Lessons and Inspiration from Freddie Mercury AKA the King of Queen - ft Bohemian Rhapsody.
You can click either of these two links to visit the rest of the series😄
You can click either of these two links to visit the rest of the series😄
So for this particular episode, I decided to do something a little bit different, as you might have already guessed by this post's new layout. But it's not just about the new design though, it's the whole concept behind it in entire!
You see intially when I started this little series — Lessons and Inspirations from... — I had in mind that these were strictly going to be posts about classical composers and classical music in general. However, upon reflecting, I decided to go about it in a much different way; making it now inclusive of all genres! Because let's face it, not every one is gonna wanna read a 1000+ word post about Mozart. I would though, I would even read one with 5000 :)
But I get it though, not everyone is into that genre and afterall, this is a community inspired by MISIC not JUST Classical music. Hence my decision from now, to explore the many inspiring lives and works of musicians from several diverse genres.
That's right, not only would we be exploring the lives of Mozart and Tchaikovsky, but we would also be diving into the inspiring worlds of Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Eminem, Burna Boy, Adele, Ravi Shankar, and many more. Oh yeah, it's gonna be a lot of fun from now on, as many of these musicians have such compelling and inspiring back stories to share.
Anyway moving on, who better else to start off this new era of change with, than the Rockstar himself — Freddie Mercury!
Ahh... Freddie Mercury: lead singer of the legendary rock band Queen, multi talented singer/songwriter, charismatic/over the top entertainer, a buck tooth lassy, killer stache, and the only man to have walked this earth, who could make a crowd of over 80,000 scream "Ey yo!" at the top of their voices for a whole minute.
Yup, at face value the man appears to be an absolute god! But as always, we need to take a much closer look into his life to truly appreciate his work. Believe me, Freddie's life was nothing short of inspiring.
Here's a video of Freddie doing the iconic "Ey yo" thing at Wembley stadium btw. Apparently, it was just a vocal warm up but for some reason, the crowd instinctively follows his lead on it. This just shows the sheer command Freddie had over the public at every concert.
𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙸𝚗𝚜𝚙𝚒𝚛𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝙻𝚒𝚏𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝙵𝚛𝚎𝚍𝚍𝚒𝚎 𝙼𝚎𝚛𝚌𝚞𝚛𝚢
It goes without saying, that Queen was in no doubt, one of the most influential bands of all time. With hit songs such as: Bohemian Rhapsody, We are the champions and We will rock you, it is clear that their sheer blend of pop and hard rock, took the world by surprise; shattering records and ultimately, sealing their names in history as one of the greatest bands of all time. However, none was as electric and celebrated, than their legendary vocalist — Freddie Mercury.
Born September 5, 1946 and originally from Zanzibar, Tanzania, Farrohk Bulsara was the only son of Bomi and Jer Bulsara who, at the time, both worked on the colonized island as a registrar for the British government.
During his childhood, Farrohk attended a boarding school in Bombay. Infact, it was in that very same school that Farrohk was first addressed as "Freddie" by his peers and apparently, the name stuck with him.
As Freddie continued his studies in the school, he immediately took interest in Piano. Infact, his new found talent for music had quickly garnered the attention of both his parents and his peers. When interviewed by the Telegraph about Freddie's origins, his mother, Jer, replied saying:
Right from the start, Freddie was musical. He had it on his mind all the time.”
However, as the years passed, Freddie and his family would no longer remain on the island as a result of the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution, that prompted the entire family to escape to England that year.
After settling in England, Freddie was persuaded by his parents to get a college education which he eventually did, and which in turn, earned him a degree in graphic art and design from an esteemed art school in the UK. However, destiny soon came knocking, as Freddie would come to meet three aspiring fellows whom shared the same musical ambition as him.
Freddie right from the start had always known he was going to make it big. During the early days of his music career, he was in awe of a band called Simile; a band which at the time, included the soon to be Queen guitarist and drummer, Brian May and Roger Summers, performing in it. Apparently, Freddie had been so smitten by the unique sound of said band, that he made it his mission to become a part of the band's legacy.
Infact, Chris Smith(former member of Similie) later noted that during rehearsals, Freddie constantly remarked that he was going to be a pop star. However, on a particular day, Freddie looked so unusually glum; and when asked by the rest of the band what the issue was, he replied with face covered by his hands:
No, i’m not going to be a pop star. I’m going to be a legend!”
Then soon after, something quite remarkable happened next, something that would later change the world of music forever : somewhere during the year 1970, Similie's lead singer left the band leaving the stage open for a new vocalist. Of course, Freddie immediately took advantage of this opportunity and seized the mic. And after seeing how impressive Freddie's voice (he could sing up to 4 octaves) and showmanship was, the band immediately knew they had acquired someone special. Later on, Freddie would go on to change the name of the band from "Similie" to "Queen".
Now to reiterate, he could sing as high as FOUR octaves! Something less common amongst females let alone a man! To put it into perspective: you have people like Mariah Carey and WHITNEY Houston who could both sing up to five octaves, then you have the next group of people consisting of Freddie Mercury and ARIANA Grande who could sing up to four, and then finally, CELINE DION who could sing ONLY up to THREE! So yeah, Freddie was quite a remarkable vocalist.
Even with their first album "Queen" being an initial flop, Mercury and the band kept persisting and eventually, when they released their second album "Queen II", they started gaining little attention. But even still, Mercury kept dreaming bigger and insisted on pushing their music further and further until they finally released their next albums "Sheer Heart attack" and "Killer Queen", which hit several radios around the world and consequentially, brought the band to a whole new light of Fame.
Infact, the album charted No.2 on UK and US charts on its debut year.
“The reason we’re successful, darling? My overall charisma, of course.” - Freddie Mercury
As the band kept growing higher in the spotlight, Freddie soon made an important decision to change his name. Yes, it was by this time in his career that he believed the name Farrohk Bulsara wasn't befitting enough for a rockstar and so, he legally changed is name to Freddie Mercury. The legendary name we all know today.
One funny yet majorly inspiring encounter in Freddie's life, was when the band submitted their new song — Bohemian Rhapsody — to legendary rock star, Elton John, who upon reviewing it exclaimed:
"Are you Mad?"
However, it is to be noted that Elton didn't say this in regards to the lyrics or nature of the music in entire - no. Infact, he was mostly concerned about the length of the song. The beast of a song spanned a duration of a just little over 6 minutes!
Producers of course, and other band members begged Freddie to reduce the length of the song but Freddie rejected. He held his ground firmly on the basis that he had a dream — a vision — he sort to make into reality. And amazingly, immediately Bohemian Rhapsody was released, it shot to number one on music charts and remained there for nine weeks more - a record shattering achievement at the time.
But what's even more fascinating about the masterpiece of a rock ballad, is that till this very day, it is regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time.
If by some unknown reason, you don't know the song already, have a listen. Be warned, this music is unfathomably amazing:
Now we best not forget his love life, before Freddie had even become a world sensation, he had become close friends with a special woman by the name of Mary Austin. Later on, as their lives and relationship progressed, Freddie would go on to ask her to marry him. And good old Freddie did it in the most over the top way possible, by boxing a jade ring into a bigger box, which he kept hidden in a bigger box, then that box was hidden an even BIGGER box before he finally presented it to Austin. However, the young lady was somewhat surprised that he had asked her to marry him but agreed to it nevertheless. But unfortunately, the two would never marry as six years of living together all this time, would bring about a hidden secret of Freddie's that disrupted their relationship.
It took over six years after their engagement for Freddie to finally admit to distressed Mary, whom had suspected he'd been unfaithful all to her all these years, the real truth. Confronting Mary, he revealed to her that he was bisexual to which Mary replied:
I think you're gay.
Nevertheless, this issue didn't affect their relationship as friends as they continued to remain close. Infact, Freddie later wrote a romantic ballad titled Love of my life, to which he dedicated to Mary.
Anyway, fast-forward a couple years later, and Freddie would soon come to receive tragic news from his doctor - he was suffering from HIV. This could already be noticed in his deteriorating performances.
When the band members heard news of his illness, they were devastated; however, Freddie on the other hand, was quite the opposite. Knowing he didn't have much time left, he sought not just to whallow in his death bed, but to continue to write beautiful and inspiring music until his final breath.
Then later, after months of hiding his illness from the public, he decided it was time to reveal the secret to his fans. And on November 23, 1991, he released a statement:
I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV-positive and have AIDS.
I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.”
Then the next day, shortly after this statement was released, Mercury passed away.
Freddie Mercury ended up dying in his London home at the age of 45 due to complications arising from his diagnosis. To his best friend Mary, he gave all his possessions to, but to his fans and the world entire , he gave something much more.
He gave us music at it's most purest and unsullied form. Freddie, without a doubt became an iconic symbol of rock and roll, hope, inspiration, and happiness that has and still continue to touch the lives of many generations. Seriously, you don't even know the amount of times We are the champions has gotten me through some dark, depressing times in my life.
Through Freddie's life and music, we are inspired to dream BIG — BIGGER — and STUPENDOUSLY, never stop persisting, but most importantly, never let any bad situation stop us from doing what matters the most.
Thank you Freddy for your music and for everything! And in his words:
“I love the fact that I can make people happy, in any form. Even if it’s just an hour of their lives, if I can make them feel lucky or make them feel good, or bring a smile to a sour face, that to me is worthwhile.”