Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury

Simon and Schuster, 3 jul. 2012 - 350 páginas
Revealing and intimate, based on more than 100 interviews with key figures in his life, this is the definitive biography of Queen front man Freddie Mercury, one of pop music’s best-loved and most complex figures.

A revealing, intimate look at the man who would be Queen.

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 façade.

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.

Comentarios de usuarios - Escribir una reseña

MERCURY: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury

Reseña de usuario  - Kirkus

The celebrity bio of a one-of-a-kind rock 'n' roll impresario, equal parts fawning and dreary.Rock journalist Jones (Naomi: The Rise and Rise of the Girl from Nowhere, 1993) spares no backstage ... Leer reseña completa

Reseña de usuario - Marcar como inadecuado

Buen libro sobre la vida de Freddie Mercury y Queen,incluso llega a darnos ciertos detalles de la infancia de Mercury y como incluso a día de hoy renuncian de el sus familiares de Zanzíbar, a los que la autora llega a entrevistar.


Break Free
Garden Lodge
For the Road

South America
Página de créditos

Otras ediciones - Ver todo

Términos y frases comunes

Sobre el autor (2012)

Mercury 1 LIVE AID
By making this concert, we are doing something positive to make people look, listen, and hopefully donate. When people are starving, it should be looked upon as one united problem. Sometimes I do feel helpless. This is one of those times I can do my bit.

Freddie Mercury

It was the perfect stage for Freddie Mercury: the whole world.

Bob Geldof

There was a time when politicians made great orators. The art has dwindled dramatically in this century. Rock ''n'' roll, of all unlikely disciplines, is one of the few remaining professions in which an individual or group can hold an audience in the palm of their hand, controlling a throng of thousands with their voice. Film actors can''t do it. Television stars don''t even get close. Perhaps it makes the rock superstar the last great compelling figure of our times. This occurred to me as I stood in the curtained wings at Wembley Stadium on Live Aid day with Who bassist John Entwistle and his girlfriend Max. We watched Freddie perform in sweltering heat for close to 80,000 people, and for a television audience of . . . who knows? A lot of figures have been bandied about in the ensuing years, but somewhere between "400 million in around 50 countries via satellite" and "1.9 billion worldwide." With nonchalance, wit, cheek, and sex, he gave it the works. We looked on, open-mouthed. The deafening roar of the crowd drowned out any attempt to speak to them. Freddie couldn''t have cared. The raw power that held his audience spellbound was so potent, you imagined you could smell it. Backstage, the most legendary names in rock paused to watch their rival stealing the show. Freddie knew what he was doing, all right. For eighteen minutes, this unlikely king and Queen ruled the world.

* * *

We make luck in random ways. Bob Geldof, scribbling in his diary in a taxi one day: that was lucky. This was in November 1984. From the depths of his brain, a "battleground of conflicting thoughts," as he later described it, came rudimentary bits of lyrics that would soon enough rock the world. It happened shortly after watching Michael Buerk''s terrible bulletin from famine-wracked Ethiopia on BBC News. Horrified by television footage depicting suffering of biblical proportions, Geldof felt at once shocked and helpless, his gut telling him that he had to get involved. He had no idea how. He could do what he did best: sit down and write a hit single, the proceeds of which he could pledge to Oxfam. But his Irish punk band the Boomtown Rats were by then in decline, having not enjoyed a Top Ten hit since 1980. Their zenith, a Number One with "I Don''t Like Mondays," had been and gone in 1979. Music fans, he knew, would flock to buy a charity single provided the artist was big enough--especially at the Christmas-single time of year. It was a question of finding a sympathetic star to record one. How much better if he could persuade a whole galaxy to join in one song.

Bob spoke to Midge Ure, whose band Ultravox were appearing that week on The Tube--a Channel 4 rock and pop show hosted by Geldof''s then girlfriend (soon to be his wife), the late Paula Yates. Midge agreed to set Geldof''s lyrics to music and to orchestrate some arrangements. Bob then went to Sting, Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon, Gary and Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet. His galactic list stretched as time ticked on to include, among many, Boy George, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the Style Council''s Paul Weller, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of Wham, and Paul Young. Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo went in willingly. Phil Collins and Bananarama followed suit. David Bowie and Paul McCartney, who were otherwise committed, made contributions remotely. These were sent to Geldof to be dubbed onto the single later. Sir Peter Blake, world-famous for his iconic artwork on the Beatles'' album cover Sgt. Pepper''s Lonely Hearts Club Band, was recruited to design the record sleeve. Band Aid was born, the name a pun on a common brand of adhesive bandage. This was to be a "band" that would "aid" the world.

"Do They Know It''s Christmas?" was recorded free of charge at Trevor Horn''s Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, West London, on 25 November 1984, and was released just four days later.

At Number One that week was knockout Scottish singer Jim Diamond, with his sublime, timeless ballad "I Should Have Known Better." Although Jim''s group PhD had scored a hit with "I Won''t Let You Down" in 1982, he had never had a solo hit. The music industry was therefore gobsmacked when big-hearted Jim gave an interview about his chart success.

"I''m delighted to be Number One," he said, "but next week I don''t want people to buy my record. I want them to buy Band Aid instead."

"I couldn''t believe it," said Geldof. "As a singer who hadn''t had a Number One for five years, I knew what it cost him to say that. He had just thrown away his first hit for others. It was genuinely selfless."

The next week, "Do They Know It''s Christmas?" went straight to Number One in the UK, outselling everything else on the chart put together and becoming Britain''s fastest-selling single since the chart''s inception in 1952. A million copies were shifted in the first week alone. The record held the Number One slot for five weeks, selling more than three and a half million copies. It went on to become the UK''s biggest-selling single of all time--ending the nine-year reign of Queen''s magnum opus, the "ba-rock" "Bohemian Rhapsody." "Do They Know It''s Christmas?" would only be outsold in 1997 by Elton John''s double-A-side charity single "Candle in the Wind/Something About the Way You Look Tonight," rerecorded as a tribute to the late Princess of Wales.

"Queen were definitely disappointed that they hadn''t been asked to appear on ''Do They Know It''s Christmas?,'' " admits Spike Edney, a session musician who toured with Queen as the band''s fifth member, contributing on keyboards, vocals, and rhythm guitar, and who had made his name playing for the Boomtown Rats and a string of big-name acts.

"I was out doing a Rats tour with Geldof, and I mentioned this to Bob. It was then he told me that he was hoping to get a show together, and he was definitely going to ask Queen to play. I remember thinking, Bollocks. He''s nuts. It''ll never happen."

The industry''s reaction to what Geldof had achieved so far suggested otherwise. Hot on the heels of the British chart effort came America''s contribution, in the form of supergroup USA for Africa and their single "We Are the World." Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian, the session brought together some of the world''s most legendary musicians. It was recorded at Hollywood''s A&M Studios in January 1985, and boasted a stellar cast, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Smokey Robinson, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Joel, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, and Huey Lewis among them. In all, more than forty-five of America''s top artists took part. A further fifty had to be turned away. When the chosen ones arrived at the studio, they were confronted with a sign instructing them to "please check your egos at the door." They were also met by an impish Stevie Wonder, informing them that if the song wasn''t up to scratch nor down in one take, he and fellow blind artist Ray Charles would be driving them all home. The record sold more than twenty million copies, and became America''s fastest-selling pop single ever.

It was after Queen''s challenging The Works outing that Geldof took his aid campaign up a notch, announcing plans to create the most ambitious rock ''n'' roll project of all time. Because they had been ignored for the single, Queen did not consider themselves an obvious choice for the concert lineup. That seems an irony now. Despite their fifteen-year career, a matchless back catalogue of albums, singles, and videos, royalties into the multimillions, and having landed most music awards going thanks to musicianship which embraced rock, pop, opera, rockabilly, disco, funk, and folk, Queen''s star appeared to be in the descendant. The band had been away from home for a considerable period between August 1984 and May 1985 promoting their album, The Works, during which they took part in the Rock in Rio festival in January 1985--performing live for 325,000 fans. But the tour had been beset by problems. There was talk of them going their separate ways.

"They were obviously drifting," confirms Spike Edney. "Times had changed, we were into a whole new musical genre. It was all New Romantics, Spandau Ballet, and Duran Duran. There''s no accounting for success or failure--and no guarantees. Things had been going a bit awry for Queen for a while, especially in America. There was shit going down with their US label. Their confidence was knocked. Maybe they did take it out on each other a bit. Who wouldn''t?"

"Hey, people fight," reasons their close friend, keyboard maestro, and former Strawb and Yes-guy, Rick Wakeman.

"Band members argue. It''s understandable: in how many other jobs are you flung together all the time? Out on the road, you eat breakfast together, travel to work together, have every meal together. The only time you are alone is in bed--and not always then. No matter how friendly you all are, there comes the day when you say to yourself, "If that guy scratches his head one more time, I''ll stick a knife in him." You have to learn to give each other space. Provided you make the right music, it doesn''t matter

Información bibliográfica