16 September 1988 – Freddie Mercury attended Polydor Records Sales Conference, The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne, where two tracks from “Barcelona” album were played.

Without question, ‘Barcelona’ was one of Freddie’s most ambitious, challenging and at once, courageous undertakings. He regarded it as one of the most rewarding projects of his career, and among those of which he was most proud. Indeed, working with Montserrat Caballé was the realisation of a dream he never really expected to come to fruition.

While Queen were on tour (Magic) in Spain August of 1986, A news spot on Spanish TV was done and Freddie expressed his admiration for Montserrat Caballé. He said:

“You won’t believe this but my favourite singer is Montserrat Caballé. I’m not just saying it because I’m here. She’s absolutely fabulous! She is the best! That’s what I listen to.

Word quickly travelled to Montserrat and Freddie’s dream of singing with the Operatic Diva will soon become a reality. The Barcelona project will be in full force the following year. An album that certainly broke barriers.

The ‘Barcelona’ album was recorded from January 1987 – June 1988

Freddie was thrilled at the reception of the album and proud of himself for trying something so adventurous. He nervously awaited Montserrat Caballé’s reaction to the final pressing. She rang him to say she had found “a new lease of life and a new-found freedom” in their partnership.

“Those were her own words, and I was very taken by it,” said Mercury. “She told me on the phone that she loves the way our voices sound together… and I was smiling from my ass to my elbow. I sat at home like I’d just swallowed the canary, thinking, Ooh! There’s a lot of people who’d like to be in my shoes right now.”

The ‘Barcelona’ album remains a significant part of Mercury’s legacy. As he said: “I thought, What else is there left for me to do? I mean, I defy any other rock’n’roll personality living to duet with a legendary opera diva and survive!”

While ‘Barcelona’ is a truly unique collection, it’s a greatly underrated piece of work, too often overlooked in preference to the more pop-orientated, in-vogue records Freddie made. In terms of sheer musicality and vocal virtuosity, it is unsurpassed. It remains a firm favourite among fans and is generally regarded as THE Freddie Mercury showcase – a vocal, musical and lyrical tour de force.

Absolutely stunning!

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