Freddie Mercury’s Larger-Than-Life Career In 31 Photos

Published November 8, 2016
Updated August 7, 2020

These amazing Freddie Mercury photos capture the rock and roll icon as the show-stopping star that he was.

Freddie Mercury Photos Reclined
Freddie Mercury Singing On The Piano
Brian May
Ibex Band In 1969
Freddie Mercury’s Larger-Than-Life Career In 31 Photos
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It's hard to imagine Freddie Mercury as anything other than the frontman of Queen — and yet, he worked at an airport, a secondhand clothing store, 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. Farrokh's metamorphosis into Freddie began in the mid-1960s, when his family moved to Middlesex, England.

Soon, after enrolling in the Ealing College of Art, he met Roger Taylor and Brian May, who were already in a band by the name of 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. Indeed, Mercury could hit a bass low F and a soprano high F, and he penned the majority of Queen's greatest hits, which ranged all the way from heavy metal to disco.

Queen performs at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in 1985.

While an extremely extroverted performer, Mercury 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 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."

When he died of AIDS in November 1991, Mercury left his home to Austin, with the note, "You would have been my wife and it would have been yours anyway."

As we reach the 25th anniversary of his passing, these Freddie Mercury photos help outline the contours of his life, one cut far too short.

For more music history, check out the crazy stories behind your favorite Beatles songs. Then, check out 28 iconic images of Johnny Cash.

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist, and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.