Category Archives: Freddie Mercury

Thought of the Day 10.5.12 Bob Geldof

“It’s really very simple, Governor. When people are hungry they die. So spare me your politics and tell me what you need and how you’re going to get it to these people.”
Bob Geldof

[Image courtesy: LastFM]

Robert Frederick Zenon Geldof was born on this day in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, Irelandin 1951. He is 61  years old.

After graduating from Black Rock College in Ireland, Geldof travelled to Canada to work as a journalist. In 1975 he co-founded the Dublin based punk band The Boomtown Rats for which he was the lead singer.  Rat Trap was their first #1 song on the New Wave charts in the UK. I Don’t Like Mondays brought the group international fame.

The band’s video  that song and for Up All Night scored high with MTV [Remember when MTV actually was known for introducing new music via music videos?]

Geldof as Pink in a still from Pink Floyd The Wall [Image courtesy: HQRock]

In 1982  Geldof played Pink in the movie Pink Floyd the Wall. 

Geldof  parted ways with the Rats in 1986 and sent solo. He co-wrote the beautiful This the World Calling with the Eurthmics’ Dave Stewart.

He worked with a variety of artist and continued to collaborate with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. He sang Too Late God at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert (he co-wrote the tune with Mercury.)

Starting in the early 80s he performed in benefits like the Secret Policeman’s Ball for Amenesty International. By 1984 he came up with the idea of bring the pop music industry together for a concert to aid famine relief in Ethiopia. He co-wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas? With Midge Ure of Ultravox and brought together a supergroup of pop artist under the name Band Aid to the Sarm West Studios to record it.  The song eventually raised over 8 million pounds.

In July of 1985 Geldof and Ure expanded on the idea of Band Aid with a broadcast concerts, Live Aid. The concerts took place both in the UK, at Wembley Stadium, and in the US, at Philadelphia’s Kennedy Stadium. The BBC carried the whole thing live — all 16 hours of it. Geldof’s passionate, angry plea/demand for money helped the event raise over 150 million pounds in famine relief.  Live Aid set the standard for benefit concerts to come.

Geldof was knighted for his efforts.

Along with fellow rocker, Bono, he continues to work toward debt relief for developing countries. He is a member of the African Progress Panel, a watch dog group that keeps world leaders focused on their commitments to the African continent.

Bob Geldof at the Headquarters of the Internat...

Bob Geldof at the Headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thought of the Day 9.5.12 Freddie Mercury

“F*ck today, it’s tomorrow.”

“What will I be doing in twenty years’ time? I’ll be dead, darling! Are you crazy?”

— Freddie Mercury

(Image courtesy of Fan Pop)

Farrokh Bulsara was born on this day in British Zanzibar, East Africa in 1946. He would have been 66 years old.

He grew up in Zanzibar and India. He attended St. Peter’s School, a British-style boarding school in Panchgani. The students at St. Peter’s anglicized his name to Freddie. Although he hated some of the school’s sports — running and cricket — he like others — hockey & boxing, and he became the school champion at table tennis at 10. He preferred art and music. He took private piano lessons and enjoyed Bollywood musicals. At school he formed a cover band that performed rock and roll. He also joined the school choir and participated in several theatre productions.

In 1964 when Freddie was 17 there was a great deal of unrest in Zanzibar, most of it directed at the British and Indian ex-pats. So Freddie and his family moved to Feltham, Middlesex, England. There he received a Diploma in Art and Graphic Design from the Ealing Art College. All the while he performed in bands. He also worked part-time selling second-hand clothes at Kensington Market and worked in a catering department at  nearby Heathrow Airport.

After stints with the bands Ibex and Sour Milk Sea he, Brian May (guitar) and Roger Taylor (drums) formed Queen. John Deacon rounded out the group in 1971.

Mercury designed Queen’s logo. (Image courtesy of Lost at E

Freddie changed his last name to Mercury when he started Queen.  As lead singer for the group Mercury’s range went from a low bass F to a high tenor F, 3  full octaves. He wrote the lion share of the group’s songs including Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, Somebody to Love, We Are the Champions and Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

He hated to do the same thing twice so he borrowed from a variety of genres when writing. So from the opera inspired Bohemian Rhapsody to the rockabilly Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Mercury proved just how mercurial he could be.

(Image courtesy of Fan Pop)

He was an amazing show man on stage. Queen gave over 700 concerts worldwide.

It wasn’t anything that could be developed. It was his charisma, his pure natural gift that was in perfect harmony with his voice, his appearance, his delicate taste and his musicianship in the wide sense of the word. The fact that he realized it himself made him absolutely fascinating! [Freddie Mercury: biography by Jacky Gunn & Jim Jenkins]

Their 20 minute set at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium stole the show. Freddie sings, struts, dances, plays piano and guitar, gives 110%,  and has a hell of a good time. (Plus, how much fun is it to hear 72,000 people singing along to a Queen song?)

He  produced two solo albums, Mr. Bad Guy and Barcelona and several singles. And he did solo side gigs including a performance with the Royal Ballet where he danced  in font of a packed audience of ballet enthusiasts to orchestral versions of Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. He received  a standing ovation. Freddie co-wrote Love Kills for the re-release of Fritz Lang’s 1926 classic film Metropolis.

Freddie Mercury died of AIDS in 1991 at the age of 45.

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