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Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury Hardcover – July 3, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Mercury goes beyond the glittering façade to get an unvarnished look at Queen’s rise to fame, the loves of Mercury’s life and his fraught relationship with his conservative past, creating a complete portrait of this magnetic musician.” --MetroSource

About the Author

Lesley-Ann Jones is an award-winning music journalist and author. She toured with Queen and has unrivalled access to the band. She lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451663951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451663952
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I will say it right now: this book is not perfect, far from it. However, for Jones (arguably the least-acquainted biographer of the late Mr. Mercury)to pull together a book as solid in its facts and unprejudiced in its content is a true accomplishment to which even the harshest of critics would have to tip their hats. I am familiar with the other biographies of Freddie, and while they certainly contain various degrees of accuracy, Jim Hutton and Peter Freestone were not writers by profession (also, some of the details in the formers' publication were a bit too graphic for me-meaning no disrespect) and therefore, to get to sit down and read the work of someone who not only had an ongoing professional relationship with Freddie Mercury, but whose job it is to document the lives of musicians, is very refreshing. I am not through the book yet, but far enough to have a solid idea of how the writer wants to come across as a biographer; which is to not bash the reader over the head with sentimentality or shove meaningless details down their throat just to prove they did their homework. Jones is not out to gain familiarity for herself nor fame. She does not want to reap benefits or brag about her personal relationship with the great musician. She is quite simply telling the story of one of the worlds' greatest musicians (dead or alive) in the most unbiased, most straightforward way possible. Jones serves to tell the events as they were, how they were, and why they were without jumping to conclusions or trying to establish all information as concrete. I admired her approach very much, the book is written well and at no time did it lose or bore me. I am dying to finish it and I have a feeling I will read it again.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Reading this biography it's evident the author had little or no interaction with her subject but still manages to capture him. While books by "confidants" Peter Freestone and Jim Hutton are full of anecdotes (including some jaw-droppingly disrespectful ones), Lesley Ann-Jones is removed enough to see the totality of Freddie Mercury, a man of extremes who seemed destined for a short but remarkable life. He was highly intelligent but not an intellectual, guided by impulses and addictions as well as an unstoppable work ethic. Jones's writing is tangential but in a good way; she's researched not only Mercury but those around him, including studio executives and producers, and she gives specific names of restaurants and bars Freddie would frequent in cities around the world, which allows the reader to do his own research on Google.

This book also highlighted the extent to which the man transformed himself -- out of young Fahrook Bulsara from a provincial Persian upbringing -- to something completely out of his imagination: Freddie Mercury. Mercury was totally into creating an illusion. He was arrogant and cavalier. But that awkward, effeminate Parsee with the big teeth and the shy laugh was still seen in not-so-infrequent glimpses.

On one hand you could write a biography specifically about Freddie's music, and then a separate biography about his sexual exploits, and perhaps they would appeal to two entirely disparate groups of readers. Unlike previous Mercury biographies, this one balances both facets nicely.

Jones quotes a lot of Freddie's acquaintances as is not afraid to contrast contradictory observations. Just as with any other human being, Freddie was seen differently by different people.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this book is very interesting, the "unprecedented access" the author had seems to be the sum of press touring and an uncomfy evening spent at a bar with Mercury fearing he'd acknowledge she was a journalist. She opens with this heavy-handed bit to remind us that *she was there*. The rest is a cobbled together collection of interview quotes and rehashes by folks that ran out of other options for reminding the public that they once were star... um... companions. This feeling is not helped by the inclusion of a number of photos of the author with everyone in the world BUT the actual members of Queen.

Hoping that this "outsider's view" would be an asset, I read the bulk of the book with interest and was pleased that the author used a roughly musically-cued format. Though I am a life-long Queen fan, I have shied away from the many books written up to this point. I figured two decades down the pike from Freddie's death, maybe this one would be mature. Up until the point of Freddie's death in the timeline, it fulfilled that expectation.

I feel that there is a great deal of value in public figures being open about their sexuality if they choose and, most importantly, that Mercury's death contributed a great deal toward the current climate of acceptance for those battling HIV/AIDS. The details of how those closest to him dealt with the reality of his illness and death could help those dealing with issues of sexuality and HIV/AIDS today. I can even wrap my head around how a calm statement on the speculation of who Mercury contracted HIV from might open a dialogue about the disease and put wild rumors to rest. So, well done there, I suppose.

However, I don't care if you're discussing a rock star or someone's Grandma, one deserves dignity in death.
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