Freddie Mercury would have been 74 years old today had he not succumbed to his illness almost 29 years ago. And even though it’s been more than a quarter century since his passing, he is still loved and adored by billions of people around the world. I mean seriously, there’s a video of a Green Day crowd singing Bohemian Rhapsody which the band saw fitting to post on their YouTube channel (you can watch it here).
So what is it that makes Freddie so beloved after all these years? Well, my theory is that he stuck to what he is good at, all the time. I am talking of course about music.
There seems to be a stupid need for musicians these days to try and appear as more wholesome and more interested in world events than they should be. Freddie wasn’t really like that, at least from what I’ve seen over the years and read about him. To him, everything was about the music. He even said so himself, “I won’t be a rock star, I’ll be a legend”. And he became one. When a sold-out stadium for a band that is not Queen sings along to a song from Queen with the band not actually being there, you know he was on to something.
And that something, as I’ve said, is that Freddie always concentrated on what he and his bandmates were good at: making music capable of allowing total strangers to sing along and feel good without feeling the need to shove an agenda down their throats. Just look at Live Aid 1985 or Wembley 1986.
Freddie and the guys are all about having fun and making sure everyone in the crowd has a good time. I think the vocal exercises that Freddie does with the crowd before the live performance of Under Pressure in the Saturday edition of Wembely 1986 is quite possibly one of the best singer-crowd interactions you could ever possibly see.
People say that Freddie will never be matched. Scientists even proved that his voice was unique. Queen and David Bowie were voted the best duet in music ever. To say he became a legend is an understatement. And yeah, I get why some people might get bored of hearing him or talking about him. Not releasing any new songs after your singer’s death can do that to a band. And though I will never outgrow Queen, I too sometimes get bored of listening to them. But then I rediscover them and listen to their songs on end.
There are many great bands out there. But some of them need to remember something. It’s fine to have a political undertone if that’s the genre you’re aiming for. Rise Against is one of my favorite bands and they are as political as a band can get, even though I don’t really care that much for their stance since I don’t reside in the USA.
In the end, it all depends on the genre you’re aiming for but singers should remember this. If your fans are not having a good time, then you’re doing it wrong. It’s impossible to please everyone of course, but you kinda have to make sure you’re not alienating the vast majority of your listeners. This applies to any form of art.
Now don’t mind me, gonna go listen to In My Defence for the billionth time. Hoping to see you in the comment section of that song :).