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Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  1,210 Ratings  ·  197 Reviews

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 façade.

Now, more than twenty years after hi
ebook, 368 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Touchstone (first published January 1st 1998)
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Jul 04, 2012 Nikki rated it liked it
I was disappointed in this book as I have been in every single book about Freddie Mercury and Queen since his death. The one redeeming bit of information in this version of his life was the information on Barbara Valentin the German actress that he had a long-term love relationship with in the eighties. Though he lived his life predominantly homosexual his deepest love relationships were with two women, Barbara and Mary Austin (to whom he left most of his fortune, she had been his girlfriend in ...more
Dec 26, 2011 Sacha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before reading this book I knew very little about Freddie Mercury. He was the lead singer of Queen and he died from AIDS and that was about the size of it. Upon finishing the book I feel that I have a better understanding of what it was like for him in his situation, but the most overwhelming factor that I will take away from this is 466 paged biography is that no one really knew Freddie Mercury and that's how he wanted it.

Jones has written a very interesting and seemingly unbiased account of Fr
Sharon Chance
Jul 30, 2012 Sharon Chance rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was so disappointed with this book. I was expecting a story of the life of Freddie Mercury, who I thought was a fascinating person. Instead, I got Lesley-Ann Jones' story of how she interviewed people with second, third, fourth, and so on knowledge of some of Freddie Mercury's life. The photographs were interesting in the first section, but I thought it was tacky of the author to include photos of herself in the second section of the book.

I would not recommend this book at all. Sorry!
Paul Gleason
Jul 23, 2012 Paul Gleason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a solid and very moving biography of Freddie Mercury, one of my greatest heroes and role models.

Jones is at her best when describing the introverted and caring man behind the glossy exterior of the world's best frontman. Of course, Freddie's loneliness and romantic nature come through in the best songs that he wrote for Queen ("Somebody to Love," "Love of My Life," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "It's a Hard Life," "Save Me," etc.). But Jones, although never directly, allows her reader to glimpse
Scott Holstad
Sep 22, 2012 Scott Holstad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit up front that I've been a huge Queen fan since the 70s when I was a kid listening to their music. They remain one of my favorite groups of all time, and I believe Freddie was the greatest front man of any band ever.

Now that that's out the way, how was the book? In a word -- splendid! I just put away a biography on another favorite of mine -- David Bowie -- cause the authors just seemed to want to skewer him and it really put a damper on my enthusiasm for the man. I had to stop re
Ray Campbell
Jun 21, 2016 Ray Campbell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
The History of Rock & Roll is a place I go to visit my heroes in shabby cold water flats in Manchester, Liverpool and London. It's gloomy, but hopeful and the alleys we run down with our mates are narrow, shadowy and rife with the smell of dinners cooking in a dozen kitchens. As a train whistle blows on it's way to the future where there are hordes of young people worshiping at the alter of the Church of the Sacred Guitar Solo. Someone found a guitar and a recording of a real American blues ...more
TR Peterson
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
Aug 11, 2012 Errol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first thing I should say about this book is that it is incredibly poorly written and edited. In addition, Freddie Mercury's personal story as painted in the book isn't really that interesting once you get past his status of an outcast from a family of Zoroastrians from Zanzibar. His attitude towards life is mostly unchanged through the book- an embrace of love towards his close friends, but also an embrace of an exceedingly hedonistic rock lifestyle characterized by drugs, booze, and a lot o ...more
Mar 14, 2013 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
All of the praise on the back hails this as a great biography, even noting the author's avoidance of the "stars in your eyes" tendency of some biographers. Makes me wonder if they were reading the same book.

This book was bound to be somewhat interesting just because of the subject and the author has certainly done her due diligence in her research, partly because she spent time with them as a music journalist in the 80s and 90s, but the writing is pretty mediocre. Whatever structure Jones tries
Dec 05, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I wanted to give it 3 stars for disappointing me and not giving me enough about one of my favorite rock groups. Then I was reminded that this book was NOT a rock biography about Queen, but instead of Freddie Mercury. Duh.

The story of Freddie Mercury is one of hubris and tragedy--that recklessness, excess, and pride will eventually destroy the individual. Rock musicians will probably suffer this forever as they have done so for decades already. Rarely do musicians provide such an impact
Aug 15, 2012 Vix rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alondra Maldonado
Dec 28, 2012 Alondra Maldonado rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would consider Freddie Mercury one of the best frontman of all times. The Queen singer was the most complex. His sexuality: emotionally drawn to women, sexually drawn to men. Personality: he was shy with the press and the public — until he went on stage, when he became an incandescent god. I would never exclude the others from Queen's greatness: Brian May (guitarist), John Deacon (bassist), and Roger Taylor (drummer). From all musical acts, I would say Queen was among the most talented ones wh ...more
Junemarie Brandt
Feb 01, 2013 Junemarie Brandt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is difficult to write a biography of someone as reticent as the late Freddie Mercury. Despite his flamboyant stage persona, Mercury was incredibly shy and secretive about his private feelings.

Jones does a great job of recreating the thrill of Live Aid in 1985, perhaps the moment of Queen's greatest glory, and delves into his complex relationship with Mary Austin, whom he called his "common law wife" and was the recipient of most of his fortune.

There are some quotes from his fellow band membe
Gina Huber
Oct 03, 2012 Gina Huber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
I am as sad now as I was when Freddie Mercury died. I think I took extra long reading this book in an effort to escape the ending I knew was inevitable. That's one way I gauge whether I am enjoying a book enough to read it again, or even buy it. This book has so much information and the way it is presented, methodically, emotionally, and without sparing the nitty-gritty details, makes the reader really get a sense of the genius behind FM's talent, his confidence and at the same time his insecuri ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He is often credited with having the greatest voice in rock 'n roll and was a natural showman. But ask a random sampling of Queen fans for details of Freddie's life, even his real name or place of birth, and most would be at a loss. This is an intimate portrait written by a journalist who both knew him in life and who, in preparation for this book, spent years pounding the asphalt to seek out and interview his closest friends and family. This is a deeply satisfying read, filled with details of t ...more
Jul 09, 2012 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up on a whim when I saw it at my local library, being a fan of Queen I was curious. Before reading this book all I knew about Freddie Mercury was that he was the charismatic, larger than life lead singer of Queen. I also knew that when I read about his death in the paper in 1991 I felt an unexplained feeling of loss.
I found the book to be interesting as it talks about not only Freddie but what was happening around him at the time but I have come to the conclusion that perhaps
Joe Juarez
Jul 09, 2012 Joe Juarez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: joe-s-shelf
Without reading any book about Freddie Mercury, I must say that Freddie is, in my opinion, the greatest singer of all time. In Jones'tell-all about the late Queen frontman, she chronicles the other side of the "Lover of life. Singer of Songs." A side that's surrounded by loneliness, insecurity, and a heavy excess of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

"Mercury" tells the story of Freddie's story behind songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Are the Champions" as well as what went on during his boyhood
Jul 02, 2012 Doreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Queen fans
Recommended to Doreen by: I love Queen
For those who like Queen, this detailed account of Freddie's life and the group's career answers many questions. The book highlights Freddie's childhood, education, and life as a performer. The group's musical history, and the people associated with them, is an unconventional, exciting story. The band members' relationships, affairs, and personalities are all dissected in the book.

It's hard to evaluate the story of Freddie and his band mates. I believe in living life to the Nth degree. Freddie
Jan 01, 2017 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really touching biography of Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen. I have been a fan since the early 80s when I discovered them in High School.

I always felt Freddie left to soon and after reading this I am convinced more than ever that he did. I have a number of there albums, but I want to run out and buy everything I don't have now!

This is a Freddie Bio, while there is a lot about the history of Queen and the other band mates this is primarily about Freddie. If you are a fan this should pro
Arthur Andraus
Aug 14, 2013 Arthur Andraus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uma vida linda. Um homem lindo.

Terminei o livro com a imagem de dois Freddies na minha cabeça: um imponente, cheio de si, Champion, aquele que se vê em qualquer vídeo do Queen ao vivo e outro, delicado, inglês, engraçado, doce, inseguro, inocente, perfeccionista. Mas não são apenas esses dois. Foram inúmeros Freddies descritos no livro, mas poucos souberam realmente quem foi Farrokh Bulsara.

Foi um gênio que não suportou pisar na Terra por muito tempo.

Inevitavelmente, eu o amo e o admiro demais.
Nov 01, 2012 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
I adore Freddie, and he himself deserves 5 stars. But I could only give the book 3 stars. I felt the author jumped around too often and didn't follow a linear timeline, which is ok, except her way of doing this was confusing.

She also seemed to contradict herself often. I usually have a problem rading biographies because of these 2 factors, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

So, to recap - Freddie Mercury, always 5 stars. The book itself - only 3.
Jane Harris
Jan 01, 2015 Jane Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I found the beginning of this book not particularly well written, it got better and I did enjoy it. Not only is it a biography on Freddy Mercury but it also details how Queen was formed and their struggle to get noticed. Freddy Mercury was a complicated man having both relationships with men and women and predominantly choosing a homosexual lifestyle. I love him, as complicated a man as he was, and the addictive lifestyle he lead he truly was an amazing man.
Jul 09, 2012 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my idols so at first I was slightly skeptical about this being the definitive biography. However I wasn't disappointed. This followed Freddie from his days as a school boy in Zanzibar to an idol of millions who had a troubled personal life up to his premature death from AIDS. A read for all :)
Jul 11, 2012 Terri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have read. My first concert was Queen- I have loved them forever and this book really made me see Freddy as a person not just a rock Icon and it was about him not the band- although they are of course part of the story. I believe they are using this book to make a movie about Freddy so it would be a great source.
Sarah Bushell
Nov 28, 2015 Sarah Bushell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book extremely hard to put down. There was lots of fantastic insights and stories and yet I would have loved to know more about the music and his relationship with the other band members.

Freddie was an amazing talent and a true legend. I hate that he suffered so much pain throughout his life.
Sep 22, 2012 Vince rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great biography of Freddie and a must read for any Queen fan. The book focuses more on Freddie than the band and what was going on in his life rather than focusing on the trails and travails of the band. The contradictions of his public/stage persona with his personal persona are striking. The world lost a brilliant talent when he passed away.
Jul 02, 2012 Kerli rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disappointments
The life of Freddie Mercury is/was marvelous.But this book was a total mess.There was circa 60 pages what I really enjoyed to read.Everything else was a chaos.Too much unnecessary information, too many repetitions.Author jumped from one subject to a completely different topic.That didn't make any sense.
Good but not great book about Freddie Mercury. Lesley Ann Jones gives snippets of Freddie's life before and after Queen but no real cohesive story that gives a beginning to end story line. I did find out some interesting facts about his relationship with his two girlfriends, Barbara Valentin and Mary Austin.
Good selections of pictures.
Óli Sóleyjarson
Jul 27, 2012 Óli Sóleyjarson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ágætis bók en voðalega leiðist mér tvískinnungurinn um það hvernig er fjallað um kynlíf gagnkynhneigðra rokkstjarna og síðan Freddie.
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I love Freddie!
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Lesley-Ann Jones is a journalist and author with over 20 years' experience in London, New York and Hollywood.

A feature-writer and columnist for such titles as the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Express, she was part of the management team behind music channel Vintage TV, launched on Sky and Freesat in September 2010. She also wrote and presented the rock interview series Me & Mrs Jones.
More about Lesley-Ann Jones...

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