AM THE CHAMPION
Why Fantastic Freddie Stole Live Aid Show
(Boogie time for winners) by Nick Ferrari
Rock fans have been saying for years that Freddie Mercury is the world’s greatest.
Now the world knows how right they are–because Freddie and his band, Queen, stole the honours at the star-studded Live Aid concert.
His blistering show, with its haunting finale, left all the other pop greats standing.
Freddie, a very energetic 38, cannot resist giving it all he’s got once he is on stage.
He says: “I have to win people over, otherwise it’s not a successful gig. It’s my job to make sure people have a good time. That’s part of my duty. It’s all to do with feeling in control. That song We Are The Champions has been taken up by football fans because it’s a winners’ song.
“I can’t believe that somebody hasn’t written a new song to overtake it.”
In a revealing interview Freddie talks freely and frankly about his superstar friends, his astonishing song writing output and his sad love life.
His composing has brought him into constant with Elton John, Rod Stewart — and the reclusive Michael Jackson.
He says: “I recorded about two or three tracks with Michael, but none of them are out at the moment.”
It was Freddie who started recording State of Shock with Jackson, but he did not have time to finish it. Mick Jagger stepped in–and they had a hit.
A Mercury-Jackson duo was also planned for the smash-hit Thriller album, but that did not come off, either.
Not that Freddie worries over such set-backs. His recording career did very nicely, thank you, when he released his solo album _Mr Bad Guy_
“I was pleased with it,” he says. “I was also pleased with my voice. I like it husky. It’s all the smoking. That’s why I smoke — to get that husky voice.”
So how did he reach the high notes? “I used the Demis Roussos method,” he says. “You get a pair of pliers under the frock and go crunch!”
One of the tracks on Freddie’s new album is entitled Love Is Dangerous. Is that his view? He says: “I can be a good lover, but I think after all these years I’m not a very good partner for anybody. Maybe my love is dangerous, but who wants their love to be safe?”
“I’m possessed by love–but isn’t everybody? Most of my songs are love ballads and things to do with sadness and torture and pain.
“In terms of love, you’re not in control and I hate that feeling. I seem to write a lot of sad songs because I’m a very tragic person. But there’s always an element of humour at the end.”
But for all his fame and adulation, Freddie remains a lonely man.
He says: “The album track Living on My Own is very me. I have to go round the world living in hotels. You can have a whole shoal of people you know looking after you. But in the end they all go away. But I’m not complaining. I’m living on my own and having a boogie time.”
And this man, with millions of fans all over the world admits he has few friends.
Freddie says: “When you’re a celebrity, it’s hard to approach somebody and say: ‘Look, I’m normal underneath.’ Then what happens is the tread all over me because by trying to be normal to somebody, suddenly I’ve come out of my shell and become far more vulnerable than most people.”
“Because I’m successful and have a lot of money, a lot of greedy people prey on me. But that’s something I’ve learned to deal with.
“I’m riddled with scars and I just don’t want any more.”
Instead Freddie turns to his fans to feel wanted again. He said: “I find even when people have let you down, you just want to go on stage. It’s very gratifying to know that all sorts of people want you.”
Freddie has also learned how to enjoy his fame. He says: “I was caught up in being a star and I thought “This is the way a star behaves. Now I don’t give a damn. I want to do things my way and have fun.”
“If all my money ended tomorrow, I’d still go about like I had lots of money because that’s what I used to do before. I’ll always walk round like a Persian Poppinjay and no one’s gonna stop me.”
“I love living life to the full — that’s my nature. Nobody tells me what to do.”
TEARS TURN ME ON
Freddie is a great admirer of modern band and current music in spite of his years in the business. He says: “I like Tears For Fears, Wham!, and Culture Club– they’re all very good. But Tears For Fears are among my favourites because they’re writing music I cam really relate to.”
“They’ve got a lot of rhythm and at the same time they’ve got a lot of aggression. They also have very good songs. But I love the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, above all other singers. She must have one of the best voices ever. She sings like a dream. I wish I could sing half as well as she does. It’s so natural.
“She puts her whole emotion into it. Each word she sings is full of meaning and expression. I could listen to it forever.”
Freddie also reveals his deep love of opera. He says: “Montserrat Cabelle is sensational. She has that same kind of emotion as Aretha Franklin. The way she delivers a song is so very natural. It’s a very different gift.”
But Freddie’s favourite band remains Queen who have been toether now for 13 years.
And he strongly denies making a solo album has threatened the future of one of the world’s greatest rock bands. Freddie says: “It’s probably brought us closer together and will enhance our careers.”
“It’s like painting a picture. You have to step away from it to see what it’s like. I’m stepping away from Queen and I think it’s going to give everybody a shot in the arm.
“But I’ll be working with Queen again. No doubt about that. Queen are gonna come back even bigger.”