Queen was unique as a band in that all four members individually wrote songs. Not only that, they all wrote major international hits. However, Freddie himself wrote ten of the 17 tracks on the first Greatest Hits compilation. In an extraordinary new collection of Freddie’s greatest interviews, he actually revealed one major difference between his songs and those of Brian. But will fans agree with what Freddie says?
Freddie Mercury: A Life, In His Own Words is the closest we will ever get to an autobiography. Rereleased this week with hundreds of new quotes, it collects most of what Freddie ever said on record and then, extraordinarily, weaves it all together into one narrative.
This is the story of Freddie’s life, loves, hopes and fears told in his unique voice.
He talks a lot about how he created some of the greatest pop and rock music in history.
Freddie said all his songs came from the same place within him: “If you put them all into one bag, I think my songs are all under the label ’emotion.’ It’s all to do with love and emotion and feeling. It’s all about moods. Most of the songs I write are love ballads and things to do with sadness and torture and pain, but at the same time it’s frivolous and tongue-in-cheek.”
Although John Deacon is often perceived as the most serious member of the band, that was probably because he was happy to stay quietly in the background.
Over the years it has emerged that Brian May has wrestled with depression and constantly seeks to find greater meaning, whether in his music or his ongoing pursuit of astrophysics.
Freddie once said; “I don’t want to change the world with our music. There are no hidden messages in our songs, except for some of Brian’s. My songs are like Bic razors; they’re for fun, for modern consumption. People can discard them like a used tissue afterwards. They can listen to it, like it, discard it, then turn on to the next. Disposable pop.”
That’s not to say he treated creating music lightly, or that it was done easily, with little effort or application.
Freddie said: “I have no set rules for writing a song. It’s haphazard. Some songs come faster than others. I never sit down at the piano and say, “Right, I’ve got to write a song now.” No. I feel a few things out and get some ideas about them and then I begin.”
Of course, Bohemian Rhapsody was the greatest task of all: “Bohemian Rhapsody was something that I’d wanted to do for a long while. It needed a lot of thought, it didn’t just come out of thin air. Certain songs require that sort of pompous flair. I had to work like crazy. t was quite a mammoth task actually, as it was done in three definite sections and just pieced together. Each one required a lot of concentration.”