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Top 10 Things You Never Knew About Freddie Mercury

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher

He’s one of the all-time greats, but how much do you really know about this ‘80s musical icon? Did you know that Freddie Mercury wasn't his real name? Or that he actually had more teeth than most people? WatchMojo is counting down the things you never knew about Freddie Mercury.

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Script written by Spencer Sher

Top 10 Things You Never Knew About Freddie Mercury


He’s one of the all-time greats, but how much do you really know about this ‘80s musical icon? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Freddie Mercury.



For this list, we’ll be taking a look at some lesser-known facts about the former Queen frontman in preparation for the band biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”





#10: He Was Born Farrokh Bulsara




While it would be easy to assume that this larger-than-life pop culture icon was born a polished musician with a name to match - that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara and spent his early years transitioning between Zanzibar (now Tanzania) and India, both of which at the time were under British rule. Mercury’s family practiced an ancient religion called Zoroastrianism, and while he was far from a devout follower, a Zoroastrian priest did conduct his funeral services. Mercury and his family wouldn’t move to the UK until the mid ‘60s.







#9: He Was a Cat Lover




To say that Freddie Mercury loved cats would be a gross understatement. The Queen frontman was said to have owned up to 10 cats at one point in his life and would sometimes call them when he was on the road. He even dedicated his debut solo album “Mr. Bad Guy” to his cat and in the album’s liner notes wrote,"This album is dedicated to my cat Jerry - also Tom, Oscar and Tiffany, and all the cat lovers across the universe - screw everybody else!" Now that’s what we call devotion!







#8: He Nicknamed All but 1 of His Friends & Bandmates After Women




Every group of friends bestows nicknames upon one another and it appears that Freddie Mercury was no different when it came to his circle of, admittedly way cooler, group of pals. He called Elton John ‘Sharon’, Rod Stewart ‘Phyllis’ and Queen guitarist Brian May ‘Maggie’. He even had one for himself: ‘Melina’. However, the buck stopped when it came to Queen’s bass guitarist John Deacon. Mercury refused to give him a female nickname because apparently Deacon was simply too masculine in his eyes. We guess that’s a… compliment?





#7: A Dentist Appointment Helped Pave the Way for the Sex Pistols




Imagine you’re an up-and-coming rock band that’s just booked a gig on a TV show. Now imagine that at the last second, your lead singer cancels because he has a dentist appointment! Such was the case for Queen back in 1976, when Mercury cancelled an appearance on “Tonight with Bill Grundy” so that he wouldn’t miss a dental appointment (his first in 15 years!). Ironically, this would prove to be a stroke of good fortune for the Sex Pistols, who were brought in as a last minute replacement. The interview wound up being front-page news, as the Sex Pistols showed up drunk and cursed their way through the entire segment. Hey, any press is good press, right?







#6: A Llama Interrupted His Recording Sessions with Michael Jackson




In 1983, Freddie Mercury was invited to Michael Jackson’s home studio in California so that the two superstars could work on a few tracks together. Some of the songs they worked on included “Victory”, “There Must Be More to Life Than This” and “State of Shock”. Unfortunately, the pairing had a bit of a falling out and their collaborations never saw the light of day. Mercury reportedly had trouble dealing with Jackson’s, how do we put this delicately, unique behavior. With the primary thorn in his side being that Jackson insisted on recording with his pet llama in the studio! Suffice it to say that was the last time the two worked together.



#5: He Created His Trademark Mic Stand by Accident




All of the best musicians have a trademark. From Slash’s top hat to Nelly’s Band-Aid, tiny idiosyncrasies can often elevate an artist to new pop culture heights. For Freddie Mercury, his trademark was a half broken mic stand that he performed with at almost every show. The story goes that during Queen’s early days, Mercury was performing when his microphone stand broke in two. Instead of requesting a new one he simply kept on singing. For whatever reason, he enjoyed performing with a broken mic stand and the rest as they say is history!





#4: He Had More Teeth Than Most People




Despite his status as one of the 1980s most recognizable sex symbols, Freddie Mercury’s teeth were…less than perfect. The cause behind his distinct smile was four extra teeth in the back of his mouth that pushed the others forward. His refusal to have them fixed at any point during his career stemmed from a fear that it would negatively impact his singing ability. And with a voice like his, he was probably right to worry. Mercury had a vocal range of almost four octaves and when scientists studied his voice in 2016, they found that his vocal chords had the ability to move much faster than the average person’s. Thanks, science!







#3: He Was Very Shy




Despite a stage presence that was flamboyant, outlandish and at times sensationally energetic, those who knew him best described Freddie Mercury as a shy, private man who could be very insecure. In fact, Mercury once remarked, “When I'm performing I'm an extrovert, yet inside I'm a completely different man." While he never denied that he loved the adoration bestowed upon him by the crowd during his performances, he was also someone that could be incredibly insular. Queen drummer Roger Taylor once quipped, "In real life, nobody knew Freddie," and that pretty much says it all.





#2: He Was David Bowie’s Roadie




In 1969, Freddie Mercury served as an impromptu roadie for the still relatively unknown Bowie when he performed at an art school in London - carrying the future star’s amp and even helping to build a stage out of tables. The two would cross paths again when Mercury was selling vintage clothing at Kensington Market. One day, David Bowie strolled in and having just released his breakout song “Space Oddity” was considered a burgeoning star. However, he still had no money, so when he found a pair of boots he liked, Mercury and clothing stall manager Alan Mair gave them to him for free. Now that’s a story!







#1: Only One Person Knows His Final Resting Place




On November 24th, 1991, Freddie Mercury passed away from complications brought on by AIDS. Within days of his death, he was cremated and his remains were given to his former partner and longtime friend Mary Austin. And that’s where the trail goes cold. Mercury had previously told Austin, “I know exactly where I want you to put me. But no one’s to know, because I don’t want anyone to dig me up. I just want to rest in peace.” Austin appears to have kept that promise; as to this day Mercury’s final resting place remains a mystery.
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