered his teeth with his top lip or raised his hand to cover them. He was self-conscious about them. At home, he didn’t have to care,” said his close friend and personal assistant, Peter Freestone. However, he never fixed it because he was afraid it could affect his unique voice.
The dynamic performer was a shy boy in school but was "a born show-off," according to his childhood friends. "Yes, Freddie was very shy. But he was also 'a born show-off,' and his entire personality would transform once he was performing. To give you one example: one evening, as teenagers, we were walking on a beach in Zanzibar. Music was playing and Freddie spontaneously started to do the twist, the popular dance move of the time," said Subash Shah, one of Mercury's friends, told journalist Anvar Alikhan in 2016.
Long before he became a music icon, the legendary musician worked as baggage handler at Heathrow Airport. on his 72nd birthday on September 5, 2018, British Airways' Heathrow baggage handlers choreographed a tribute to the late artist.
The artist was diagnosed with AIDS and battled his illness privately. Though his body was slowly giving up, he didn't stop doing what he loved. He fearlessly lived those last days as if everything was fine. “He just kept saying, ‘Write me more. Write me stuff. I want to just sing this and do it and when I am gone you can finish it off.’ He had no fear, really,” recalled bandmate Brain May.
After the artist died, Elton John received a Christmas gift from him. “I was overcome, 44-years-old at the time, crying like a child,” said Elton John recalling the incident. He added that Freddie lived for others even when he was nearing death. He “truly lived for others,” said Elton about his friend.