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We Will Not Let Him Go: The Unforgettable Freddie Mercury

In fond memory of the quintessential and entirely irreplaceable rock frontman.

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Freddie Mercury - Photo: Courtesy of Bob King/Redferns
Freddie Mercury - Photo: Courtesy of Bob King/Redferns

The unsurpassed brilliance of Freddie Mercury as an entertainer sometimes obscures his diligence and creativity as a songwriter. To have composed “Bohemian Rhapsody” and nothing else would surely be enough, but his catalog of Queen hits as a composer also included “Killer Queen,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and, among many others, the anthemic “We Are The Champions.” What would have been his 75th birthday, on September 5, 2021, was marked with a new video and other celebrations.

Freddie’s attitude to his work, and especially his stagecraft, is well reflected in his comments contained within the online “newspaper” to mark the 40th anniversary reissue of Queen’s 1977 album News Of The World. Speaking around the time of its original release, he said: “I feel a lot of people now realise when they come to see our show, that they’re gonna get a lot of contrasts.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Live at Live Aid, Wembley Stadium, 13th July 1985)

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“I like to think that I can do different things. I don’t like to just think, OK, rock’n’roll, I’m gonna go up there, put on my high-heeled shoes and play the songs. I like to think we do so many different types of songs that when we try and put them over, they require a different sort of format.”

The Beatles - Now And Then
The Beatles - Now And Then
The Beatles - Now And Then

The point was further emphasised by Brian May in an interview about the 2018 film. “I think what a lot of people think about Freddie, and the media go, ‘Oh he was flamboyant, whatever,’ and they remember him for other things and they forget he was a brilliant musician. I think the film does pay attention to the fact that Freddie was a great, great musician.”

For all Queen fans and admirers of exuberant pop showmanship, the date November 24, 1991 is tinged with sadness, as the day we lost Freddie. Although his illness had long been common knowledge, the official confirmation that he was suffering from Aids came in a written statement released little more than 24 hours before he passed away. His place in the pantheon of modern music had been confirmed many years earlier, but on a more human level, it’s well worth saying that Mercury’s tragic demise was anything but in vain.

Queen - These Are The Days Of Our Lives (Official Video)

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Because Freddie was the first major rock star to die of complications from the terrible disease, his passing made Aids an issue of public consciousness as never before. With at least some of the suspicion and misunderstanding of its causes and symptoms removed, he did an immeasurable amount to bring Aids into common parlance.

Less than six months after Mercury’s death on November 24, 1991, Brian May, Roger Taylor and Queen’s Manager Jim Beach had founded the Mercury Phoenix Trust and helped organise the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for Aids Awareness. 76 countries around the world saw it, considered the issues involved and celebrated a unique life. You can donate to the Mercury Phoenix Trust and take part in their remarkable, ongoing work, notably that via the smash hit 2018 movie Bohemian Rhapsody, here.

Queen - Killer Queen (Top Of The Pops, 1974)

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As Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, told the Evening Standard in a feature marking 30 years since Mercury’s death: “In the short period of time before he died, he was open about the fact that he had Aids, and when those moments happen, it’s possible to grab hold of them and use them for something else.

“I think the other members of Queen and his friends really did that through their work at the Mercury Trust. They were able to take a really upsetting and sad situation and used the learning from that to really impact change.”

Listen to the best of Queen on Apple Music and Spotify.



  1. Basje

    November 24, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Seen him live with Queen 97 times and 6x solo….still miss him. Great to see alle these new releases.

    • Matt Z

      November 24, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      You couldn’t possibly have seen him 97 times…and 6 solo… what an absurdity.

      HE NEVER PERFORMED A SOLO TOUR. Only A mimed appearance with a ballet group, a few video shoots (one phony “live” promotion for a German broadcast promoting “The Great Pretender”), a guest performer on Dave Clark’s musical TIME and two mimed performances in promotion of the collaboration with Montserrat Caballe (BARCELONA).

      Quit your bull$#!+.

    • Christian

      November 24, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      I am envious about that. I have never been able to see him and Queen live

    • vale

      November 25, 2015 at 10:29 am

      97 ? what ? wow ! ! !

    • Kev B

      November 27, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      What an imagination and what nonsense! I don’t think I’ve seen them that many times on all my videos and DVDs! I was lucky to see them in Leeds in 1982 and the final concert at Knebworth and don’t need to exaggerate, knowing that is twice more than many people.

  2. Oshun

    November 24, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Love the music of Queen! Freddie Mercury the ultimate showman!

  3. Richard

    November 24, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Wonderful talent. A life ended much too soon because of sin. A tragic loss.

    • Tony

      November 24, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      Sin? Fucking hell, we’re back in the middle ages

    • Kerry

      November 24, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      Sir, your comment offends me. Freddie did not die because of sin. He died from AIDS. They are not the same thing.

    • Maureen Thorpe

      November 24, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      A sin,he had aids you Pratt.get a life sad cow

    • Sara Volk

      November 25, 2015 at 4:34 am

      Piss off, O sinless one.

    • Connie

      November 26, 2015 at 3:07 am

      He who is without sin can cast the first stone.


    November 24, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    We missed very much freddie But what we can do: SHOW MUST GO ON .

  5. mark anderson

    November 24, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Any one remember what they were doing when they heard the news ?? I was decorating my hallway – knocked me sideways !!!! very few people make an impact like that in your life – only other is Diana

    • Aurora Magdalena

      November 24, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      very perceptive 😉 who are you?

    • Luls

      January 3, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Yes mark Anderson, I agree with you there, two exquisite people sadly missed.

    • Kev B

      November 27, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      I was working that day. I heard it early in the morning and was so distressed I had to take the day off and shut myself in my bedroom with my Queen records playing loud. Having followed them since 1974 it was like losing a relative.

  6. Helen M

    November 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Went to visit Montreux on Freddie’s birthday, the 5th of september this year! It was a very special day.
    Today I remember his passing away, and I light a candle, thank you Freddie for being the person you were, and still are in many hearts today!

  7. Stacy Love

    November 24, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Freddie, I am really really sorry… I never met you, I wasn’t born when you died, but I am No 1 fan!!! You will live in out hearts, thanks for your music and your voice, they were both a real blessing… You had and you still have a huge impact on me… I admire your talent like noone’s….
    Rest in peace Freddie…
    We will never forget you…
    P.S.: I am glad that we can share our sorrow after so many years. Thanks for publishing articles like this. Keep sharing guys!!!!!

  8. LuAnn Morgan

    November 24, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    He was a musical genius! I often wonder where he would have took his craft had he lived.

  9. Sean

    November 25, 2015 at 12:23 am

    I witnessed Queen in Toronto 1980 at the CNE Grandstand, I was 12 and watched from a fence outside the venue, I could see the front of the stage only, mostly Brian and Freddie, even at this young age I was captivated with others around me at the spectacle that was Queen, when they played another one bites the dust people outside the venue were dancing in the street. My first real taste of rock n roll!

  10. Pandora Heathcoe

    November 25, 2015 at 2:25 am

    I grew up on Queen and only got to see them live once. But that was enough because then I was hooked.

    So proud to be hosting Peter Freestone December 11th in Fairhope, AL for our AIDS fundraiser!

  11. caroline pendergast

    November 25, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Freddy Mercury was a unforgettable singer. he had so much talet. From rock to opera Ill never forget the day he died a saddness came over me like i lost a family member i willalways rememmber him and will teach my my children about him. Thanks Freddy for your music that gave me enjoyment

  12. Tricia8000

    November 25, 2015 at 3:56 am

    A true musical genius. This was the day the music really died. Irreplaceable, unequalled, mourned forever. I cannot express the depths of sorrow I feel at the loss of the one and only Freddy Mercury, rock god.

  13. rina

    November 25, 2015 at 10:28 am


  14. Marcy

    November 26, 2015 at 3:33 am

    The only thing I can think to say on this day……is Freddie, I love you.

  15. TAMMY

    November 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I miss his music. I was in class and our teacher let us listen to the radio while we studied. They broke in and said he had passed. Our teacher closed the class and we went outside and realeased balloons with RIP FREDDIE MERCURY on them. It amazes me that so many younger kids are discovering Queen and Freddie. And i saw so many on you tube of 9 and 10 year olds singing and sounding just like him. I often wonder if he had lived what kind of music would he make,what he would think of the music today. Its a shame that back then aids people were treated so bad. Thank god its not a death sentence like it was years ago. I met him once in the 80’s when my class went to london. I was so excited that i got his autograph, but forgot to take a picture. At 17 i didn’t think of it. He will always be remembered as long as we teach the younger kids about him and the band and its music. Hope they come near to me when they tour with adam.

  16. Galileo

    November 23, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    What a sad day!
    Freddie will be forever in my heart!
    I miss you so much !
    Unequalled,a musical genius!
    Eternal love Prince of the Univers!
    Long live!
    I love Queen very very much!

  17. jasmin loutra loura

    September 5, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    HE NEVER PERFORMED A SOLO TOUR. Only A mimed appearance with a ballet group, a few video shoots (one phony “live” promotion for a German broadcast promoting “The Great Pretender”), a guest performer on Dave Clark’s musical TIME and two mimed performances in promotion of the collaboration with Montserrat Caballe (BARCELONA).

  18. Sheri Wood

    September 5, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    The only thing I can think to say on this day……is Freddie, I love you.

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The Beatles Red and Blue Boxsets
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