It’s been 30 years since rock icon Freddie Mercury sadly died due to complications from AIDS on November 24, 1991. He was just 45 years old. The legendary Queen vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946 on the island of Zanzibar off the east coast of Africa but grew up in India and later England after his family moved to Middlesex fleeing the Zanzibar Revolution.
Freddie formed Queen with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor in 1970 with bassist John Deacon joining in 1971. Freddie fronted the band and his four-octave vocal range and theatrical stage presence would garner him the status as one of the greatest rock singers and performers of all time.
Queen released their self-titled debut album in 1973 but broke through with Queen II in 1974. The prolific group also released Sheer Heart Attack that same year. The Mercury-penned lead single “Killer Queen” continued the band’s success in the UK and also cracked the Top 20 in the U.S. But it was A Night At The Opera and its single, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” that put Queen on another level artistically.
A decade and eight albums later, Queen was one of the biggest rock bands in the world but struggled with their success. However, Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance in 1985 revitalized the band with what Taylor called a “shot in the arm.” Buoyed by Live Aid, Queen embarked on The Magic Tour around their 1986 album A Kind Of Magic. Sadly, The Magic Tour would be Freddie Mercury’s last with Queen.
Thankfully, the band’s July 26, 1986 concert at the Népstadion in Budapest, Hungary — marking one of the few Western rock concerts in the Soviet Union during the Cold War — was captured for posterity and would become the concert film Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest. The film takes viewers on a career-spanning trip throughout Queen’s stunning and groundbreaking catalog including early highlights like Mercury’s “Seven Seas of Rhye” along with Queen classics including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Will Rock You,” “Radio Ga Ga,” “We Are The Champions” and more.
In honor of Freddie Mercury, watch Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest below: