Late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was born 75 years ago this Sunday, September 5.
Mercury, who died from AIDS in November 1991 at age 45, is widely regarded as one of the all-time great rock singers. His powerful vocals, flamboyant persona and dynamic performing style helped Queen become one of the most popular and successful bands on the planet.
Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on the African island of Zanzibar in 1946, and his family lived there until 1964, when they moved to the U.K. In 1970, Mercury teamed up with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor in a band called Smile, and after the addition of bassist John Deacon, the group changed its name to Queen.
Queen blended a variety of genres including rock ‘n’ roll, hard rock, prog-rock, classical, pop, funk and rockabilly for a unique sound that captivated a wide variety of music fans. Mercury was responsible for writing many of the band’s biggest hits, including “Killer Queen,” “Somebody to Love,” “We Are the Champions,” “Bicycle Race,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Play the Game” and, of course, the enduring rock anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Freddie also co-wrote Queen’s classic 1981 collaboration with David Bowie, “Under Pressure.” Mercury’s performance with Queen at London’s Wembley Stadium at the 1985 Live Aid festival is widely considered one of the highlights of that historic event.
Mercury also released a pair of solo albums during the 1980s, one of which, 1988’s Barcelona, was a duets project with Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballé.
Mercury and Queen’s other members were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.
In commemoration of Freddie’s 75th birthday, three special T-shirts are on sale now at Queen’s online store.
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