Freddie Mercury: A Kind of Magic by Mark Blake

About the book: Freddie Mercury was rock’s most dazzling showman, a legendary entertainer who in 1991, at the age of just forty-five, became the first major music star to die of AIDS. Mercury’s soaring four-octave voice was a defining element in Queen’s unique sound, crucial to the success of the band’s fifteen studio albums, from Queen (1973) to Made in Heaven (1995). He was also a supremely talented songwriter and musician who wrote many of the band’s greatest hits, including ‘Killer Queen’, ‘We Are the Champions’ and their biggest triumph, the epic anthem ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. As a solo artist he released two acclaimed albums: Mr. Bad Guy in 1985 and the operatic ‘Barcelona’ with Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé in 1988.

Mercury’s extraordinary charisma was perhaps best seen in his imperious live performances, in which he’d hold vast stadium crowds to rapturous attention. His outrageous theatrics, physicality and over-the-top costumes led one commentator to describe him as ‘a performer out to tease, shock, and ultimately charm his audience with various extravagant versions of himself’. He pushed the limits of camp in everything he did. His extreme behaviour, in a society in which being gay was only starting to be accepted, just added to Freddie Mercury’s allure.

With expert understanding, Mark Blake traces Mercury’s life from his childhood in Zanzibar and India to his untimely death, and charts his astonishing achievements including in Queen’s world-conquering performance at Live Aid in 1985.

In the year that marks what would have been his seventieth birthday, Freddie Mercury: A Life celebrates a remarkable life, lived to the fullest. Featuring revealing interviews with fellow musicians, producers and collaborators, and a detailed discography and timeline, this is a memorable tribute to a unique recording artist and an irreplaceable performer who rocked the world.

Publication Date: September 12, 2016

Publisher: Omnibus Press

Genre: Biography

My thoughts:

“The other members of Queen wrote songs – often great songs – but it was Freddie who sold them.”

Like him, love him, or hate him, you have to admit Freddie Mercury had a vision and talent. In this book from Mark Blake readers learn about Freddie Mercury, the performer and the man. Readers get to know Mercury through the author’s research and the men who knew him best, Brian May and Roger Taylor. Though it would have been great to have heard from John Deacon it is understandable while reading the book that this just isn’t to be. These guys weren’t just band mates but friends and family. There’s a loyalty between them that is rarely found and should be treasured.

If you are a fan of Queen or Mercury then this book is a must-read. It’s entertaining and written in a way that makes the reader feel as if they are experiencing life right along with Mercury and the rest of the band.