Although Freddie was famous for the way he dominated a stage, I found him entirely different in private. The showmanship was replaced by someone who was shy, suspicious and guarded his privacy with an obsessive tenacity.

There was even a period when he was afraid of meeting people as he thought they might be disappointed that he was not the larger-than-life person they saw on stage. ‘I don’t want to shatter the illusion,’ he said. ‘I’m a sort of chameleon. I think it’s a combination of a lot of characters. And I’m a person of extremes.’

I often saw Freddie preparing to go on stage. Swigging down a few vodkas, he’d warm up his voice with a run of vocal exercises. His valet would have his stage clothes laid out for him. After one last puff on a cigarette, he would rush through his door to the stage to the cheers of Queen’s adoring fans. He was like a hurricane.

‘When I’m on stage, I become very different,’ he said. ‘There are no half measures. You have to be resilient to be a rock star, you can’t falter once.’

  • David Wigg

Photo: in the 80s, Munich, Germany – David Wigg, Freddie Mercury and John Reid at dinner party
(pic from ‘Freddie Mercury: The Solo Collection’)

  • David Wigg British journalist and more of a friend to Freddie than a journalist –
  • John Reid between 1975 and 1978 was the manager Queen –
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