"EEE-OOO!": Honoring Freddie Mercury on his 75th birthday
Updated: Sep 11
No matter where you hear the name, chances are low that words like “talented,” “charismatic” or “legendary” wouldn't overcrowd the conversation.
In honor of Freddie Mercury’s 75th anniversary, here is a review of the his early years, accomplishments, and more.
Who was Freddie Mercury?
Freddie Mercury was a British songwriter, record producer and lead singer of the 4-member rock band Queen. In addition, he led a solo music career and occasionally served as a producer and guest musician for other artists.
Though famous for being confident on stage, Mercury once said of himself: 'When I'm performing
I'm an extrovert, yet inside I'm a completely different man.' Also, one of the BBC broadcasters claimed that he was ”lovely, bright, sensitive, and quite vulnerable,” and a close friend of the singer, Anthony Pike, described Mercury as "the most beautiful person I've ever met in my life. So entertaining and generous."
What was Mercury's early life like?
Freddie Mercury, originally Farrokh Bulsara, was born on September 5, 1946, in Stone Town,
Zanzibar (now Tanzania, East Africa). His Zoroastrian Parsi (Persian) parents had emigrated from India to Zanzibar, where his father worked as a clerk for the British government. At the age of 8, Bulsara began attending a boarding school for boys in Maharashtra state, southwestern India. His artistic skills were already showing when he formed a musical band where he was the pianist.
To escape the violence of the revolution against the local government, Bulsara's family moved to Feltham, England in 1964. There, he studied graphic art and design at Ealing Technical College and School of Art, graduating in 1969.
How did Freddie become involved with Queen and what were they famous for?
Mercury met the future band's guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor after the performance of their band (with a different lead singer), of which Mercury was a fan. In 1970, when the singer quit, Mercury replaced him and soon changed the band's name to Queen and his own to Freddie Mercury. A year later, bassist John Deacon joined the group.
Some of Queen's famous hits include "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You," "Break Free" and "Don't Stop Me Now."
Although Queen’s recognition and fame began to decline by the mid-1980s, the band peaked once again thanks to its spectacular live performance at the charity concert Live Aid in 1985. Other prominent artists, like David Bowie, Madonna and Elton John, also performed at the event.
What happened to Queen once Freddie passed away?
Mercury passed away of bronchopneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) as a complication of AIDS on November 24, 1991, in London, England. A few months later, the remaining members of Queen founded The Mercury Phoenix Trust and organized The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness (20 April 1992), to honor the life and legacy of Mercury and raise money for AIDS research.
Deacon, the bassist of Queen, was so upset by Mercury's death that he quit the group and stayed out of the public eye since then. As of Brian May and Roger Taylor, they have kept on performing on tours as Queen, with Adam Lambert, an American singer, songwriter and actor since 2017.