Freddie Mercury Biographer Reveals Songs With Death Titles Were Attempt to ‘Kill Off the Old Freddie’
A new Freddie Mercury biography written by journalist and friend-to-Queen Lesley-Ann Jones dives deep into the man the lead singer became within seconds of walking off stage. In ‘Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury’ Jones further reveals the humble, quiet man who was conflicted sexually but capable of controlling thousands of fans with a sweep of his hand.
“He was a very big character,” Jones recently told Washington D.C. classic rock station WBIG, Big 100.3. “But he would come off the stage and drop the stardom, the way you take your coat off. And he’d reduce in size it almost seemed. He’d become a small humble chap again who would hang back.”
Host Tommy Griffiths points out the long list of Queen songs dealing with death or a fight for life. ‘All Dead, All Dead,’ ‘Death With No Legs,’ ‘Killer Queen,’ ‘Don’t Try Suicide’ and ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ are some. Jones says Mercury wasn’t necessarily obsessed with death, but he used it as a metaphor for his life.
“He was concerned with finding the courage to be the Freddie he knew he was inside. So in a fact he was trying to kill off the old Freddie, I always thought, in the songs.”
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was Mercury’s signature song and he knew it. The singer and the band had to fight to get it recorded and then against all odds, get it played on radio. “It defied everything to become their biggest hit of all time,” Jones said.
“This was the first time that anybody had thought to fuse opera with rock. Nobody thought it could work. He had the whole thing mapped out, and the rest of them are going ‘This is crazy.’” In the book she reveals that the song was his coming out song, although a sneaky one.
Amongst the other topics covered in the interview are the fortune Mercury left before he died, and how he hated touring. Jones speculates that if he was alive, Queen may still be recording, but likely wouldn’t tour.
“They recorded up to his last weeks really when he had to be helped to his feet to stand and sing,”
“He was determined to leave as much music as possible so the rest of the band could work on after he was gone.”