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Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography [Paperback]

Lesley-Ann Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 11 2012
This is the definitive biography of Freddie Mercury. Written by an award-winning rock journalist, Lesley-Ann Jones toured widely with Queen forming lasting friendships with the band. Now, having secured access to the remaining band members and those who were closest to Freddie, from childhood to death, Lesley-Ann has written the most in depth account of one of music's best loved and most complex figures. Meticulously researched, sympathetic, unsensational, the book - like the forthcoming film - will focus on the period in the 1980s when Queen began to fragment, before their Live Aid performance put them back in the frame. In her journey to understand the man behind the legend, Lesley-Ann Jones has travelled from London to Zanzibar to India. Packed with exclusive interviews and told with the invaluable perspective that the twenty years since Mercury's death presents, Freddie Mercury is the most up to date portrait of a legendary man. Fully revised and updated edition.

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No one has captured better than Lesley-Ann Jones the magical, enchanting dualism of Freddie Mercury. The Times Lesley-Ann Jones asserts that Freddie Mercury's was a "big, extravagant, multifaceted life", and the rock journalist has certainly done a sterling job of documenting it here. Daily Telegraph, Australia 'A timely update coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Queen and the 20 years since their frontman's death'. The Sun Exactly the sort of tribute Mercury himself would have wanted ... full of perceptive and moving insights. Spectator Rock journalist Lesley-Ann Jones is lucky enough to have known the man. She toured widely with Queen and formed lasting friendships with the band. It took a while for everyone to open up, but she eventually gained access to Freddie's colleagues and friends, and so we have this thoroughly researched portrait of the man behind the rock legend. Brisbane Times

About the Author

Lesley-Ann Jones is a journalist, newspaper columnist and broadcaster. The author of eight published books, she has enjoyed more than twenty-five years in music and the media. She lives in South-East London with her young children, the eldest having grown up and gone into the music business.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Freddie Mercury Feb. 4 2013
By K Down
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read almost everything about Freddie and the band called Queen.A lot of the information is repetitous..For the first time observer this is a good incite into the life of a famous rock n roll band /star.What a voice!The most outrageous parties,temperments,very giving of themselves and 4 guys all trying to get their ideas across, however, they maintained their dignity throughout and the music speaks for itself. Lets face it, you have to be a perfectionist to last 40 years in the rock world. I was also pleased to learn that a movie will be coming out about Freddie. Let's hope the actor who portrays him does him justice. Long live Queen!
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A KIND OF MAGIC !!!!!!! Oct. 30 2011
By Mick Lynch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's hard to believe that Queen celebrates their 40th Anniversary this year, and even more significant is that it also marks the 20th Anniversary of the death of their lead singer. In `Freddie Mercury - The Definitive Biography', author Lesley-Ann Jones takes us on a fascinating journey through his life from Zanzibar in 1946 to his death in Montreux in 1991.
The early chapters in the book cover his childhood in Zanzibar, his resentment at being sent to school in India at the age of eight, and his early tastes for music, and how his life would change once he arrived in the UK in 1964.
What makes this book stand-out for other biographies is that Jones has certainly done her research (she was side-stage at Live Aid), and her determination to find a copy of Freddie's original birth certificate. She also travelled back to Africa and India and spoke to family and friends, people that knew Freddie first hand. There is still local resentment toward him, with one claiming "he gave up his family name.....and wasn't proud of Zanzibar", hence the lack of tributes, memorials or statues to him in his homeland.
Moving to England would change his life forever, as he dabbled with several bands before convincing Brian and Roger to do more original material. As he cleverly put it "If I was your singer, that's what I'd be doing". This would lead to the formation of Queen, and their first gig in 1971.
The fact that he didn't own a TV when they made their first Top of The Pops appearance, forcing him to watch it in a TV shop window in Oxford Street is just one of the many fascinating pieces here.
The great thing though out this book is that it's not a Queen book. While it's impossible to ignore their achievements, Jones cleverly throws in the odd statistic and chart achievement but keeps her focus on Mercury throughout. She doesn't shy away from Freddie's life off-stage either. We all know the showman who grabbed Live Aid by the balls, but do we know much about his lovers, his lifestyle, his 3-in-a-bed romps or his many excessive gay parties that included anything from Lesbian strippers to dwarfs, fire eaters, drag queens, mud wrestlers, snakes and hookers?
Then of course there's the music, which is what he lived for. His hero Montserrat Caballe, the duets with Michael Jackson and Bowie, what the intro to `One Vision' really is when played in reverse, his drunken on stage antics with Tony Hadley, his favourite composition, and the many meanings to Bohemian Rhapsody, the song he is most proud of.
There really is so much to learn here; their disappointment at not being asked to sing on the Band Aid record, Bowie's refusal to originally release `Under Pressure', John Deacon's depression after his death, and a fan's death at Knebworth that finally ended their live performances.
With the Sasha Baron Cohen movie of Freddie's life due to hit cinemas in 2012, Freddie Mercury's name is still on everyone's lips, 20 years after his death and I'm sure he's still looking down on everyone, and having one hell of a party in Heaven. I'm sure if he had read this book he'd be very proud of the masterful job Lesley-Ann Jones has delivered in his absence. Ultimate Magic!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a mess... Feb. 16 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book and my head is totally spinning. I can't believe I managed to stick it out until the end. I suppose I kept thinking, "This book has got to get better sometime!" but it never did. It's a mess of a book taking the reader from here-to-there then backward-and-forward then up-and-down-and-all-around, etc.. In other words it has no structure to it at all which was very disappointing to me.

The expanse of the book is based on heresay and quotes taken from other sources and publications including books, magazine articles, and even YouTube videos. Only once did the author ever actually speak directly to Freddie Mercury and that conversation was aquired only by using sneaky pre-meditated paparazzi antics. And even then nothing of consequence was discussed.

In my opinion this book is not about Freddie Mercury at all but instead about the band Queen. Don't get me wrong, I adore Queen, but I thought I was buying a book that would give me more insight into the man that was Freddie Mercury instead of a melting pot of Queen's accomplishments mixed with a splattering of other people's personal accounts of Freddie.

If you must read this book then at least wait until you can borrow it from the Kindle lending library because it most certainly is not worth the $$$$.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes me miss Freddie all the more Nov. 22 2011
By Deborah T - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Freddie Mercury was and still remains Rocks greatest frontman. Very well written, with plenty of backstage detail for concerts like Live Aid '85...where Queen really did steal the day. The insight Leslie gives to the private life of the man certainly illuminates the complexity of his character. The amount of detail actually made me go back to rewatch many of the Queen videos and clips on youtube with a slightly different eye. Every year I go through all things Queen to get my 'hit' of Freddie, and this book will be added to my collection for review. Miss you, Freddie, still.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read for fans Oct. 23 2012
By Nenni - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was enjoyable to read but it is really for fans of Queen and Freddie Mercury in particular. It was, thus, a bit tedious at times but on the whole, this reinforces the knowledge that Freddie was a remarkable talent and the band is truly one of the great rock bands of our time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad read but lacks detail Nov. 5 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
An interesting read but it feels more like an extended magazine article then a biography. It skips quickly over important events like Live Aid and surmises too much without backing up the information presented with facts. An enjoyable book but too light to be taken seriously as a proper biography of a very talented and worthwhile subject.
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