FREDDIE MERCURY BIOGRAPHY
BIRTH: September 5, 1946,
Stone Town, Zanzibar
DEATH: November 24, 1991,
Kensington, London, England
Freddie Mercury, was a rock singer and songwriter of the British rock band, Queen. Queen is known for their mock operatic masterpiece, “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Mercury is popularly known for his vocal abilities of four octave-range.
Freddie Mercury was born as Farrokh Bulsara on 5th September, 1946. He was born in the East African island of Zanzibar, Tanzania. He was born in a Parsi family to Bomi and Jer Bulsara. He had a younger sibling, Kashmira.
Mercury attended St. Peter’s Boarding School in Panchgani, Maharashtra, India. At the age of seven, Mercury began to learn the piano, He created a band in 1958 called The Hectics. They would play songs by Little Richard and Cliff Richard. In 1964, the Bulsara family shifted to Feltham, England. Mercury attended Ealing Technical College and School of Art (now part of University of West London) to study art and graphic design. He graduated in 1969. After graduation, he survived by selling old clothes at London’s Kensington Market and working at Heathrow Airport. He joined several bands during
this time, including Ibex and Sour Milk Sea.
In 1970, Mercury became friends with drum- mer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May. They
had a band named Smile. When the lead singer of the group left, Mercury filled in for him. The group’s name was changed to “Queen”, and he officially named himself Freddie Mercury. In 1971, bassist John Deacon joined the band. They released their first album, ‘Queen’, in 1973 and ‘Queen II’ in 1974. But both of these albums were unsuccessful despite the quality of music. It was their third release, ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ (1974) that popularized them. Its single “Killer Queen” was number two in the UK charts and number twelve in the U.S. Their 1975 album, ‘A Night at the Opera’ gave them one of their biggest hits, “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It was a seven-minute rock operetta and topped the British Single Charts for nine weeks. Their single “We are the Champions” was part of the 1977 album ‘News of the World. It was in the Top 10 Hits in the U.S.
Queen is also famous for its live performances. On 13th July, 1985, they did a ‘Live Aid’ concert at London’s Wembley Stadium. It was organized by singer and activist Bob Geldof and songwriter Midge Ure to raise funds for victims of famine in Ethiopia. Their song “One Vision” is speculated to be inspired from this event. Mercury released his first solo album, ‘Mr. Bad Guy’, in 1985. It had eleven songs written
by Mercury. He also collaborated with Spanish soprano singer, Montserrat Caballe for his album, ‘Barcelona’. It contained songs in Spanish, Japanese and English.
In 1992, he was awarded the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Mercury, along with his band-mates, was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003. He was also inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. The Guinness Book of World Records has recognized “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We are the Champions” as the greatest songs of all time. These songs also belong to the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Mercury was in a six-year-long relationship with Mary Austin, until 1976. They lived together in West Kingston, London. In the 1980s, Mercury was supposedly in a relationship with the Austrian actor, Barbara Valentin.
On 24th November, 1991, Mercury passed away due to bronchopneumonia caused by HIV (AIDS). He had publicly announced that he had this disease just one day before. Jim Hutton later revealed that Mercury had been diagnosed in 1987. His funeral was held three days later in Parsi tradition. His body was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, West London.
In 1995, Queen’s album ‘Made in Heaven’ was released. It contained songs recorded by Mercury before his death. BBC named him in the ‘100 Greatest Britons’. He was also recognized by Rolling Stone magazine in the list of “Top 100 Singers of All Time’. The remaining members of Queen and Jim Beach, their manager, founded The Mercury Phoenix Trust in 1992. It organized concerts to raise funds for HIV/AIDS. Charles Messina wrote a monodrama Mercury: The Afterlife and Times of a Rock God in his honor. It was first performed in 1997. In 1996, a bronze statue of Freddie Mercury was placed by the waterfront in Montreux, Switzerland.