Queen perform ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ in 1986
Queen fans are in for a treat this evening with a double dose of one of the world’s greatest ever rock bands on TV. A night of celebration begins with the first part of ‘Queen: A Rock History’ at 9:15pm, and is followed by one of the band’s landmark gigs — the Christmas Eve performance at the Hammersmith Odeon, which included one of the first live performances of Bohemian Rhapsody. The documentary explores Queen’s rise to the very top, detailing how Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon were brought together to create the global phenomenon that was, and still is, one of the greatest bands the world has ever seen.
The band, formed in London in 1970, shot to stardom with their fourth studio album ‘A Night at the Opera’.
The album featured Bohemian Rhapsody, which stayed at number one in the UK for nine weeks, and put the band well on the way to becoming global superstars.
With Freddie’s energetic performances, Queen’s Live Aid performance is considered one of the greatest concerts in rock history.
Yet Brian revealed in an interview last year that Freddie was in fact a far cry from the icon fans saw on stage.
Brian May opened up on the true Freddie Mercury that he knew and loved.
Brian May and Freddie Mercury in concert.
Speaking to Classic Rock, he said: “The image of Freddie Mercury was that he was unapproachable… but he was a very caring person, actually.
“He would give the impression that he was very flippant about everything, but he would always surprise you.
“If you had an argument, he’d come back a few days later and say: ‘I’ve been thinking…’ He would be the diplomat.”
Brian added that Freddie acted as a middle man between him and Roger, who would regularly fight over creative disagreements.
Freddie Mercury was a very different man to the on stage performer, Brian revealed.
He recalled: “Everybody thinks Freddie was that flyaway guy, but he was very pragmatic.
“If he saw a situation that was arising between me and Roger, he would manage to find a way through, a compromise.”
Brian added the band would “never have stuck together” had Freddie not been there to intervene.
He said: “One of Freddie’s great catchphrases was: ‘We don’t compromise.’
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Freddie’s ego ‘was not as big as people think’.
“But within the band we did. And that’s why we survived.”
Freddie was an enigmatic man and a mystery to many, keeping his private life especially private.
Peter Hince, however, experienced quite the opposite.
Having worked with Freddie as part of Queen’s road crew from 1973 until his final concert with the band in August 1986, he got to know the man behind the act.
Peter Hince revealed he could always tell Freddie was ‘someone special’.
Speaking to Louder Sound in 2018, he offered a brief insight into the man behind the myth.
He said: “People talk about Freddie and his ego, but his ego was not as big as people think. It was all a persona.
“He could make fun of himself, whereas some of the other guys in the band couldn’t do it in the same way.
“You could have a laugh with Freddie, but you knew where the line was.
Queen perform Bohemian Rhapsody at Live Aid in 1985
“He wasn’t necessarily the prima donna that everybody thought he was.”
Asked if he had that same presence off stage, he said Freddie was “unique”.
Mr Hince recalled: “I used to work for Bowie, but no one had the aura that Fred had. Maybe Mick Jagger did, to a degree.
“But with Fred there was always something about him, from the very early days.
“He had that kind of aura. Not aloofness. But you felt that he was someone special.”
Mr Hince added, however, that you could “always” tell Freddie had a lot troubling him behind the scenes.
He said: “He did have a lot of insecurities — not professionally, but personally.”
‘Queen: A Rock History – Part 1’ airs tonight at 9:20pm on Channel 5.