Regarded as one of the greatest lead singers in the history of rock music, Freddie Mercury was born on September 5, 1946 in Zanzibar to Parsi parents from India. A British singer, songwriter, record producer and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen, Mercury was known for his flamboyant on-stage persona as well as his four-octave vocal range.
The singer, who was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 died in 1991 at age 45 due to complications from AIDS. Notably, Mercury confirmed a day prior to his death that he had contracted the disease.
On the singer's 73rd birth anniversary, here are a few interesting things about him.
His birth name was Farrokh Bulsara. He started going by the name Freddie when he was St Peter's a boarding school in Mumbai.
He legally changed his name to Freddie Mercury around 1970 when Queen was formed.
He grew up between Zanzibar and India before moving to Middlesex, England when he was a teenager after they fled from Zanzibar to escape the violence of the revolution for independence.
According to a 2016 study by Consequence of Sound, a team of scientists decided to study Mercury's voice. Among the many facts they concluded was that Mercury's vocal cords moved faster than the average person's. While a typical vibrato will fluctuate between 5.4 Hz and 6.9 Hz, Mercury’s was 7.04 Hz.
In April 1970, Mercury teamed up with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, to become lead singer of their band Smile. They were joined by bassist John Deacon in 1971 and Smile was later renamed to Queen by Mercury.
Shortly before the release of Queen's self-titled first album, Mercury designed the band's logo. This became known as the "Queen crest" and featured the zodiac signs of the four band members. These included two lions for Deacon and Taylor (sign Leo), a crab for May (Cancer), and two fairies for Mercury (Virgo).
Apart from his work with Queen, Mercury also has two solo albums and several singles. Mercury's two full albums outside the band were Mr. Bad Guy (1985) and Barcelona (1988).
Mercury had a long-term relationship with Mary Austin, whom he met through guitarist Brian May in the early 1970s.
Mercury told Austin of his sexuality in the December of 1976. While this ended their romantic relationship, they remained friends throughout their lives.
By 1985, he had started having a long-term relationship with Irish-born hairdresser Jim Hutton. In fact it was Hutton who nursed him during his illness, and was present at his bedside when Mercury died.
November 1995 saw Mercury appearing posthumously on Queen's final studio album Made in Heaven.