By 1985, he began another long-term relationship with Irish-born hairdresser Jim Hutton (1949–2010), whom he referred to as his husband. Mercury described their relationship as one built on solace and understanding, and said that he "honestly couldn't ask for better". Hutton, who tested HIV-positive in 1990, lived with Mercury for the last seven years of his life, nursed him during his illness, and was present at his bedside when he died. Mercury wore a gold wedding band, given to him by Hutton in 1986, until the end of his life. He was cremated with it on. In his will, Mercury left his London home to Austin, rather than to Hutton, having told her, "You would have been my wife, and it would have been yours anyway." Hutton later relocated from London to the bungalow he and Mercury had built for themselves in Ireland.
As a young boy in India, Mercury received formal piano training up to the age of nine. Later on, while living in London, he learned guitar. Much of the music he liked was guitar-oriented: his favourite artists at the time were the Who, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, and Led Zeppelin. He was often self-deprecating about his skills on both instruments and from the early 1980s began extensively using guest keyboardists. Most notably, he enlisted Fred Mandel (a Canadian musician who also worked for Pink Floyd, Elton John, and Supertramp) for his first solo project. From 1982 Mercury collaborated with Morgan Fisher (who performed with Queen in concert during the Hot Space leg), and from 1985 onward Mercury collaborated with Mike Moran (in the studio) and Spike Edney (in concert).More Info
Mercury's two full albums outside the band were Mr. Bad Guy (1985) and Barcelona (1988). His first album, Mr. Bad Guy, debuted in the top ten of the UK Album Charts. In 1993, a remix of "Living on My Own", a single from the album, posthumously reached number one on the UK Singles Charts. The song also garnered Mercury a posthumous Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. AllMusic critic Eduardo Rivadavia describes Mr. Bad Guy as "outstanding from start to finish" and expressed his view that Mercury "did a commendable job of stretching into uncharted territory". In particular, the album is heavily synthesiser-driven; that is not characteristic of previous Queen albums.More Info
Mercury was noted for his live performances, which were often delivered to stadium audiences around the world. He displayed a highly theatrical style that often evoked a great deal of participation from the crowd. A writer for The Spectator described him as "a performer out to tease, shock and ultimately charm his audience with various extravagant versions of himself." David Bowie, who performed at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and recorded the song "Under Pressure" with Queen, praised Mercury's performance style, saying: "Of all the more theatrical rock performers, Freddie took it further than the rest […] he took it over the edge. And of course, I always admired a man who wears tights. I only saw him in concert once and as they say, he was definitely a man who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand." Queen guitarist Brian May wrote that Mercury could make "the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected". Mercury's main prop on stage was a broken microphone stand; after accidentally snapping it off the heavy base during an early performance, he realised it could be used in endless ways.More Info
Shortly before the release of Queen's self-titled first album, Mercury designed the band's logo, known as the "Queen crest". The logo combines the zodiac signs of the four band members: two lions for Deacon and Taylor (sign Leo), a crab for May (Cancer), and two fairies for Mercury (Virgo). The lions embrace a stylised letter Q, the crab rests atop the letter with flames rising directly above it, and the fairies are each sheltering below a lion. A crown is shown inside the Q, and the whole logo is over-shadowed by an enormous phoenix. The Queen crest bears a passing resemblance to the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, particularly with the lion supporters.More Info
During the early- to mid-1980s, he was reportedly involved with Barbara Valentin, an Austrian actress, who is featured in the video for "It's a Hard Life". In another article, he said Valentin was "just a friend"; Mercury was dating German restaurateur Winfried "Winnie" Kirchberger during this time. Mercury lived at Kirchberger's apartment and thanked him "for board and lodging" in the liner notes of his 1985 album Mr. Bad Guy. He wore a silver wedding band given to him by Kirchberger. A close friend described him as Mercury's "great love" in Germany.More Info
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