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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Remembering Freddie Mercury

I'm a few weeks late, but I wanted to observe the 19th anniversary of the death of Freddie Mercury. If his name isn't familiar to you, he was the front man and vocalist for Queen, the UK rock group. At least you would have heard Bohemian Rhapsody, but that's just one of many outstanding vocal performances by Mercury.

There's a good live video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2omuoO_hIbQ. To my ears, Mercury had the best male voice in rock music -- and he was untrained formally in music, a true natural. Range, dynamics, phrasing, expressiveness, diction, control, showmanship on stage... Mercury had it all.

Tragically, Mercury died of AIDS at age 45. We'll never know what music Mercury would have made in his later years. I often pose the same question about Jim Morrison (age 27), Franz Schubert (age 31), and George Gershwin (age 38). I know it's rather ridiculous to speculate about the details of heaven, but I like the idea of worshiping in heaven to the tunes of a Gershwin mass.