by award-winning rock journalist Lesley-Ann Jones
As the lead vocalist for the iconic rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury’s unmatched skills as a songwriter and flamboyant showmanship made him a superstar, and Queen became a household name. But few people ever really glimpsed the man behind the glittering faÇade.
Lesley-Ann Jones presents the full portrait of both the complex man and the myth in her new book Mercury. Jones who toured widely with Queen, has secured more than 100 interviews with key people in the life of pop star Freddie Mercury, one of pop music’s best-loved and most complex figures.
Mercury was the first major rock star to die from AIDS. Now, twenty years after his death, those closest to him are finally opening up about this pivotal figure in rock n’ roll. With unprecedented access to Mercury’s tribe, rock journalist Lesley-Ann Jones has crafted the definitive account of Mercury’s legendary life. Jones details Queen’s slow but steady rise to fame, and Mercury’s descent into dangerous, pleasure-seeking excesses. Jones doesn’t shy away from Mercury’s often colorful lifestyle—this was, after all, a man who once declared, “Darling, I’m doing everything with everyone.”
In her journey to understand Mercury, Jones traveled to London, Zanzibar, and India—talking with everyone from Freddie’s closest friends, to the sound engineer at Band Aid (who was responsible for making Queen louder than the other bands), to second cousins halfway around the world, an intimate and complicated portrait emerges. Meticulously researched, sympathetic yet not sensational, Mercury offers an unvarnished, revealing look at the extreme highs and lows of life in the fast lane.
Freddie Mercury will be the subject of a major motion picture titled Mercury, slated for 2012 production, produced by Graham King, starring Sacha Baron Cohen. This book is a key source for the film. Mercury is the most compelling, up-to-date portrait of an enigmatic entertainer who thrilled audiences around the world with a magnetism matched by few performers.
Meticulously researched, sympathetic yet not sensational, MERCURY offers an unvarnished, revealing look at the extreme highs and lows of life in the fast lane. Jones details it all from Queen’s slow but steady rise to fame, to the creation of ground breaking songs like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, to the decadent, raucous after parties Queen became infamous for, to the band’s creative process and their perpetual quest to challenge themselves musically.
To gain a better understanding of Mercury’s early life and his somewhat fraught relationship with his traditional, conservative past Jones traveled to Zanzibar, his birthplace, and India, where he attended boarding school. Jones also provides new insights into the great loves of Mercury’s life—long-time girlfriend Mary Austin, chef Joe Fanelli, German soft-porn star Barbara Valentin, live-in-lover Jim Hutton—and what those relationships meant to him. In MERCURY a compelling, definitive portrait emerges of this enigmatic entertainer who thrilled audiences around the world with a magnetism matched by few performers.
*Freddie Mercury continues to be a cultural icon. Adam Lambert, who has often express his adoration of Mercury, will reportedly will join Queen in concert at the Sonisphere Festival this July. Also author Lesley-Ann Jones was consulted personally by screenwriter Peter Morgan as a significant source for the upcoming major motion picture titled Mercury starring Sacha Baron Cohen, produced by Graham King.
Touchstone • $28.00 • on sale July 3, 2012.