9 Facts That Prove Freddie Mercury Is An Epic Legend For A Reason

All-around great person Freddie Mercury is known for his faultlessly sublime voice, his incredible vocal range, dazzling and theatrical outfits, and the electrifying vitality of his stage presence. And let's not forget the amazing songs Queen wrote. But he was far more than the sum of his flamboyant parts. There are hundreds of heartwarming Freddie Mercury stories, but there exists an equal number of tales that pay tribute to the Queen frontman's fabulously eccentric sense of humor and indefatigable work ethic. 

Though most of the facts of Mercury's (public) life are widely known, more obscure anecdotes still exist, providing life-affirming trivia about one of glam rock's most irreplaceable and cherished badasses. 

Photo: Getty Images: Ian Dickson / Contributor / Redferns

  • He Once Dressed Princess Diana In Drag To Smuggle Her Into A Nightclub

    He Once Dressed Princess Diana In Drag To Smuggle Her Into A Nightclub
    Photo: Shutterstock

    Freddie Mercury's flamboyance and his great sense of humor are well documented, but one of his lesser-known antics involves taking Princess Diana out for a disguised night on the town. According to comedian Cleo Rocos, she, Mercury, the princess, and a couple of other friends were hanging out one night watching Golden Girls and eventually decided to mosey on down to a "notorious" gay bar. Diana wanted to go, but she didn't feel up to being recognized and mobbed by photographers.

    So, the resourceful Mercury improvised and dressed her up in drag. All decked out, she looked like a "rather eccentrically dressed gay male model," and she and Freddie spent the evening "giggling like naughty schoolchildren."

  • He Adored His Cats And Even Dedicated An Album To One

    He Adored His Cats And Even Dedicated An Album To One
    Photo: Getty Images: Keystone / Stringer / Hulton Archive

    Many great artists love cats, and Mercury was no exception. According to reports, he had up to 10 felines at one time and even had them painted onto a vest he wore. His adoration of his cats also frequently made its way into his music - his album Mr. Bad Guy was dedicated to one of his felines, and to "all the cat lovers across the universe."

  • He Sang On Darth Vader's Shoulders To Promote 'Star Wars'

    He Sang On Darth Vader's Shoulders To Promote 'Star Wars'
    Photo: Shutterstock

    Despite that quirky lyric about not liking Star Wars in "Bicycle Race," Mercury thought enough of the film to endorse it by singing while perched on the shoulders of Darth Vader - or a roadie dressed as Vader, anyway. In 1980, right around the time of The Empire Strikes Back, photographer Tom Callins snapped a shot of Mercury and the Sith lord hamming it up during an encore performance of "We Will Rock You."

    "It was pandemonium," Callins remembered years later. "Everybody just thought it was so funny, so Freddie. It was so over-the-top.” 

  • He Used A Piano As A Headboard Just In Case A Song Came To Him In The Dead Of Night

    He Used A Piano As A Headboard Just In Case A Song Came To Him In The Dead Of Night
    Photo: Shutterstock

    When it came to seizing on inspiration when it occurred, Mercury didn't take any chances. He was so afraid of losing songs and melodies that he had a piano installed as a headboard and famously used it to lay down tunes that would come to him in the middle of the night. He was also flexible, so he'd simply reach around and start playing the riffs backward.

    Bohemian Rhapsody is said to have been conceived this way initially, though Mercury apparently hated to play the song live because he considered himself a mediocre pianist (for some reason). 

  • He Vowed To Sing Until He 'F*cking' Bled

    Freddie Mercury's declining health was not easy for him to deal with, but he was determined not to let his failing body diminish his creativity, work ethic, or passion for life. 

    According to Brian May, Queen's lead guitarist and backup vocalist, Mercury's last days were full of "a lot of joy, strangely enough. Freddie was in pain... but inside the studio, there was a sort of blanket around, and he could be happy and enjoy what he liked doing best. Sometimes it would only last a couple of hours a day because he would get very tired. But during that couple of hours, boy, would he give a lot."

    Even when he was particularly ill and exhausted, Mercury (like his friend and collaborator David Bowie after him) soldiered on through sheer will and artistic commitment. May remembers that "when he couldn't stand up, he used to prop himself up against a desk and down a vodka, [saying]: 'I'll sing it till I f*cking bleed.'" 

    Now that's rock 'n' roll. 

  • He Had A Strong Bond With His Family

    He Had A Strong Bond With His Family
    Photo: Shutterstock

    Born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Africa, Freddie Mercury grew up in a close, loving home where his artistic inclinations were encouraged; his parents, his sister, and his community alike celebrated his beautiful voice. Freddie's father, Bomi, passed away in 2003, and his mother, Jer, died in November 2016. But several years before she went, Jer granted The Telegraph an in-depth interview about her "dear boy."

    “Whatever he did or wore, I always saw in him the same child I knew. He would tell us lots of jokes, and I could always connect with him," Mrs. Bulsara recalled. "It reassures me that he is still loved by people all over the world, but of course, none of them love him as much as his mother.”

    As a deeply religious person, she claimed to have been mostly at peace with her son's death, but she also had moments of sorrow. One time she was watching the Olympic closing ceremony when Freddie's face suddenly appeared on the screen, and she "cried out: 'Oh my dear boy, where are you?' I miss him so much. They showed John Lennon, too, but there was much more applause for my Freddie.”