The Truth About Freddie Mercury’s Incredibly Complicated Life Is Guaranteed to Blow Your Mind


After transferring to Ealing Art College, where he earned his diploma in Art and Graphic Design, he met fellow student Tim Staffell, then the bassist in a band called Smile alongside guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. In early 1969, Staffell introduced his new friend to the band. “At that stage, he’s just kind of an enthusiast,” May told Mojo in 1999. “He says, ‘This is really good—it’s great how…you’re aware of building up atmospheres and bringing them down. But you’re not dressing right, you’re not addressing the audience properly. There’s always opportunity to connect.'”

As he grew closer to the boys in the band—selling odds and ends at a clothes stall in the bohemian Kensington Market with Taylor, sharing a flat with both Taylor and May—he was in and out of a couple groups of his own, attempting to insert as much influence over them as he could. But when he saw Smile, his ambition became being their lead singer, even taking to yelling at their shows, “If I was your singer, I’d show you how it was done!” 

By early 1970, Staffell had decided to leave the group and in April, May and Taylor opted to form a new band with Mercury. Right away, he began to exert his influence on the group—which came to include bassist John Deacon—pushing them to dress more theatrically and insisting they name the band Queen. “It was a strong name, very universal and very immediate,” he would explain years later, according to Rolling Stone. “It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations, but that was just one facet of it.”

It was around this time that he’d left his surname behind for good, officially becoming Freddie Mercury. “I think changing his name was part of him assuming this different skin,” May said in the 2000 documentary, Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story. “I think it helped him to be this person that he wanted to be. The Bulsara person was still there, but for the public he was going to be this different character, this god.”



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