In 1978, Queen threw a party at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans, LA. Freddie Mercury and Queen were basking in the success of their albums A Night at the Opera (1975) - which featured the band’s epic rock ballad “Bohemian Rhapsody” - A Day at the Races (1976), and News of the World (1977).
With the upcoming release of Jazz, the Queen Fairmont Hotel party spared no expense. The event was full of excess, debauchery, and outrageousness, a full testament to the dynamic personality of lead singer Freddie Mercury and Queen’s legendary place in annals of rock history.
The Party Included Witchcraft And Carnival-Style Decor
Decoration for the Fairmont party combined Halloween, Mercury’s love of excess, and the rich culture of the French Quarter. According to Queen’s PR representative Bob Gibson, the goal was to “create an environment where whatever you wanted to do was sanctioned... The room was very stark and bare, very high ceilings, so the first thing we did was to rent 50 dead trees... it ended up looking like a skeletal forest.”
A Dixieland band played jazz music until the band arrived around midnight. One guest recalled additional details, remembering,the appearance of a “cross-dresser band... the dance floor was packed up. They didn’t know who was who in there. They had these huge videos of 50 people naked on bicycles to debut the single "Fat Bottomed Girls" off the new album. It was a really weird scene.”
When The Band Got To The Fairmont, They Entered With Great Fanfare
Queen’s arrival at the Fairmont signaled the party had truly begun. Led in by the trumpet-blasts of a brass band at midnight, Queen brought with them performers of all kinds.
One attendee recalls a “legion of strippers, vulgar fat-bottomed dancers, snake charmers, drag queens, and bizarrely festooned revellers” making their way through the mock forest. As music roared from speakers, dancing and nudity soon followed.
In retrospect, nudity is now synonymous with the Fairmont party. In a picture that came out about a week later, Mercury is seen signing an autograph on the scantily-clad body of one attendee and according to legend, another may have smoked a cigarette with a part of her body not usually associated with smoking. While it’s unclear who exactly the woman was, rumors about below-the-belt smoking remain a large part of the party’s lore.
The Menu Included Caviar, Champagne, and Maybe Coke
Before and after Queen’s arrival, guests enjoyed oyster, lobster, stuffed crab, and caviar. The food was piled high on tables in pyramids of sorts, offering what journalist Sylvie Simmons later described as“a bizarre medieval fantasy banquet for a king.”
There was champagne served by well-dressed waiters and, by some accounts, dwarfs serving cocaine on trays they may have carried on their heads. Reportedly, there was a dwarf on a table under a heap of cold cuts, but it’s unclear if the meat was for eating or for show.
There Were Hundreds Of People On The Guest List
By the time Queen arrived, their guests were already enjoying heaping piles of food, flowing alcohol, and, according to some stories, some high-quality powders. Party attendees included music industry executives, reporters, celebrities, friends, and any “freak” Queen’s management could find on the streets of New Orleans.