Freddie Mercury – 25 Years

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | November 24, 2016 0


It seems not long ago but it was in fact 25 years ago on this day that the world lost a great musician, performer and cultural icon, Freddie Mercury lead singer of Queen,

British rock legend Freddie Mercury, the Queen frontman, died on November 24, 1991 from bronchopneumonia that resulted from a years-long battle with HIV/AIDS. He was 45-years-old.  Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara – Gujarati: ફારોખ બલ્સારા). He is still here in spirit. He has been referred to as “Britain’s first Asian rock star”. In 2006, Time Asia named him as one of the most influential Asian heroes of the past 60 years, and he continues to be voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music.


Freddie with his Nanny in 1947 on the island of Zanzibar where he was born.


Freddie Mercury’s birthplace in Stonetown, Zanzibar

Freddie was born in the British protectorate of Zanzibar, East Africa (now part of Tanzania). His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, were Parsis from the Gujarat region of the then province of Bombay Presidency in British India. The family surname is derived from the town of Bulsar (also known as Valsad) in southern Gujarat. As Parsis, Mercury and his family practised the Zoroastrian religion. The Bulsara family had moved to Zanzibar so that his father could continue his job as a cashier at the British Colonial Office. He had a younger sister, Kashmira.

Following graduation, Mercury joined a series of bands and sold second-hand clothes in the Kensington Market in London with girlfriend Mary Austin. He also held a job at Heathrow Airport. Friends from the time remember him as a quiet and shy young man who showed a great deal of interest in music. In 1969 he joined the band Ibex, later renamed Wreckage. When this band failed to take off, he joined a second band called Sour Milk Sea. However, by early 1970 this group had broken up as well.At the age of 17, Mercury and his family fled from Zanzibar for safety reasons due to the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution. The family moved into a small house in Feltham, Middlesex, England. Mercury enrolled at Isleworth Polytechnic (now West Thames College) in West London where he studied art. He ultimately earned a Diploma in Art and Graphic Design at Ealing Art College, later using these skills to design the Queen crest. Mercury remained a British citizen for the rest of his life.

“To create with Freddie was always stimulating to the max. He was daring, always sensing a way to get outside the box. Sometimes he was too far out … and he’d usually be the first to realise it. With a conspiratorial smile he would say ‘Oh … did I lose it, dears?!’ But usually there was sense in his nonsense—art in his madness. It was liberating. I think he encouraged us all in his way, to believe in our own madness, and the collective mad power of the group Queen.

To honour this musical genius, Google, on what would have been his 65th Birthday in 2011, created a 98-second-long animation, set to Queen’s 1978 hit “Don’t Stop Me Now,” which was written by Mercury. The Google Doodle appears on the Google homepage for many countries around the world — not the US, however, as they are celebrating Labor Day, not Freddie Mercury’s birthday. Accompanying Mercury’s Google Doodle is a revealing and heartfelt blog post by Queen guitarist, Dr. Brian May, which appears on the official Google blog. quuen1986


“Freddie would have been 65 this year, and even though physically he is not here, his presence seems more potent than ever. Freddie made the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected. He gave people proof that a man could achieve his dreams—made them feel that through him they were overcoming their own shyness, and becoming the powerful figure of their ambitions. And he lived life to the full. He devoured life. He celebrated every minute. And, like a great comet, he left a luminous trail which will sparkle for many a generation to come.”

The Google Doodle is the work of illustrator Jennifer Hom and her team, who spent three months creating the intricate illustration. “Considering how colorful Freddie’s career was, we wanted to create a doodle that was just as colorful,” Hom told NBC. “We’re all really excited because it is such a big doodle,” Hom added. “It’s definitely not our normal doodle.”  freddie1freddie-mercury-google-doodle

Plaque at Kensal Green Cemetery where Freddie was cremated

Freddie and Mary Austin

Flowers are still left by fans at Garden Lodge, Logan Place, Kensington on the anniversary of Freddie’s death

In addition to the Google Doodle, the Freddie For A Day fundraising campaign has released the entire one-hour-and-36-minute video of Queen’s classic performance at Wembley Stadium in 1986, in honor of Mercury’s 65th birthday. Proceeds raised by the Freddie For A Day campaign go to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, a charity set up in Freddie Mercury’s name to help fight HIV/AIDS.

In his will, Mercury left the vast majority of his wealth, including his home and recording royalties, to Mary Austin, and the remainder to his parents and sister. He further left £500,000 to his chef Joe Fanelli, £500,000 to his personal assistant Peter Freestone, £100,000 to his driver Terry Giddings, and £500,000 to Jim Hutton. Mary Austin continues to live at Mercury’s home, Garden Lodge, Kensington, with her family.

Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946, Stone Town, Sultanate of Zanzibar – 24 November 1991, Kensington, England)

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