ContactMusic: QUEEN star BRIAN MAY did not realise his bandmate FREDDIE MERCURY was gay for years – because the flamboyant star had a string of girlfriends.
The pair were close during the early days of the band, but the legendary guitarist insists he had no inclination of Mercury’s homosexuality.
He tells Britain’s Daily Express, “No, I didn’t know. I don’t think even he was fully cognisant in the beginning.
“You’re talking to someone who shared rooms with Fred on the first couple of tours, so I knew him pretty well. I knew a lot of his girlfriends and he certainly didn’t have boyfriends, that’s for sure. I think there was a slight suspicion, but it never occurred to me that he was gay.”
And even when the frontman, who died in 1991, had come to terms with his sexual orientation, he became well versed at avoiding the issue when asked directly.
May adds, “I remember Freddie being asked if he was gay in one of his early interviews and he said: ‘Yes, darling, of course. I’m as gay as a daffodil’. It was a neat way of sidestepping the issue because actually, Freddie was no fool.
“I know that all through his life Fred didn’t think that whether he was gay or not was important. He loved music, he love his work, and he didn’t want anything to get in the way. Anyone who portrays Fred as purely a gay story is missing a lot of the point.”
and just ’cause I love the band:
1. Freddie Mercury designed the Queen emblem (AKA the Queen Crest) himself, thanks to a degree in art and graphic design from Ealing Art College. The crest is made of the zodiac signs of the whole band – two Leo lions for John Deacon and Roger Taylor, a Cancer crab for Brian May and two fairies to represent Freddie’s Virgo sign. The “Q” and the crown represent the band name, of course, and a phoenix protects the whole thing.
2. Freddie Mercury‘s birth name was Farrokh Bulsara; he started going by Freddie when he was at St. Peter’s, a boarding school for boys near Mumbai. He legally changed his name to Freddie Mercury around 1970, when Queen was formed.
3. Freddie Mercury and family (parents and one sister, Kashmira) were Parsis and practiced Zoroastrian religion. Even though he hadn’t practiced in years, his funeral was performed by a Zoroastrian priest.
4. Freddie was born in Zanzibar – his family moved there so his dad could continue his career at the British Colonial Office.
5. Freddie had a recorded range of three (almost four) octaves. Mariah Carey claims five, for some perspective. When he spoke he was more of a baritone, but majority of his singing fell in the tenor range.
6. He had a long-term girlfriend in the early 70s named Mary Austin. Even after they broke up, they remained incredibly close. He gave an interview in 1985 and said that she was his only friend and he didn’t want any other friends. He wrote “Love of My Life” about her and was the godfather of her first son. When he died, he left her most of his money, his house, and his recording royalties.
7. Although he was obviously very flamboyant on stage, most people who knew him intimately said he was very shy in his personal life – one of the reasons he very rarely granted interviews.
8. Freddie and his manager issued a statement confirming that he had AIDS the very day before he died. It had been widely speculated for a couple of years due to his gaunt appearance and Queen’s sudden lack of touring. Some people were very upset by this delayed statement, saying that an earlier announcement could have raised a vast amount of money for the cause.
9. He loved cats and had as many as 10 at one point. He even had an album and a song dedicated to his cats (Mr. Bad Guy). He wrote a song about his favorite cat, Delilah. Here’s a bit of it:
Delilah, Delilah, oh my, oh my, oh my – you’re irresistible
You make me smile when I’m just about to cry
You bring me hope, you make me laugh – you like it
You get away with murder, so innocent
But when you throw a moody you’re all claws and you bite -
That’s alright !
Delilah, Delilah, oh my, oh my, oh my – you’re unpredictable
You make me so very happy
When you cuddle up and go to sleep beside me
And then you make me slightly mad
When you pee all over my Chippendale Suite
10. The “bottomless mic” was among Freddie’s many trademarks. Here’s how that happened: early in Queen’s career, he was apparently mid-show when his mic stand snapped in half. Instead of having it replaced, Freddie just used it as-is. He must have liked it, because he used the mic “stick” from then on.