We’ve all heard a Queen song at some point in our lives. Whether it’s by trying to decode the cryptic lyrics of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, or stomping and clapping to the beat of “We Will Rock You”, their songs have left a legacy in the rock industry. The backbone behind it all? Freddie Mercury.
Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946, in Zanzibar (now Tanzania). He grew up in India, before moving to England as a teen. As a college student, he became a fan of local band Smile, whose lineup consisted of Brian May and Roger Taylor, who would become, respectively, the guitarist and drummer of Queen. After Smile disbanded, Mercury changed his name and formed Queen with Taylor and May, as well as with bassist John Deacon.
Mercury soon became a well-loved person in his own way. He had a wide, powerful vocal range, which is reflected in several Queen songs. He liked cats and owned several over his lifetime. While he had a wild personality in concert, he was quite shy offstage.
While his bisexuality was never publicly discussed by him or those close to him until his death, it still remained part of who he was, and he was proud of it. Unfortunately, to this day, his sexuality is still erased, which I find upsetting.
In the mid-to-late 80s, Mercury was diagnosed with HIV. He did his best to hide his illness from the world and made very few public appearances from then on. Still, he continued working on music and releasing albums; the only thing that stopped him was becoming too weak to get out of bed, just six months before his death. He officially confirmed his illness on November 22, 1991, a little over one day before he died.
His death impacted everyone, including John Deacon, who left Queen and retired from the music industry not too long afterwards. While Brian May and Roger Taylor have continued touring under the Queen name with people like Paul Rodgers and, currently, Adam Lambert, there will never be another Freddie Mercury.
While Mercury died nine years before I was born, he and his music have impacted my life significantly. With that said, here are 10 Queen songs, in no particular order, that I have especially enjoyed. Some may be familiar favorites, while others you may not have heard before.
8. Killer Queen
Happy birthday Freddie. Thanks for giving us your talent.