The Late Movies: Happy Birthday, Freddie Mercury

Chris Higgins

Today would have been Freddie Mercury's 66th birthday. We lost him in 1991, the year before Wayne's World brought his opus "Bohemian Rhapsody" to a new generation. Mercury had a stunning voice, spanning four octaves, and his stage presence was sized to match. To blow your mind, check out this vocals-only track from "Under Pressure" (with David Bowie). I have advanced it to the point where Mercury belts out his insane "whyyyyyyyyyyyy!" This.

Now, let's settle in for some Queen classics, and raise a toast to Freddie.

"Under Pressure" (Live at Wembley Stadium, 1986)

I love his call-and-response with the crowd at the beginning, and especially the way he ends it. He's an unbelievably powerful performer.

"We are the Champions"

"Bad mistakes, I've made a few." Arguably the white jean shorts were a mistake, but this performance rules.

"Bohemian Rhapsody"

"Nothing really matters." The second segment appears to be pre-recorded...and then the pyrotechnics start. Note that the video seems to repeat, the second time (around 5:30) without sound. Just stop watching at that point.

"I Want to Break Free" (Live at Wembley Stadium, 1986)

"God knows I want to break free!"

"Another One Bites the Dust" (Live at the Bowl)

Freddie's trousers mesmerize me.

"Somebody To Love" (Live at the Bowl)

"Free, I tell ya!"

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (Live At The Bowl)

"This is for anybody who's crazy out there!"

65th Birthday Video

This tribute video was assembled last year. Lovely stuff, with a variety of perfectly placed f-bombs.

"Heroes" (Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert)

While not a Queen song, this Bowie + Queen performance is a fitting tribute to the man.

"Under Pressure" (Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert)

Okay, one more. Queen + Bowie + Annie Lennox. Divine and heartbreaking. "These are the days it never rains, but it pours."

See also: The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert Was 20 Years Ago Today (from April of this year).