My Soul Is Painted Like The Wings Of Butterflies

Posted on December 1, 2011

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By Peter Diamond

It’s a sad date in music history.  24th of November 1991 the great Freddie Mercury lost his tragic battle against AIDS and rock lost it’s most flamboyant performer.

The Queen lead singer was born in Zanzibar, East Africa with the name Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946. With a Parsi Indian family Freddie went to school at an English-style boarding facility in India and was involved in bands by the age of 12. A young teenage Freddie arrived in London after his family fled the 1964 Zanzibar revolution.

In a statement on November 23, 1991, Mercury confirmed from his death bed that he had AIDS. He had been diagnosed HIV positive several years earlier but within 24 hours he had fallen into a coma and died of bronchial pneumonia. Having handled his illness with deep privacy and never complained of his suffering Freddie died with great dignity, which caused a media frenzy as fans and celebrities poured out their hearts with contributions. As one of the highest-profile victims of AIDS, his death brought greater awareness of the virus and helped remove the stigma from a disease now ravaging Africa –awareness that has sparked an massive campaign against the deadly disease and is still on-going.

Queen’s lead singer is remembered for his captivating live performances, spellbinding vocals and enduring hits that are still as popular as they were back then. Speaking about Freddie’s attitude to life on the anniversary of his 65th birthday, friend and band mate Brian May said,

“He devoured life. He celebrated every minute. And, like a great comet, he left a luminous trail which will sparkle for many a generation to come.”

Queen was one of the world’s greatest rock bands and selling artists of all time. The legacy of the band, especially Freddie have lived on with the great number of sales coming posthumously including their Greatest Hits II, which is the eighth biggest selling album of all time in the UK with sales more than 16 million worldwide.

Freddie epitomised the perfect frontman commanding the crowd to interact and communicate at every opportunity. In the years that have passed, Mercury’s reputation has risen with a new era of music fans and artists quoting Queen among their influences, including Muse, Robbie Williams, Lady Gaga and Foo Fighters.

In 2002 the musical We Will Rock You was unveiled and still plays to filled theatres throughout Britain and has been staged around the world from Las Vegas to South Africa, Europe and Japan. The show has been a major success, re-energising Queen’s music which lets fans enjoy their hits live. More than 13 million people have seen it worldwide, including 5.5 million at London’s Dominion Theatre. A sequel is planned, using songs not in the existing musical, though the original keeps packing out theatres.

“I’ve lived a full life and if I’m dead tomorrow, I don’t give a damn. I really have done it all.”

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