As lead vocalist for the iconic rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury's unmatched skills as a songwriter and his flamboyant showmanship made him a superstar and Queen a household name. But despite his worldwide fame, few people ever really glimpsed the man behind the glittering facade. Read more...
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As lead vocalist for the iconic rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury's unmatched skills as a songwriter and his flamboyant showmanship made him a superstar and Queen a household name. But despite his worldwide fame, few people ever really glimpsed the man behind the glittering facade.
Now, more than twenty years after his death, those closest to Mercury are finally opening up about this pivotal figure in rock 'n' roll. Based on more than a hundred interviews with key figures in his life, "Mercury "offers the definitive account of one man's legendary life in the spotlight and behind the scenes. Rock journalist Lesley-Ann Jones gained unprecedented access to Mercury's tribe, and she details Queen's slow but steady rise to fame and Mercury's descent into dangerous, pleasure-seeking excesses-- this was, after all, a man who once declared, "Darling, I'm doing everything with everyone."
In her journey to understand Mercury, Jones traveled to London, Zanzibar, and India--talking with everyone from Mercury's closest friends to the sound engineer at Band Aid (who was responsible for making Queen even louder than the other bands) to second cousins halfway around the world. In the process, an intimate and complicated portrait emerges. Meticulously researched, sympathetic yet not sensational, "Mercury "offers an unvarnished look at the extreme highs and lows of life in the fast lane. At the heart of this story is a man . . . and the music he loved.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-06-18
- Reviewer: Staff
As lead singer of the band Queen, Freddy Mercury was a pure showman, fusing opera, theater, pop, and rock. Jones presents a candid life story of this rare phenomenon and chronicles Queen’s ascendance to musical superstardom. Born Farrokh “Fred” Bulsara in Zanzibar and raised a Zoroastrian Parsee (a religious community that abhors homosexuality), Mercury’s family moved to “swinging” London where his musical talents flourished. There he developed his “flamboyant and melodramatic” stage persona to counter the shy and insecure self later epitomized in his recording of “The Great Pretender.” Though he “preferred sex without any involvement,” his relations with women and sexual exploits with men “embroiled him in a distressing tangle of love affairs.” Mercury’s story is the tragedy of music royalty descending into dark excesses, the escalation of drug and drink usage that culminated in the worldwide news of his death from AIDS. Though it will appeal to more than just Queen obsessives, Jones’s band history proves to be the ultimate fan’s resource: she thoroughly documents the development of each album’s release, promotion, reviews, and infamous tours—including the background and production of their classic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” In this exhaustively enjoyable read, Jones combines her own detailed research with the brutal honesty of family and friends, media and music insiders, bandmates and bedmates. Agent: Ivan Mulcahy, Mulcahy Conway Associates. (July)