Freddie Mercury Died 11/24/1991: A DJ Reflects

Former Queen Lead Singer, Pianist and Lyricist Freddie Mercury died today in 1991 of bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS. Freddie had come out and stated just the day before that he had contracted AIDS.


Freddie Mercury was one of the great singer and songwriters of the modern generation with his flamboyant style, reflective lyrics and dynamic four-octave vocal range.  He has touched fans, dancers and listeners worldwide and is still one of the most requested artists for me as a professional DJ. Just this past Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, a young man from London asked me if I would play Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga”. Of course, I did willingly. It was one, if the most, popular songs of the night at Applebee’s in Hackettstown, NJ. This is not a surprise due ot the wide fan-base that reaches across many genre and tastes.


I remember when I first heard Queen’s album A Night At The Opera. I was totally blown away by the vocal range and group harmonies on songs like “You’re My Best Friend” and the now classic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. There was not previously or since a band that has come close to matching their complex vocal harmonies, instrumentation, lyrics and unique style. On stage, they were very dynamic and drew raves from fans and critics alike globally.

Freddie Mercury Humanitarian

Freddie Mercury was a fearless humanitarian and activist that never shied away from criticism or challenges for the rights of others. He and Queen perofmed at many famous benefit concerts including Music For Kampuchia and Live Aid. At the Live Aid performance, the crowd spontneously began to clap collectively in the same manner as they had produced in the music video for the song “Radio Ga Ga”. I remember watching on TV and clapping along with them, a very inspirational moment. After, when asked about it, the band stated that it was not planned and they were surprised as anyone else since the audience was not just Queen fans but there for the cause and all the other performing acts as well.

Freddie Mercury & Queen Radio GaGa

Freddie Mercury was born in the nation we now call Tanzania of parents that Parsis from British India. He left behind a legacy few performers and musicians will reach.  All totaled, the band collected 18 number one albums and 18 more number one singles grossing over two hundred million albums sold worldwide.

Freddie Mercury from Queen icon with DJ Mystical Michael

DJ Mystical Michael Rhode Island DJ & NY DJ

Queen and David Bowie Under Pressure

Another ground-breaking music video. Queen and David Bowie collaborate to make this song and video. It portrayed what real poverty and stress are through the use all kinds of clips. It really gave the viewer an opportunity to experience ‘pressure’ through the lyrics and the images. Unlike most videos at the time, they were not as focused on being cool or sexy but actually sharing a message with grace and force.


Of course, Queen and David Bowie  were not the first to do so, nor the last. At the time, it stood out from the rest of the pack. The production quality of the images were of the highest level. Music, songwriting and lyrics were right up there as well. This is one of the music videos that those in the business use as a barometer for what is possible with some creativity and skill.


It is rare such visionary artists are willing to share billing like this. Queen and David Bowie were both on top of the industry and could have made something flashier or more commercial but they chose to funnel their collective popularity and talents to make something that mattered. I wish others would do the same. Music has always had its share of artists that give their time and energy to support social issues. This is just an example of one of the better efforts in that regard.

“Why can’t we give love, give love, give love?… This is our last dance. This is our last dance.”

It is interesting how the sound quality and production sound just like the stuff being produced today. A professional DJ can mix Queen and David Bowie with current stuff and there is no drop-off in audio quality or technology. I do, and people seem to like it!

DJ Mystical Michael Rhode Island DJ & NY DJ