We take a look back at some of the most outrageous moments of Queen’s Freddie Mercury, of which there have been many.
Has there ever been a more electric live performer than Freddie Mercury? As the frontman of Queen, the singer was possessed of magnetic stage presence with the booming and majestic voice to match the energy.
The songs that he wrote – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Somebody To Love’, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ – remain rock standards and karaoke classics. Queen and Mercury’s power is timeless.
Mercury sadly passed away due to complications from AIDS in 1991, aged just 45. Yet he packed more into four decades than many do in double that.
The shy child who rose into one of the most confident and charismatic artists of all time courted controversy and infamy throughout his musical career.
As he said himself, “It would be so boring to be 70. I’ve lived a full life and if I’m dead tomorrow, I don’t give a damn.” A full life he did live so take a look at our list of just five of Mercury’s most outrageous and wonderful moments below.
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Calling Sid Vicious By The Wrong Name
The Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious had a reputation for being confrontational and abrasive but in a battle of wits, the switched-on Mercury was far too quick for the punk icon. They crossed paths while Queen were recording their sixth studio album, News of the World, at London’s Wessex Studios. When poor Sid tried to insult the Queen frontman by asking “Have you succeeded in bringing ballet to the masses yet?”, Mercury hilariously responded by calling him “Simon Ferocious.” Just a sublime comeback. Bravo.
Check out Freddie Mercury describing his encounter with Sid Vicious:
When He Snuck Princess Diana Into A Gay Club
Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana. The greatest rock frontman of all time and the ‘People’s Princess’. What a night out that would have been. Wanting desperately to go to a famous gay bar in London but obviously being one of the most recognisable faces in the world in the 80’s, Mercury made it his mission to gain her entry. He dressed the princess up in a military jacket, sunglasses, and a leather cap, making her into a real butch man. While Mercury and his friends were naturally mobbed by adoring fans, Diana was able to quietly sit and enjoy drinks. What a nice change of pace for her.
Check out this guide to Freddie Mercury and Lady Di’s friendship:
Piggybacking Darth Vader Onstage In Houston
During Queen’s 1979-1980 turing run, a certain film franchise was at its feverish peak. For gig encores, Mercury would return to the stage on the back of the Star Wars villain Darth Vader, legs crushed against his shiny helmet, loudly singing ‘We Will Rock You’. A photograph taken by Tom Callins of the strange pairing of Vader and Mercury, darkness and light, became synonymous with the act. We guess you have to be a pretty successful rock band to be able to get Darth Vader to come out in your encore.
His Interview Quote When Called An Artist
Mercury gave many famous interviews through the years but perhaps none are more well-remembered than this one. Taking place in Munich, Germany, in 1984, just before the release of Queen’s album The Works, Mercury was visibly bored with proceedings and started to play with his interviewer. When the poor fella deigned to ask, “How would you describe yourself as an artist?”, Mercury replied wonderfully, “I’m just a musical prostitute, dear.” We’re sure a few other performers have felt like that.
Check out Freddie Mercury’s Munich interview:
Queen At Live Aid
You knew this one was coming. Simply put, Queen – and Mercury in particular – gave one of the most iconic rock performances of all time when they took part in Live Aid in 1985. It was exhilarating and thrilling, overwhelming and masterful. Mercury commanded the huge Wembley audience like an operatic conductor; never has a crowd been more under the spell of an artist. The one billion people who watched it worldwide were treated to an unforgettable set as Mercury gave the performance of his life.