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I'm possessed by love — but isn't everybody?
September 4, 2011 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Today is the 65th birthday of artist, performer, and pioneer Farrokh Bulsara (AKA Freddie Mercury), so Google produced this doodle for him. Here's a YouTube mirror.

Posted previously: Over 1,000 previous doodles from all over the world.
posted by growabrain (107 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
I also had a good time.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:25 AM on September 4, 2011


Who wants to live forever?
posted by curious nu at 11:28 AM on September 4, 2011


This is awesome! Google America, Y U NO LIKE FREDDIE?! I think he would have liked this. Especially fabulous King Freddie on top of the throne of lions.

Don't Stop Me Now is also one of the best songs ever. Case in point.
posted by phunniemee at 11:29 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there a better song for storming the Evil Empire's fortress with your home-made space ship? No, no there is not.
posted by The Whelk at 11:29 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Correction: FM's birthday is September 5, so the creeps starts in NZ
posted by growabrain at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2011


Iremember the day that Freddie announced he had AIDS. My local classic station said they were inundated with requestes for this song.

You were a true showman Freddie. We miss ya.
posted by jonmc at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


What an amazing doodle. Why is it only in Google New Zealand ?
posted by 2manyusernames at 11:31 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Correction: FM's birthday is September 5, so the creeps starts in NZ
ah, thanks growabrain
posted by 2manyusernames at 11:32 AM on September 4, 2011


Correction: FM's birthday is September 5, so the creeps starts in NZ

Whew. For a second there, I thought I was going to have to drive out to Mountain View and lay a smackdown on somebody.
posted by phunniemee at 11:34 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder if he's supposed to look like the King of All Cosmos at one point? -- because he sure does. The artist clearly knows his video games.

In any case I love this.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:36 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


RIP Fred - great voice, great showman, and not a fuck did he give.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:37 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ah, Freddie you magnificent bastard - the world is a much smaller place without your ongoing contributions.

Possibly ironic tribute because if Freddy Mercury were alive, he probably couldn't join Google+.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:38 AM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder if he's supposed to look like the King of All Cosmos at one point?

Your cart, it is before your horse.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


Freddie! He starred in one of my favorite animes. Good ol' Freddie.
posted by rifflesby at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was just thinking about Freddie Mercury the other day. He died while I was in residence at university and I have never seen so many sporty, tough guys look sad and lost, not even a few years later when Kurt Cobain passed.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:40 AM on September 4, 2011


Riding the tiger! That was pretty great.
posted by ColdChef at 11:40 AM on September 4, 2011


Why is it only in Google New Zealand ?
It's on Google Hong Kong now; perhaps it's rolling out as the date changes?
posted by Abiezer at 11:50 AM on September 4, 2011


I wonder if google/youtube actually licensed (and paid for) the tune ... or did they just use it like 99% of the rest o the content on Youtube?
posted by jannw at 11:56 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


That made me cry, and I'm not usually a softie.

He's kind of special around here because my wife and in-laws all have that genetic cousin resemblance thing going on - he's one of our tribe. Love to my dead Parsi homeboy, and bittersweet thoughts about the relentless passing of time.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:03 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


jonmc, I was dreading clicking that link, thinking it was going to be "Another One Bites the Dust". I think some NY radio stations played that song when the news broke out about Freddie Mercury and caused some much deserved anger. (Was it Imus?)

I'm looking forward to Sacha Baron Cohen's upcoming portrayal of him in the biopic.
posted by cazoo at 12:04 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just want to say that this video is the best ever.

And it's age-restricted, for some reason. Some wrong reason.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:05 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not usually a fan of Google doodles, but this was AWESOME!
posted by SPrintF at 12:08 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes! Elena, I too saw the King of all Cosmos in there.
posted by maryr at 12:10 PM on September 4, 2011


Twenty years he's been gone ... blimey, I'm old.
posted by Grangousier at 12:10 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


this is the song every single high school graduating class played when i was a teen
posted by liza at 12:12 PM on September 4, 2011


Your first link is going to stop being right in just a few hours. Is there any kind of permanent link you could use? Or put a snapshot on a photo site somewhere?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:16 PM on September 4, 2011


Oh, glorious Freddie! How we miss you.
posted by scody at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by thecjm at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2011


Chocolate Pickle: Google usually archives their doodles on their doodle blog-page. But I added a mirror link in the post, just in case
posted by growabrain at 12:23 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is rolling out as the date changes, I picked it up after hong kong from singapore.

btw "could edit your name to match our profile requirements"

Possibly ironic tribute because if Freddy Mercury were alive, he probably couldn't join Google+.

did he legally change Balsara to Mercury ? Would it show up on his govt issued ID?
posted by infini at 12:27 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or put a snapshot on a photo site somewhere?

here

its the last image
posted by infini at 12:29 PM on September 4, 2011


If I get lucky enough to become an important cultural icon, promise me that after I die you won't let anyone use my likeness for branding purposes.
posted by jwhite1979 at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aw, I thought that was great. Here's a fan-fucking-tastic performance of my favorite Freddie song.
posted by naoko at 12:34 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is there a better song for storming the Evil Empire's fortress with your home-made space ship? No, no there is not.

But what if there's Ogres on that planet? Didn't think of that, did you?

Or Liars?
Or just stone cold crazy shit?

Queen peaked before Boho-Rhap. It's true.
posted by philip-random at 12:48 PM on September 4, 2011


It's a crime that in life Freddie was never able to jump a tiger through a burning hoop. Good to see that's finally been put right.
posted by permafrost at 12:49 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Artist Aleksandra Mir is currently working on a project called "Freddie on the Plinth": an attempt to bring the heroic statue of Freddie Mercury by Czech sculptor Irena Sedlecká (currently in Montreux) to the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square.

You can sign the petition here.


(Also: Yay, Google!)
posted by neroli at 12:51 PM on September 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Growing up in our Christian household, we only listened to two types of music: classical, and Queen, the only band from my dad's days as a pirate radio DJ that he couldn't bear to give up when he got religion.

I was raised on you, Freddie. I cried so damn hard when you died, I got into a huge fight at school when someone made a poofter joke about you, and every year at around this time I watch THAT Live Aid performance and cry a little bit all over again.

God bless.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:54 PM on September 4, 2011 [20 favorites]


Queen peaked before Boho-Rhap. It's true.

... except for Under Pressure.

posted by philip-random at 12:57 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love that link, neroli. Has it been a FPP?
posted by jwhite1979 at 12:58 PM on September 4, 2011


"...an exploration of the connections between socialist realism and glam rock..." <3
posted by jwhite1979 at 1:01 PM on September 4, 2011


Has it been a FPP?

Not that I know of. Aleksandra's a friend of friends, so I probably shouldn't, but feel free.
posted by neroli at 1:06 PM on September 4, 2011


Under Pressure live at Wembley Stadium
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:06 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Legend has it that when the band was getting ready to record "The Show Must Go On," Freddie was already quite ill -- to the point that Brian May was having some doubts he was even physically capable of singing the track. But when he asked if Freddie would be okay doing the track that day, Freddie just snarled, "I'll fucking DO it, darling!" drank a few shots of vodka, and then went on to record the vocal track in only one take.

Sometimes you've just got to fucking DO it, darling.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:06 PM on September 4, 2011 [39 favorites]


Meatbomb? Passing of time? That music is timeless. I get the same kick today listening to Mr. Mercury as I did when I was 16. It's time standing still.
posted by three blind mice at 1:13 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


God bless you, Freddie.
posted by New England Cultist at 1:20 PM on September 4, 2011


Crazy Little Thing Called Love on Saturday Night Live in 1982. Oh Freddie you were so badass.
posted by JanetLand at 1:23 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Queen is the only band that everyone in my immediate family likes. We'll argue for hours about everything else, but Freddie? Freddie's awesome and that's all there is to it.

My parents raised me on several different Queen albums on record, cd and tape, and own a total of about five DVDs, in which pride of place goes to Live at Wembley Stadium (which is awesome). My first record was a Queen record.

The last time I walked into Amoeba, I walked out with my fifth Queen album.

Queen's recording of Crazy Little Thing (called love) remains my favorite. Ready, Freddie?

I've always wanted to see Flash Gordon because of the awesome soundtrack. "Flash--ah ah--saviour of the universe!" "What do you mean, Flash Gordon approaching?" "Flash, I love you! But we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!"

Whenever I'm having a particularly cranky day, I start humming to myself "I want it all--and I want it now." Never fails to cheer me up.

I miss Freddie.
posted by librarylis at 1:34 PM on September 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: "Your first link is going to stop being right in just a few hours. Is there any kind of permanent link you could use? Or put a snapshot on a photo site somewhere?"

I imagine Google will keep an active copy of this one online, much like they did for the Les Paul Doodle. I'm glad to know there's an archive of these. Since they don't include doodles on the encrypted search page, I'd never get to see them otherwise.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:41 PM on September 4, 2011


Seriously, who else could rock 8 bits quite like him?
posted by tommasz at 1:44 PM on September 4, 2011


Since they don't include doodles on the encrypted search page, I'd never get to see them otherwise.

this one actually showed up on the encrypted page
posted by infini at 1:58 PM on September 4, 2011


Under Pressure live at Wembley Stadium

That whole DVD is amazing. He could work 100,000 people in a stadium better than most frontmen could work a little club. There will never be another Freddie.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:59 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Freddy Mercury's awesomeness is only amplified by the fact that the man loved him some cats.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:00 PM on September 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I love this doodle. Such a charismatic and brilliant entertainer he was. There was a lot of hate for "Another One Bites the Dust" when I was in high school, but for me, that song and that video were subversive, no matter what anyone said. The song was campy and flamboyant and over the top (yes, most of them were, but this was the first Queen song that I'd ever really paid any attention to) and -- come on, that yellow tank top and tight jeans and florid mustache were one of the gay uniforms of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and Freddie rocked them unapologetically. I don't usually find mustaches sexy, but Freddie knew how to work that stache.
posted by blucevalo at 2:51 PM on September 4, 2011


Queen peaked before Boho-Rhap. It's true.

Counterpoint: Innuendo. Maybe they peaked, but they had so much good stuff left that who cares.

I've written this before, but Queen's late work got me through cancer. The Miracle and Innuendo contain some of the most affecting ruminations on life and loss, faith and doubt, that I've ever heard, often in the simplest of terms. Just listen to this song. I used to do my slow slogging walks after chemotherapy while listening to this one song. Now I'm slowly working through their extensive back catalog and realizing how much they kicked fucking ass.

Thanks, Freddie.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:56 PM on September 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Also on a Freddie-Mercury-and-cats note, the shelter where Mrs. Example and I got our little black cat Stella is a short walk from the Kensal Green Cemetery, which is where his body was cremated. Not hugely relevant, and it doesn't change your lives any, but we thought it was interesting at the time.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:06 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, best scene in any movie ever.
posted by Existential Dread at 3:13 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]



Innuendo was the song that got me into Queen. I was 18ish, and just moved out of my parents place. I lived in a shitty apartment with a couple roomates, but like all good young men, I spent my money on a decent and loud stereo with one of them there newfanged CD players.

I had heard of Queen, of course, being a child of the 70s and 80s. I didn't think much of them.

I had heard them. I had never actually listened.

I caught Innuendo on MTV one night, and bought the CD a few days later. Such power and range! I bought a couple other Queen CDs, and was amazed that I had completely missed this phenomenon while it was happening.

I'm now watching that history repeat with my own son. He came up to me a few weeks ago and said "why didn't you tell me that you had this album and that it was awesome!?"

"I tried, son. You need to listen more."
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:14 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Freddie - va a viure per sempre en els nostres cors.
posted by adamvasco at 3:36 PM on September 4, 2011


Aw, Freddie. We miss you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:56 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are we sharing our stories of how we came to love Queen? Okay, then.

I was 8 (in the early 90s), and had just heard "Happy Together" on the oldies station. I had decided it was the best song in the world; my mom said she was pretty sure she had it on cassette somewhere, and pulled a huge box of tapes down from the attic. So here I was, going through all these old tapes (all obsessively label-maker labelled with her maiden name, which amused me) looking for the Turtles. While rummaging, I pulled out anything with a name I was familiar with (Beatles, Yes, Sonny and Cher, Uriah Heep, the Lovin' Spoonful, etc) to listen to later.

And then I came across Queen's Greatest Hits.

I had never heard of Queen, but the cover intrigued me. Looking at that tiny picture, I mistook Roger Taylor for a chick, and I thought it was cool that there was a girl playing in a boy's band. "That must be why they call it Queen," I thought, "because of her!" So, I trot off to my room to stick that sucker in my clock radio, and OH MY GOD THE MOST AWESOME MUSIC IN THE ENTIRE WORLD CAME POURING OUT OF IT. The tape just happened to be stopped right in the middle of Bohemian Rhapsody. I listened to that tape probably daily for at least a year. I'm surprised it didn't just melt into the player and completely disintegrate, I played it so much.

A couple of weeks into my Queen obsession, my mom just sort of offhandedly said, "you know Freddie Mercury's dead, right?" "WHAT?" "Yeah, he died of AIDS. Not long ago, actually. It's really sad, he was so young and so talented." "NOOOOOO!" I remember I spent the entire rest of the night crying. I was inconsolable. So sad.

But Queen, man. Queen is awesome. They were my first favorite band, and they remain my favorite band to this day. Adults would think it was "cute"; other kids my age just thought I was weird. In art class in middle school, we got to trade off music in class every day. On my day, I brought the Greatest Hits I&II box set (complete with booklet insert) to play. The kids snatched the booklet out and started passing it around, laughing at how "gay" the band looked. (Well, Freddie is wearing a pretty spectacular cat vest in one of the pictures, but that's beside the point.) No one would listen to the music (because it was gay, you see) and there was a full-scale result. The art teacher had to switch music and we spent the rest of the class listening to Will Smith rap about Miami. (She apologized afterwards.) Stupid kids.

Though, if it weren't for how gay they all looked, I might never have picked up the tape at all. Thank you, Roger Taylor, for being so pretty.
posted by phunniemee at 4:29 PM on September 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


*revolt. Full-scale revolt.
posted by phunniemee at 4:32 PM on September 4, 2011


Brian May guest-posts at the Google Blog: Happy Birthday Freddie Mercury
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Freddie was one of my first childhood crushes. I had a poster of him on my wall through most of college - found it was a good litmus test for the boys who'd visit our room - if they made snide comments they weren't worth inviting back for a second visit.

I've always appreciated the bit in the Pratchett/Gaiman book Good Omens:

"[...] all tapes left in a car for more than about a fortnight metamorphose into 'Best of Queen' albums."

In an interview in Comics Buyer's Guide with Terry and Neil, shortly after the American release of Good Omens, Terry proposed the theory that, when you're driving through the country late at night, and there's nothing on the radio, you find yourself stopping in at an all-night gas station and looking through the tape rack; the only thing there remotely tolerable is a Best of Queen, so you buy that. Two weeks later you can't remember how the thing got there, so you get rid of it, only to go through the same process again. Neil's theory was that tapes really do turn into Best of Queen albums. "[...] all tapes left in a car for more than about a fortnight metamorphose into 'Best of Queen' albums."


I have a third belief personally - that on long road trips, Queen is a neutral awesome that everyone in the car can agree on.
posted by librarianamy at 5:15 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"In fact, he was currently wondering who Moet and Chandon were"
posted by The Whelk at 5:18 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Existential Dread - Thank you for posting that, because I was amazed we had gotten so far without doing so. Arguably the best part of arguably the best zombie movie of all time.

Anyway, Queen is amazing and Freddie Mercury was a showman the likes of which we haven't seen since. Maybe Gaga. Could you imagine the duet those two would inevitably have done? Glitter EVERYWHERE.
posted by HostBryan at 5:45 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love this thread because thinking about Freddie and hearing all these songs is so totally satisfying.

But I am so struck by the deep well of sadness that his loss taps, even still these two decades later. I am near to weeping watching some of these videos. I think for me it is also just a reminder of the massive toll that AIDS took and my sadness about Freddie is compounded by the grief I still feel so deeply for the loss of so many wonderful, vibrant, creative young friends. That was such a terrible time.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:13 PM on September 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


What a voice though! Captivating.
posted by ersatz at 6:35 PM on September 4, 2011


I've always found the video for "These Are the Days of Our Lives" kinda heartbreaking. It was issued as a single exactly 20 years ago (Sept. 5, 1991), and Mercury died less than two months later.

Really sad when you realize that the skinny, dapper guy smiling and softly singing to the camera in that video is dying, and probably in a lot of pain.
posted by alexoscar at 6:43 PM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Brian May is watching TV in his living room when all of a sudden in a puff of smoke Freddie Mercury appears from nowhere.
Brian both shocked and startled cries 'Jesus Freddie! How did you manage that!?'
To which Freddie replies 'Well little did you know Brian but I practiced in the ancient art of voodoo for many years on the QT.'
Brian confused says 'Voodoo Freddie? What's Voodoo?'
Freddie answers 'It's a kinda magic'
posted by growabrain at 6:47 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


And despite what naysayers say, no, Freddie could join Google+.
Even his official passport read ‘Frederick Mercury’, despite the fact that his birth name was Farrokh Bulsara. Calling him anything but Freddie would not be well received, however - he started using the name ‘Freddie’ prior to ever arriving in England, and ‘Mercury’ when Queen first started
(source: Clashmusic.com)
posted by mephron at 6:50 PM on September 4, 2011


WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:53 PM on September 4, 2011


Are we sharing our stories of how we came to love Queen? Okay, then.

I was fourteen. It was spring 1974. It was my habit to hang by my combination radio-cassette player (always tuned to LGFM) with my finger poised over the record button just in case something A.F.W. (absolutely fucking wild) came on. So it was with LIAR. It was ... powerful, passionate, like Jesus Christ Superstar meets Led Zeppelin by way of Black Sabbath and/or Yes -- it was beyond words. Constant replaying of that cassette would have to suffice ... until I could save the five or six bucks required to actually buy the album, at which point the guy at the record store gave me a weird look --

"You realize they're fags, right?"
"No way."
"What do you think Queen means?"

I bought it anyway. And then Queen II a few months later. For a while, it was like having our own private universe (myself and a few friends), because Queen were decidedly NOT turning many heads in our far distant corner of the western world. Too wild and weird for the Elton John fanatics, too ... gay for the Led Zep meatheads. But then a few more months later, Sheer Heart Attack came out (Queen were nothing if not prolific back then) with a song that actually made it as an AM radio hit (Killer Queen) and suddenly we had to share Queen with everybody else.
posted by philip-random at 6:58 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love Freddie as much as everybody else here, but the rest of the band wows me, too. I don't think there are many moments more powerful than the "Can't we give ourselves one more chance/Why can't we give love that one more chance" part of Under Pressure. It's a combination of Freddie's voice, Brian's guitar, Roger's HUGE SOUNDING ride cymbal and the tension John's bass line has built up to that point.

I've watched a handful of live versions online and no matter the video, the whole band takes that song to the next level. Like many of you, I've seen far too many cover bands foolishly attempt Under Pressure, too - no one takes that song, and indeed, any song, up a notch like those guys could.
posted by elmer benson at 7:23 PM on September 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Since we're sharing cinematic tributes, there's also this moment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:32 PM on September 4, 2011


....Hey, I didn't know that the doodle was ANIMATED! Cool....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:35 PM on September 4, 2011


What does it say about me that I wanted to see how Google would illustrate "a sex machine waiting to reload"? I miss Freddy, but am raising the kids with a good dollop of Queen.
posted by bystander at 8:04 PM on September 4, 2011


jonmc got it so right... "Keep Yourself Alive" was the song that introduced me to Queen and always remained one of my favorites... the fast-driving beat, the razor-sharp vocals and the weird guitar... unique, yet somehow perfect. When Freddie died I was almost outraged, feeling "dammit, man, you didn't follow your own advice!" (I blame the Highlander song)
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:10 PM on September 4, 2011


This is so timely because I was just today shopping for Queen CDs for my son, who is turning 10 on Wednesday. If Bohemian Rapsody comes on the car radio when we've arrived at home we have to sit there and listen to the entire thing.
So yeah, new generation and all that.
posted by chococat at 8:18 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Freddy Mercury's awesomeness is only amplified by the fact that the man loved him some cats.

And Brian May loves him some badgers.
posted by homunculus at 8:38 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


from the Kensal Green Cemetery, which is where his body was cremated

This is interesting. He's Zoroastrian (Parsi) and their tradition is to place the bodies on Towers of Silence (of which there are a few in Mumbai).
posted by infini at 9:13 PM on September 4, 2011


I saw Queen at Knebworth in - oh, it must have been around 1986, I think. Anyway, it was when Freddie still had all his energy, because what I remember most about the gig is arriving with an "Oh, I used to love Queen but they're so sold out now" attitude and left with a "My God, that was one of the greatest shows I ever saw" attitude. I mean, I knew Freddie was a showman but I had no idea he was that good at it. I've certainly never seen a band rock the hell out of a massive field full of people as brilliantly as they did, either before or since.
posted by Decani at 9:24 PM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why is it only in Google New Zealand ?
It's on Google Hong Kong now; perhaps it's rolling out as the date changes?


I saw it a couple of hours on Google Japan, so I imagine we'll see it on the U.S. site later today...
posted by asciident at 10:38 PM on September 4, 2011


Now this is a successful Google wave - as each time zone hits midnight
posted by infini at 11:41 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have always said that the one band I would have liked to have seen live is Queen. Hands down.

Happy Birthday, Freddy Mercury
posted by captainsohler at 11:49 PM on September 4, 2011


I want to break free
posted by infini at 12:16 AM on September 5, 2011


Our doodle celebrating Freddie's birthday can be seen around the world on September 5 and, out of respect for Labor Day, in the U.S. on September 6.
posted by Pendragon at 1:33 AM on September 5, 2011


It's fortunate that Freddie Mercury merely wanted to perform stunning musical performances, and wasn't a brutal dictator, because I don't think there is anyone who ever lived that could wrap tens of thousands of people around his finger like he could.

It's not the best recording, but it is my favorite Queen song, a devastating song if you know about special relativity, and a good example that it's best that your lead guitarist is a PhD astrophysicist.

(Your mother's eyes from your eyes cry to me)
posted by dirigibleman at 2:04 AM on September 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Summer, 1983. I got my first Audiovox Walkman clone and a copy of Queen's Greatest Hits (The 1981 US version on Elektra) for my 9th birthday, right before my family left for a two-week stay an the beach in Maine. I listened to that casette pretty much non-stop for that vacation, and to this day listening to those songs in that order transports me right to Old Orchard Beach. Lots more Queen albums followed, but that one was the gateway drug.

Freddie will be 20 years gone this November? So this is what getting old feels like.
posted by usonian at 5:01 AM on September 5, 2011


Happy Birthday Freddie.

"Who wants to live forever?"
...Well, Freddie gets to do this for successive generations. I miss him still.
posted by arcticseal at 6:49 AM on September 5, 2011


Infini, I imagine Towers of Silence may have been hard to come by in London....or maybe he just lapsed?

It was my neighbors who really were the Queen buffs, so for me Queen's tied up with memories of hanging out over at the P's house. I think I really got into "Bicycle Race" when I was a kid because "whee, a song about bikes! I like riding bikes too!" I also remember one kid in my grade school who I think had the 45 of "Another One Bites The Dust" with him at all times, because when we had recess indoors he'd invariably break it out and somehow find a record player in the classroom and play it OVER and OVER.

A couple years ago I was idly watching one of those VH-1 pop-culture "best hits of the decade" countdown specials, and they got around to "Under Pressure" -- which the narration described as "TOTALLY. FREAKING. TRANSCENDANT." Yes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:55 AM on September 5, 2011


Hard to come by and probably against the rules. The wiki says the rest of his funeral rites were according to the faith.
posted by infini at 7:09 AM on September 5, 2011


Our doodle celebrating Freddie's birthday can be seen around the world on September 5 and, out of respect for Labor Day, in the U.S. on September 6.

I am confused - Google is coming up totally normal for me (U.S. east coast) today, nothing Freddie OR Labor Day related. What gives?
posted by naoko at 8:41 AM on September 5, 2011


I'm seeing the Freddie doodle on google.com, same as google.ca.
posted by maudlin at 8:49 AM on September 5, 2011


Queen's official YouTube channel is streaming the 1986 Wembley concert today.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:53 AM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


did he legally change Balsara to Mercury ? Would it show up on his govt issued ID?
Yes he did eventually have his name changed by deed poll (as they call it in the UK) to "Freddie Mercury." He and his longtime companion/best friend Mary Austin were witnesses to Queen drummer Roger Taylor's marriage to Dominique Beyrand and he signed the marriage license "Freddie Mercury", which was also typed in as his legal name.

I can't say I was a friend of Freddie's or knew him personally, but I did meet him several times and spent, say, a hour or so at a time in a couple of social situations. My first exposure to Queen was when I first heard "Killer Queen" on the radio during the summer of 1975. I became a rabid fan and through a series of circumstances eventually had the privilege of working for the Official Fan Club for 14 years beginning in the mid-1980s. Freddie gave off this larger-than-life persona on stage, and sometimes a prima-donna-like diva nasty/impatient persona in interviews, so I was very surprised to find him to be quite quiet, very polite, and very articulate and intelligent. I remember one instance in Amsterdam where a handful of fans had been waiting outside a radio station for Freddie after he'd done an interview. He (and his entourage) stopped when they approached and he very patiently chatted as best he could with them (they didn't speak much English) as he signed autographs. I'll always remember one girl handing him a needlepoint pillow with the Queen crest on it and him asking her very slowly "Did you make this yourself? With the needle?" while making sewing gestures. That moment just warmed my heart. This was at a time when Queen was selling out the biggest venues in the world, and here was the great Freddie Mercury was taking the time to actually acknowledge the fans approaching him. Not with a quick autography or photo op, but to actually communicate with them, even for 10 seconds. I couldn't picture David Lee Roth or Bono doing anything like that (at least not when there wasn't a documentary film crew following them).
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:41 AM on September 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


When I was a kid, my friends loved rollerskating. I did not. I wanted to, though. I wanted to feel the same excitement they felt when we went to the rink. I wanted to put my skates on and glide and turn without fear, the way they did. I was a sorry sight on roller skates. I was so afraid of falling down that I couldn't bend my knees. I didn't know what to do with my feet. My version of forward-skating was to push off from the stopper on the toe and roll around until I either came to a near-complete stop, or (more likely) fell down. I moved like Tor Johnson in Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Until the day the rink dj played this.

I won't say that it magically turned me into a great skater. I wasn't suddenly doing lutzes and axles and stuff like that. I did, however, become so immersed in the music that I started moving along to it, one step, then another, and another, and I was gliding, not lurching. I could move my arms. I wasn't afraid of falling down. I knew I could stop if I needed to. Most of all, I wasn't just marking time, waiting for the music to stop. I was listening to Freddie. When he sang "it's a (free) free world," I thought my heart would break wide open with happiness.

I haven't skated for years. But if I decide to start again, I know what -- and whom -- I want to listen to when I do.
posted by bakerina at 10:46 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Queen invents punk rock a few years early.
posted by philip-random at 11:17 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A 1973 letter from Freddie to to Jac Holzman, founder of Elektra Records, their U.S. label.

The stationery is purple and glorious and I want it!
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:24 PM on September 5, 2011


Wow, they're getting ambitious with these. No wonder they're recruiting.
posted by egypturnash at 1:37 PM on September 5, 2011


That Live Aid performance (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5) is just freaking amazing.
posted by Cuke at 6:34 PM on September 5, 2011


There are some critics who say that Queen's performance at Live Aid was the best performance by any band at any concert EVER IN ALL OF TIME.

I got curious and researched this -- Freddie had a three-and-a-half-octave vocal range, which is just plain AMAZING.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:12 PM on September 5, 2011


There are some critics who say that Queen's performance at Live Aid was the best performance by any band at any concert EVER IN ALL OF TIME.

nah, the Evaporators were better that time in the church basement
posted by philip-random at 8:43 PM on September 5, 2011


Queen's The Game was the first non-kids album I ever got, and it started a life-long love of their music.

Even in high-school, when I was all about the metal that was Metallica and Iron Maiden and Megadeth, Queen always held a place in my playlist, and I was completely grief-stricken when Mercury died.

That being said, I grew up in a fairly conservative area in a time before a lot of LGBT were comfortable being open about who they were, and it was quite a shock to a lot of people that Mercury was gay. But as I considered it, I realized that his lifestyle it didn't impact me one bit, and it didn't alter my love for his music.

So I like to think that Freddie Mercury is the reason that I've found myself being more accepting of gay issues, despite the people I was surrounded by in school, and growing up. His music transcended my feelings of him being different than me, and I was able to apply that understanding throughout the rest of my life.

Thanks Freddie. We miss you.
posted by quin at 8:51 AM on September 6, 2011


Oh, now I got choked up -- Brian May was the guest blogger at Google for the day, and had this story about something Freddie did to smooth things over when they'd had a bit of a tiff.
I remember one morning after a particularly tense discussion he presented me with a cassette. He had been up most of the night compiling a collage of my guitar solos. "I wanted you to hear them as I hear them, dear," he said. "They're all fab, so I made them into a symphony!"
*sniff*
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:24 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've always found the video for "These Are the Days of Our Lives" kinda heartbreaking.

Me too. God, me too. Not my favourite Queen song by a long way, but the poignancy elevates it a lot. A lot. You can see how ill he is, and as you say he died shortly afterwards, but what always threatens to reduce me to tears is that you can still see that fucking spark; that twinkle. He was still the performer. Par excellence.
posted by Decani at 12:01 PM on September 6, 2011


I couldn't picture David Lee Roth or Bono doing anything like that (at least not when there wasn't a documentary film crew following them).


Or Madonna.

NO WIRE HYDRANGEAS, EVER!
posted by stormpooper at 4:29 PM on September 6, 2011


If Bohemian Rapsody comes on the car radio when we've arrived at home we have to sit there and listen to the entire thing.

You may enjoy this earlier thread, which give the story of how Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded.

There's a moment in that doc when Roger and Brian talk about seeing it revived in "Wayne's World", and the scene in the car -- and they confessed that even they all did the head-banging when they heard it on the radio on the tour bus. Just....put the mental image of Freddie head-banging to his own voice in your head a moment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:07 PM on September 6, 2011


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