Although he cultivated a flamboyant stage personality, Mercury was shy and retiring when not performing, particularly around people he did not know well, and granted very few interviews. Mercury once said of himself: "When I'm performing I'm an extrovert, yet inside I'm a completely different man." On this contrast to "his larger-than-life stage persona", BBC music broadcaster Bob Harris adds he was "lovely, bright, sensitive, and quite vulnerable." While on stage, Mercury basked in the love from his audience. Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's suicide note mentions how he admired and envied the way Mercury "seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd".
As well as his work with Queen, Mercury put out two solo albums and several singles. Although his solo work was not as commercially successful as most Queen albums, the two off-Queen albums and several of the singles debuted in the top 10 of the UK Music Charts. His first solo effort goes back to 1972 under the pseudonym Larry Lurex, when Trident Studios' house engineer Robin Geoffrey Cable was working in a musical project, at the time when Queen were recording their debut album; Cable enlisted Mercury to perform lead vocals on the songs "I Can Hear Music" and "Goin' Back", both were released together as a single in 1973. Eleven years later, Mercury contributed to the Richard "Wolfie" Wolf remix of the song "Love Kills", used as the end title theme for National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1. The song was originally recorded in 1984, when it was included on the soundtrack for the restoration of the 1927 Fritz Lang film Metropolis. First written by Giorgio Moroder in collaboration with Mercury, and produced by Moroder and Mack, "Love Kills" debuted at the number 10 position in the UK Singles Chart. Mack also produced the 1987 single "Hold On", which Mercury recorded with actress Jo Dare for the German action drama Zabou.More Info
In the early 1970s, Mercury had a long-term relationship with Mary Austin, whom he met through guitarist Brian May. He lived with Austin for several years in West Kensington, London. By the mid-1970s, he had begun an affair with David Minns, an American record executive at Elektra Records. In December 1976, Mercury told Austin of his sexuality, which ended their romantic relationship. Mercury moved out of the flat they shared, and bought Austin a place of her own nearby his new address of 12 Stafford Terrace, Kensington. While the Stafford Terrace apartment was undergoing renovations, Mercury lived with Minns in Dovehouse Street, Chelsea, London.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
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
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
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