THEY SAID ABOUT …
- … the name chosen for the band
Freddie Mercury said ” I thought up the name Queen. It’s just a name, but it’s very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid, It’s a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. ”
- ... about himself
Freddie Mercury said “I won’t be a rock star. I will be a legend.”
- … Queen and them career
In 1989, Brian May said “I’m very proud of what we did, I’m very proud of the material. I’m very proud of Freddie and of what we did together.”
- … press
In 1986, Freddie Mercury said “I’ve never let the press worry me … in the early days you think about it, you go out and buy the papers and make sure you’re in it, and all that, and now it’s a completely different set up because it’s your music and basically what you worry about is the people that buy your product … that’s what keeps us going.”
- … Bohemian Rhapsody
Brian May says of Bohemian Rhapsody: “Bohemian Rhapsody started off really in Freddie’s head … It developed a little bit longer way, but basically that’s Freddie’s dream or Freddie’s nightmare and it still lives on.”
With “Bohemian Rhapsody” came fame and wealth and recognition. The “A Night at the Opera” album on which it was featured was considered as one of the most expensive ever recorded when released in November 1975; it was a colossal hit, giving Queen their first platinum album, established them as a leading band of the era and turned them subsequently into one of the most popular bands in pop and rock history. The single stayed at number one for nine weeks. No other song in Queen’s catalogue has achieved such a legendary status and was voted the greatest single of all time by the Guinness Book Of records in 2000. The video for the single, directed by Bruce Gowers and using ideas from the band, started the music video craze. Queen was on top of the world. Everywhere they went they were superstars; for his monumental song, Mercury was even awarded his second prestigious Ivor Novello Award for songwriting.
Freddie Mercury explained it ‘only’ as “a personal song about relationships” (which is also meaningful…), but when looking closer on its lyrics it is the most complex/multifaceted song ever written by Mercury, capable of thousands of different interpretations.
It has caused endless speculation about the possible meanings behind its evocative lyrics: some say the song is about a trial or about a suicide; there are also interpretations that “Bohemian Rhapsody” could be a song “in which a Faust-like character commits a sin, sells his soul and ultimately redeems himself”.
Brian May, however, confirms suggestions that the song contained veiled references to Mercury’s personal inner life. “Freddie was a very complex person […] he never explained the lyrics, but I think he put a lot of himself into that song.” He says of Freddie’s typically obscure writing style: “Freddie’s stuff was so heavily cloaked, lyrically. But you could find out, just from little insights that a lot of his private thoughts were in there, although a lot of the more meaningful stuff was not very accessible.”
Freddie Mercury: “’Bohemian Rhapsody’ didn’t just come out of thin air. I did a bit of research, although it was tongue in cheek and it was mock opera. Why not? I certainly wasn’t saying I was an opera fanatic and I knew everything about it … A lot of people slammed ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, but who can you compare that to?”
“It’s one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about it. I think that people should just listen to it, think about it and then make up their own minds as to what it says to them.”
- … Mercury’s performance style
David Bowie, who performed at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and recorded the song “Under Pressure” with Queen said “Of all the more theatrical rock performers, Freddie took it further than the rest … he took it over the edge. And of course, I always admired a man who wears tights. I only saw him in concert once and as they say, he was definitely a man who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand.”
- … asking a favor to Freddie’s spirit
Pop star Robbie Williams, who has performed with two of the remaining members of Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor, was quoted as saying, “Freddie, if you’re out there and you want to choose any artist to channel your work, please give me an album, or at least a middle eight.”
- … Freddie Mercury
Opera singer Montserrat Caballé, who collaborated with Mercury on the Barcelona album said of him, “The difference between Freddie and almost all the other rock stars was he was selling the voice.”
Comedian Mike Myers, whose movie Wayne’s World introduced “Bohemian Rhapsody” to a new generation of listeners, said of Mercury, “He had theatricality, he was larger than life, new, fresh, cool. This is a god that walks as man.”
Rock singer Rob Halford said of Mercury, “I was deeply saddened when I heard Freddie passed away. A great performer, a great voice, a great musician was lost to the world. Thank God we have the music to listen to forever.”
“I watched him, and I watched him die, and it was so painful for me, because I really loved Freddie Mercury, the way that he just truly went with his voice.” Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.
- … Freddie’s lyrics
Although singer Axl Rose (of Guns N’ Roses) has long been criticised by gay activists, he was apparently a devoted Freddie Mercury fan. He has been quoted as saying, “If I didn’t have Freddie Mercury’s lyrics to hold on to as a kid, I don’t know where I would be. It taught me about all forms of music. It would open my mind. I never really had a bigger teacher in my whole life.” Rose also performed We Will Rock You and Bohemian Rhapsody with Elton John at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
- … Freddie’s love and adoration from the crowd
Freddie Mercury was the one rock star mentioned in singer Kurt Cobain’s alleged suicide note (1994): “I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now. I feel guilty beyond words about these things. For example, when we’re backstage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins, it doesn’t affect me the way in which it did for Freddy Mercury who seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd, which is something I totally admire and envy.”