5:02 PM GMT 17/05/2013
19 years ago today the rock world lost one of its true greats. To coincide with MOJO magazine's celebration of all things Freddie Mercury, we've compiled a video playlist mapping the career of the legendary Queen frontman. We've tried to avoid listing a bunch of route-one Queen classics (so you'll find no Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are The Champions here, although Mercury was, of course, responsible for both). Instead, we've focused on some of the more quintessentially quirky Freddie moments. We begin in 1973...
Much of Queen's first album only hints at the huge studio creations that were to define the band, but Freddie's image as outré peacock glam-rocker was in place from the very start - as was his cut-off mic-stand and gleaming Zandra Rhodes apparel.
Stone Cold Crazy, 1974
A Freddie Mercury creation born during his days in pre-Queen outfit Wreckage, Stone Cold Crazy would eventually appear fully formed on 1974's Sheer Heart Attack. It remains one of the band's heaviest songs and is still covered by Metallica to this day.
You Take My Breath Away, 1977
"Before we tease you with a bit of heavy rock'n'roll..." This beautiful Mercury ballad found a home on A Day At The Races (1976) and is an elegant example of Freddie's skill as a pianist and songwriter.
Somebody To Love, 1981
Mercury's bombastic gospel-soul anthem was never easy to do live, but even without the army of harmonies, this majestic performance is hard to fault.
Queen's relationship with the press was fraught from day one and by 1984 Mercury was barely granting any interviews at all. Here, an unsuspecting Italian journalist gets a taste of his, er, distaste.
I Want To Break Free, 1984
Endlessly parodied, Queen's Corrie-gone-drag promo was banned from US MTV when audiences failed to get the soap opera connection, instead focusing on the four blokes dressed as women one of whom wanders through the house with a hoover. Still, John Deacon's song hit Number 3 in the UK and quickly became a firm live favourite.
It's A Hard Life, 1984
Shunning the controversy surrounding the I Want To Break Free video, Mercury took his passion for the operatic and the extravagant one step further with this promo starring the members of Queen as Regency courtiers. Freddie's giant prawn outfit may not have been to everyone's taste but the song made it onto the second volume of Queen Greatest Hits and was performed by Brian May, Roger Taylor and Keane's Tom Chaplin just last week. ________________________________________________________________________
Live Aid, 1985
Stripped of their mammoth lighting rig and explosive pyrotechnics, Queen took the stage at Live Aid widely regarded as a band past their prime. 20 minutes and a rocket stream of hits later they would be crowned as the best band of the day. This is Freddie Mercury in his element.
Vocal Improvisation, 1986
Mercury's command over a stadium crowd was astonishing. His mantra of "the bigger the better" works to startling effect here as he challenges the 72,000-strong Wembley crowd to an early evening sing-off. Who will win?
Tavaszi szél vizet áraszt, 1986
On July 27, 1986 Queen arrived in Budapest to play a historic gig behind the Iron Curtain at the city's 80,000-capacity Nepstadion. Mercury and Brian May marked the occasion by covering this Hungarian children's song much to the delight of the crowd. Check out Freddie reading the lyrics off his hand. ________________________________________________________________________
The Making Of One Vision, 1985
Here's a rare glimpse of Queen at work in the studio. Once again, Mercury is very much in charge, directing both Roger Taylor to make sure "the snares are of even weight" and delivering the immortal unused lyric "one turd to fit John Deacon".
Love Of My Life, 1985
Recorded for A Night At The Opera, this simple ballad first became a hit in South America when a live version of the song hit Number 1 in Argentina and Brazil in 1979. In fact, it became such a pivotal moment in the Queen live set, Mercury very rarely had to sing the whole song. He had tens of thousands of people to do that for him.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted by Ross_Bennett at 3:39 PM GMT 24/11/2010