The late musician Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the ground-breaking and iconic band Queen, would be celebrating his 72 birthday on Wednesday, September 5, this year. Freddie Mercury died in 1991 at age 45 due to complications from AIDS.
Fans around the world honour Freddie Mercury every year on September 5 (Freddie’s birthday) with a global charity celebration called “Freddie for a Day”. Many celebrate his life by donning a white vest, his famous yellow jacket and sporting a trademark moustache to dress up like the late singer. The event, celebrated across the globe, raises money for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, the AIDs charity set up in his name in 1992.
Fun facts about Freddie Mercury:
- Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania).
- He adopted the name Freddie while at St. Peter’s, the English boarding school he attended in India, before he and his family moved to England.
- As a child, between the ages of nine and 12, Freddie enjoyed collecting stamps. His personal album contains stamps from Britain, Monaco, Eastern Europe, Aden (now part of Yemen) and Zanzibar. The collection was bought by The Postal Museum (in the UK) in 1993 and proceeds of the sale went to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, the charity that was set up in Freddie’s memory.
- Freddie was posthumously remembered on one of a special series of stamps that Britain’s Royal Mail produced to mark the millennium.
- Freddie co-owned and ran a stall in Kensington Market in London with Roger Taylor, which opened in the summer of 1969. They sold Freddie’s own artwork as well as second hand clothes. The two of them kept up the running of the stall, even after Queen released their first album in 1973.
- Freddie had four extra teeth on his upper jaw, which were pushing on the front ones. He never considered “fixing” them because he believed that they contributed to the special sound of his voice – the legendary four-octave range.
- While the lyrics of ‘Killer Queen’ mention Moët & Chandon, Freddie’s own favorite champagne was Louis Roederer Cristal. His other favorite drinks were Stolichnaya vodka and Earl Grey tea – with milk and two sugars. His favorite champagne cocktail was a Bellini (Cristal and peach puree).
- One of the most technically accomplished singers to work in pop music, in a list of the greatest English language singers of the 20th century, compiled by BBC Radio, Freddie was ranked No.10. The list included Frank Sinatra, Billie Holliday, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole.
- Freddie came second in MTV’s list of the 22 greatest singers of the past 25 years – he was beaten by Mariah Carey.
- In 2016, a research team undertook a study to understand the unique appeal of Freddie’s voice. The Austrian, Czech and Swedish researchers studied archival recordings. They noted the singer’s faster vibrato and use of subharmonics, particularly in comparison to opera singers.
- Other than his passion for music, one of Freddie’s favorite hobbies was shopping, mainly for other people. Generous to a fault, he loved buying expensive perfumes, cologne, watches and jewellery.
- Despite not believing in astrology, Freddie designed Queen’s crest using the astrological signs of the four members: two Leos, one Cancer and one Virgo.