Last week we marked the 65th birthday of Freddie Mercury, one of Rock’s greatest voices. He was born Farrokh Bulsara in Stone Town, Zanzibar, in 1946. He was born of Parsi parents from India and spent most of his childhood living with his grandmother in India, where he learned to play the piano. He developed the ability to listen to a song on the radio and then be able to play it on the piano perfectly. The Bulsara Family were devote Zoroastrians, a pre-Christian monotheistic religion from Persia.
In his teen years, he returned to his parents to live with them in Zanzibar. He had already begun calling himself “Freddie Bulsara.” In 1964 a revolution broke out in Zanzibar with African rebels attempting to overthrow the Arab Sultan. With Zanzibar now a dangerous place, the Bulsara family, along with Freddie, fled to England and settled in Middlesex. There Freddie went to college and earned a degree in Graphic Design.
Freddie performed with a number of bands after graduation before finally joining up with Brian May and Roger Taylor in 1970. It was Freddie who chose the name “Queen” for the new band. Considering the connection the word had with homosexuality, it was a rather bold move, and the rest of the band was not completely comfortable with it. With the forming of Queen, Freddie Bulsara officially changed his name to “Ferddie Mercury.”
Queen went on to tremendous success and remains one of Rock’s most innovated acts. They took diverse styles of music, such as Opera, Jazz and Do-wop, and fused them into a style of Rock and Roll that was uniquely their own. Most of us can hear a Queen and recognize it instantly just by its sound. A big part of that sound was the voice of Freddie Mercury. Queen went on to produce 18 number one albums, along with 18 number one singles. By some estimates, they have sold over 300 million albums. They are one of the most successful recording artists in the history of music.
Soon after Queen was formed, Mercury began a relationship with Mary Austin and the two lived together for some time. By the mid-1970s, Freddie began seeing Jim Hutton. This brought an end to his relationship with Austin, but she remained Mercury’s closest friend and confidant throughout his life. He was private man and very discreet about his relationship and homosexuality publicly. In the late 1980s he was diagnosed with HIV. As the years went by, rumors of his HIV status started to spread and Mercury denied them.
On November 22, 1991, Mercury released a statement to the public finally admitting that he was HIV positive and had AIDS. This was no surprise he had become quite gaunt and frail in his few recent public appearances. Freddie died a little over 24 hours later with his partner Jim Hutton by his side. His best friend, Mary Austin visited him daily up until the end and inherited the bulk of his estate. Two days later, a Zoroastrian funeral was held and Mercury was cremated. Mary Austin is the only one who knows the exact whereabouts of his ashes.
My entire set tonight will be dedicated to the music of Freddie Mercury.
Welcome to my blog. I’m a DJ in Second Life and I find myself discussing the music I’m playing with many of those in attendance at my shows. Unfortunately, when I am busy DJing, I can’t participate and discuss the music as fully as I would like. I’m hoping this blog can help change that. Look here before my set to see if I might be playing something interesting today or maybe after to see if discussion on a topic might continue. You are invited to join in the conversation and leave comments.