The bond between Fred and me was somehow pretty deep. Fred was almost nine years older than me, and that seemed to be a big gap. As I entered my twenties, Fred was almost thirty. I looked up to Fred, not just as a boss or a famous singer in a band, but as a person. He was very intelligent, witty, humorous and of course remarkably creative. He was a single-minded man with a great drive, who could often be dismissive, but would still listen to me. I would suggest things to him throughout the years and often get positive
responses, and in some ways ours was an avuncular relationship. When I first started working with Queen in 1975, I was told by management that Fred was very happy with me – which was at first a relief, but, of course, gratifying. He rarely gave me direct praise, but once told me I was precocious. I didn’t know what it meant then – I thought it might be offensive! Then I learned what the word meant and took it as a great compliment coming from somebody of Fred’s stature.
Freddie gave me so many things over the years. Not just gifts, tokens of affections, or mementos, but priceless memories too. He also imparted on me the importance of self-belief and hard work to get what you want from life, and I absorbed so much of his creativity and professional ethic just from being in his presence. He believed that “ talent will out” and that whatever you do, ‘Do it with quality and style – darling!’”
This picture was shot in Munich, 1981. It was taken against a wall in the basement of Musicland Studios by Peter Hince