Google "Freddie Mercury" and you'll get literally tens of millions of results. Mercury making an appearance as an Angry Bird on one of the world’s most popular phone games. More tribute Web pages than you could possibly sift through in a sitting. Hundreds of videos of live performances and MTV hits. And, my strange favorite, a motivational poster displaying a photo of Mercury getting an on-stage piggyback ride from Darth Vader and captioned, "Freddie Mercury is riding Darth Vader. Your argument is invalid."
Freddie Mercury of the rock group Queen, performs at a concert in Sydney, Australia, in 1985. (AP Photo/Gill Allen)
Something tells me the fan who came up with that one wasn't even alive when Freddie Mercury died, more than twenty years ago, but it doesn't matter. Mercury's popularity just grows and grows, even all these years later, and you don't have to have seen Queen live to know that Freddie Mercury was a force of nature… capable, apparently, of harnessing the dark lord himself.
As a singer, he was bombastic, with a four-octave range that swept from a low growl to soaring heights. As a songwriter, he was boundlessly creative, trying a little something new every time and offering intricate arrangements. And as a performer, he was darn near godlike, packing stadiums and delighting audiences with his theatrical antics and fantastic music.
But enough talk. You're here for the rock, right? Here are a few favorites in celebration of Freddie Mercury’s birthday – he would have turned 66 today.
Here's Queen playing "Radio Gaga" to a jam-packed and adoring Wembley Stadium in 1986:
Mercury displays his splendid piano skills (and more theatrics) in "Somebody to Love":
And, of course, there's the perennial favorite… one that combines everything that made Freddie Mercury great. We hear his soaring voice and his piano work, his complexity as a composer is obvious, and his penchant for the dramatic is at the forefront of the official video.
Written by Linnea Crowther. Originally published November 2011.