Mercury spent most of his childhood in India and began taking piano lessons at the age of seven.In 1954, at the age of eight, Mercury was sent to study at St. Peter’s School, a British-style boarding school for boys, in Panchgani near Bombay (now Mumbai), India. One of his formative musical influences at the time was Bollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar.At the age of 12, he formed a school band, The Hectics, andcovered rock and roll artists such as Cliff Richard and Little Richard.A friend from the time recalls that he had „an uncanny ability to listen to the radio and replay what he heard on piano.” It was also at St. Peter’s where he began to call himself „Freddie”, and in February 1963 he moved back to Zanzibar where he joined his parents at their flat.
Freddie Mercury was born in the British protectorate of Sultanate of Zanzibar, East Africa (now part of Tanzania).His parents, Bomi (1908–2003) and Jer Bulsara (1922–),were Parsis from theGujarat region of the then province of Bombay Presidency in British India. The family surname is derived from the town of Bulsar (now known as Valsad) in southern Gujarat. As Parsis, Mercury and his family practised the Zoroastrian religion.The Bulsara family had moved to Zanzibar so that his father could continue his job as a cashier at the British Colonial Office. He had a younger sister, Kashmira.
Freddie Mercury has been voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music. In 2005, a poll organised by Blender and MTV2 saw Mercury voted the best male singer of all time. In 2008, Rolling Stone editors ranked him number 18 on their list of the 100 greatest singers ever. In 2009, a Classic Rock poll elected him the best rock singer of all time. Additionally, AllMusic has characterised Mercury as „one of rock’s greatest all-time entertainers,” who possessed „one of the greatest voices in all of music.”
Freddie Mercury, 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991 was a British singer, songwriter and producer, best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range.As a songwriter, he composed many hits for Queen, including „Bohemian Rhapsody,” „Killer Queen,” „Somebody to Love,” „Don’t Stop Me Now,” „Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” and „We Are the Champions.” Mercury also led a solo career, and also occasionally served as a producer and guest musician (piano or vocals) for other artists.
Mercury was a Parsi born in the Sultanate of Zanzibar and grew up there and in India until his mid-teens. He died ofbronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS on 24 November 1991, one day after publicly acknowledging he had the disease. Posthumously, in 1992 he was awarded the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, and the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was held at Wembley Stadium, London. As a member of Queen, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004, and the band received a star on theHollywood Walk of Fame in 2002. Also in 2002, Mercury was placed at number 58 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.
May has had a lifelong interest in collecting Victorian stereophotography. In 2009, with co-author Elena Vidal, he published his second book, A Village Lost and Found, on the work of English stereophotography innovator T. R. Williams.He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Saxby Medal in 2012 for achievement in the field of three-dimensional imaging.May made a significant technical contribution to the book to accompany the exhibition ‘Stereoscopic Photographs of Pablo Picasso by Robert Mouzillat’ held at the Holburne Museum in Bath, UK from February 2014 to June 2014. The book provides a cross-section of photographs of Picasso in his studio, at the bullfight at Arles and in his garden. May’s 3D ‘Owl viewer’ is used to view the photographs in 3D.
The purchase of his first card in 1973 started May on a lifelong and world-wide search for Les Diableries, which are stereoscopic photographs depicting scenes of daily life in Hell. On 10 October 2013the book ‘Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell’ by Brian May, Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming was published.
In May 2013, May teamed up with actor Brian Blessed and Flash cartoonist Jonti „Weebl” Picking, as well as animal rights groups including the RSPCA, to form „Team Badger”, a „coalition of organisations that have teamed up to fight the planned cull of badgers”. With Weebl and Blessed, May recorded a single, Save The Badger Badger Badger – amashup of Weebl’s viral 2003 Flash cartoon meme, Badger Badger Badger, and Queen’s Flash, featuring vocals by Blessed. Weebl animated the music video on YouTube, parodying both Weebl’s original animation on YouTube and a scene from Flash Gordon, a film featuring music by Queen, and in which Blessed played Prince Vultan. On 1 September 2013, Save The Badger Badger Badger charted at No. 79 on the UK Singles Chart, No. 39 on the UK iTunes chart and No. 1 on the iTunes Rock chart.
In March 2012, May contributed the foreword to a target paper published by the think tank the Bow Group, urging the government to reconsider its plans to cull thousands of badgers to control bovine TB, stating that the findings of Labour’s major badger culling trials, several years earlier, show that culling does not work. The paper was authored by Graham Godwin-Pearson with contributions by leadingtuberculosis scientists, including Lord Krebs.In 2013, Brian May joined French guitar player Jean-Pierre Danel for a charity Danel launched to the benefit of animal rights in France. The guitarists signed guitars and art photos together, and were joined by Hank Marvin.
Brian May has formed a group to promote animal welfare. Though a Conservative Party voter most of his life,he has stated that their policies on fox hunting and the culling of badgers meant he did not vote for them at the 2010 General Election. His group, Save Me(named after the May-written Queen song), campaigns for the protection of all animals against unnecessary, cruel and degrading treatment; with a particular emphasis on preventing hunting of foxes and the culling of badgers. The group’s primary concern is to ensure that the Hunting Act 2004 and other laws protecting animals are retained in situ.
In an interview in September 2010 with Stephen Sackur for the BBC’s HARDtalk program, May said that he would rather be remembered for his animal rights work than for his music or scientific work.May is a staunch supporter of the RSPCA, the International Fund For Animal Welfare, the League Against Cruel Sports, PETA UK and the Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue.
In October 2007, May was appointed a Visiting Researcher in Imperial College and continues his interest in astronomy and involvement with the Imperial Astrophysics Group.He is co-author, with Sir Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott, of Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe (published in 2006) and „The Cosmic Tourist” (published in 2012).Asteroid 52665 Brianmay was named in his honour on 18 June 2008 on the suggestion of Sir Patrick Moore (probably influenced by the asteroid’s provisional designation of1998 BM30).
May appeared on the 700th episode of The Sky at Night hosted by Sir Patrick Moore, along with Chris Lintott, Jon Culshaw, Prof. Brian Cox, and the Astronomer Royal Martin Rees who on departing the panel, told Brian May, who was joining it, „I don’t know a scientist who looks as much like Isaac Newton as you do”.May was also a guest on the first episode of the third series of the BBC’s Stargazing Live, on 8 January 2013.
On 17 November 2007, May was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University,taking over from Cherie Blair, and installed in 2008. He held the post until 2013.
In October 2006, May re-registered for his PhD at Imperial College and submitted his thesis in August 2007 (one year earlier than he estimated it would take to complete). As well as writing up the previous work he had done, May had to review the work on zodiacal dust undertaken during the intervening 33 years, which included the discovery of the zodiacal dust bands by NASA’s IRAS satellite. After a viva voce, the revised thesis (entitled A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud) was approved in September 2007, some 37 years after it had been commenced. He was able to submit his thesis only because of the minimal amount of research on the topic during the intervening years and has described the subject as one that became „trendy” again in the 2000s. He graduated at the awards ceremony of Imperial College held in the Royal Albert Hall on 14 May 2008.