Spread Your Wings

By: sonofabeach96

Nov 24 2015

Category: Uncategorized

27 Comments

On this date, in 1991, Farrokh Bulsara, better known as Freddie Mercury, died at the age of 45 in London.  The cause of death was bronchopneumonia as a result of AIDS.  Mercury was, of course, the flamboyant, on-stage at least, big-voiced front man of Queen, but he also had a solo career resulting in 2 albums and released several other singles as a solo artist.  He was a talented songwriter, a producer, and played piano and guitar, although he was always very self-deprecating about his abilities to play the latter.  In fact, he often would have session musicians play piano while in-concert, belying his shy off-stage persona by choosing to be free to bounce around the stage and engage the crowds rather than be tied to an instrument.

His songwriting varied widely, from disco to gospel, rockabilly to heavy metal.  His compositions were sometimes extremely complex and comprised many key changes and numerous chords.  He’d said in interviews that in spite of the complicated nature of his songs that he “could barely read music”.  His live performances are where he really thrived though.  He displayed a major flair for the theatrical and dramatic and an innate ability to connect and engage with his audience, even in huge numbers as Queen generally played to large stadium and outdoor venues.  Brian May, guitarist for Queen, once said that Mercury “could make the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected.”  Their performance at Live Aid in 1985 was voted the greatest live performance in Rock and Roll history in a poll of music executives with those results shown on a TV documentary called “The Greatest Gigs”.

Of course, off the stage, Mercury’s sexual orientation was an oft debated subject.  Was he bi-sexual?  Was he gay?  Why didn’t he take more of an out-front stance on LGBT topics and social awareness?  Part of the interest was inadvertently caused by his own non-committal stance on his sexuality due to his insistence on privacy and little direct contact with the media.  The fact is, he had a long-term relationship with a woman in the ’70’s named Mary Austin, even living together.  But that relationship ended when he had an affair with a male American executive at Elektra Records in the mid-’70’s.  Even though they were no longer involved romantically, he always said Austin was the only person to truly understand him, they remained friends until his death, and he left a large portion of his wealth and his mansion to Austin, where she lives to this day with her family.  Mercury was also the godfather to her children and referred to her as his “common-law wife”.  At the time of his death, Mercury had been in a relationship with his live-in partner, Jim Hutton, for several years.  Hutton had announced he was HIV-positive 1990, but, even though Mercury had been diagnosed as HIV-positive in the Spring of 1987, he never publicly stated that fact, and often would dodge the question of his health even as he became more and more emaciated and obviously ill.  Finally, on November 23, 1991, Mercury addressed the constant scrutiny with the following press release:

“Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, 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 me, my doctors, and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.  My privacy has always been very special to me and I am famous for my lack of interviews.  Please understand this policy will continue.”

A little over 24 hours later, Freddie Mercury was gone.  Yet another unbelievable talent taken away from the world far too soon.  As for the curiosity about his sexual orientation, Mercury never did say one way or another, and I for one believe it was really nobody’s business.  But a rational mind could come to an appropriate conclusion on the matter, not that it really mattered.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few accolades he received, all of them posthumously, unfortunately.  In 1993, he was awarded a Brit Award for Outstanding Contributions to British Music.  He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Queen in 2001.  He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002.  He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.  He was inducted into the UK Muic Hall of Fame in 2004.  And Rolling Stone ranked him no. 18 on their list of 100 Greatest Singers of All-Time list.

So, in honor of one of the greatest performers in rock history, and yet another shooting star in the music biz whose stride was broken far too soon, my songs of the day are:

“Bohemian Rhapsody”

“Somebody To Love”

“It’s A Hard Life”

“Crazy Little Thing Called Love”

“Get Down, Make Love”

“Another One Bites The Dust”

 

 

 

 

27 comments on “Spread Your Wings”

  1. Great write up on one of the music legends in history. Truly enjoyed the article til the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant article. I think Bohemian Rhapsody tops every Best of… lists that are on television (British television at least). My favourite ever Queen performance was Radio GaGa at Wembley for Live Aid 1986. Goosebumps 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We are the champions is still a champion at some schools!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! Love me some Freddy anytime!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love these posts. I usually don’t know all these facts. Freddie was fascinating and I probably would never have gone out of my way to research him. Yet now I have a good lil synopsis of his life. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • He was so private, there’s really not a whole lot of info on him. I don’t blame him. I’d despise being in the public eye like that…although the money wouldn’t suck! But all the money couldn’t save him. Nowadays, with the new mess and therapies available, he probably could’ve survived before it became AIDS for him. Sad that so many were lost before research caught up.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved Queen….saw them in the 70’s in Oakland…..good show…..kat

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post. I remember where I was and what I was doing when it was announced on the radio that Freddie had just died. It was one of those “Kennedy” moments for me. He was a magnificent performer and the musical world became a lesser place in that moment.

    A few years later I went by his home and saw how the fans had “loved” it with spray painted messages. I guess it was a testament to him that Mary let it stay. Or, maybe she was just tired of repainting?

    Liked by 1 person

    • He was amazing, the stage presence and vocal range. Simply unreal. Yeah, the outer walls of his estate were completely covered with messages and were for a long time after his death. Not sure if its still that way now but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was still covered with messages, kinda like Morrisons grave site in Paris. He was beloved by millions, that’s for sure.

      Like

  8. Broke my heart. He has the most amazing voice, and is one of the greatest performers ever. There are a good few books about him, but I have read only Jim Hutton’s Mercury and Me. Doesn’t really give an insight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He was amazing. And he was extremely private. I haven’t read that book, and I’m surprised there are others. He was not real accessible. Frankly, I can’t blame him. I’d be the same way if fame were in my future.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this guy – I’ve done a few of his songs and they’re some of my faves. (Wish I could do them justice.)

    Liked by 1 person


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