Monday, September 05, 2011
Happy Birthday, Freddie Mercury, wherever you are...
The former Queen lead singer was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, were Parsis from the Gujarat region of the then province of Bombay Presidency in British India. The Bulsara family had moved to Zanzibar so that his father could continue his job as a cashier at the British Colonial Office. He had a younger sister, Kashmira.
In 1954, at the age of eight, Freddie Mercury was sent to study at St. Peter's School, a British-style boarding school for boys in Panchgani, near Bombay, India. It was at St. Peter's that he began to call himself "Freddie".
At the age of 17, Mercury and his family fled from Zanzibar for safety reasons due to the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution.They moved into a small house in Feltham, Middlesex, England. Freddie enrolled at Isleworth Polytechnic in West London where he studied art and remained a British citizen for the rest of his life.
In April 1970, Freddie Mercury joined guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor in a new band that he named "Queen", stating that "I was certainly aware of the gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it". At about the same time, he changed his surname, Bulsara, to Mercury.
According to his partner Jim Hutton, Freddie was diagnosed with AIDS shortly after Easter of 1987, although our beloved singer claimed in an interview to have tested negative for HIV.
However, his inner circle of colleagues and friends, whom he felt he could trust, continually denied the stories, even after one front page article showed Mercury appearing very haggard in what was now a rare public appearance. Brian May confirmed in a 1993 interview that Mercury had informed the band of his illness much earlier. Filmed in May 1991, the music video for "These Are the Days of Our Lives" features a very thin Mercury, where these are his final scenes in front of a camera.
Near the end of his life, Freddie was starting to lose his sight and his deterioration was so overpowering that he could not get out of bed. Due to his worse conditions, he decided to quicken death by refusing to take his medication.
Freddie Mercury died on the evening of November 24th, 1991, at the age of 45, at his home in Kensington. The official cause of death was bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.
I remember being on the school bus the next morning as I heard the news and feeling so sad: The world had lost rock's greatest all-time entertainer with one of the most wonderful voices in music!
Happy 65th, Freddie Mercury, you will always be remembered for the magical moments you provided us!