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Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury

Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury

Escrito por Lesley-Ann Jones

Narrado por Jane Collingwood


Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury

Escrito por Lesley-Ann Jones

Narrado por Jane Collingwood

valoraciones:
4/5 (25 valoraciones)
Longitud:
12 horas
Publicado:
Jul 3, 2012
ISBN:
9781442357488
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descripción

A revealing, intimate look at the man who would be Queen.

As lead vocalist for the iconic rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury's unmatched skills as a songwriter and his flamboyant showmanship made him a superstar and Queen a household name. But despite his worldwide fame, few people ever really glimpsed the man behind the glittering facade.

Now, more than 20 years after his death, those closest to Mercury are finally opening up about this pivotal figure in rock 'n' roll. Based on more than a hundred interviews with key figures in his life, Mercury offers the definitive account of one man's legendary life in the spotlight and behind the scenes. Rock journalist Lesley-Ann Jones gained unprecedented access to Mercury's tribe, and she details Queen's slow but steady rise to fame and Mercury's descent into dangerous, pleasure-seeking excesses — 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 Mercury's closest friends to the sound engineer at Band Aid (who was responsible for making Queen even louder than the other bands) to second cousins halfway around the world. In the process, an intimate and complicated portrait emerges.

Meticulously researched, sympathetic yet not sensational, Mercury offers an unvarnished look at the extreme highs and lows of life in the fast lane. At the heart of this story is a man...and the music he loved.

A Simon & Schuster audio production.

Publicado:
Jul 3, 2012
ISBN:
9781442357488
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Sobre el autor

Lesley-Ann Jones is an award-winning music journalist and author. She toured with Queen and has unrivalled access to the surviving members of the band. She lives in London. Visit her at LesleyAnnJones.com.


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Reseñas de lectores

  • (3/5)
    I am definitely a fan of Queen’s music, but this biography made me dislike Freddie and the rest of the band. I don’t think that was the intent of the author; but the shy-yet-arrogant Freddie with his extreme ‘sex and drugs’ lifestyle was so unappealing. I didn’t enjoy the writing style and I didn’t enjoy what I learned, I preferred my semi-ignorance. Not that I ever thought they were paragons of virtue, but I was much more interested in the creation of their music (which was covered very little) than in endless parties with live lesbian sex and cocaine.
  • (3/5)
    In 1997, award-winning music journalist Lesley-Ann Jones wrote Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography. In 2011, she updated the biography and published it under the same title in the United Kingdom. It wasn't until 2012 that the biography was released in the United States with the title Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury. When I heard about the updated edition of Mercury's "definitive" biography, I knew that I had to read it. Although Queen is one of my favorite bands of all time, and Freddie Mercury is one of my favorite performers, I actually knew very little about its members beyond their music. I saw the new release of Mercury as an ideal opportunity to learn more about the lives of Freddie Mercury and the rest of the members of Queen. There have been many books, biographies, and memoirs written about the band and its members. Mercury is actually the first one that I have taken the time to read. I was looking forward to its release a great deal.On September 5, 1946, Farrokh Bulsara was born in Zanzibar to Jer and Bomi Bulsara, Parsees originally from a small town in India. Farrokh was sent to an English-style boarding school in India where he went by the name Freddie. Eventually, Freddie and his family would flee to the United Kingdom to escape the Zanzibar revolution. Involved in music for most of his life, Freddie was destined to become the lead singer for Queen, recognized as one of the greatest bands of the eighties. Together with Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon, Freddie, now going by the name Freddie Mercury, would end up taking the world by storm. Living the high life of sex (with both men and women), drugs, and rock and roll, in the end the decadence would catch up with Mercury--he would die on November 24, 1991 from AIDS-related illness at the age of forty-five. A phenomenal and highly charismatic performer, Freddie Mercury's legend live on and inspires others even today.I really wanted and expected to like Mercury. Unfortunately, more than anything else, the biography frustrated me. Organizationally, the book is a mess. It does include useful end material such as a chronology, discography, select bibliography, and index, but to sit and read Mercury from beginning to end is often confusing. Jones assumes that the reader is already familiar with the details of the lives of Freddie Mercy and the other members of Queen. The individual chapters in the biography are arranged only vaguely by theme and chronology. Jones has a tendency to jump back and forth in time and from subject to subject which makes Mercury difficult to follow logically. In addition to the story being told out of order, the biography is also terribly unfocused. I was interested in reading about Freddie mercury, but most of the book, particularly the first half or so, seemed to be about Queen and the music scene in general. (Granted, Mercury was a very important part of both of these things.) Because of this, I found large portions of Mercury to be tedious and tangential. It wasn't always clear why a particular bit of information was being introduced or how it related to Mercury himself."An intimate biography" is a much more accurate subtitle than "the definitive biography." In the course of writing Mercury, Jones spoke with nearly two hundred people who shared their memories and opinions about Freddie Mercury with her: family and relatives, friends from throughout his life, peers and colleagues, intimate partners, other journalists, and various experts. Despite touring with Queen, Jones only includes one personal anecdote of Freddie Mercury of any significance. Although she interviewed many different people while writing the biography, very little of the information collected comes directly from Freddie Mercury himself. Instead, Mercury is made up of the recollections of the people who knew him. Although I haven't read the first incarnation of Jones' biography of Freddie Mercury for comparison, Mercury does include details about his life that have only recently come to light. So, although I was mostly disappointed with Mercury, there is certainly some value to the work.Experiments in Reading
  • (5/5)
    A balanced and great insight into the incredible life of Freddie Mercury, the artist and the man by those who knew him most.
  • (4/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    DISCLAIMER *This is a bit of a book vs movie review*
    A real emotional rollercoaster without a dull moment. I have read many biographies and autobiographies in the past. They all have a bit you skim through at some point when the details get too long and arduous to read. Not this! It was very easy to read and full of quotations from friends, family, music industry bigwigs and even psychiatrists.
    "It was the perfect stage for Freddie Mercury: the whole world." Bob Geldof
    "It wasn't even dark, he was whipping up all this magic in daylight." Dave Hogan (photographer at Live Aid)
    The explosive start with Live Aid in chapter one mirrors the movie Bohemian Rhapsody to a tee (although the book predates, obviously). Although the main focus is how Queen outperformed everyone that day, there is also a lot of other information like when and how Bob Geldof came up with the whole idea (I did not know that Queens had not been invited to sing in Do They Know It's Christmas!)
    The book then delves deeply into Freddie's childhood and time in Zanzibar and India. The writer even goes on an expedition to find his birth certificate (which is apparently missing - suspected to have been bought illegally and in someone's private collection now). Her interviews with friends and family shed so much light on Freddie's background and upbringing. (He was called Bucky!)
    The next thing that struck me were the many differences with the movie - too many to name! How he met and joined the band, how they got their first album recorded, the truth is so different I was wondering if I had watched an adaptation or fictionalisation of the truth at the cinema the day before reading the book (For example, they had a VERY hard time being picked up by radio DJs in the UK and could not get onto playlists at the beginning). However, I felt that his relationship with Mary Austin came across better on screen (although, again, there were many conflicts like, she did not abandon him as portrayed in BR)
    The wild parties... Oh my God! Jaw dropping! I can understand why those were left out of the movie!
    I also learned about Peter Freeman, Barbara Valentin and others who were so close to him but did not get a mention in the movie. And Jim Hutton - the true story of how they met is so different!
    The book has a total of 25 chapters that take the reader from place to place and event to event. Freddie's multi-faceted, almost chameleon-like character came out very well in the story. You follow his as he goes from sleeping on the floor to super rockstardom. You feel each betrayal, each hurdle he had to overcome. There are moments you are cheering him on and moments you find the hedonistic OTT life too much to comprehend. There is also a lot of commentary into what the songs and lyrics mean - the writer's own take on Bo Rap is that Scaramouche (a clown from the commedia dell'arte) was Freddie himself, Galileo the 16th century astronomer is obviously Brian May, and Beelzebub (prince of demons) is Roger Taylor who was the wildest party animal at the beginning. I don't know how much water that holds, to be honest, but back stories to why and how the songs came about is definitely interesting.
    And the final chapters - I was in tears. There was so much empathy and emotion in the description of his final year, death, funeral and the aftermath, all fans MUST read this. The wealth of information also lead me to some fantastic old videos (like Freddie's performance with the Royal Ballet) that are hidden away on Youtube.
    Here are some of the titbits that have stayed with me...Did you know - Brian May developed gangrene in his arm after a routine inoculation and there was a real fear of amputation?
    that Freddie was aerophobic?
    that after their first appearance of Top of the Pops in 1974 Freddie ran along Oxford St to watch their appearance on a TV in a shop window because he didn't own one himself?
    that Freddie and Roger ran a market stall in Kensington and were as thick as thieves? (I thought their relationship on BR was actually quite strained)
    that when they landed in Argentina for the tour in 1981 the flight announcements all stopped and they started playing Queen music instead!
    There was one comment in earlier reviews that this is a mash-up of all the interviews and books that have come before, with no new material. I disagree. Yes, there were a lot of quotes from various sources, but there were also many insights from the author herself and personal interviews / conversations too. Of course, I have not read all the other biographies of Freddie and Queen out there, but I am sure there is a lot of overlapping bound to happen when you write about the same subject!
    My only criticism is, because the chapters were broken by personalities and events there was a lot of jumping back and forth in the timeline when you read from one chapter to another - where you stop and go 'wasn't that mentioned earlier?' However, if you are a fan of Queen, or if you have just watched Bohemian Rhapsody, this is a book which would fascinate you.

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

  • (4/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    After seeing Bohemian Rhapsody at the theaters, I HAD to learn more about this musical genius, his band, and his fascinating life. This book is a good window into the life of Freddie Mercury and the musical genius of the band Queen. I did not realize how influential they were on music in the 70's, 80s, and 90s...and even today. Freddie was no saint, but he knew music, body and soul and underneath it all, it seems a genuine caring heart, that was oftentimes very lonely.

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

  • (1/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    Very hard to understand the narrator. Someone screwed up by approving who read this audiobook. I’ve got plenty of friends that have accents from all over the world and I understand them just fine, never an issue. This narrator, It’s not just the tacky and profound English accent, she mumbles and runs out of air at the end of sentences or purposefully lets the sentence get quieter and even more mumbly at the end. Who approved this?! Skip this book until it’s re-recorded by someone who can speak properly.

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

  • (4/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    An insightful, completely engrossing portrait of the Queen frontman and quintessential rock star.

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

  • (1/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    I love Freddy Mercury and was excited to get my hands on this. It was a huge disappointment for me. I found it not well written with the author jumping all over the place. I enjoyed looking at the pictures but could not get through the book. Not the book for me but could be for you so try it yourself.

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

  • (4/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    An intimate complex portrait of an "unmatched songwriter-showman"A carefully documented look (realistic yet not sensational) at Queens" outrageous" frontman"An unvarnished look at the extreme highs and lows of life in the fast lane.At the heart of this story is a man . . . and the music he loved."It felt almost dangerous to immerse myself in this reading.The many photos available added a quality of realism to the outrageous tone of the bio.As Queen rose in fame, Freddie descended further into pleasure seeking excesses.His persona developed with flamboyance and melodrama.It was quite interesting to see more clearly the man behind the glittering facade.4*Of course, not for everyone.....But if you choose to read this, it is well presented and was enlightening to me.

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

  • (4/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones is the first biography I've listened to on audio. I wasn't quite sure what to expect-performance wise. I was pleasantly surprised. Jane Collingwood is the main narrator, but there are other voices that chime in for various interviews by various people. I liked this aspect of listening to a biography on audio. I think it broke up what could have been a potentially tiresome reading of another person's life. Not that Freddie Mercury's life was boring at all, just someone reading the details of his life might be tiresome.The title of this book indicates that it holds several intimate details of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer in Queen. Before I 'read' this book, I knew a few things about Mercury, and the life he led. After reading this book I think only a few people really knew the real Freddie. The books begins in Freddie Mercury's childhood. Jones spends a brief time in this area of his life before going on to the years when he met fellow band members and forming their band, Queen. Freddie was a larger-than-life personality on stage, and a brilliant musician. Off the stage, he was a more private person. He led the extraordinary life of a rock star. He worked with some of rock's greatest performers such as Michael Jackson, Elton John, and David Bowie. The book travels through these professional years with a closer look at Freddie's personal life. It takes you through to the end of his life, when he died from AIDS.I enjoyed listening to this book and the different accounts taken from the people in his life. I think there is a side to Freddie that he only revealed to a few people. While this book goes into detail about Freddie's life, I don't think it paints a completely accurate picture of who Freddie Mercury really was. Freddie Mercury was and still is an enigma.

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

  • (3/5)

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

    Freddie Mercury was a remarkable musician and performers who faced personal demons. Author Jones traced his life and accomplishments as most fans do, through stories, articles, and reminisces from those who once interacted with him. Although there are acknowledgments, a chronology of Mercury’s life, a discography of his music, and a select bibliography, the volume lacks footnotes/endnotes that lend credibility to the well-researched autobiography. Still it was an interest read about a very interesting individual.

    Esto le resultó útil a 1 persona

  • (3/5)

    Esto les resultó útil a 2 personas

    This was an enjoyable read but not exactly an intimate biography as the title suggests. Most sources she uses are old rock magazine interviews and Jones seems rather keen on name dropping even when it isn't clear why one needs to know what other music industry connections a producer might have.

    In addition, despite her admiration for Freddie she does not allow for bisexuality to exist in his case, often insisting that he was a closeted gay man, not bisexual. The fact that Freddie loved both women and men was something she admits but then seems to disregard.

    With regards to Garden Lodge and Freddie's entourage there she describes the multiple lovers in his life getting on and even sleeping in the same bed as 'bizarre' while at the same time trying to highlight any small animosities as proof of how it was all some kind of fateful tragedy rather than people merely loving and respecting each other. It's as if Jones can comprehend the gay man that Freddie was but the bisexual or polyamorous Freddie is beyond her.

    It's clear though that Mercury wanted to simply be who he was with all of the imperfections that make all of us human. There is no doubt he loved his many partners in a variety of different ways, whatever current convention thinks otherwise.

    What comes across most stongly in the book, and to Jones's credit, is Mercury's shyness vs his onstage outrageousness. A kind of Janus faced character that left no one really knowing all of him.

    If you are looking for an excellent biography of Queen this isn't your book. If you are looking for an overview of the life of Freddie then, baring the misconceptions of his personal life, you may want to give it a read.

    Esto les resultó útil a 2 personas