The recent blockbuster Bohemian Rhapsody didn’t just remind people of the genius of Queen’s music and the band’s extraordinary frontman. The movie was also a glorious love song to Freddie’s irrepressible personality. Sharp-tongued and witty, he loved to hold court and drop fabulous one-liners. He also loved to have the last word. But there were some things he grew to hate being asked.
Freddie was famously modest about his talents, playing down the inspired creation of some of the world’s greatest songs.
Although he frequently dismissed his own songs as throwaway ‘Disposable pop’, there was a deeper layer to what he truly felt.
Everything about Freddie was smoke and mirrors, illusions and distractions to protect his vulnerable core.
Just listen to the truth at the core of what he said on the subject of being asked to explain his songs: “People say, ‘What does that lyric mean? Does it mean this? Does it mean that?’ It is all anybody wants to know. F*** them, darlings! I will say no more than what any decent poet would tell you if you dared ask him to analyse his work.”
Asked about his most famous and enigmatic creation of all, he challenged listeners to think for themselves.
Freddie said; “People still ask me what Bohemian Rhapsody is all about, and I say I don’t know. I think it loses the myth and ruins a kind of mystique that people have built up.
“Rhapsody is one of those songs that has a fantasy feel about it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then decide for themselves what it means to them.”
A remarkable book, Freddie Mercury: A Life, In His Own Words, has collected almost everything Freddie ever said and stitched it all together into one continuous interview so that it reads like Freddie’ sown autobiography. It is a beautiful way to truly get inside Freddie’s heart, mind and soul.
What Freddie could never hide was his love for what he did. He added: “I can’t retire. What else would I do? I love being in Queen.
“I never think of music as work. There’s nothing I’d rather do. It’s a very funny thing. I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved. I’ve got where I want to be. I have enough money, I have success and adulation. What more do I want? I’m just a musical prostitute, my dears!”
It was the truth and he proved it to the very end, determined to record just a few more hours each day as his strength faded during those last sessions at Queen’s recording studios in Lausanne, Switzerland.