05 Dec Bohemian Rhapsody and Freddie Mercury
I loved Queen in their heyday and in the years that followed. It was a great loss when Freddie Mercury passed at the untimely age of 45. I grieved along with the music lovers all over. Music knows no boundaries and remains universal, current widespread regressive tendencies notwithstanding.
They have been in the news again recently because of the biopic on them, named after their typically Freddie piece of the above name. It was an excellent movie even though I concurred with the critic of a well-known International magazine that not enough importance was given to Freddie.
Freddie loomed so large on the scene and in songs like I Want to be Free, Radio Ga Ga and Crazy Little Thing Called Love (which apparently he composed in the bathtub and the whole band joined him there) it is predominantly him. Bohemian Rhapsody, of course, came against much opposition from within the band – who wanted to remain true only to classic rock and roll. This was a Mercurian mix of Classical influences and Jazz. A motley combination that worked inspite of the initial scepticism of the band.
Was Freddie in some sense always the outsider despite being the lead? He pointed out once that he was the lead singer of the group and not its leader. But de facto he was. He had the chutzpah, the stage presence and he strutted about the stage no less its ringleader than Mick Jagger of the Stones. And yet if we are to go by the biopic it was almost by accident that he joined the group at Heathrow and they agreed to try him out. I didn’t even know until much later that he was not native British. He certainly looked British to me. But in fact both his parents were Indian Parsees. It is said he came across some outright racism in his career. If so, he took it in his stride and strode upon the stage like the Colossus he was. Had AIDS not been without a cure in those early years, he would still have been there singing, These Are the Days of Our Lives.