Rock stars with their cats and dogs

Cool pictures of musicians with their pet dogs and cats, which show how even the most self-obsessed, narcissistic Rock god has a smidgen of humanity to care about someone other than themselves. Though admittedly, Iggy Pop looks like he’s about to eat his pet dog.
Patti Smith and stylist.
This is not a doggy bag, Iggy.
There’s a cat in there somewhere with Joey Ramone.
Tupac Shakur and a future internet meme.
Bjork and a kissing cousin.
O Superdog: Laurie Anderson and friend.
More cats and dogs and musicians, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Freddie Mercury’s home videos
03:54 pm


Freddie Mercury
Jim Hutton

Behind-the-scenes footage of Queen filming their second last video for “I’m Going Slightly Mad.” This footage has been posted along with a mixed selection’s of Freddie Mercury’s home video footage, which includes a brief tour of Freddie’s home Garden Lodge, a group of his friends chatting in the kitchen (including his personal assistant Peter Freestone, the singer and actor Peter Straeker, and cook Joe Fanelli), some of Freddie’s cats playing, and the morning after Christmas.

However, it is the footage for “I’m Going Slightly Mad” which has more pop cultural importance as we see (after some filming with penguins) how much effort Freddie puts into shooting just one scene from the video, even though he was very ill.

As for the home video footage, well, over a decade ago, I met and interviewed Freddie’s partner Jim Hutton for a documentary I was then producing. Jim had written a personal memoir about his relationship with Freddie called Mercury and Me, and I wanted to talk to him about that and his relationship with Freddie. I traveled to Ireland, where Jim was living. His home had a few possessions from his time with Freddie at Garden Lodge: a dining table and chairs, a glass cabinet, photographs, assorted mementoes. Jim was a handsome man, with a soft Irish lilt. He was charming, unassuming, direct and genuinely kind-hearted. We spent the afternoon talking and looking through his photographic albums, which were piled in a corner, still in a remover’s box. Inside were hundreds of large glossy color photographs of Jim and Freddie in Japan, at home, at Christmas, at a garden party together. The pictures revealed glimpses of their shared private world. Jim then opened another box filled with Hi-8 video cassettes, which contained various home movies, clips of which have made their way onto YouTube since Jim’s death in 2010. The quality is not great, but for the time (late eighties-early nineties), that’s to be expected.

More of Freddie’s home videos, after the jump…

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Freddie Mercury presents Queen’s first LP to a less than enthusiastic public
09:17 am


Freddie Mercury
Danny Baker

During the early 1970s, the One Stop record shop was “London’s number one coolest record shop for those in the know in the contemporary music scene.” The store was crammed with a rich and diverse selection of stock from Zappa and Beefheart to US Funk and Soul imports. It was here you would regularly find Elton John rummaging through the boxes of 45s, Marc Bolan calling everyone “babes,” Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and David Bowie buying LPs, and an often drunk Vivian Stanshall offering to buy the entire stock for four pence (“New pence, no rubbish.”)

It was also here that an as yet unknown and undiscovered fifteen-year-old Danny Baker worked behind the till. As some of you will know, Baker had yet to make his name producing the Punk magazine Sniffin’ Glue with Mark Perry, before starting his career as an NME journalist and becoming the lovable star of TV and radio, we know today.

So, one afternoon, Queen came “tumbling into the shop, excited, babbling, and I think a little drunk,” as Baker recalled in his highly entertaining first volume of autobiography, Going to Sea in a Sieve. Queen carried with them advance test pressings of their eponymous-titled first LP, with which an imperious Freddie Mercury announced to Baker.

“We want you to play our record in your shop. Constantly! You can be the first!”

Two thick, white label acetates were then thrust into Baker’s hands. It was at that moment the shop’s manager, John Gillespie “drifted out from his office area and cut through the party with a loaded, “I’m sorry, can we help you?”

“Yes, you can,” briskly responded my presumed Freddie.

“You can fucking play this and nothing else for the next six weeks. We’re Queen and when it’s released you won’t be able to fucking stock enough of this.”

“Really?” John drawled back in a tone plainly designed to hose down their raging brio. “Can I hear it?”

Gillespie took one disc, placed it on a turntable “and rather archly put the needle on to track one of this allegedly momentous debut.” That track would be “Keep Yourself Alive,” incidentally)

He let it play for about a minute, all the time intently staring at the floor as if in solemn judgement. Freddie Mercury lustily sang to his own vocal in an attempt to clinch the decision. Then John calmly took the player’s arm back off the disc.

“Hate it,” he said, putting lots of breath into the H.

“You’re fucking joking!” said Freddie, or possibly Brian May.

“Hate. It,” repeated my manager and entered into a sullen stare-off with the group.

Then another thrust.

“You sound like Deep Purple or something. Can’t bear all that.”

Then he turned to me.

“Danny, you like rock. Was that any good?”

Oh, don’t do this to me, John.

“I thought it was, y’know…rocky. Bit like Stray, and I like Stray.”

“Stray!” exploded presumed Freddie. “Stray! Stray are a fucking pub band! We are going to be bigger than fucking Led Zeppelin!”

“Fuck you,” said maybe John Deacon.

“Well, fuck you,” said John the Manager.

Then everyone but me said Fuck you for a bit.

Leaving their record on the counter, the group beat a swift and noisy retreat with one of them—I recall some blond hair here, so let’s say Roger—yanking a handful of sleeves from their racks and letting them spill all over our floor.

In a final gesture, Freddie stood at the door and bellowed out into a bemused South Molton Street, “Attention, shoppers! If you have a scintilla of taste, you will never buy a thing in this dreadful shop!”

Then they were gone.

John, who enjoyed both style and drama, turned to me with a pixie-ish smile lighting up his eyes.

“Did you hear that? I like him. That was funny. Dreadful record though…”

This and many other tales from Mr. Baker’s wonderful life, can be found in Going to Sea in a Sieve, the first volume of his autobiography. Here you’ll also discover that the mysterious “Jungle-face Jake” from Marc Bolan’s hit “Telegram Sam” was not some drug-dealer, or even Mick Jagger but “..a battle-scarred old boxer dog who liked several saveloys at a sitting.” Baker knows this because Bolan told him.

Now, for the love of Freddie, here’s Queen in concert from 1974 at the Rainbow Theater.

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Freddie Mercury Gorilla statue removed over copyright complaint
10:16 am

Current Events

Freddie Mercury

A Freddie Mercury Gorilla statue, which is part of a Norwich-based charity’s public art trail, had to be removed yesterday because Queen’s manager Jim Beach claimed (on behalf of the Freddie Mercury estate) that “the suit ‘worn’ by the gorilla breached copyright.”

The Freddie Mercury estate contacted Wild in Art, the company that supplied the gorilla glass-fibre canvases, according to director Charlie Langhorne.


“They just said that they own the copyright on the suit and asked us to change it,” Mr Langhorne said.


Martin Green of Break, one of two charities that will benefit from the auction of the gorillas once the exhibition is over, said: “It’s a disappointing position they have put us in.

Good news is the gorilla statue will be repainted by an artist and will be back on the streets later this week.

Update: Queen guitarist Brian May says he plans to “find out” why the Freddie Mercury estate complained.

Via BBC News

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Freddie Mercury and David Bowie: Listen to the isolated vocal track for ‘Under Pressure’

Freddie Mercury first met David Bowie in the summer of 1970, when he was trying to sell Bowie a pair of suede boots. Mercury co-managed a stall in Kensington Market, with Roger Taylor, and while Bowie tried on the footwear, Mercury quizzed him about the music business. David was disenchanted and asked Freddie, ‘Why would you want to get into this business?’

Over the next decade, Mercury and Bowie’s paths crossed—Queen hired Mick Rock, the man whose photographs made Bowie an icon, to shoot their equally iconic cover for Queen II—but it would not be until the summer of 1981 that Queen and Bowie worked together.

In his biography of David Bowie, Starman, Paul Trynka described what happened next:

According to Mercury’s personal assistant Peter Freestone,Bowie only realized Queen were in Mountain [recording studios] working on their R&B-flavored album Hot Space by chance. Asked to add backing vocals on the song “Cool Cat,” David stayed for a marathon session in which Queen’s song “Feel Like” was transformed into “Under Pressure.” David contributed the bulk of the lyrics, set over drummer Roger Taylor’s descending chord sequence. By now, Mercury had developed more of an ego than in his market-stall days, and it was Queen’s drummer who was at the heart of the session, interacting with the interloper. ‘Roger and Bowie got on very well,’ according to Freestone, ‘although the lyrics and title idea came from Freddie and David.’


‘It was hard because you had four very precocious boys—and David, who was precocious enough for all of us,’ says Brian May. ’ David took over the song lyrically. |t’s a significant song because of David and its lyrical content—I would have found that hard to admit in the old days—but I can admit now.’ David championed the song, encouraging Freddie, and contributing a classic, swooping melody, as well as one of his own distinctive, reflective middle-eight sections (‘the terror of knowing what this world is all about.’)

Queen were uncertain about the track, even after Bowie and Mercury re-worked their vocals and mixed the recording at The Power Station in New York, a fortnight later—John Deacon’s distinctive bassline was added at the same session, hummed to him by David. Brian was particularly unhappy, recalling the ‘fierce battles around the mix, and his own misgivings about the song’s release as a single; instead it was Queen’s record company, EMI, that pushed the collaboration…

This, of course, is Bowie’s biographer’s take. Queen bassist, John Deacon said in 1984 that the song was primarily Freddie Mercury’s, and developed out of a jam session. Also, the song Trynka quotes as the original “Feel Like,” is a separate track by Roger Taylor. Also, Hot Space was more Disco than R&B.

Yet, it is true that most of the song “Under Pressure” came out of a ‘marathon session,’ which explains Mercury’s incredible, improvised vocals. Open Culture gives a slightly different version of events:

“David came in one night and we were playing other people’s songs for fun, just jamming,” says Queen drummer Roger Taylor in Mark Blake’s book Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Freddie Mercury and Queen. “In the end, David said, ‘This is stupid, why don’t we just write one?’”

And so began a marathon session of nearly 24-hours–fueled, according to Blake, by wine and cocaine. Built around John Deacon’s distinctive bass line, the song was mostly written by Mercury and Bowie. Blake describes the scene, beginning with the recollections of Queen’s guitarist:

‘We felt our way through a backing track all together as an ensemble,’ recalled Brian May. ‘When the backing track was done, David said, “Okay, let’s each of us go in the vocal booth and sing how we think the melody should go–just off the top of our heads–and we’ll compile a vocal out of that.” And that’s what we did.’ Some of these improvisations, including Mercury’s memorable introductory scatting vocal, would endure on the finished track. Bowie also insisted that he and Mercury shouldn’t hear what the other had sung, swapping verses blind, which helped give the song its cut-and-paste feel.

The ‘fierce arguments’ took place during the mix. Queen’s engineer Reinhold Mack is quoted by Blake as saying ‘It didn’t go well.’:

“We spent all day and Bowie was like, ‘Do this, do that.’ In the end, I called Freddie and said, ‘I need help here,’ so Fred came in as a mediator.”

Mercury and Bowie argued. Then Bowie threatened to block the release of the single. It never happened and “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie was released in September 1981. It was Queen’s second number one, making the top of the UK charts on 21 November. In America, it reached number twenty-nine a few weeks later. It is now recognized as a classic song, though Brian May would still like to re-mix it.

This is the Freddie Mercury’s and David Bowie’s isolated vocals from the recording of “Under Pressure.”


Thanks Richard Metzger! Via Open Culture

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Freddie Mercury Chicken Dhansak

One of the things I enjoy most about reading biographies is the little personal details, which reveal much of what a subject liked or disliked. For example, Freddie Mercury liked Quality Street assorted candies; enjoyed Stolichnaya vodka; and had a love of spicy food.

According to Peter Freestone, who worked as Freddie’s personal assistant for more than a decade, Chicken Dhansak was one of the singer’s favorite meals. Peter (aka Phoebe) has now written-up the recipe for this mouth-watering dish over at, where he explains:

Chicken Dhansak

This Indian inspired dish rose up the popularity stakes because it embraced two separate dishes, a dal which for Freddie was always a moistening accompaniment and a ‘curry’ meat dish which often, on its own, tended to be dryer. Living in Earls Court, both Joe [Fanelli] and I had easy access to supermarkets where every spice known to mankind was stocked as a matter of regular principle. The area was such a melting pot of nationalities that for anyone not to have been able to buy fenugreek seeds would be for the property market in the area to plummet in value immediately!

25 gm channa, 25 gm moong, 25gm red and 50 gm toor lentils
125 ml oil
650 gm boneless chicken 2cm cubes
3 med onions
2 cloves garlic
410 gm tinned tomatoes
1 medium aubergine chopped
1 large potato chopped
115 gm spinach (frozen)
100 gm fresh coriander
50 gm fresh mint
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 brown cardamom
5cm cassia bark
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
½ teaspoon chilli powder

Wash the lentils thoroughly, making sure you remove all the grit and residual husk. Soak together overnight.
The following day, cook the lentils in twice their volume of water for approx. 30 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the meat at a high temperature for 5 – 10 minutes until browned. Remove from the saucepan and keep in a warm place.
Fry the cumin seeds, cardamom, cassia bark and mustard seeds adding the onions, garlic and salt. When they have turned a golden brown, add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 more minutes.
Add the remaining chopped vegetables, mix and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the lentils and roughly mash everything together.
Add the meat and rest of the spices. Mix well and cook gently for a further 40 minutes.
Add the fresh coriander and mint and cook for at least 10 minutes.
Serve with plain boiled rice.

It is more than a decade since I met Peter for a documentary I was producing called When Freddie Mercury Met Kenny Everett. Peter had written an insightful and highly enjoyable book on his day-to-day life working for Freddie. I met Peter in Prague, at his city apartment, where we filmed the interview, before taking some walking shots on the Charles Bridge. Peter was charming, delightful company, and if you are interested, you can ask Phoebe questions about his life with Freddie here.



Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Freddie Mercury’s 1974 Silver Shadow Rolls Royce has been put up for sale

Freddie Mercury’s 1974 Silver Shadow Rolls Royce has been put up for sale with auctioneers Coys (founded 1919). The prospectus states:

Estimate: £9,000 - £11,000
Registration Number: WLX293M
Chassis Number: SRH18696

Freddie Mercury is of course best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band “Queen” , and one of the most flamboyant performers in rock history. As a performer, he was legendary for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range. As a songwriter, Mercury composed many hits for Queen, including the legendary “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Killer Queen”, “Somebody to Love”, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “We Are the Champions”.

In addition to his work with Queen, he had a massively successful solo career, and also occasionally served as a producer and guest musician (piano or vocals) for other artists.

Mercury was noted for his live performances, which were often delivered to stadium audiences around the world. He displayed a highly theatrical style that often evoked a great deal of participation from the crowd. A writer for The Spectator described him as “a performer out to tease, shock and ultimately charm his audience with various extravagant versions of himself”.....

More details here.

I can understand why one might want to buy Freddie Mercury’s piano, but his Rolls-Royce less so. One for the completist, I s’ppose.
Full details and more pix of Freddie’s Rolls, after the jump…

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Hijabis sing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’: Though rock ‘n’ roll is banned in Iran, Queen is still king
07:06 pm


Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury
While one more rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” might be enough to drive one to Queen overload (as if that is humanly possibly), when we remember that “Western Music” is forbidden in Iran, and homosexuality is punishable by death, the sight of Iranian men and women (badly) singing a Queen song takes on new meaning.

In 1979, the Islamic Revolution spurred a rejection of all things “Western,” and rock ‘n’ roll was one of its causalities. Until the 90’s, all rock music was banned. Today most Iranian rock bands operate underground or flee to other countries to play (like New York’s own The Yellow Dogs). Some rockers skirt the rules by placing traditional Persian poetry over classic rock melodies. Others play instrumental music (metal is big), or write fairly “safe” lyrics in Farsi and submit them for approval from the Ministry of Culture.

So why were the Iranian representatives for the World Choir Games able to perform Queen? Well, Freddie Mercury, also known as Farrokh Bulsara, was Parsi, a Persian ethnic group that commonly practices Zoroastrianism. Growing up in India and Zanzibar, Mercury’s Zoroastrian funeral was noted after his death, but his ethnic identity was never a secret. Illegal Queen bootlegs have been floating around Iran forever, but in 2004, the first legal classic rock album was released, Queen’s Greatest Hits.

There were even translations of the songs in the liner notes, though “Bohemian Rhapsody” already had the Arabic word for God (“Bismillah”) proclaimed by the protagonist in a plea for redemption. Love songs (and presumably “Fat-Bottomed Girls”) were cut, but Mercury’s heritage and underground Queen fans greased the wheels for the Ministry of Culture. With a bisexual frontman and a sound steeped in American rock ‘n’ roll, Queen’s connection to the Persian world has been lauded by Iranian rockers since the beginning.

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For those about to rock: Pop stars in their youth





From top to bottom: Freddie Mercury, Shane MacGowan, Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison and David Bowie.


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Jesus, Freddie Mercury and Gay Marriage

This provocative masterpiece by Mr. Fish, found via The Cagle Post, where reactions have been widely varied…


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Handmade felted rock stars

Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin hangin’ out
Oregon -based artist Kay Petal makes these whimsical sculptural needle-felted rock star dolls. Kay says, “Using single, barbed felting needles I sculpt wool fibers into solid felted wool characters with heart and soul. My characters are soft and flexible yet strong and durable.”

And guess what? Kay will even make one of YOU! You can contact her on the website Felt Alive for more information.

Johnny Cash
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Lemmy, Freddie Mercury and Barry Gibb cover The Chi-Lites

I know, I know, this is incredibly silly but it cracks me up.

British comedian Stevie Riks does wickedly funny impressions of rock stars that are often as cruel (though affectionate) as they are funny. In this particular video, Riks portrays Barry Gibb, Freddie Mercury and Lemmy as they perform The Chi-Lites’ classic “Have You Seen Her.’

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Queen: Rarely seen promotional video for ‘Liar’, from 1973

Even back then, Freddie Mercury looked like a rock star.  Brian May, Roger Taylor and a young John Deacon looked as if they wanted to be rock stars. Almost forty years on, this video of Queen from 1973 is still impressive, and shows why they were so successful.

“Liar” was Queen’s second US single release in 1974, taken from their eponymous 1973 debut album release. Originally titled “Lover”, the song was written by Freddie Mercury in 1970, when he was still Farrokh Bulsara. The track was a favorite of Queen’s early live shows, is noted for its use of Hammond organ and its backing vocals from bass player Deacon.

This footage of Queen was shot at Brewer Street, along with a version of “Keep Yourself Alive” for promotional purposes in 1973, but a different version, shot at BBC studios, was used instead.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Freddie Mercury’s Gorgeous Banana Hair

LEGO Freddie Mercury

Bonus track “Keep Yourself Alive” from same video shoot, after the jump…

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Pop Stars in Drag

A selection of pop’s bold in beautiful in drag.
Robert Plant and Roy Harper.
Annie Lennox in “Who’s That Girl?”
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Film footage of The Rolling Stones in drag from 1966

More beautiful people after the jump…

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LEGO Freddie Mercury
10:02 am


Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury, imagined in LEGOs by Ochre Jelly, as he performed during Queen’s 1986 concert at Wembley Stadium.
(via Cherrybombed)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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