Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones (2012) – Book Review
Freddie Mercury, the iconic lead singer of Queen, was one of the greatest showmen in all of rock music. His powerful voice, amazing stage presence, and magnificent style captured the hearts of millions of fans. Over the last twenty years since the tremendous singer’s early departure from life, several books have been written about the man, as well as his band, Queen. Yet, none of the former writings have captured the true essence of Freddie Mercury the way that Lesley-Ann Jones has in her new book on the legend titled, Mercury.
Delving deep into the rich history of Freddie Mercury from his humble beginnings in Zanzibar to his move to India, and later, England, and right through his rise to fame with Queen, Jones is able to leave no stone unturned and she brings to life the character that Freddie Mercury was. Jones’ insight helps us to understand why Freddie Mercury became the man he was. From rigid anti-homosexuality laws in his native country to leaving his parents at seven years of age to study in a foreign land, there were many events taking place in young Freddie’s life that would shape his persona for years to come.
Jones’ dedicated research and exhaustive interviews with the people that knew Freddie provided the fuel for the content for this biography. It also helps that she knew the man well, from covering Queen in her rock-journalist days. Having toured with the band and being part of their Live Aid conquering, Jones was able to see things about both Freddie Mercury and Queen that most people would not have access to. In Mercury, she is able to bring these key insights to life.
While not exactly linear in timeline, Mercury is a well written biography that covers the life and times of Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara. The early part of the book is fascinating with facts of Mercury’s early life, documenting the entire culture and lifestyle that he was raised in before being sent to India for better schooling. It is here that we learn the true inner being of Freddie Mercury and see bits of his life that would mold and shape him into the man that he was to become.
Mercury covers everything that one would want to know about the lead singer of Queen. From the initial meeting with his future band members, to his lack of understanding regarding his sexuality, to his deepest, truest love (a female), every aspect of Freddie Mercury’s life is portrayed as if we were living alongside of him. Life’s tragedies, triumphs, and reactions from family members and friends alike, are all documented on the written page with a passion that shows Jones’ affection for her subject. It’s as if Jones was writing a biography on a close and personal friend, and in some ways, she was.
And what may not be covered as intimately in the detailed writing of Lesley-Ann Jones is certainly captured in the photos that are contained within Mercury. Photos from all periods of the singer’s life are included as an intimate visual guide to what it was like to be Freddie Mercury. The pictures help to enhance the spectacular written portrayal that Jones provided.
If you are looking for a great read about a wonderful, talented, gifted musician, Mercury is worth the time. This is a beautiful remembrance of one of the most beloved singers in all of music history. The story is told in an entertaining and riveting way, filled with many details and little known facts. For any fan of classic rock, Mercury is a worthy addition to your literature collection.