Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury was the first closeted gay man to attain Rock God status. Many were shocked when he came out near the end of his life, since it was generally agreed a woman could get pregnant just being in the same room as his mustache.

Just The Facts

  1. Freddie Mercury's original name was Farrokh Bulsara, until he wisely decided to change it to something pronounceable by English speaking folks.
  2. Most homophobic sports fans would likely piss themselves if they took a moment to realize that the man who wrote "We Are the Champions"" did dudes.
  3. Cirolana mercuryi is a crustacean named after Freddie Mercury. Because the first thing that comes to mind when you think of him would be crabs.

The Beginning

Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on the island of Zanzibar, known more for once being the world's leading producer of cloves (here's looking at you, hippies) than for pretty much anything else. Also, it was the first place in Africa to have a color TV. In other news, there's not a whole lot of interesting things about Zanzibar. The island was great at paying their most famous native back by, um, canceling a 60th birthday celebration because of Freddie's bisexuality. So, fuck you, Zanzibar.

Ethnically, Freddie Mercury was Parsi, which means holy-shit-he's-technically-Asian. Which also makes him the coolest Asian in the Western world since Bruce Lee. This is a feat in itself since Freddie, to the best of anyone's knowledge, never went after another person with his fists of fury. As part of his upbringing, Freddie was raised Zoroastrian, an amazingly influential religion that likely inspired Judaism, Christianity and Islam, one of the first monotheistic religions, but most well-known to us as having something to do with the real-life 300. After attending boarding school in India (because there's nothing more badass than a good boarding school), Freddie's family fled to England while Zanzibar was undergoing a revolution.

Look at him. Smug face knows he'll be famous someday.

After moving to England, Freddie enrolled in art school, where he would later put his talents to good use by designing the infamous Queen logo. The lions are after the leos in the band (Roger Taylor and John Deacon), the crab for Brian Mays' cancer sign and the fairies for Freddie's virgo. It was likely the only time Freddie was compared to a virgin, and the first of many times he'd be compared to fairies. Sonic ass-kicking fairies, that is.

Career (Freddie Mercury Blows the World's Collective Mind)

At first, Freddie's career looked less than promising. After belonging to bands with absolutely horrible names like Ibex (presumably after that goat with weird horns), Sour Milk Sea (the worst smelling ocean ever) and an earlier incarnation of Queen called Smile (which is pathetic in the way it begs you to like them, like a lonely geek naming himself Chuckles [actually, that's just creepy]). Luckily, after the name change, Queen started to get successful, and Freddie was quickly becoming known as a great singer. He had a range of nearly four octaves. In comparison, Mariah Carey has five, but she blows hardcore and is too obsessed with butterflies to really count.

Basically, every Queen song you know and love was written by Freddie: "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Bicycle Race," "Killer Queen," "We Are the Champions," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "Don't Stop Me Now" and countless others. Never mind that these songs now are basically reduced to commercials for lame things like cell phones and cars; back in the day, they really rocked, man. He's basically one of the few artists whose music appeals to almost everyone: dumb jocks love "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You"; pretentious drama kids deign to listen to non-Broadway "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy"; middle-aged women like "These Are the Days of Our Lives"; dancers can't get enough of Queen's distinctively non-sucking stab at disco, "Another One Bites the Dust"; and 30-year-old men who live in their parents' basement just keep playing "Flash" on repeat.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" in particular seems to have left an indelible mark on the world's fabric. For a song about a homicidal dude, some Italian words (99 percent of which listeners don't understand), repeating the name of a Renaissance astronomer and then ends with a freakout and some pretty emo thoughts--not to mention it changes directions whenever Freddie damn well felt like it--it's pretty awesome that not only did it top charts when it was released, but it has been voted the best song of all time several times. A rerelease topped the charts again in 1992, after that classic head-banging scene from Wayne's World. In fact, after that scene, it's likely the entire country went out and cracked their necks in attempts at recreating it.

Freddie Mercury, with and without Queen, has worked with talented collaborators like David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust!), Michael Jackson (the King of Pop!), and Montserrat Caballe (uh... a successful opera singer noted for the purity of her voice!). Of course, the most well-known of these collaborations is "Under Pressure." Before it became a shitty version by My Chemical Romance and The Used (sorry, emo kids), the original has been considered one of the greatest songs ever, with the most badass bass line of all time.

Freddie's stage persona also played a significant part of the band's success. "Stage presence" had to be redefined after Freddie, as previously it meant something along the lines of "someone who could stand on stage, do something besides just standing there and not throw up all over the audience." After Freddie Mercury made the stage his bitch and the audience his crowd of willing love slaves, just standing up there shredding an instrument wasn't gonna pull it. Plus, male vocalists the world over cursed themselves because Freddie changed the game there, also--before, with guys at least, all that was necessary was to be on key and in pitch with something (unless you were Bob Dylan, whose voice was apparently identical to a screeching cat). After the aforementioned four-octave range of Freddie, mumbling some lyrics that don't even make sense when understood and even less when you "sing" just didn't pass anymore. Basically, without Freddie Mercury, concerts would be way more boring.

A great part of their shows included the costumes. From glittery unitards to short shorts to royal capes topped with a crown, Freddie could pull off anything.

Well, OK, maybe not anything.

That is a very hairy man.

So it's really no surprise that Freddie Mercury has ascended to the Mount Olympus of Rock to join the pantheon of the gods. He could play the shit out of pretty much any instrument he wanted to--especially the piano--without even knowing how to read music. His voice could cause even the most stoic of men to give it up and cry. He redefined how concerts were done. Plus, he revolutionized style with his crazy costumes and epic mustache.

People who are compared to Freddie Mercury (a chart)

Who?

Wait- why?

Similarity rating (Out of 5 mustaches)

Verdict

Paul Rodgers (Old guy, singer: Bad Company, Free and solo)

Since Freddie's been gone for close to 20 years, but producers still want to milk the Queen cash cow, they called up Rodgers to take over Freddie's vocals.

3

While "All Right Now" proves he can sing, he still lacks the platinum pipes (and charisma) of Freddie.

Mika (Master at the falsetto [if there is such a thing], British solo artist)

His performances are high energy like Freddie's, though somehow even more flamboyant. Mika's vocals are great, and in "Grace Kelly" he sings "So I tried a little Freddie."

4

Even though he has the charisma, stage presence and an octave range higher than Mickey Rourke's alcohol level, he's still a bit too young.

Gerard Way (Chronically morose, lead singer, My Chemical Romance)

He tries to sort of dress like Freddie. And he can be overdramatic emotional powerful (?) in his performances.

1

It's really more because we feel sorry for him, and don't want him to feel worse than his tortured self already does.

Brandon Flowers (Coolest Mormon since the Osmonds, lead singer of The Killers)

He also emulates Freddie's style, or at least some of it, including a mustache, even if it is pretty weak sauce. And he CAN sing...

2

Closer than Gerard Way because wecan actually listen to Flowers without wanting to slit our wrists.

Steve Perry (Mullet aficionado, lead singer of cock-rock band Journey)

Both were busting up the charts at around the same time, and both have epic voices.

2

Still not as interesting, and even less so now that he has normal hair.

george-michael-1.jpg

George Michael (Bathroom exhibitionist, solo artist)

Can carry a tune pretty well, actually. And hails from Britain, Freddie's adopted homeland.

3

Those factors, plus the fact he likes guys, still doesn't make him Freddie.

Gary Glitter (Child porn collector, solo artist)

His only real hit, "Rock and Roll, Part 2" is played at every. Single. Sporting event, much like Freddie's "We Are the Champions."

NONE. Pedophiles don't get Freddie mustaches, only creepy skinny mustaches like the one from that guy who always hangs out at the park.

Freddie = awesome.

Pedophiles = very much NOT awesome.

Case closed.

"Death" and Legacy

Freddie Mercury died of AIDS only hours after even admitting he had the disease, likely because that's the amount of time he needed to think of a cause of death other than "implosion due to awesomeness." It was a simpler time, where a man could wear leather S&M gear on stage while bull-whipping another man and still be considered absolutely into girls. As one of the first major celebrity casualties of the disease, he brought attention to it.

Freddie's death did not mean the end of Freddie Mercury. Queen was still able to sell massive albums after his passing--they sold half of their 32.5 million albums in the U.S. after his passing. Worldwide, Queen has sold about 300 million albums, and spent more time on the British charts than the Beatles, that band that everyone seems to compare everyone else to.

Freddie himself was voted number 58th in a poll of the "100 Greatest Britons." This is awesome mainly because A) he wasn't actually born there and B) other entries included Winston "Nazi Hunter" Churchill and William "Mandatory Reading" Shakespeare. He actually ranked higher than Jane Austen, Chaucer and J.K.-fucking-Rowling. OK, so he was beaten in the poll by Boy George, but still.

Lake Geneva (Switzerland, not Wisconsin) actually has a statue of him:

How's that for awesome?