It comes as no surprise that The King and Queen are linked. The way it came about, of course, is pure Freddie. The British star was always very open about performers he idolised, from Montserrat Caballe and Liza Minelli to Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie. But it all started with Elvis Presley.
Freddie’s musical talent started emerging at a young age when he was encouraged to take piano lessons by his mother growing up in Zanzibar.
When he went away to boarding school in India he was exposed to Western music and soon discovered how much he liked to sing along.
He said: “When I was little I was in the choir and I just liked to sing. I would copy Elvis Presley songs, then I suddenly realised that I could actually write songs and make my own music – call it a natural gift, or whatever.”
Many years later he would pay tribute to his first idol in an extraordinary way.
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In 1979, Mercury wrote Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
It was Queen’s first official No 1 single in America, which meant a huge deal to the British stars bearing in mind that Bohemian Rhapsody had only made it to No 6 and We Are The Champions had stalled at No 4.
Freddie was never one to miss a chance to reveal a cheeky trick and happily told everyone where the inspiration for the song hit him, as well as why he sounded like Elvis on the track.
He admitted: “My voice does sound a bit like Elvis Presley’s on Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
“That wasn’t something I was trying to do, naturally, it was pure coincidence.
“It’s all sung rather low, so then you soon come close to Elvis, especially with such a 50s-type song.
“I don’t mind telling you that my girlfriend thought it was a cover song, but that is absolutely not true. I wrote it… while taking a bath.”
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Brian May confirmed that his bandmates love for The King had lasted beyond his boyhood years.
He said of the classic rock ‘n roll song: “It’s Freddie’s tribute to Elvis in a way… Freddie was very fond of Elvis.”
Freddie didn’t just write songs in the bath.
While he was still with girlfriend and “love of my life” Mary Austin, he had a much more annoying habit, which she quickly put a stop to.
Freddie said: “One night when Mary and I lived together, I woke up in the middle of the night and a song just wouldn’t go away. I just had to sit down and write it, so I got up and dragged my piano over to the bedside so I could reach the keyboard.
“That didn’t last long – she wouldn’t put up with it. And I can’t say I’m surprised!
“Inspiration strikes anywhere. It strikes me when I’m least expecting it and it plays havoc with my sex life. I can get inspiration just sitting in the bath.”
ALL QUOTES FROM ‘FREDDIE MERCURY: A LIFE, IN HIS OWN WORDS’ (Mercury Songs Ltd)
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