Freddie Mercury (1946 – 1991) was a British-Indian singer-songwriter, pianist, guitarist and co-founder of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his vocal abilities (he had a rare four-octave range) and flamboyant stage performances. He dressed in a range of extravagant costumes and was a supreme entertainer. As a songwriter, he composed many international hits, including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Killer Queen”, “Somebody to Love”, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “We Are the Champions” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”.
In addition to his work with Queen, he also led a solo career and was occasionally a producer and guest musician (piano or vocals) for other artists. In his second solo album Barcelona (1988) he fused both opera and pop, causing a mixture of critical responses. However, it proved a great commercial success.
Mercury, who was of Parsi descent, he was born in Zanzibar and grew up in India. He has been referred to as “Britain’s first Asian rock star.” He died of bronchopneumonia induced by HIV (AIDS) on 24 November 1991, only one day after publicly acknowledging he had the disease – at a time when there was stigma over Aids. His boyfriend, later said Mercury had been diagnosed with HIV in 1987.
An extrovert on stage, he was introverted off the stage. He rarely gave interviews and kept himself to himself. He was bisexual and had a long-term relationship with Mary Austin.
In 2006, Time Asia named him as one of the most influential Asian heroes of the past 60 years, and he continues to be cited as one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music.
In 2008, Rolling Stone ranked Mercury eighteenth on its List of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Freddie Mercury at Live Aid 1985