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At the age of 17, Mercury and his family fled from Zanzibar for safety reasons due to the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution.
File photo taken in the U.K. Circa 1970.Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage
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Freddie Mercury showing his raw emotions at the piano.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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The release of Queen's debut album in 1973 was hailed as one of the most exciting developments in rock music.
With bandmate Brian May, on stage in the U.K. Ian Dickson/Redferns
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Members of Mercury's former English group Ibex pose in Bolton, Lancashire on August 23, 1969.Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns
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In addition to his music, Freddie Mercury will always be remembered for his dramatic fashions.Hulton-Deutsch/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images
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Mercury had a wide range of artistic interests and influences, including ballet, opera, and theatre.Ian Dickson/Redferns
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Freddie Mercury performing circa 1970.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Freddie Mercury with a nearly naked guest at one of Queen's famous parties. John Rodgers/Redferns
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The Queen frontman performing live at Congresgebouw in The Hague, Netherlands on December 8, 1974. Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
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Using his background in graphic design, Freddie Mercury made Queen's crest logo, which featured the zodiac signs of all four band members.Deviant Art/MabMeddowsMercury
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Freddie Mercury performs with Queen in June 1979 in Paris, France.Georges De Keerle/Getty Images
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Freddie Mercury getting training from a ballet instructor. August 1979.Mark and Colleen Hayward/Getty Images
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Rocking on stage in a kimono. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Freddie Mercury's flamboyant stage performances led journalists to speculate about his sexuality. Some claim that he was openly gay, but others say he tried to hide his sexuality, as homosexual acts between adults had only recently been decriminalized in the U.K.Flickr/clender
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To this day, Queen's Greatest Hits remains the biggest selling album in British history, ahead of the likes of The Beatles and Adele.Flickr/clender
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Queen live at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. March 22, 1976.Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images
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Wikimedia Commons/Carl Lender
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Many artists looked up to Freddie Mercury — both during and after his time. Tragically, Kurt Cobain's suicide note mentioned how he both admired and envied the way Mercury "seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd."Fin Costello/Redferns
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Freddie Mercury on stage in 1985. Dave Hogan/Getty Images
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Queen performing at Madison Square Garden in New York City on September 30, 1980.Waring Abbott/Getty Images
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In a 1986 interview, Mercury said, "I hate doing the same thing again and again and again. I like to see what's happening now in music, film, and theatre and incorporate all of those things."Brian Rasic/Getty Images
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Throughout his career, Freddie Mercury performed an estimated 700 concerts around the world with Queen.Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images
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Freddie Mercury with Jane Seymour during Fashion Aid. November 6, 1985.Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Getting a mustache trim in 1982. Steve Wood/Express/Getty Images
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On stage at Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. June 5, 1982.Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Queen was the first foreign rock band ever to play in South American stadiums.Suzie Gibbons/Redferns
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Freddie Mercury is embraced by fellow musician Mark O'Toole (a former member of the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood) while sitting next to another musician named Belouis Some. 1986.Dave Hogan/Getty Images
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Despite writing numerous songs with intricate melodies, Mercury claimed that he was not able to read music very well.Flickr/a a
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Freddie Mercury was a cat lover. While on tour, he would often call home to talk to his feline friends on the phone.Flickr/Summer1978
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Queen's performance at Live Aid in 1985 has been voted by a group of music executives as the greatest live performance in the history of rock music.Flickr/kentarotakizawa
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On the evening of November 24, 1991, a little over 24 hours after he told the media that he was suffering from AIDS, Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45. Flickr/nico7martin
Freddie Mercury’s Larger-Than-Life Career In 31 Photos
It's hard to imagine Freddie Mercury as anything other than the frontman of Queen. And yet, he worked at an airport, sold secondhand clothing, and studied graphic design long before he met his future bandmates.
Even before all of that, Mercury was a little boy named Farrokh Bulsara. Born in the central African Sultanate of Zanzibar in 1946, he was raised by Parsi parents who were originally from India. The family stayed in Zanzibar until Farrokh was 17 years old. Then, they moved to Middlesex, England, in the mid-1960s. And that's when Farrokh's metamorphosis into Freddie began.
Soon, after enrolling in the Ealing College of Art, he met Roger Taylor and Brian May, who were already in a band called Smile. Mercury joined the pair, and with the addition of bassist John Deacon, the band Queen was born.
Mercury's range — both in terms of musical genres and vocal abilities — remains unrivaled to this day. Incredibly, Mercury was able to hit a bass low F and a soprano high F. A talented writer, he also penned most of Queen's greatest hits, which ranged all the way from heavy metal to disco.
Wikimedia CommonsFrom famous pictures of Freddie Mercury onstage to rarely-seen images of him at home, the gallery above captures the iconic reign of the Queen frontman.
While Mercury was an extremely extroverted performer, he preferred to keep his personal life out of public view. He was romantically involved with actress Barbara Valentin, DJ Kenny Everett, and hairdresser Jim Hutton, but Mercury's "greatest love" was a woman named Mary Austin.
As he said of Austin in a 1985 interview, "All my lovers asked me why they couldn't replace Mary, but it's simply impossible. The only friend I've got is Mary and I don't want anybody else. To me, she was my common-law wife. To me, it was a marriage. We believe in each other, that's enough for me."
And when Freddie Mercury tragically died of AIDS in November 1991, he left his home to Austin. He also left her this note: "You would have been my wife and it would have been yours anyway."
As we reach the 30th anniversary of his passing, these Freddie Mercury pictures help outline the contours of his life — one cut far too short.
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.