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.
About the Author
Lesley-Ann Jones is an award-winning music journalist and author. She toured with Queen and has unrivalled access to the band. She lives in London.
As lead singer of the band Queen, Freddy Mercury was a pure showman, fusing opera, theater, pop, and rock. Jones presents a candid life story of this rare phenomenon and chronicles Queen’s ascendance to musical superstardom. Born Farrokh “Fred” Bulsara in Zanzibar and raised a Zoroastrian Parsee (a religious community that abhors homosexuality), Mercury’s family moved to “swinging” London where his musical talents flourished. There he developed his “flamboyant and melodramatic” stage persona to counter the shy and insecure self later epitomized in his recording of “The Great Pretender.” Though he “preferred sex without any involvement,” his relations with women and sexual exploits with men “embroiled him in a distressing tangle of love affairs.” Mercury’s story is the tragedy of music royalty descending into dark excesses, the escalation of drug and drink usage that culminated in the worldwide news of his death from AIDS. Though it will appeal to more than just Queen obsessives, Jones’s band history proves to be the ultimate fan’s resource: she thoroughly documents the development of each album’s release, promotion, reviews, and infamous tours—including the background and production of their classic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” In this exhaustively enjoyable read, Jones combines her own detailed research with the brutal honesty of family and friends, media and music insiders, bandmates and bedmates. Agent: Ivan Mulcahy, Mulcahy Conway Associates. (July)
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 details in her wide-eyed portrait of outrageous Queen frontman Freddie Mercury (1946–1991). Born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar to a family with both African and Indian roots, he fled his strict Zoroastrian upbringing for swinging London, where he was an art student whose dreams of rock glory would be realized when he met a talented band in need of an over-the-top lead singer. Fully intent on being a legend, Mercury was campy and outrageous from the beginning and soon rich enough to indulge a lifestyle that was as excessive as his vocal style. Due in part to his religious upbringing, he was sexually confused into early adulthood; his longtime female lover, Mary Austin, seems to have figured out his gay orientation well before he did. Although Mercury never officially came out during his lifetime, songwriter Tim Rice fascinatingly suggests that Queen's signature hit, "Bohemian Rhapsody," can be read as Mercury's own coming-out song: "He's killed the old Freddy he was trying to be: the former image." Jones dutifully follows the shaping of Mercury's persona and the backstage goings-on of the "most debauched party-givers in rock." Although Mercury often comes across as shallow and irresponsible--he didn't let the growing threat of AIDS slow down his promiscuity until he was diagnosed in 1987--he was apparently generous and kind. Jones and her many interviewees recall him in numbingly glowing terms. While devoted fans will likely swallow this hagiography whole, anyone looking for more than just a little silhouetto of a man is likely to be disappointed.
""Mercury" goes beyond the glittering facade to get an unvarnished look at Queen's rise to fame, the loves of Mercury's life and his fraught relationship with his conservative past, creating a complete portrait of this magnetic musician." "--MetroSource"
Number Of Pages: 350
Published: 3rd July 2012
Publisher: TOUCHSTONE PR
Dimensions (cm): 23.368 x 16.256 x 3.251
Weight (kg): 0.617