There is absolutely no denying that Freddie Mercury, the flamboyant frontman of rock group Queen, was one of the very best showmen in history. He could captivate and entertain millions with his incredible vocal range. But did you know that despite being so captivating on stage, Mercury was actually a very shy person, who rarely granted interviews? Take in these other quirky facts about one of the greatest singers who ever lived.
1. A Little Bit Catty
Mercury absolutely adored his cats, having ten of them at one point. While on tour, he would periodically call beloved friend Mary Austin, who would hold the phone up to the cats so Mercury could talk to them. He even dedicated his album Mr. Bad Guy and the song Delilah to his sweet kitties.
2. Mr. Mercury
Despite being born Farrokh Bulsara, Mercury’s official passport even read ‘Frederick Mercury.’ He wasn’t very fond of being called anything other than Freddie, a name he took prior to his Queen days. He adopted Mercury after the formation of the group.
3. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Inspiration was known to strike at anytime, and his assistants were required to carry a pen and paper on them at all times just in case. For example, the lyrics for “Life Is Real” were taken down quickly while flying over the Atlantic from New York, and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was written while Mercury was in the bath. He even had his piano brought in so he could put the melody to the lyrics. The hit “Who Wants To Live Forever?” was written in a car while the band was driving back home after watching a preview of the movie Highlander.
4. He Was Very Opinionated
Mercury was known to be very opinionated. After he boarded a flight from New York to Tokyo, he found out that the plane he was on was a DC10, a particular model that had some trouble in the past. Mercury stood up, remarked, “DC death more like!” stormed off the plane and waited fourteen hours for the last seat in economy on the next flight.
5. The Queen Emblem
Remember the ever-famous emblem of Queen? Mercury designed and drew it by himself, all thanks to his degree in art and graphic design from the Ealing Art College. The crest itself is made up of the zodiac signs of the entire band, with a Cancer crab for Brian May, two fairies to represent Mercury’s Virgo sign, and two Leo lions for Roger Taylor and John Deacon.
6. Bohemian Rhapso-don’t
Mercury didn’t fancy himself a great pianist. Thus, he often dreaded having to perform “Bohemian Rhapsody” live in concert, because he was worried that he would mess up the piano section during the performance. As years went on, he relied less on the piano on his albums so he could be more free to dance during concerts.
7. Mercury The Philatelist
Mr. Mercury was quite the avid stamp collector, also known as a philatelist. To this day, his extensive stamp collection is still exhibited at stamp shows throughout the world under the estate of his birth name.
8. Bottomless Mic
The entertainer’s trademark “Bottomless Mic” all happened by accident during one performance early on in the band’s career. He was mid-performance and the mic stand snapped. Instead of replacing it, in true Freddie fashion, he made it work and continued to use the bottomless mic from then on.