Mercury performing in 1977
5 September 1946
Stone Town, Zanzibar
24 November 1991 (aged 45)|
Kensington, London, England
Frederick "Freddie" Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British singer, songwriter and record producer, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Queen. He was known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range. Mercury wrote numerous hits for Queen, including "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Killer Queen", "Somebody to Love", "Don't Stop Me Now", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", and "We Are the Champions". He led a solo career while performing with Queen, and occasionally served as a producer and guest musician for other artists.
He formed Queen in 1970 with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. Mercury died in 1991 at age 45 due to complications from AIDS, having confirmed the day before his death that he had contracted the disease. In 1992, Mercury was posthumously awarded the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, and a tribute concert was held at Wembley Stadium, London. As a member of Queen, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2002, he was placed number 58 in the BBC's 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. He is consistently voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music.
Life and career[change | change source]
Childhood[change | change source]
Mercury was born on September 5, 1946 in Stone Town in Zanzibar in Africa. His parents were Jer and Bomi Bulsara. They were both Persian. His father worked as a cashier in the British Colonial Office, a branch of the government. Mercury had a younger sister named Kashmira. His friends at school gave him the name "Freddie." His family then began calling him Freddie, too.
At age eight, Mercury was sent to a boarding school in India. The school, St. Peters English Boarding school in Panchgani, was about 50 miles outside the city of Bombay (now called Mumbai). He began to show talent as an artist and a sportsman. At age ten, he was named the school champion of Table Tennis. When he was twelve, he received a trophy called the Junior All-rounder.
Music career[change | change source]
While in school he joined a choir and began to learn to play the piano. He had a four octave vocal range. To be able to reach very high notes while singing is unusual for a man.
In 1964, Mercury moved to London with his family. He studied art at Ealing Art College. While in London, he became fond of Mary Austin, a woman he met through his guitarist, Brian May. They lived together for several years before and after the band became famous. They moved into a house in London nicknamed "The Court of King Freddie". Mary still lived in that house after she and Mercury broke up.
Mercury was in love with a local barber when he died. He had been with him in a relationship for six years when it was learned by the media that Mercury had AIDS. One day after the news was broadcast, Mercury died of a type of pneumonia caused by AIDS, on 24 November 1991.
References[change | change source]
- "Mother's fond memories of Queen star Freddie". BBC News. November 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- O'Donnell, Jim (1991). "THE END OF QUEEN: BRIAN MAY ON THE DEATH OF FREDDIE MERCURY". The Rock and Roll Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- Mark Brown, Art correspondent (19 June 2014). "Culture Art and design National Portrait Gallery From Mercury to mauve: National Portrait Gallery showcases Ealing links". The Guardian UK (US link. Retrieved 6 August 2014.