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So, what did Freddie do with his gold/platinum discs?

“They were mostly used as wall paper. Freddie was rightly proud of his achievements and very often some of his awards would find their way onto walls in his various residences. I know there are some photos of the wall in the sitting room in Stafford Terrace showing some of his discs. I helped put up some of them in the apartment in New York and was also there when Freddie covered the wall outside his bedroom in Garden Lodge. That one was difficult as more time was spent measuring everything accurately as Freddie wanted no blue wallpaper showing between them, I also have a gold disc from Finland for ‘The Miracle’ on my wall as Freddie said it certainly wasn’t his as it was awarded to Freddy Mercury, so he gave it to me.”

Peter Freestone
Personal Assistant and Close Friend

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18 April 1976, Queen performed their second show @ Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, Australia A Night At The Opera Tour”

Here’s a fan story:

I purchased tickets for my friend and I to see Queen in Sydney in April 1976. The tickets were actually entitled ‘Queen invites you to a night at the opera’, which was the title of their album at that time, containing, of course, Bohemian Rhapsody. Arriving at the Hordern Pavilion, I saw that many people had dressed in tuxedos, bow ties, etc, which added some colour to the night.

After the supporting band had finished its set, the stage, and the entire arena, was plunged into darkness. Then, a single strobe light began flickering. The ‘operatic’ section of Bohemian Rhapsody began playing, and the band members began moving on to the stage, and collecting their instruments. It was like watching a series of photographs being taken, and you only had fleeting images of them as they took up their positions on the stage. The song reached ‘for me, for me, for meeeeee’, and Queen launched into the rocking final section of the song. As they did, every light in the house burst on, and half a dozen flashpots positioned across the stage went off, creating this multi-coloured smoke haze as Freddie caressed the microphone stand, belting out those words ‘so you think you could stone me and spit in my eye…’ It was a total assault on your senses, the light, the colour, the sound was almost hypnotising.

I sat there for two hours, absolutely enthralled by the show. There were drum solos, guitar solos, even a bass solo. One minute, the stage would be relatively quiet, the next it would erupt in colour and huge guitar riffs. I heard many Queen songs I’d never heard before. Like most people, I’d only heard Bohemian Rhapsody before that night. I was amazed by The Prophet’s Song, hearing the sounds repeating out of one side of the stadium, then the other, then both, and Freddie’s voice reaching a crescendo of overlaying sounds, as if there were thirty Freddies up on stage.

I’ve been to other concerts, but nothing comes close to what I experienced that night.

Written by Greg Scrimshaw

This picture is from the tour

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12 April 1974 – Queen flew to the US to start the 2nd leg of their Queen II Tour. This was the bands first tour in North America. After the success of the ’73 UK tour, Mott The Hoople asked Queen to open for them on this tour as well. The US tour ran from 16 April 1974 – 11 May 1974, the tour ended early, Brian May became ill….

Just like every rock and roll band, Queen had to prove their worth as concert openers before graduating to headliner status. And that’s precisely what Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor were doing on the night of April 16, 1974, when they made their U.S. concert debut in support of Mott the Hoople.

Queen’s debut album had performed modestly and their sophomore, titled Queen II, had only been delivered to American record stores just three days earlier – about one month after its U.K. release. So, they were still, by and large, unknowns in the new world.

That meant Queen was effectively starting from scratch as they stormed the stage at Denver’s Regis College, a conservative Jesuit institution, in an effort to change this state of affairs — one show, and even one fan, at a time.

Luckily, Queen enjoyed close friendships with the men of Mott (the two bands having already toured extensively together back home), and so the latter did not mind that their upstart openers already pranced and posed upon the stage like well-established superstars. In fact, Mercury and May cut quite striking visions in the lavish silk and satin costumes that were custom-designed in all black for Freddie and all white for May (in reference to Queen II’s “black” and “white” vinyl sides) just prior to the tour by band friend Zandra Rhodes.

Queen’s set, likewise relied heavily on their latest album, at first, powering up with “Procession,” “Father to Son,” “Ogre Battle” and “White Queen (As it Began),” before segueing into select first-album highlights like “Great King Rat,” “Doing Alright,” “Son and Daughter” and “Keep Yourself Alive” (plus the never officially released “Hangman”), before concluding with “Seven Seas of Rhye” and finally, the explosive “Liar.”

Meanwhile, the audience was initially fairly stunned into wide-eyed silence by Queen’s arena-sized display of heavy-rock opulence, according to eyewitness reports. But they were clearly won over by set’s end, because they shouted the band back on stage for not one, but two encores, which Queen devoted to vintage rock covers (“Jailhouse Rock,” “Shake, Rattle & Roll”) and, oddly, cabaret stomps through Connie Francis’ “Stupid Cupid” and Shirley Bassey’s “Big Spender,” before demolishing the stage with the frantic onslaught of “Modern Times Rock ’n’ Roll.”

Obviously, headliners Mott the Hoople had their work cut out for them that night, and throughout the ensuing, month-long tour. But sadly, everything ended prematurely for the members of Queen in May of 1974, when Brian May was taken ill with hepatitis and ordered to recuperate at once.

Back home to England they went, undoubtedly disappointed that their American assault had been suspended for the moment – but also confident that that country’s first impression of their band had been both positive and promising. Many triumphs were waiting in the next few years.

Eduardo Rivadavia

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A friendship which lasts sixteen years is a hell of a long time. It’s a tough one. What do I think?

It was hard to avoid Freddie at first as both our paths were constantly crossing. We both ate in the same restaurants, drank at the same clubs and knew the same people. In the nineteen thirties, they would have had a name for our loose group, like the Algonquin Round Table or the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald set. Business people, artists of every shape and medium. Painters, actors and actresses, media folk, musicians, dancers both classical and modern. It was a pot pourri, a heady combination, something which I’m sure still exists but which to me remains rather special and unique within my memory. It was inevitable that Freddie and I would get to know each other more than just two ships which pass in the night.

Watching Queen and Freddie was a revelation especially as I had gotten to know Freddie as a friend but about whose professional life I knew little. Bearing in mind my own background, the theatre and sense of power generated by the guitar and the awesome audacity of the prancing peacock totally seduced me. It was wonderful stuff. Though some of the crassness repelled me, I was a willing convert to rock n’ roll which, after all, is the very essence of this great band. Though I was doing concerts at the time, mine were so esoteric and eclectic that any comparison was invidious. Seeing Freddie and Queen opened up new vistas and possibilities for me within what I had already been doing which was so different to how Freddie performed.

In retrospect, apart from liking my voice, Freddie realised at that point we were both performers, though he was very famous and I was relatively unknown. The difference didn’t matter for I believe that as far as he was concerned, from that time on, although we could either criticise or compliment each other, we communicated.

We used to go out a lot together too, everywhere from the opera, the ballet, as well as nightclubs and ordinary pubbing for however famous Freddie was he was no snob and enjoyed going where everyone else went.

There’s a sadness that I wasn’t around for the last year of his life. I was working very hard in Ken Hill’s Phantom of the Opera, touring, away from London.

It was also, for some reason that I still don’t completely understand, Freddie’s wish not to see me. Theories and suppositions have been put forward by many others. I think I understand, within my mind’s eye, but in the long run whatever makes someone who is suffering happy, we who are alive and who have survived can only accept.

Strangely, Freddie Mercury sort of still lives. His music is just everywhere. I’ve just been in Japan with the aforesaid Phantom and because I knew Freddie loved Japan so much, I was very much aware of his continuing presence. Returning to England, I found that Barcelona was in the charts again and so although I don’t see him, I still hear him and I miss him.

Peter Straker
“This Was The Real Life; The Tale of Freddie Mercury” by David Minns and David Evans

This Picture of Freddie Mercury with Peter Straker was taken by Richard Young @ Peter’s 39th Birthday Party, Paramount City, London, 1986

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Tony Hadley, lead singer of Spandau Ballet said Freddie Mercury was his idol and little did he know that Freddie was one of his biggest fans. He had an opportunity to meet Freddie during one of Queen’s concerts in the UK at the Birmingham National Exhibition Center in 1984.

Tony said he was dying to meet the band and they were all so friendly and polite. Tony was invited to an after party at the bands hotel. He sat right next to Freddie who offered him a piece of advice he’s never forgotten. Tony said, “I sat there talking to him that night about the on-stage persona, and Freddie said, ‘Never apologize. The audience have come to see you, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a bit off one night. You’ve just got to front the whole thing out.’ I was only 23 or 24 singing in a band that was doing OK. He was rock royalty. He didn’t have to bother with someone like me. But he was so enthusiastic, so keen to input his knowledge and experience. He was the only one who ever did that, and I respected him for it. He offered quite a bit of advice to me. He was a lovely, lovely man.”

The picture is Freddie Mercury and Tony Hadley performing ‘Jailhouse Rock’ at Mt Smart Stadium, 13 April 1985 by Shelley Watson

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14 April 1976, Queen performed the first of two evenings @ Apollo Stadium in Adelaide, Australia 🇦🇺 “A Night At The Opera Tour “

This is Queen’s 4th leg of the “Night At The Opera Tour” which also introduced their masterpiece, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” this incredible #1 hit would remain on their setlist every gig thereafter.

This picture was taken by Philip Morris.

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