Freddie Mercury died 25 years ago, today.
Freddie was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946, in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Moving to London with his family in the 1960s, Freddie attended the Ealing College of Art. In 1969, Mercury joined up with a group called Ibex as their lead singer. They met up with bassist John Deacon in 1971, and the quartet, who Freddie dubbed Queen, played their first gig together that June.
The reason we’re successful, darling?
My overall charisma, of course.
In addition to his talents as a singer and songwriter, Freddie was also a skilled showman. He knew how to entertain audiences and how to connect with them.
He liked to wear costumes, often featuring skintight spandex, and strutted around the stage, encouraging fans to join in the fun. Artistic in nature, Freddie was also actively involved in designing the art for many of the group’s albums.
Queen‘s popularity continued to soar through the late 70s and early 80s. “We Are the Champions,” off of
News of the World (1978), became a Top 10 hit in the United States and in Britain. Always exploring new and different sounds, Queen also tried their hand at the big music trend of the time, with the disco-flavored “Another One Bites the Dust” in 1980. One of their most notable performances was in 1985 at the Live Aid charity concert. Simply dressed in a tank top and jeans, Freddie Mercury led the crowd through some of the band’s greatest hits with great energy and style.
By 1989, Freddie largely retreated from public life.
He did not promote or tour for Queen’s next album, Innuendo (1991), and rumors about possible health problems began to circulate. On November 23, Freddie released a statement:
I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV-positive and have AIDS. I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.
The next day, he died from AIDS-related bronchial pneumonia at his London mansion. Freddie Mercury was only 45 years old.
Here we celebrate his life, just as he had lived it, with the photos of him on and off stage doing what he did best, being the fabulously, outrageous, Freddie.
Who wants to live forever?