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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 facade.
Now, more than 20 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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By S. Roberts on 12-16-16
I loved listening to this book -- it felt as if I was listening to a documentary because so many of the key characters have their own voice (i.e. there are professional readers reading for each character in the book rather than one storyteller). I feel like I know a good deal about Freddie's life after listening to this book--this book tells the story without shying away from AIDS and the horrors it brought yet captured the gentleness in Freddie's key relationships and his relationships with women. I was on a bicycling vacation in Montreaux a few years ago: I rode past a Freddie Mercury statue and wondered "wow. What a strange place for this statue. (I didn't know about Freddie's love affair with the quaint town). I also heard "we are the champions" blasting. I followed the sound and found a huge Freddie Mercury tribute contest going on. It was a surreal day. It was in September so no doubt it was a celebration of his birthday. This book caused me to think about that day and to search for the photos we took of these discoveries. ❤️💥👑
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Paul Sas on 10-05-12
A tattler, not well-written, yet a guilty pleasure
Let's just bite the big bad truth at the outset: This is a gossipy tattle sheet about Freddy Mercury & by extension, Queen. I was initially quite irked by the author's voice, which is that of a self-loathing hack journalist whose greatest ambition is to gawk at famous people. She boasts of having "worked as a columnist on The Sun, The Daily Mail, The News Of The World and The Sunday Express." I was about to bail on this, when I suddenly realized that I was getting direct access to a personality I've never myself encountered, and although I can't say she's at all attractive, she does channel the British underclass obsessions and anxieties. Armed with this realization, I kicked back into enjoying this guilty pleasure. Unfortunately, the book doesn't give a great deal of insight into Freddy Mercury, who remains rather enigmatic. But there's lots of quotes (the audiobook's additional quirk is that multiple actors voice the different persons quoted). There's some interesting info about Queen, e.g., that they're the only band to ever have more than one #1 single written by each of the 4 members (so, there, they're better than the Beatles, and indeed, Ms Jones states that Queen has sold more albums than the Fab 4). I was fascinated to learn that Freddy developed a close relationship with Barbara Valentin, an actress in Germany who'd been in several Fassbinder films. I ended up enjoying this romp, although it's not at all a well written book.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful