Freddie Mercury (Born Farrokh Bulsara)
September 5, 1946 – November 24, 1991
Born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, Tanzania, Freddie Mercury would become one of rock’s most beloved and dynamic performers as the lead singer of Queen. When Mercury was 17, he and his family fled Zanzibar to London due to the Zanzibar Revolution. Mercury had been performing in bands since his school days, and he wasn’t about to stop when he got to London. When he graduated from college in the late ’60s, he played in a handful of bands until he joined up with Brian May and Roger Taylor and later John Deacon, in what would soon be called Queen. The band became one of the biggest musical acts during the ’70s and ’80s thanks in part to Mercury’s operatic voice and jaw dropping showmanship. One show in particular, Queen’s comeback of sorts during the Live Aid concerts of 1985, has been called the greatest live performance in the history of rock music. Mercury wrote many of the band’s biggest hits, including “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Are The Champions,” “Killer Queen,” and arguably their greatest, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” In the spring of 1987, Mercury was reportedly diagnosed with AIDS, though it wouldn’t be officially announced publicly until November 23, 1991. Freddie Mercury died the next day of bronchial pneumonia as a result of AIDS.