12. “A Night at the Opera” Introduced the World to Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody, written entirely by Freddie Mercury at his London home, took three weeks to record and, in some sections had 180 overdubs. Four recording studios had to be used to record the song fully. It became one of the best-selling singles of all time.
11. Production of Bohemian Rhapsody’s Music Video Was Less Demanding
The music video to Queen’s iconic song took only four hours to record and five hours to edit. In total, the entire music video cost only £4500, just a fraction of what the song itself required to produce. Nevertheless, the music video was a hit.
Queen fans have, for decades, tried to decipher what the underlying meaning of the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody is. It talks about the Qur’an, the devil, Galileo, and poverty, among many other things. Freddie Mercury, who wrote the lyrics, insisted that they are meaningless and are just “rhyming nonsense.”
He had as many as ten cats at any given time and loved them as much as, if not more than, any humans in his life. When he had enough money to buy his mansion, he gave each of his cats their own bedroom. While on tour, he would call home and insist on talking to them over the phone.
He called it Red Special. He and his father built it together when he was a teenager, using wood from a 300-year-old mantelpiece. He wanted an instrument that he wouldn’t just play, but that would interact with him and the surrounding environment, and Red Special did just that.
7. They Performed In Front of the Largest Television Audience Ever
In 1985, Queen performed at the Live Aid fundraising event to a studio of 72,000 people. The performance was broadcast to a television audience of nearly two billion people. The performance was so powerful that in 2005, it was dubbed the greatest rock performance of all time. One sustained note that Freddie sang came to be known as “the note heard around the world.”
The Live Aid concert propelled the band to an even higher level of global stardom. They went on tour the next year and performed at Wembley Stadium in London. The live performance became a record which went platinum five times over. The tour would be Freddie’s last.
By 1988, fans of Queen noticed that Freddie, now 42 years old, looked thin and ill. He denied that anything was wrong with him, but the previous year, he had tested positive for HIV. The disease proliferated during the 1980s, particularly among the gay community. Freddie became one of its most high-profile victims.
“The Show Must Go On” was written by Brian May in honor of his continued efforts to continue singing and contributing to the band despite his struggles with AIDS. It was released in October 1991, just a month before Freddie passed away from the disease.
3. Freddie Mercury Died of Complications From AIDS
Freddie became increasingly ill, so much so that May doubted he would be able to sing “The Show Must Go On.” He didn’t make his illness public until less than 24 hours before he passed away. He died of bronchial pneumonia, which was brought on due to complications from the disease.
Freddie Mercury had a private funeral in London, attended only by his family and friends. As much as was possible, it followed the rites of Zoroastrianism. Later, a tribute concert was held in his honor at Wembley Stadium. His home in London has become a shrine of sorts.
Two of the band’s original members, Brian May and Roger Taylor, continue to perform together as Queen. They frequently appear with Adam Lambert as Queen + Adam Lambert. In 2014, they released an album called “Queen Forever.” In honor of Freddie Mercury, they continue to do fundraising to help fight AIDS.
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