10 fascinating facts about Queen legend Freddie Mercury

22 June 2020, 10:31 | Updated: 22 June 2020, 10:36

By Tom Eames

Freddie Mercury was undoubtedly one of - if not the - greatest frontman of all time.

With Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie about his life story and time with Queen now a huge hit, we look back at some of the most important and interesting facts about the multi-talented star.

  1. What were Freddie Mercury's biggest songs?

    Outside of his work with Queen, Freddie Mercury recorded some solo material, including two solo albums and several singles.

    16 of Queen's greatest ever songs

    His two solo albums were Mr. Bad Guy (1985) and Barcelona (1988). In 1993, a remix of 'Living on My Own', posthumously reached number one in the UK.

    Barcelona was recorded with Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, and combined elements of popular music and opera. The title title track was a hit worldwide and received massive air play as the official anthem of the 1992 Summer Olympics.

  2. When was Freddie Mercury born?

    Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Stone Town in the British protectorate of the Sultanate of Zanzibar, East Africa (now part of Tanzania) on September 5, 1946.

  3. How many teeth did Freddie Mercury have?

    Freddie Mercury
    Picture: Getty

    Freddie had four extra teeth in his upper jaw, creating an overbite that Freddie was apparently never comfortable with.

    However, he never considered fixing them, because he believed that his four extra teeth were creating the special sound of his powerful voice.

  4. When and how did Freddie Mercury die?

    According to his partner Jim Hutton, Freddie Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS in late April 1987.

    After the conclusion of his work with Queen in June 1991, he retired to his home in Kensington. His former partner, Mary Austin, made regular visits to his home to look after him.

    Read more: Remembering Freddie Mercury's final public appearance at the 1990 Brit Awards

    On November 22 1991, Freddie called Queen's manager Jim Beach to discuss a public statement. The next day the following announcement was made: "Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV positive and have AIDS.

    "I felt it correct to keep this information private to date to protect the privacy of those around me. However, the time has come now for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease. My privacy has always been very special to me and I am famous for my lack of interviews. Please understand this policy will continue."

    The following day (November 24, 1991), Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45 at his home in Kensington. The official cause of death was bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.

    His close friend, Dave Clark of The Dave Clark Five, was with him at his bedside when he died.

  5. What was Freddie Mercury's vocal range?

    Freddie Mercury
    Picture: Getty

    While Freddie's speaking voice fell in the baritone range, he delivered most songs in the tenor range.

    His known vocal range extended from bass low F (F2) to soprano high F (F6). He could also get up to tenor high F (F5).

    Biographer David Bret described his voice as "escalating within a few bars from a deep, throaty rock-growl to tender, vibrant tenor, then on to a high-pitched, perfect coloratura, pure and crystalline in the upper reaches."

    Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, with whom Freddie recorded an album, said that "the difference between Freddie and almost all the other rock stars was that he was selling the voice".

  6. Who were Freddie Mercury's parents?

    His parents, Bomi (1908–2003) and Jer Bulsara (1922–2016), were Parsis from the Gujarat region of the then-province of Bombay Presidency in British India.

    The Bulsara family moved to Zanzibar so that his father could continue his job as a cashier at the British Colonial Office. He also had a younger sister, Kashmira.

    Aged 17, Freddie and his family fled Zanzibar for safety reasons due to the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution, in which thousands of Arabs and Indians were killed. The family moved into a small house at 22 Gladstone Avenue, Feltham, Middlesex, England.

  7. Did Freddie Mercury have a wife?

    Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin
    Picture: Getty

    In the early 1970s, Freddie had a long-term relationship with Mary Austin, a friend who he met through Brian May.

    He lived with Austin for several years in West Kensington, but by the mid-1970s, he had an affair with a male American record executive at Elektra Records.

    In December 1976, Freddie told Austin of his sexuality, ending their romantic relationship. He moved out of their flat, and bought Austin a place of her own nearby. They remained close friends for the rest of his life.

  8. Did he record music with Michael Jackson?

    In 1981 to 1983, Freddie Mercury recorded several tracks with Michael Jackson, including a demo of 'State of Shock', 'Victory', and 'There Must Be More to Life Than This'.

    However, none of these collaborations were released at the time, apart from bootleg recordings. Jackson went on to record 'State of Shock' with Mick Jagger for The Jacksons' album Victory.

    Freddie included the solo version of 'There Must Be More To Life Than This' on his Mr. Bad Guy album, and the duet was eventually reworked by Queen and released on their compilation album Queen Forever in 2014.

  9. What was Freddie Mercury's cat called?

    Freddie Mercury was particularly close to his favourite female tortoiseshell cat named Delilah.

    For Queen's 1991 album Innuendo, Freddie recorded a dedication to his pet on a track titled 'Delilah'.

    Roger Taylor later admitted he is not fond of the song, saying: "I hate 'Delilah'. That's just not me."

  10. Was Freddie Mercury an avid stamp collector?

    Freddie Mercury was a childhood stamp collector. In line with his family’s religious beliefs all of his belongings were burnt upon his death, although his father Bomi decided to keep his childhood stamp album.

    Bomi inspired Freddie’s stamp collecting, and it is thought that Freddie built up his collection between the ages of 9 and 12.

    Bomi auctioned his and Freddie's stamp collections, and the BPMA, then the National Postal Museum, purchased them in 1993. The amount paid was donated to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS charity.