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It was a completely unexpected rebirth. The group caught the day from the time Freddie Mercury and the other members of Queen — guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor, and bassist John Deacon – walked the stage at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 13th, 1985, at the famous Live Aid concert. Mercury began by sitting at the piano, playing Queen’s most famous song, the strange and beautiful “Bohemian Rhapsody,” with the band storming in behind him in majestic stride and an audience of 72,000 singing the lyrics from a seemingly deep-rooted memory as if this was what they had waited all day for. Things progressed from there.
As the band rocked into the frenzied “Radio Ga Ga,” Mercury seized his sawed-off microphone stand, and the crowd responded with a communal gesture, slapping hands overhead and pumping fists as the singer drove them on with his booming shout. Some others found the sight of that many people acting in unison, like a human flood, frightening: that much power, all at the beckoning of one band and one voice.
Which Queen Member Are You?
The fact that it was Queen who accomplished this astounded almost everyone. They appeared to have completed their mission. Following the release of their epic 1975 album A Night at the Opera, they piled up song after success in a stylistically varied range, ranging from baroque pop to hard rock, disco, rockabilly, and funk. Then, by the mid-1980s, their fortunes had changed, owing in part to many fans’ reluctance to accept Mercury’s apparent homosexuality. Also, you must try to play this Which Queen Member Are You quiz.
After a mind-boggling blunder in 1984, when Queen chose to play a series of shows in apartheid, South Africa, the band became a pariah even in its native England. But, after the Live Aid concert encapsulated everything wonderful about Queen, their scope, dexterity, and command of a stage, all anyone wanted was more. “That was entirely down to Freddie,” May would explain years afterward. The rest of us did well, but Freddie was out there and carried it to the next level.”
Today, nearly 23 years after Freddie Mercury died of bronchopneumonia caused by AIDS, Queen’s legacy – as one of rock’s largest and most contentious bands – is inextricably linked to him, regardless of the success May and Taylor may have on tour with Adam Lambert in the coming months. When Taylor and May discuss the Mercury years (Deacon refuses to discuss the experience at all), it’s as though they’re still perplexed by how amazing and dreadful it all was. “As a group, we were incredibly close,” Taylor remarked days after Mercury died. “But even we didn’t know everything there was to know about Freddie.” Years later, May stated, “It messed us up in the way that only an out-of-this-world event can.” Queen was the biggest thing on the planet… You’re cherished — surrounded by people who adore you, yet completely alone… “The excess from the music seeped into life.”
About the quiz
Freddie Mercury is the beginning and end of Queen. He represented the band’s identity, its victories, and failures, and he was the psyche whose loss the band couldn’t bear. But there was no Freddie Mercury in the beginning.
Farrokh Bulsara was born on September 5, 1946, in the British colony of Zanzibar, off Africa’s east coast, to a Parsee family that worshipped Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. Farrokh’s father, Bomi, worked for the British government as a high-court cashier, which meant that he, his wife, Jer, and Farrokh – and later Farrokh’s sister, Kashmira – lived in cultural privilege in comparison to the majority of the island’s people. Farrokh was eight years old when the Bulsaras sent him to St. Peter’s Church of England School in Panchgani, India. St. Peter’s, located 150 miles from Bombay (now Mumbai), had long been recognized as the premier boy’s residential school in that part of the world. Farrokh entered as a very bashful youngster, self-conscious about his big top teeth, which earned him the nickname “Bucky” right away. (He’d be self-conscious about his teeth for the rest of his life, covering his mouth with his palm whenever he smiled.) Simultaneously, he discovered that his pronounced overbite – produced by four additional teeth at the rear of his mouth – may have been his greatest blessing, giving his voice its unmistakable resonant embouchure.)