Friday, July 20, 2012

review: mercury by lesley-ann jones

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Mercury:  An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones might have better been subtitled “…of Freddie Mercury’s Sex Life.”  Jones seemed downright obsessed.  Even when writing of his childhood, Jones focused on his sexuality.  She quoted a girlfriend of his youth as saying, “I never thought Bucky was gay.  Not at all.  Never saw any evidence of that.  Maybe his masters knew, and were discreet.  We his friends were certainly not aware of it.”  Although some discussion of his sexuality is appropriate for the adult years, the speculation throughout hardly seemed necessary.  With so many pages devoted to whom Freddie had sex with, there was little to reveal who Freddie was outside of the rock star persona.  Jones mentions Freddie was fiercely private, but this biography barely skims the surface of who he was.  

Most annoying was the apparent assumption that all readers are already familiar with Queen’s history.  Jones frequently referenced things without elaborating.   She writes of the band not having enough money to get out of their contract with Trident, but that “they’d get by with a little help from their friends.”  Did friends lend them money?  Jones never explains.  At another point she mentions that Freddie had become friendly with Michael Jackson, but then had a falling out.  The only explanation offered is a brief mention of Michael not liking that Freddie did cocaine.

Mercury does, however, have some interesting, well-told stories such as how Queen’s “Keep Yourself Alive” aired on a popular BBC music show uncredited because of a mistake made during the album’s pressing.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Touchstone.

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