The Queen Still Stays On nowadays … “Inside my heart is breaking; My makeup may be flaking; But my smile, still, stays on.”
Born as Farrokh Bulsara, Freddie Mercury is still one of the most influential and talented musicians of all time. His vocal range, flamboyant stage persona and talent as a songwriter marked him as one and only.
The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey called Mercury “the best virtuoso rock ‘n’ roll singer of all time. He could sing anything in any style. He could change his style from line to line and, God, that’s an art. And he was brilliant at it.”
Began his journey in Zanzibar and then in India, he moved with his family to England. At the age of 24, he formed a band, later to be called “Queen”, with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. Before Queen, May and Taylor was performing in a band named “Smile”. One year later, bassist John Deacon, joined the band. After that, the band began to record their own songs and played their first show at a Surrey collage outside London.
In 1972, Queen began discussions with Trident Studios and John Antony. After these discussions, Norman Sheffield offered the band his management under Neptune Productions. At the end, in 1973, Queen signed a deal with Trident and released their album “Queen” which was hailed by critics.
In 1974, the group’s second LP, Queen II was released and “Seven Seas of Rhye” that was written by Mercury became the first hit of the band. The same year “Sheer Heart Attack” reached number two in United Kingdom which eventually brought the first international success to the band.
One year later, the band started a world tour, including Canada and Japan. Through the end of the year, they split their ways with Trident Studios and agreed with Elton John’s manager, John Reid. In the late 1975, the band released iconic “A Night at the Opera” and the album became one of the greatest albums of all time, especially with the incredible vocal range of Mercury, all members’ song writing skills and uniqueness of harmony of vocals and instruments. The album included the masterpiece “Bohemian Rhapsody” which later to be called the greatest song of all time by various critics. Mercury quoted that:
“I hate doing the same thing again and again and again. I like to see what’s happening now in music, film and theatre and incorporate all of those things.”
The band’s “A Night at the Opera Tour” began in November 1975, and covered Europe, United States, Japan, and Australia.
1976, the band released “A Day at the Races” including the famous hit “Somebody to Love”. In the same year, Queen gave one of their famous concerts in Hyde Park, London. In the following years, the band released albums as “News of the World”, “Jazz” and “Live Killers” that contains numerous hits.
1980, in a Queen concert, Michael Jackson suggested Mercury to release “Another One Bites the Dust” as a single and for three weeks it stayed number one on the lists. September 1980, the band performed at Madison Square Garden. A year later, they collaborated with David Bowie, performing a magnificent song “Under Pressure” hailed as one of the greatest songs of all time.
The album “Hot Space” released in 1982 and this time, the band used a mixture of pop rock, dance and funk, different from the seventies. Followed by concerts, album became again a great success. Two years later, taking a year break, Queen began The Works Tour, after releasing the album.
1985 marked as one of the most important years in Queen’s history since on 13th of July, the band performed at Live Aid, held at Wembley, in front of the biggest-evet TV audience of 1.9 billion. Among several artists and bands, Queen stole the show. In 2005, Queen’s performance stated as the greatest rock performance of all time. Brian May said about the audience clapping to “Radio Ga Ga”:
“I’d never seen anything like that in my life and it wasn’t calculated either. We understood our audience and played to them but that was one of those weird accidents because of the (music) video. I remember thinking ‘oh great, they’ve picked it up’ and then I thought ‘this is not a Queen audience’. This is a general audience who’ve bought tickets before they even knew we were on the bill. And they all did it. How did they know? Nobody told them to do it.”
“A Kind of Magic” released in 1986 and the same summer, the band went on their final tour with Freddie Mercury in Wembley Stadium. The show sold out within two hours and over 120.000 fans packed the park. The tour continued with Sweden, Ireland and Hungary, as more than one million people saw Queen live, United Kingdom 400.000 alone.
In 1988, the band released “The Miracle” with the increasing cooperation of all band members and in 1991 Queen released their final product with Freddie Mercury, “Innuendo” including “The Show Must Go On”.
According to Mercury’s partner, Jim Hutton, Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS in late April 1987. As his appearance began to change in late 1987, people noticed that Mercury was seriously ill. May say of Mercury:
“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.”
In November 1991, Mercury confirmed he has AIDS and 24 hours after the statement, on the evening of 24 November 1991, Mercury died of bronchial pneumonia, as a complication of AIDS at the age of 45.
On 20 April 1992, “The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert” was held at Wembley Stadium including Def Leppard, Robert Plant, Guns N’ Roses, Elton John, David Bowie, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Seal, Extreme and Metallica performed Queen songs with other members. The concert is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as “The largest rock star benefit concert”, as it was televised to over 1.2 billion viewers worldwide, and raised over £20,000,000 for AIDS charities.
27 years after Freddie Mercury’s death, the band is still continuing to be one of the greatest bands of all time, accompanying with all members’ extreme talent in almost all aspects of music.