Mercury collaborated with David Bowie on the song “Under Pressure”. However, when they were recording the song, it is said there were many explosive discussions between the two artists. Despite this, Bowie always claimed to have immense respect for Mercury, claiming “I have to respect a man who wears tights!” Curiously so, Bowie and Mercury had already met twice, many years before.
The first time was back at the start of their careers. Freddie was working in a clothing store, and one day, Bowie came in looking for some new clothes. Even though he had just seen critical success with “Space Oddity”, Bowie was in deep financial trouble and couldn’t afford to pay for anything. The store’s manager told him he could have a free pair of boots. And guess who fitted them for him…that’s right, our very own king of Queen, Freddie Mercury.
The Last Time
In 1990, Queen won the ‘British Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music’, and as it turned out, this was to be the very last time Freddie Mercury would appear in public. By this time, Freddie’s illness had taken over; he looked pale and emaciated, and he was oddly quiet, in comparison to his normal flamboyant self.
After Brian May spoke on behalf of the band, giving a short acceptance and thank you speech, Freddie gently leaned into the microphone and just said, "Thank you…good night.” No one would hear from Mercury again, until November of 1991, when he issued an official statement, confirming he had AIDS. One day later, he died.
A Secret Resting Place
Unlike other legendary rock stars that passed before their time, whom you can go and pay your respects to, Mercury’s resting place is unknown until this day. He was immediately cremated after passing away on November 24th, 1991, and his best friend and ex-wife, Mary Austin, kept the ashes.
Two years after, Mary left her house one day, making sure to avoid paparazzi, and took the ashes with her. She then said that Freddie had always wanted to be laid to rest in a secret place where nobody would disturb him. Not even his family was told.
High Praise From A Famous Soprano
One of Freddie’s solo albums was recorded with Spanish operatic soprano, Montserrat Caballe. They recorded the album “Barcelona” together, and Caballe went on to say that “the difference between Freddie and almost all the other rock stars was that he was selling the voice.”
She continued to say, “His technique was astonishing. No problem of tempo, he sang with an incisive sense of rhythm, his vocal placement was very good and he was able to glide effortlessly from a register to another.
And The Oscar Goes To...
For those of you who don't know, a film about Mercury's life came out in 2018, called Bohemian Rhapsody. In the film, Freddie Mercury is played by actor Rami Malek, who said that "being offered the part of Freddie Mercury was a gun-to-the-head moment". And we can certainly understand why. Nevertheless, seems like Malek chose well since he recently took home an Oscar Award for Best Actor. And that's not all the biopic masterpiece won.
It also won in the 'Best Sound Editing', 'Best Sound Mixing' and 'Best Editing' categories. Although there was a lot of controversy surrounding the film, some claiming that it was historically inaccurate, and Mary Austin (Freddie's best friend and ex-wife) said she didn't like how the other band members were depicted in the movie - "they are shown as being too nice". Regardless, to see such an iconic character come to life like that on the silver screen is definitely breathtaking.