It seems that everyone knows and loves Queen for their creative songwriting and unique instrumental sound, and you can’t think of Queen without thinking of the legendary frontman Freddie Mercury.
You may think you know everything there is to know about the band, but here are 31 facts about the iconic British rock band Queen.
Brian May is a Doctor
Queen guitarist Brian May almost went a different route with his career. He obtained his PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London before getting with the band.
Brian May’s Guitar was Made from a 200 year-old Mantle
Brian May’s father actually made his guitar for him by hand. Affectionately known as “Red Special”, May even helped work on the guitar himself. The wood used to make it was over 200 years old. They took the wood from an antique mantle.
Freddie Mercury’s Collaboration with David Bowie was Coincidental
They were two of the biggest music stars at the time, so their paths were bound to cross at some point. However, it was not planned for them to work together.
Bowie happened to be at the same studio, in Montreux, Switzerland at the same time. Luckily, they decided to seize the opportunity and gave us the epic song “Under Pressure“.
Mercury has a Statue in Switzerland
In Montreux, Switzerland, there is a three-meter-high statue of Freddie. This is the same city where he collaborated with David Bowie.
Freddie Mercury was a Cat Guy
Freddie Mercury owned many cats throughout his life and loved them dearly. He was known to call and check in on them when he was on tour, talking to them on the phone. He even had a professional artist draw portraits of his cats.
John Deacon was Not the First Bassist in the Band
A band knows when they have found their perfect match. Luckily, they found that in John Deacon in 1971. However, they would try a number of other people before choosing him. Mike Grose, Barry Mitchell, and Doug Bogie all tried with the band before him.
Interestingly enough, John Deacon was also a trained electronics engineer and built much of the band’s equipment over the years. This included the legendary “Deacy Amp.”
Roger Taylor was Offered a Role in Genesis
Good drummers are hard to find. The band Genesis spotted Roger Taylor’s talents before he joined Queen, but he turned them down. That’s lucky for us since his contributions helped make the band what it is.
Freddie Mercury Drew Queen’s Crest
Queen’s band logo consisted of all four of their zodiac signs. There are two lions to represent the Leos (Taylor and Deacon), a crab for the Cancer (May), and two virgin maidens for the Virgo (Mercury). Freddie came up with the logo himself. Who knew he was so into astrology?
Brian May had Hepatitis
Unfortunately, Freddie Mercury isn’t the only one who had health issues. In 1974, as they were on tour opening for another band, Brian May collapsed, and the band dropped out of the remainder of the tour for his health. He was diagnosed with hepatitis. Luckily, he has learned how to manage his illness.
Freddie Mercury Died of AIDS but kept it a Secret until the End
Freddie Mercury died of AIDS on November 21, 1991. He didn’t publically announce his condition until just before the day he died of pneumonia caused by the symptoms of his illness.
He let his band in on the secret diagnosis in 1989, and then told his sister a year later in 1990.
He made it clear that the only reason he announced his condition to the world was to bring awareness.
While we may have lost a music legend, his death helped put a spotlight on the disease and help people take the proper steps to protect themselves.
Taylor and May were the Original Queen Band Members
While most people think of Freddie Mercury when they think of Queen, he wasn’t in the original band. He roomed with someone Taylor and May were playing with when the band was called Smile.
When Freddie’s roommate Tim Staffell chose to focus on other aspirations, he recommended they consider Freddie.
The band then changed their name to Queen which consisted of Brian May, Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury, and John Deacon.
Freddie was on a Stamp
The British government put the famous singer on one of their stamps. This was unusual since the only other person on stamps at the time was the queen.
Queen Filmed Music Videos at Home
When they first started out, they didn’t have the resources for extremely high production videos. To make it more cost-efficient for them, the band decided to film at home. Literally. Two of the videos, “We Will Rock You” and “Spread Your Wings” were filmed in Roger Taylor’s backyard.
Freddie Mercury’s Real Name was Farrokh Bulsara
You may not know that Freddie was actually born on the island of Zanzibar in East Africa as Farrokh Bulsara.
He moved to Middlesex, UK in 1964 where he legally changed his name to Freddie Mercury.
A Piano and a Bathtub
Freddie Mercury was a creative soul, and he never knew when inspiration would strike. For that reason, he had all of his assistants carry pen and paper around with them in case he needed it.
He even once had his piano brought to the bathtub so he could create a song as he was thinking about it. That song became the popular “Crazy Little Thing Called Love“.
The Stand-Free Mic was a Happy Accident
Many people picture lead singer Freddie Mercury with his famous stand-free mic. Most people don’t know that this was a complete accident. It accidentally broke during a performance once and Freddie went with it. After that, it became a thing.
The Band is an Inspiration to Many
Queen’s Greatest Hits Album is the Best Selling Album of all Time
Time and time again, we see how much people absolutely love the band. From their first album, Queen to Made in Heaven, which was released four years after Mercury’s death, Queen has always been a fan favorite.
They proved that with album sales. Out of all of the albums from all of the artists around the world, more people bought their Greatest Hits album than any other. This accolade on the UK album chart beat out both The Beatles and Oasis.
Queen set a Record in Argentina
Queen didn’t just make waves in their home country and America. They had people all around the world rocking out to their music.
People in Argentina loved them so much that they set a record in the country for the biggest crowd of any concert with a whopping 300,000 people. From my understanding, they did not know how to sing in Spanish.
Queen Remained on the UK Charts for an Unprecedented 26 Years
Many bands are happy to reach the charts at all. Queen not only hit the charts, but they stayed for 26 years. No other artist in history has been able to say the same thing.
This goes to show how much the fans still love their music and how relatable it is even to the next generations.
Freddy was Concerned about the Legacy he was about to Leave Behind
On his deathbed, Freddie Mercury told his manager about his legacy, “You can do what you want with my music, but don’t make me boring.”
Don’t worry, Freddie. That would be impossible. Freddie Mercury’s death occurred on November 24th, 1991.
Was Freddie Mercury Gay?
Freddie Mercury described himself as bisexual. Although he tended to date male partners the longest and died identifying as a gay man, he had both male and female partners over the years.
Why Were Freddie Mercury’s Teeth Weird?
Freddie Mercury had 4 extra teeth on his upper jaw bone, which is what made his teeth look so weird. Despite being a performer, he was embarrassed about how they looked. He never got them fixed however, as he was afraid it would change his singing voice.
The Interesting History of Iconic Queen Song “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Freddie Mercury, who played piano on the tune, was not confident of his piano playing abilities and was reportedly nervous about doing so.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Killer Queen” both scored Queen and Ivor Novello awards for overall outstanding contributions to music.
Queen’s film about the band, titled Bohemian Rhapsody, grossed nearly a billion dollars.
The record company, EMI, released a limited edition, blue vinyl pressing of “Bohemian Rhapsody” that was a 7-inch record. They only made 200 of these and they are now worth at least $5,000 each.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was voted UK’s favorite hit of all time in a poll by the Guinness World Records.
Michael Jackson is Responsible for the hit “Another One Bites the Dust”
Queen was encouraged by Michael Jackson to release the hit “Another One Bites the Dust,” saying that it was going to be their next big hit. The song went on to hit the U.S. Billboard 100 for 3 straight weeks.
Queen’s Live Aid Concert raised more than £150 million
The concert, Live Aid, which brought many musical artists together, raised quite a bit of money for famine relief. During the concert, Queen performed their greatest hits which ended up fan increasing their record sales exponentially.
Queen’s Live Aid concert in 2005 was deemed the greatest rock concert of all time.
Two of Queen’s albums were Named based on Marx Brothers Silent Films
A Night at the Opera, which was released in 1975, and A Day at the Races, released in 1976, were both named based on the Marx Brothers silent films from 1935 and 1937.
Queen made the Guinness World Records a Second Time
The iconic rock group Queen has an incredible fan base. In fact, the International Queen Fan Club made the Guinness World Records as the longest-running rock group fan club.
A Queen Music Video was once Banned from MTV
Queen’s song “I Want to Break Free” was banned from MTV for being too controversial. The video, which featured the members of Queen dressed in drag, was said to be too risque for television.
Elton John didn’t like the song “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Elton John reportedly said about Queen’s song “Bohemian Rhapsody” that it was “too weird for radio.”
It was also said that Elton John’s former manager, John Reid, helped Queen get a better recording deal that ended up skyrocketing their overall sales.
Freddie Mercury was not the Only Songwriter in the Group
Roger Taylor wrote at least four Queen songs during their career, including “Radio Ga Ga” in 1984, “A Kind of Magic” in 1986, “The Invisible Man” in 1989, and “These Are the Days of Our Lives” in 1991.
Sheer Heart Attack hits Gold status in the U.S.
Queen’s third album, Sheer Heart Attack, released in 1974, hit gold status in the U.S.
Queen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The British rock band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, alongside Aerosmith and Michael Jackson.
Queen Net Worth
Reportedly during their heyday, Queen sold somewhere between 170 million and 300 million records. Although some of the band members are no longer alive, the estimated net worths are as follows:
Brian May: $175 million
Roger Taylor: $170 million
John Deacon: $125 million
Freddie Mercury: $50 million