Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Why Freddie was the last great popstar

Can you believe it? Freddie Mercury will be 20 years dead this Thursday.

I was too young to appreciate the enormity of Elvis' death and while John Lennon's murder crossed my radar, his work meant little to someone gearing up for the largely imagined terrors of grammar school.

But Freddie. Freddie was something else. He belonged entirely to me - or rather those of my generation. It was hard to remember a day without him camping it up somewhere in the charts.

Already I am sure the profile writers will be reaching for cliches like "outrageous" and "the world's greatest showman".

But the prosaic truth is that Mercury was indeed outrageous, was indeed the world's greatest showman.

Indeed, he may have been the last great popstar in that his appeal reached across the generations, the classes, the sexes.

Few were not moved by Mercury's untimely death and the courage he showed in his last days, for example filming the extraordinarily moving video for These Are The Days of Our Lives, in which he thanks his fans in the closing frames.

Everyone mourned him - grandmothers, irony-loving students, teenypoppers, heavy metallers (remembering the early Seven Seas of Rye rockiness) and devotees of camp (remembering just about everything else).

In our fragmented specialist age where we all listen to music appropriate to our own wee niche demographic, I wonder will there be that near universal 'Where were you when you heard the news?' for our current generation of pop stars. Probably not.

So whether its dressed in skin tight leotard, a leather jacket or an opera cape, we miss you, Freddie. Nobody did it better ...

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