The King of Queen: Freddie Mercury’s Incredible Life
Claire Miles - September 11, 2019

Lester

By Shel Silverstein

Lester was given a magic wish
By the goblin who lives in the banyan tree,
And with his wish he wished for two more wishes-
So now instead of just one wish, he cleverly had three.
And with each one of these
He simply wished for three more wishes,
Which gave him three old wishes, plus nine new.
And with each of these twelve
He slyly wished for three more wishes,
Which added up to forty-six -- or is it fifty-two?
Well anyway, he used each wish
To wish for wishes 'til he had
Five billion, seven million, eighteen thousand thirty-four.
And then he spread them on the ground
And clapped his hands and danced around
And skipped and sang, and then sat down
And wished for more.
And more...and more...they multiplied
While other people smiled and cried
And loved and reached and touched and felt.
Lester sat amid his wealth
Stacked mountain-high like stacks of gold,
Sat and counted -- and grew old.
And then one Thursday night they found him
Dead -- with his wishes piled around him.
And they counted the lot and found that not
A single one was missing.
All shiny and new -- here, take a few
And think of Lester as you do.
In a world of apples and kisses and shoes
He wasted his wishes on wishing.
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Freddie Mercury was a true champion, known for his outstanding voice and vocal range, his flamboyant stage presence and so much more. When Mercury died on November 24 1991 at the age of 45, he took most of his secrets with him to the grave. But, we have dug up the icon’s past. Take a deeper look at the real Freddie Mercury.

 

Farrokh Bulsara

 

 

Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar under the name of Farrokh Bulsara to Parsi parents from India. Mercury grew up in Zanzibar and then India, before moving with his family to Middlesex, England, in his late teens. When Queen was formed in 1970, he decided to legally change his name to Freddie Mercury.

 

 

Zodiac Queen

 

 

Thanks to his diploma in Art and Graphic Design, Mercury designed the queen crest. The crest, by the way, consists of each band members zodiac sign. Two Leo lions for John Deacon and Roger Taylor, a Cancer crab for Brian May and two fairies to represent Mercury’s virgo sign. The phoenix protects the entire crest.

 

Prince(ss) Diana

 

 

When Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana went on nights out together, Mercury would disguise Diana as a man so she would go unnoticed. A well known example is when Mercury helped dress Diana in drag so she could join him on a night out at a gay bar.

 

 

A Cat Person

 

 

Freddie Mercury loved cats! Rumor has it that he had as many as 10 cats simultaneously at one point. Mercury even dedicated his first solo album – Mr. Bad Guy – to his cats, stating: “To my cat Jerry – also Tom, Oscar and Tiffany, and all the cat lovers across the universe – screw everybody else”. As it turns out, Mercury treated his cats as family and while on tour, he would call the house and have them put the phone up to the cats’ ears so they could hear his voice.

 

Dynamic Duo

 

 

One of Mercury’s idols was the King of Pop himself – Michael Jackson. Mercury got a chance to collaborate with Jackson as the two recorded three demos that were sadly never completed. Jim Beach, the manager of Queen, revealed that Jackson brought his pet llama into the studio, which frustrated Mercury’s attempts to record and caused the demos to be scrapped.

 

 

You’re My Best Friend

 

 

Very surprisingly, Mercury was not the original singer of Queen. The position was formerly occupied by a dear friend of Mercury, Tim Staffell. Staffell, however, thought that Mercury was better suited for the band, and recommended him to Queen’s bandmates and the rest is history. 

 

Everyone Has Baggage

 

 

Before becoming a worldwide famous singer, Mercury used to work at Heathrow Airport as a baggage handler. It seems like his past job was foreshadowing Freddie’s future as he went on to become an international star.

 

 

(Don’t) Call My Agent!

 

 

Between the years of 1972 to 1975, Queen was managed by a man named Norman Sheffield. Sheffield allegedly did no justice to his position, as the band ended up broke despite releasing two successful albums – Killer Queen and Sheer Heart Attack. Mercury eventually wrote a “hate letter” to the former manager which turned into a song titled Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to…)”.

 

Stage Courage

 

 

Despite Mercury’s flamboyant on-stage presence, most people who knew him intimately described him as a very shy, humble person. He often avoided interviews and tried to keep his personal life private.  

 

 

Mommy Dearest

 

 

The last song Freddie Mercury recorded was Mother Love. The song was a part of the album Made In Heaven, released in 1995. Besides featuring Freddie’s last vocal performance, the track also included a few seconds of each Queen song ever recorded.

 

Third Time’s a Charm

 

 

Before joining Queen, Mercury tried his luck with two bands named Wreckage and Sour Milk Sea. However, both groups failed to find success. It really makes us wonder how bad the bands were in order to not gain success with Freddie Mercury as the frontman.

 

 

No Bottomed Mics

 

 

One of Mercury’s trademarks was performing with a “bottomless mic” during his live shows. As it turns out the origin of this was an accident. In the early days of Queen, Mercury’s mic stand broke in two while Freddie Mercury was in the middle of a song. Mercury simply continued the song, refusing to stop in the middle. It was such a memorable moment that continued even after Freddie Mercury’s time.

 

Multi-talent

 

 

It is well known that Freddie Mercury was a very talented singer-songwriter, but he was also extremely instrumentally skilled. He’d been playing the piano since he was nine years old , and went on to play the keys in a lot of Queen songs such as: Somebody To Love, Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions and Don’t Stop Me Now.

 

 

The More The Merrier

 

 

Freddie Mercury’s teeth were protruded because he had four extra teeth at the back of his mouth. The four extra teeth pushed the rest forward, causing Mercury’s front teeth to protrude. Despite being insecure about it, Mercury never wanted to have dental surgery, as he believed they were the reason behind his epic vocal range.  

 

Long Way

 

 

While he was at boarding school in India, Mercury joined his first band, a school band, named The Hectics. The band primarily played covers to rock ‘n roll songs. Bruce Murray, a former bandmate of “The Hectics”, remembers Mercury as a child prodigy in music, saying: “He had the unique ability to listen to a song on the radio, just once, and be able to play it perfectly”.           

 

 

Unfortunate Timing

 

via Imgur

 

Despite all the rumors about his health, Mercury didn’t confirm he was HIV positive right till the day before he died. Indeed, in November 1991, Freddie and his manager issued a statement confirming the rumors, encouraging his fans to join him in “the fight against this terrible disease”. Unfortunately, he lost his fight the very next day, at the age of 45.  

 

Crazy Little Thing Called Inspiration

 

 

One of Queen’s biggest hits is Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Many don’t know that Freddie Mercury wrote the hit while in the bathtub. While in the bath at a Munich hotel, Mercury was inspired. As it turns out, Mercury even had a piano brought to his tub so he could start composing.

 

 

Living on His Own Terms

 

 

Due to his condition getting worse, Mercury decided to accelerate his death by refusing to take medicine. As a result he continued taking only painkillers. This wasn’t a sign of giving up, but an attempt to enjoy the little time he had left.

 

A Man That Was An Empire

 

 

In 1980 the second film of the star wars franchise, The Empire Strikes Back, was released. Mercury showed his support and enthusiasm by singing We Will Rock You, while sitting on the shoulders of a roadie dressed up as Darth Vader. The force was with him, as always.

 

 

Bohemian Mumbling

 

 

When asked about the meaning behind one of Queen’s most famous songs, Bohemian Rhapsody, Freddie replied: “It bears no real meaning, it’s all rhyming nonsense.” Scaramouch, Scaramouch.

 

Stamp Collector

 

 

Indeed, Mercury was a philatelist (stamp collector). He collected stamps from countries all over the world! Mercury’s collection included many stamps from the British Empire and Eastern Europe.

 

 

Bed of Keys

 

 

Freddie Mercury had random inspirations for songs at the strangest moments, and was worried about missing an opportunity to get an idea on paper. To avoid forgetting his ideas, Mercury had a piano installed on his bed as a headboard! Comfortably, Freddie Mercury was double-jointed, hence he could easily play away while laying in bed.  

 

The Show Must Go On

 

 

Queen’s bandmate, Brian May, was concerned that Mercury couldn’t record the band’s hit The Show Must Go On due to his health at the time. Freddie Mercury eventually recorded the song in just one epic take.

 

 

Keeping His Religion

 

 

Mercury and his family were Parsi and practiced the ancient Zoroastrian religion. When Mercury passed away in 1991, a Zoroastrian priest delivered the funeral service.