My history hero: Aled Jones chooses Freddie Mercury (1946–91)
Chosen by singer and broadcaster Aled Jones. “The songs he wrote were iconic and will live forever, just like the Beatles’. He was one of the greatest live performers – the sparks seemed to fly out of him,” says Jones
Freddie Mercury was the lead singer of rock band Queen who sold more than 150 million records worldwide. Born in Zanzibar to Parsi parents, he moved to London in his teens and studied art before co-founding Queen. The group scored a string of hits including Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You and Radio Ga Ga, and stole the show at the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium. He died at 45 from an Aids-related illness.
When did you first hear about Freddie Mercury?
As a young chorister at Bangor Cathedral, Wales. The older choristers were always going on about Queen’s music. I’d never heard of them and thought, ‘What, Her Majesty the Queen?’ Then I got to hear some of their albums, and as soon as I had some money went to WHSmith, a five-minute walk from the cathedral, and bought my very first record, Queen’s Greatest Hits. I learnt every word to every song and have been a fan of Freddie’s ever since.