As part of our Cultural Programme we will finally pay tribute to the life and legacy of Farrokh Bulsara – known to the world as the legendary lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury.
“Mercury was a Parsi born in Zanzibar and grew up there and in India until his mid-teens. He has been referred to as “Britain’s first Asian rock star”. In 2002, Mercury was placed at number 58 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, in 2006, Time Asia named him one of the most influential Asian heroes of the past 60 years, and he continues to be voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music. In 2005, a poll organised by Blender and MTV2 saw Mercury voted the greatest male singer of all time. In 2008, Rolling Stone editors ranked him number 18 on their list of the 100 greatest singers of all time. In 2009, a Classic Rock poll saw him voted the greatest rock singer of all time. Allmusic has characterised Mercury as “one of rock’s greatest all-time entertainers”, who possessed one of the greatest voices in all of music”.
Although he cultivated a flamboyant stage personality, Mercury was shy and retiring when not performing, particularly around people he did not know well, and granted very few interviews. However it is pleasing to see that this Parsi’s legacy can be seen in artists today such as Lady GaGa. Freddie’s band Queen’s total worldwide record sales is an estimated 300 million. In the UK, Queen have spent more collective weeks on the UK Album Charts than any other musical act (including The Beatles), and Queen’s Greatest Hits is the highest selling album of all time in the UK. Two of Mercury’s songs, “We Are the Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”, have also each been voted as the greatest song of all time in major polls.
Consistently rated as one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music, Mercury was voted second to Mariah Carey in MTV’s 22 Greatest Voices in Music. Additionally, in January 2009, Mercury was voted second to Robert Plant in a poll of the greatest voices in rock. A true musical legend of Zoroastrian Parsi decent.