Best Known For
Freddie Mercury is best known as one of the rock world's most versatile and engaging performers and for his mock operatic masterpiece, Bohemian Rhapsody.
Freddie Mercury - Live Aid (1:43)
Freddie Mercury - Barcelona (2:56)
One of Queens most notable performances was in 1985 at the Live Aid charity concert. Simply dressed in a tank top and jeans, Mercury led the crowd through some of the band’s greatest hits.
On November 23, 1991, Mercury released a statement confirming that he had AIDS. The next day, he died from AIDS-related bronchial pneumonia at his London mansion. Mercury was only 45 years old.
Freddie Mercury wrote the song "Bohemian Rhapsody," a seven-minute rock operetta, for the album "A Night at the Opera." The song hit the top of the charts in Britain and became a Top 10 hit in the United States.
In 1987 Freddie Mercury and operatic soprano Montserrat Caballé collaborated on the album "Barcelona" which became one o the biggest hits of Mercury's solo career and also his last.
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Singer-songwriter Freddie Mercury was born Farookh Bulsara on September 5, 1946, in Zanzibar, Tanzania. He studied piano in boarding school in India and befriended numerous musicians at London's Ealing College of Art. The music of Mercury's band, Queen, reached the top of U.S. and British charts. Mercury died of AIDS-related bronchial pneumonia on November 24, 1991, at age 45.
Singer-songwriter and musician Freddie Mercury was born Farookh Bulsara on September 5, 1946, in Zanzibar, Tanzania. As the frontman of Queen, Freddie Mercury was one of the most talented and innovative singers of the rock era. He spent time in a boarding school in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, where he studied piano. It was not long before this charismatic young man joined his first band, the Hectics.
Moving to London with his family in the 1960s, Mercury attended the Ealing College of Art. He befriended a number of musicians around this time, including future bandmates, drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May. In 1969, Mercury joined up with a group called Ibex as their lead singer. He played with a few other bands before joining forces with Taylor and May. They met up with bassist John Deacon in 1971, and the quartet—who Mercury dubbed Queen—played their first gig together that June.
In 1973, the band released their first self-titled album, but it took two more recordings for Queen's music to really catch on. Their third record, Sheer Heart Attack (1974), featured their first hit, "Killer Queen," a song about a high-class call girl. The single hit No. 2 on the U.K. charts, and peaked at No. 12 in the U.S.
With a sound that has been described as a fusion of hard rock and glam rock, Queen had an even bigger hit the following year with their album, A Night at the Opera (1975). Mercury wrote the song "Bohemian Rhapsody," a seven-minute rock operetta, for the album. Overdubbing his voice, Mercury showed off his impressive four-octave vocal range on this innovative track. The song hit the top of the charts in Britain and became a Top 10 hit in the United States.
In addition to his talents as a singer and songwriter, Mercury 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, Mercury 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. It was featured on a single with "We Will Rock You"—both songs have taken on a life of their own as popular anthems played at sporting events. Always exploring new and different sounds, Queen also tried their hand at the big music trend of the time, with the disco-flavored "Another Bites the Dust" in 1980. Off that same album, The Game (1980), Mercury and the rest of the band showed their range as performers with the rockabilly-influenced hit "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," which Mercury penned.
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When musicians land big fame, there typically comes a moment of reinvention in which the "rock star" identity is born. This new persona often requires a new name, a way to differentiate between the private and public versions of themselves. Musical monikers take different forms, from the simple, last-name changes aimed at boosting celebrity appeal—like Steven Tyler—to the glamorized version of a childhood nickname—like Jay-Z. Musicians' nicknames and aliases tend to take on an identity all their own over time, often becoming as full of personality as the artists they represent.
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Queen, the famed British glam-rock band, reached the top of U.S. and U.K. charts with songs like "Killer Queen," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You" and "Another One Bites the Dust." Explore this group to learn more about the popular foursome, including Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor.
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