The death of Queen’s lead singer came as a shock. Being in Australia, I was somewhat isolated from the overall news, and the movements of a “gay rock star” were not widely reported by the media of the day.
However, when he died, things changed. I remember that, during the entire day, the major rock stations in Sydney played Queen music constantly, devoting as many as eight hours to the legacy left behind by Freddie’s passing.
In the bars, pubs and shops, discussions raged and flooded the media, Australians of all ages debating the good and the bad of Mercury, gay rights, HIV/AIDS and the Queen musical legacy now left behind.
Growing up, Queen’s music was a major influence in Canada and Canadian culture. My childhood was spent in schools across Vancouver, and Queen music was a big influence. From the sock hops, where they played the ballads for slow dancing, to the amateur hockey, where “We Are The Champions” boomed out across the ice.
Even on TV we had it; during all of the hockey games, we always heard the thumping beat of “We Will Rock You” as part of the intro for some of Canada’s best hockey teams.
Once Highlander came out, with its all-Queen soundtrack, the band was all over the airwaves. I remember partying with my friends and all of us singing “Princes Of The Universe” as it played on the VHS of the movie. Very good times; a musical legacy like no other.
Freddie and the band’s influence is like no other, except perhaps the Beatles. Bands as diverse as country group Kansas and supergroups Guns n’ Roses and Metallica have all drawn influence from Queen and Mercury’s songwriting, musical melody and vocal style.
It’s interesting that Kansas drew influence from Queen’s music, as one of Kansas’ hits was used as a farewell song during the TV series Highlander. “Dust In The Wind,” which drew my interest into listening to Kansas, came about because of the Highlander series, which itself came about because of the movie, which was all-Queen music.
Freddie was the lead vocalist of the group. However, he was not the only player, as Brian May and Roger Taylor continue to lead the band in true headliner style. Freddie’s lyrics and unique vocal sound will be missed. From his deep baritone to the crystal-clear high tenor, his voice empowered two generations that they “are the champions,” and everybody needs “Somebody to Love.”
Biography Channel Freddie Mercury First Aired, 2007
Allmusic Kansas Biography Jason Ankeny
Gibson Guns n’ Roses Influences Aidin Vaziri 2008
Martin Music Metallica Dale Martin, 1999