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The Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, was a box-office smash in 2018, and it reignited interest in Queen and its magnetic frontman. As more and more millennials became aware of Queen, they dug up their parents’ old records, streamed the album’s title track over a billion times on Spotify, and even created viral response films on YouTube after hearing Freddie Mercury’s magnum opus for the first time.
Also, older fans were revived by rediscovering their youth, reflecting about witnessing the band live (if they were fortunate enough to do so), and searching for more information about Mercury, who was a notoriously private but theatrical performer.
In these three Freddie Mercury biographies, you’ll learn something new about Mercury’s extraordinary life from three different angles.
The first book is written by Jim Hutton, a close friend of Mercury’s who pens a melancholy account of his final days with the company. At a period when being publicly gay was still a taboo subject in Britain, Mercury and Hutton had a difficult relationship that was intimate in private but kept a distance from each other in the public eye (homosexuality had only been decriminalized in the UK less than a decade earlier). Despite their sometimes tumultuous relationship, Hutton cared deeply for Mercury and was by his side when he died, providing a rare glimpse into his private life and a heartbreaking description of his dying days.
Mercury’s own words are used to paint a picture in another book. Through his own words, Freddie provides an insight into his life and experiences through his own perspective on the events that transpired in the story.
The final chapter of Somebody to Love focuses on the development of HIV/AIDS, gradually including Mercury into the disease’s trajectory, and narrating the narrative of Mercury’s final years battling the illness that eventually claimed his life in 1991.
Fans of Freddie who want to understand more about the singer’s private life should not miss these three must-read books.
Mercury and Me
Jim Hutton’s book presents a fresh perspective on Freddie Mercury in his final years for those who want to see beneath the glamor.
As a personal friend, caretaker, and confidant of Mercury from 1985 to 1991, Hutton provides a realistic and intimate account of the singer’s life as well as his death. Bohemian Rhapsody, the film, finishes before the majority of these years occur in the book, which is virtually an epilogue in its own right.
It’s clear that Hutton, who passed away in 2010, had the chance to get to know the Freddie that he had the privilege of knowing. Aside from the fact that he wasn’t in the spotlight and may have even preferred it that way, he was along for the ride with Mercury and provides what at times feels like a fly-on-the-wall story of Mercury’s private life.
The book does highlight Mercury’s work in his final years, his dedication to his craft to the end, and the songs and artists who inspired him the most in small passages. However, the link between the two is the primary focus here.
With Hutton’s book, Mercury’s life is given a unique perspective that can’t be obtained elsewhere. Such an in-depth look at the life of Mercury will be appreciated by die-hard admirers. Additionally, the paperback version has color images as well.
Cons: Readers who are hoping for Mercury’s life narrative, as well as stories about him and Queen, may wish to avoid this book altogether. Hutton and Mercury’s difficult connection is the main theme of the book. Many people enjoy Hutton’s recounting of Mercury’s memories, but many others find the writing style tedious and uninteresting. There’s debate among readers concerning the book’s content as well as whether Mercury’s private moments should have been made public.
A Life In His Own Words by Freddie Mercury
While it is true that the book is based on the author’s own words, it is more of a collection of interviews and quotations than an autobiography per se. There were few in-depth interviews Mercury ever gave and this book serves as a good collection of his humor, insight into the creative process and insight into Mercury’s life.
Aside from music and business, there are insightful remarks that break the pattern on relationships, societal issues and personal ideas. His sorrowful reflections on his own death are included.
In spite of the fact that A Life in His Own Words isn’t a standard autobiography, Mercury gives the reader a very personal one-on-one experience with him.
Pros: This is a must-have for Queen aficionados. There’s something special about having all of Mercury’s interviews in one place, even if you’ve already seen them elsewhere. Jer Bulsara, Freddie’s mother, wrote the foreword, making it even more poignant and poignant.
The book lacks a narrative or a timeline, making it difficult for new fans to follow up. The lack of context around Mercury’s life and the situations he was alluding to when he said these things makes his remarks less impactful to the ordinary reader and casual Queen fan, making Mercury’s words more meaningful.
Somebody to Love: The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury
Mark Langthorne and Matt Richards, two stalwarts of the entertainment world, have collaborated on the well-researched documentary Somebody to Love, which shows Mercury from every angle. The decisions he made and the repercussions of them, as well as his role as one of the first people to fall victim to AIDS in the early days of the epidemic, made him a rock legend.
The tale tells the origins of HIV/AIDS from its earliest beginnings in Africa in the early 1900s, as well as the devastating effects it had on the LGBTQ community in the 1970s and 1980s. Mercury’s promiscuity and sexuality in general are heavily emphasized in this episode. Sometimes, such as the difficulty of coming out at a period when homosexuality was not commonly accepted, it can be significant and important, but it can also get buried in the details and detract from the primary storylines.
It is possible to read the book without Mercury and still learn about the history of HIV/AIDS. His personal life and his battle with the sickness that ultimately took his life at the age of 45 in 1991 are gradually woven into the narrative. There is a profound emotional impact on the reader as the outcome.
PROS: Even Mercury fans who already know a lot about the legend’s life and career can discover something fresh about it in this book.
CONS: Mercury’s personal life and the history of the HIV/AIDS virus are the focus of this book, and Queen fans may be dissatisfied. In spite of its focus on the band’s music, this book focuses on their most popular songs, without providing much insight into the band’s more obscure offerings.