Freddie Mercury, born as Farrokh Bulsara, was known for being the influential lead singer in the band Queen, which produced many hit songs in the 70s and 80s until Freddie passed away in 1991 on November 24th due to AIDS, his legacy continues to impact many students, teachers, and fans.
Farrokh Bulsara was born in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Africa and moved to London when he was 18 so that he could attend an art college. He legally changed his name to Freddie Mercury in the 70s around the same time Queen started.’
Freddie had been a fan of a band named Smile in which he met the members Brian May and Roger Taylor through Tim Staffell, his peer at Ealing College. Tim wanted to leave the band which leads to Freddie to departure from his band, making Queen with the original Smile band members. In 1971 John Deacon became Queen’s bass player and from then on Queen started to make music.
Anita Razzano, a mother, and fan of Freddie’s work, stated in an email when asked about his impact on her life that, “He was so exotic and different, not the classic male-dominated rock scene persona. He was so magical and fashionable. He was born in Zanzibar and was a Brit who oozed creativity so he gave me a sense that there was a huge world out there that I couldn’t see in my neighborhood.”
Freddie’s flamboyant look made him special to the eyes of many. He became a rock star essentially because of his unique qualities such as his outfits, stage presence, personality and vocal range.
“It’s like he took 80s and 70s and pushed it further than what everyone was thinking,” said Elizabeth Gonzales, a senior who is familiar with Queen. “A lot of the classic rock bands are very masculine in a way but the performers themselves dress very masculine. It’s never flamboyant.”
The movie Bohemian Rhapsody was released on Nov. 2. The film made 72.5 million in revenue internationally and has a rating of 61% on Rotten Tomatoes. The overall consensus from critics is loads of praise but some fans of Queen are dissatisfied with the movies final product saying that it is inaccurate.
Erin Keane, a critic of big screen films, stated on Rotten Tomatoes, “Ideally, a film like this would attempt to add to, or to contextualize, a legacy. Instead, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ tries to sanctify it, pack it in bubble wrap to protect it from causing, or being caught in, any friction.”
Elaborating on her opinion about the movie, Gonzales said, “They were a lot more PG about Freddie Mercury than what Queen has went through. Like in the movie it’s a lot more PG than what happened behind the scenes.”
“My cousin is a really big fan of them and he liked the movie a lot,” she said. “He thought it was a great movie but he also knew it was more rated R than what they were talking about. There were a lot more drug issues and there was a lot more drama.”
Some of Queen’s most successful songs include Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, Don’t Stop Me Now, Another One Bites The Dust, Under Pressure, Somebody To Love, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Radio Ga Ga, Killer Queen, and more. Their most famous song is Bohemian Rhapsody and when first produced was thought to not do well due to its length, but the persistent lead singer pushed for it to be on the radio.
“As a writer, Freddie Mercury was just very clever with the way he writes, that influenced me to be a song lyricist as well,” said senior Giovanni Leal, who said he was positively influenced by Mercury.
According to Jim Hutton, Freddie Mercury’s partner, Freddie was diagnosed with AIDS in the late April of 1987. It’s not certain when he contracted the disease but he had publicly denied having AIDS until the day before his death in 1991. The following year the remaining band members held a Tribute Concert and made a charity in honor of their lead singer. The Mercury Phoenix Trust has raised over 17 million dollars for victims of AIDS/HIV.
“It was years later and I was working in San Francisco and a friend left a voice message on my machine that just said ‘You might wanna sit down’ and I just hung up- I just knew. I felt bleak and so sad like some amazing force of nature had been defeated,” Razzano said. “Years later I met the woman who had worked for the registrar that filed his death certificate. She got me a copy! I know that sounds macabre but just adds to the abstractness of what any life means.”
Freddie Mercury was undoubtedly an inspiration to many. His band’s music made a dent in the rock genres culture and history. Freddie himself was a man of many talents and is missed immensely.