FREDDIE MERCURY Biography - Musicians


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Name: Freddie Mercury                                                                         
Birth name: Farrokh Bulsara                                                                   
Born: 5 September 1946 Stone Town, Zanzibar                                                   
Died: 24 November 1991 Kensington, London, England                                             
Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 - 24 November 1991) was               
a Parsi-British musician, best known as the lead singer of the rock band Queen (inducted       
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001). He is noted for his vocal                       
abilities and for his live performances. As a songwriter, he composed many                     
international hits, including "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Killer Queen", "Somebody to               
Love", "We Are the Champions" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". In addition               
to his work with Queen, he also produced several hits as a solo artist. Mercury,               
who was of Indian Parsi descent and who grew up in India, has been referred to                 
as "Britain's first Asian rock star." He died of bronchopneumonia induced by                   
HIV (AIDS) on 24 November 1991, having only gone public with an announcement of               
his illness the previous day.                                                                 
Although Queen were not always popular with rock music critics,                               
estimates of the band's worldwide record sales to date have been placed as high               
as 300 million. The band have also spent more collective weeks on the UK                       
Album Charts than any other musical act, including The Beatles. In 2006, Time                 
Asia named Mercury as one of the most influential Asian heroes of the past 60                 
years. On the other hand, he has been criticised for having kept his                           
ethnicity, as well as his HIV status, a secret from the public.                               
Freddie Mercury was born in Stone Town on the island of Zanzibar off the coast                 
of East Africa. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, were both Parsis from the                   
province of Gujarat in India. The family surname is derived from the town                     
of Bulsar (also known as Valsad) in southern Gujarat. As Parsis, the family                   
practiced the Zoroastrian religion. The family had moved to Zanzibar in order                 
for his father to continue his job as a middle-ranking cashier at the British                 
Colonial Office. He had one younger sister, Kashmira.                                         
Mercury was sent back to India at the age of 8 to attend St. Peter's School, a                 
boarding school for boys at Panchgani near Bombay (now Mumbai). At St. Peter's,               
he was a bright student who excelled at cricket and field hockey. Being                       
naturally left handed, he was especially adept at boxing, with a strong 'left                 
At school, he formed a popular school band, called The Hectics, for which he                   
played the piano. A friend from the time recalls that he "had an uncanny ability               
to listen to the radio and replay what he heard on piano." It was also at St.                 
Peter's where he began to call himself "Freddie". Mercury remained in India for               
most of his childhood, living with his grandmother and aunt. He completed his                 
education in India at St. Mary's (ISC) High School in Mazagon before returning                 
to Zanzibar.                                                                                   
At the age of 17, Mercury and his family were forced to flee from Zanzibar, due               
to the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution. The family moved into a small house in                       
Feltham, London. He enrolled at Isleworth Polytechnic (now West Thames College)               
in West London where he studied art. He ultimately earned a Diploma in Art and                 
Graphic Design at Ealing Art College, later using these skills in order to                     
design the Queen crest. Mercury remained a British citizen for the rest of his                 
Following graduation, Mercury joined a series of bands and sold second-hand                   
clothes in the Kensington Market in London. He also held a job at Heathrow                     
airport. Friends from the time remember him as a quiet and shy young man who                   
showed a great deal of interest in music.In 1969 he formed the band Ibex,                     
which was later renamed Wreckage. When this band failed to take off, he joined a               
second band called Sour Milk Sea. However, by early 1970, this group broke up as               
In April of 1970, Mercury joined with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger                   
Taylor, who had previously been in a band called Smile. Despite reservations                   
from the other members, Mercury chose the name "Queen" for the new band. He                   
later said about the band's name, "I was certainly aware of the gay connotations,             
but that was just one facet of it." At around this time, he also legally                       
changed his name.                                                                             
As a child, Mercury listened to a considerable amount of Indian music, and one                 
of his early influences was the Bollywood playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, whom               
he had the opportunity to see live in India. After moving to England,                         
Mercury became a fan of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and The Beatles.               
He said of Hendrix: "Jimi Hendrix is very important. He's my idol. He sort of                 
epitomises, from his presentation on stage, the whole works of a rock star.                   
There's no way you can compare him. You either have the magic or you don't.                   
There's no way you can work up to it. There's nobody who can take his place."                 
Another one of Mercury's favourite performers was singer and actress Liza                     
Minnelli. He once explained: "One of my early inspirations came from Cabaret. I               
absolutely adore Liza Minnelli, she's a total wow. The way she delivers her                   
songs the sheer energy."