From the Vault...


Freddie Mercury

© Hollywood Records


track listing
  • Let's Turn It On
  • Made In Heaven
  • I Was Born
    To Love You
  • Foolin' Around
  • Your Kind Of Lover
  • Mr. Bad Guy
  • Man Made Paradise
  • There Must Be
    More To Life
    Than This
  • Living On My Own
  • My Love Is Dangerous
  • Love Me Like
    There's No
  • Barcelona
  • La Japonaise
  • The Fallen Priest
  • Ensueño
  • The Golden Boy
  • Guide Me Home
  • How Can I Go On
  • Overture Piccante
  • I Can Hear Music
  • Love Kills
  • The Great Pretender
  • Living On My Own
  • In My Defence
  • Time
  • Love Kills (Rock Mix)

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    Freddie Mercury related sites:
    Freddie Mercury Website
    Previous Review: #767
    Survivor--Vital Signs
    Next Review: #769
    Shadoe Stevens--American Top 40: May 12, 1991
    Freddie Mercury

    Freddie Mercury was the success of Queen. Their music has always been quite extravagant -- performing rock classics such as "We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions," "Killer Queen," and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." They also accomplished mixing rock with theatrics, not only with Mercury's stage appearances, but associating Classical/Opera music ("Bohemian Rhapsody"), likewise joining in the Disco movement (like everyone else did), with "Another One Bites The Dust."

    But what many people didn't know about Freddie Mercury, is that he recorded three solo albums in 1985 (Mr. Bad Guy), 1987's (Barcelona), and in 1992 (The Great Pretender). Two other members of Queen also released solo albums, guitarist Brian May, and drummer Roger Taylor. Since his untimely death of AIDS in 1991, Hollywood Records reissued Mercury's first two solo albums, plus a Bonus CD in one collection, called Solo, in the year 2000.

    Disc One: Mr. Bad Guy

    Leading off the album, is "Let's Turn It On." -- A very energetic rock/dance mix, and could be easily recognized as Queen, yet a Mercury solo song. "Made In Heaven" was the original title for the first solo album, yet Mercury changed the name to Mr. Bad Guy right before release time. "Made In Heaven" is more of a pop ballad, featuring his voice in top fine form. This song is easy to classify as solo; being more pop than the few standard ballads Queen was famous more, most notably, "We Are The Champions," and "Somebody To Love."

    "I Was Born To Love You" is different also, than the standard rock of Queen -- this one is upbeat and has a pop/dance sound. Likewise, "Foolin' Around" has the mid-1980s pop/dance sound as heard in George Michael's Wham!/early solo accomplishments.

    Featuring the piano in the ballad "Your Kind Of Lover," it somewhat has the atmosphere of "Bohemian Rhapsody," with the piano and energetic voice, yet it kicks into another upbeat pop/dance tempo tune. The title track is quite impressive -- it has a more Classical approach in sound, in listening to this solo release up to this point, it's easily determined that this is more of a solo album for Mercury, rather than songs sounding like Queen. However, "Man Made Paradise" does have the Queen sound, and is another very well done composition.

    The pleasant piano and Mercury's voice returns again in "There Must Be More To Life Than This." It's another peaceful ballad, from start to finish. And yes, it could also be recognized as a Queen song.

    "Living On My Own" is different than the sound of Queen -- it has a more upbeat pop sound, with its pulsing beat, as heard in Disco music.

    Now here's different: "My Love Is Dangerous" has a reggae beat. Yet the vocals are easily recognized as Freddie Mercury; it also could be compared to songs in this style by Greg Kihn. The album's closing song is "Love Me Like There's No Tomorrow," and it's another pleasant ballad, with the piano and Mercury's pleasant voice, making this song another Queen comparison.

    Mr. Bad Guy is best defined as a solo Freddie Mercury album. It does have comparisons to Queen, yet there are more songs having a different sound than that of Queen, which makes the term "solo" more unique.

    Mr. Bad Guy rating:

    Disc Two: Barcelona

    In listening to Queen's music throughout their most popular years, one source of music has been interpreted in their style: The use of Classical and or Opera music. Freddie Mercury always had an interest in Opera, and he demonstrated his love of Opera in his second solo album, Barcelona, with female opera singer Montserrat Caballé.

    What makes Rock artists unique, is their passion for other types of music. Examples: Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath enjoys Jazz, and since Classical music and/or Opera is mentioned for Freddie Mercury, other Rock artists also have a love and desire for this type of music: Rick Wakeman of Yes, Paul McCartney, and Billy Joel. This is an ultimate challenge, for having being popular in one source of music, and taking a 180 degree turn, into another style that may, or is really their passion, other than Rock music.

    We can say that the challenge for Freddie Mercury is very successful on Barcelona. For the Classical and Opera fan, every song is truly outstanding. As much as his voice stood out exceptional on Opera-influenced songs by Queen, such as "Bohemian Rhapsody" (most notably), and "Somebody To Love," it is a great opportunity to hear his voice accomplish greatness in how other popular opera singers sing. Likewise, how his voice blends with another opera singer, that of Montserrat Caballé. Both of their voices are truly beautiful in "La Japonaise," the title track, and "Guide Me Home." "The Golden Boy" has a more church-gospel touch, yet it starts and ends in the standard Opera style.

    For the devoted Classical/Opera fan, Barcelona is truly exceptional. It's energetic, relaxing, and amazing that the male opera singer is that of Queen's Freddie Mercury. It was rumored that Elvis Presley was given the opportunity to perform an opera-type situation, yet Colonel Tom Parker felt it wasn't necessary. (Listen to Elvis' #1 hit, "It's Now Or Never," which was a famous Opera song with re-written lyrics -- "O Solo Mio.") Also, in another Col. Parker related story, Elvis was to be the original male role in the movie starring Barbra Streisand, "A Star Is Born." Kris Kristofferson was chosen instead. Again, Col. Parker turned down the opportunity for Elvis; yet we can often imagine how "successful" Elvis could have been in both of these projects.

    But getting back to Freddie Mercury's Barcelona -- truly outstanding.

    Barcelona rating:

    Bonus CD

    Various songs were recorded in the studio, not surfacing on Queen and/or Freddie Mercury's solo releases, (with the exception of The Great Pretender, which would be his third solo release).

    1972: A remake of the Phil Spector/Beach Boys "I Can Hear Music" has the Spector sound, and is a well-done version of the 1969 classic.

    1984: There are two different versions of "Love Kills." The original 1984 single version has a pulsing beat, as in Disco, and with that in mind, this song was co-written amd produced by Disco legend Giorgio Moroder. The last track on the Bonus CD, is a Rock Mix of "Love Kills," having a more rock feel, no pulsing disco beat, yet it has a mid-1980s pop style.

    1987: The remake of The Platters' "The Great Pretender" is exceptional, likewise the video. The 1993 remix of "Living On My Own" has the pulsing beat heard on the Mr. Bad Guy solo album, and has a George Michael solo sound.

    1985: "In My Defence" is another great pleasant piano and voice and was originally released on the Time soundtrack, likewise the next song, "Time." It also appeared on the Freddie Mercury Album and The Great Pretender. "In My Defence", likewise "Time" are two beautiful ballads, featuring great piano, and Mercury's unique brilliant voice.

    Solo defines that word as it is -- Freddie Mercury as a solo performer, performing songs such that in the style as Queen's, but more importantly the different style of music, that being Opera on Barcelona.

    Overall Rating:

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    Previous Review: #767
    Survivor--Vital Signs
    Next Review: #769
    Shadoe Stevens--American Top 40: May 12, 1991