Freddie Mercury: In his Own Words

23 November 2021, 23:36 | Updated: 24 November 2021, 10:17

On 24th November 1991, the world of rock lost one of its greatest frontmen. Freddie Mercury died, aged just 45, but he left a legacy of incredible music and incredible performances.

Mercury was an incredibly private person, but occasionally he would explain something of his personal philosophy in a TV or press interview. Here are some of the most revealing quotes that give us more insight into Freddie Mercury, the man.

  1. "I think Queen songs are pure escapism, like going to see a good film – after that, people can go away, and go back to their problems."

    To Melody Maker, May 1981

    Freddie Mercury performing with Queen at Wembley Arena, 5 September 1984
    Freddie Mercury performing with Queen at Wembley Arena, 5 September 1984. Picture: Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo
  2. "A lot of people slammed “Bohemian Rhapsody”, but who can you compare that to? Name one group that’s done an operatic single."

    To Circus magazine, March 1977

  3. “I have to win people over, otherwise it’s not a successful gig. It’s my job to make sure people have a good time. That’s part of my duty. It’s all to do with feeling in control."

    To The Sun, 1985

    Freddie Mercury during Queen's show-stopping set at Live Aid, Wembley Stadium 13 July 1985
    Freddie Mercury during Queen's show-stopping set at Live Aid, Wembley Stadium 13 July 1985. Picture: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
  4. "Rock and roll has a very wide spectrum and you can do anything you want in it."

    To Radio 1990, February 1984

    Queen in 1975: Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Freddie Mercury and Brian May
    Queen in 1975: Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Freddie Mercury and Brian May. Picture: Alamy Stock Photo
  5. "I look back at myself, and think oh my God, how could I have done that, wearing black nail varnish, the long hair and the make-up... but everybody grows out of it."

    To Radio 1990, February 1984

    Freddie Mercury on stage with Queen in November 1973
    Freddie Mercury on stage with Queen in November 1973. Picture: GettyMichael Putland/Getty Images
  6. "I'm just a musical prostitute, my dear. I'm just me."

    1984 TV interview

    Freddie Mercury at home in London, 1975
    Freddie Mercury at home in London, 1975. Picture: Ian Dickson/Redferns/Getty Images
  7. "I like to ridicule myself. I don’t take it too seriously. I wouldn’t wear these clothes if I was serious."

    To Melody Maker, May 1981

    Freddie Mercury making the video for Queen's It's A Hard Life in June 1984
    Freddie Mercury making the video for Queen's It's A Hard Life in June 1984. Picture: Mike Maloney/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
  8. "I don’t want to keep playing the same formula over and over again, otherwise you just go insane. I don’t want to become stale. I want to be creative.”

    To NME, June 1977

    Freddie Mercury on stage at Wembley Arena, 5 September 1984
    Freddie Mercury on stage at Wembley Arena, 5 September 1984. Picture: Nigel Wright/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
  9. "A song can mean anything. But I’m a true romantic and a very loving person, and I think that comes out in my songs."

    Press conference, 1985

    Freddie Mercury in the Netherlands, April 1982
    Freddie Mercury in the Netherlands, April 1982. Picture: Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty Images
  10. "A concert is not a live rendition of our album. It's a theatrical event."

    To Circus magazine, March 1977

    Queen in concert in Las Vegas, 1978
    Queen in concert in Las Vegas, 1978. Picture: Brad Elterman/FilmMagic/Getty Images
  11. "I’m very emotional; I think I may go mad in several years’ time."

    To Circus magazine, March 1977

    Freddie Mercury in Japan, October 1982
    Freddie Mercury in Japan, October 1982. Picture: Midori Tsukagoshi/ShinkoMusic/Getty Images
  12. "When I’m dead, I want to be remembered as a musician of some worth and substance."

    To Circus magazine, March 1977

    Queen live at Wembley Stadium, 1986
    Queen live at Wembley Stadium, 1986. Picture: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images
  13. "I'm not married to music, I'm married to love."

    TV interview, 1980s

    Freddie Mercury watches himself on TV in Japan, May 1985
    Freddie Mercury watches himself on TV in Japan, May 1985. Picture: Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images
  14. "You either have the magic or you don’t. There’s no way you can work up to it."

    To Circus Magazine, April 1975

    Queen perform at Wembley Stadium, July 1986
    Queen perform at Wembley Stadium, July 1986. Picture: FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images
  15. "When they stop buying our records, then I'll say goodbye and do something else. Become a strip artist or something."

    1984 TV interview

    Freddie Mercury of Queen performs on stage at Groenoordhal, Leiden, Netherlands, 20th September 1984.
    Freddie Mercury of Queen performs on stage at Groenoordhal, Leiden, Netherlands, 20th September 1984. Picture: Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty Images
  16. "Some people can take second best, but I can't."

    Freddie Mercury and opera singer Montserrat Caballe in Spain, May 1987
    Freddie Mercury and opera singer Montserrat Caballe in Spain, May 1987. Picture: FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images
  17. "When I'm dead are they going to remember me ? I don't really think about it, it's up to them. When I'm dead, who cares ? I don't."

    Queen plays Knebworth, the last concert on the Magic Tour on 9th August, 1986
    Queen plays Knebworth, the last concert on the Magic Tour on 9th August, 1986. Picture: FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

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