Mercury – An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury,
by Lesley-Ann Jones (Touchstone Books) lives up to its “intimate” billing,
though it ultimately lacks objectivity.
There have been countless books written about Queen and its charismatic
leader Freddie Mercury. Many have come from music journalists, some from
friends of the band and now we have Mercury
– An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury, the latest entry into the Queen literary canon, and this one comes
from a music journalist, who also happened to be a friend, of sorts.
Journalist Lesley-Ann Jones, who spent the ‘80s covering the
band, following their tours and sharing the occasional smoke and drink with
Freddie and the boys after hours, got to know the singer and those closest to
him. And while nothing earth-shattering new is revealed in her book, she does
manage to fill in some of the outlines created in earlier investigations on the
Going so far as to visit where Mercury’s (born Farrokh
Bulsara) childhood home was in Zanzibar, and talk to his family and those
closest to him at his boarding school, Jones interviewed well over a hundred
people for this exhaustive book.
Admittedly a big fan of the musician, you get the feeling
she is treating Mercury with kid gloves throughout the book. His drug use is a
bit of an afterthought as is the way he treated many close to him, dismissed as
simply Freddie being Freddie. That being said, Mercury is still an enjoyable, thoroughly-researched book about one
of rock’s greatest frontmen.