Freddie Mercury is most known for his role as the lead singer and songwriter for the band Queen, as well as his multi-instrumental musical talent. His flamboyant, highly theatrical stage persona and unique voice are instantly recognizable, and his musical works are famous for their originality, complexity and genre diversity.
Freddie Mercury composed many of Queen’s number one hits including “Bohemian Rhapsody“, “Killer Queen“, “Somebody to Love“, “We Are the Champions“, “Bicycle Race“, “Don’t Stop Me Now“, and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love“. He composed most of his songs on piano, and performed them using a grand piano or keyboard. Many of his original works with the band were awarded Grammy, MTV, and Echo awards as well as other prestigious accolades.
Despite Mercury’s success and many achievements, it is said that he was not impressed with his own musical talent, and didn’t consider himself a great pianist.
One of the most well known songs by Queen is Bohemian Rhapsody, which topped the charts and was voted the number one song of all time by Sony Ericcson and Guinness World Records.
The six-minute song was reportedly written by Freddie Mercury while he was in bed. Mercury kept a piano as his headboard so he could compose at any point if he suddenly came up with an idea, and wrote much of the song in the middle of the night upon a stroke of musical genius.
Bohemian Rhapsody was a smash hit and the third-highest selling single of all time in the UK, but still, Mercury dreaded performing the song, as he was terrified he would make a mistake on the piano during the performance.
Mercury frequently used guest keyboardists
Due to his lack of confidence, Mercury frequently used guest keyboardists for live shows and decreased the amount of piano in his compositions over time.
Although Mercury was aware of his musical limits, he did his best to push past them and produce many of the songs that made Queen famous. He had a talent for making creative, original music people wanted to hear, and his band mates described him as the most musical of all the members.
Freddie Mercury was diagnosed with HIV/AIDs in 1986, and sadly passed away in 1991 at the age of 45; a musical icon gone too soon. Mercury left one last, poetic message to his fans: “The Show Must Go On”, which was the name of Queen’s final track on the band’s final studio album, Innuendo. The members of Queen doubted if Mercury would physically be able to record the song, but to their surprise, Mercury downed a bottle of vodka and said “I’ll fucking do it, darling!” and successfully recorded the vocals.
Freddie Mercury is regarded as one of the greatest songwriters and musicians of all time, and though he is gone, his legacy will live on as his music and inspiring story continue to touch and impact millions of people today.