Freddy Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara) was born in English protectorate of Sultanate of Zanzibar, East Africa (now part of Tanzania) on 5 September, 1946. Nickname “Freddy” has been given to him by his English-speaking classmates in Panchgani, India. He has studied well, has been interested in music and painting, and formed a school band “The Hectics” at age 12.
In 1964 the Bulsara family emigrated to United Kingdom, where Mercury enrolled at Isleworth Polytechnic (now West Thames College) in West London where he studied art. He ultimately earned a diploma in Art and Graphic Design at Ealing Art College, where he met Tim Staffell, the singer of the rock band Smile which was the forerunner of the band Queen.
Mercury replaced Staffell as the vocalist of Smile after he had left the band in April 1970. The remaining Smile members were encouraged by Mercury to change their name to “Queen”. It was also around this time Freddie changed his surname to “Mercury”, inspired by the line “Mother Mercury, look what they’ve done to me” in the song “My Fairy King”.
Between 1979 and 1986 Mercury lived in Munich, where he had active nightlife. There Mercury met Peter Ambacher, a travesty actor, who was one of Mercury’s Munich friends, though Ambacher initially didn’t recognize him as Freddy Mercury of Queen. The place of their meeting was a gay-sauna called “Frisco”.
Besides “Frisco”, Mercury spent his time in gay-club “Ochsengarten” on Müllerstraße, which was a place for people to have “a thrill”, according to Ambacher. Another place for pastime was “Old Mrs. Henderson” on Rumfordstraße which now is called “Paradiso Tanzbar”. There on his 39-th birthday celebration Mercury conducted “a fun party”, and all guests were dressed in black and white. On that evening some pieces of the music video “Living on my own” were recorded, states Ambacher.
During his residence in Munich Mercury was enamored of one Winnie Kirchberger, owner of “Sebastianseck” pub. Beefy Kirchberger embodied ideal of Mercury, says Ambacher. On Kirchberger’s Mercury even presented him a Mercedes – Benz automobile. Mercury has left numerous tracks in Munich, but maybe the most notable is Hard Rock Café’s showcase, which contains Mercury’s striped black and white suit he wore during his tour in 1978.
Mercury died in 1991 at age 45 at his home in Kensington due to complications from AIDS, having acknowledged the day before his death that he had contracted the disease. In 1992 Mercury was posthumously awarded the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, with a tribute concert held at Wembley Stadium, London.
As a member of Queen, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004, and the band received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002. In 2002, he was placed at number 58 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.
Consistently voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music, Mercury was voted best male singer of all time in a 2005 poll organised by Blender and MTV2, was elected in 2009 as the best rock singer of all time by Classic Rock readers, was ranked at 18 on the 2008 Rolling Stone list of the 100 greatest singers ever — and was described by Greg Prato of AllMusic as “one of rock’s greatest all-time entertainers,” with “one of the greatest voices in all of music.”