Freddie Mercury was 'in a lot of pain' says Brian May
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This weekend, ‘Queen at the BBC’ showed a collection of the band’s most iconic TV appearances from the BBC’s archives, including a famous Eighties performance at the Montreux Pop Festival. The show charts the band’s massive success and features a number of their most loved songs, including ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘These are the Days of our Lives’. The latter song, and it’s infamous music video, marked the last time fans were able to see enigmatic Queen frontman Freddie alive.
Freddie died aged just 45 due to complications with AIDS.
Fans across the world were devastated by the mercurial singer’s sudden death, with Freddie having only publicly confirmed he had contracted the disease the day before.
However, in his final music video with Queen, for the single ‘These Are The Days of Our Lives’, the beloved singer delivered a poignant message to his fans.
His final words on camera, six months before his death, which were delivered down the lens to his millions of fans were: “I still love you”.
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On the BBC programme, Freddie’s former bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor recalled the singer’s condition while recording the song and subsequently filming the music video.
Brian, who was Queen’s lead guitarist, said: “Roger had started writing ‘These Are The Days of Our Lives’ about his kids and the way he felt about life.
“But of course in that context it had another meaning.”
The singer was diagnosed in 1987, yet continued to record with Queen for four years before his 1991 death.
The guitarist said: “I never heard him go ‘this is really awful, my life is s***, I’m going to die.’
“Never, never, never.
“He was an amazingly strong person.”
He added: “Freddie’s becoming weakened by this horrible disease and he finds it hard to stand up a lot of the time.
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“But he’d throw a couple of vodkas down him and he would prop himself up on the mixing desk and have his mic there and go for it.”
While making the music video, Brian also recalled Freddie spending “hours” in makeup to make himself look healthier for the cameras.
These Are The Days Of Our Lives was released after the Queen singer’s death in December 1991 and shot straight to the top of the charts.
The band’s drummer Roger recalled: “The sicker Freddie got, the more he seemed to need to record, to give himself something to do ‒ some sort of reason to get up.
“And he would make it in whenever he could.
“So really it was a period of fairly intense work.
“I can hear the voice is getting thinner. I think you can really tell that it’s an ailing voice.
“Although he hits the notes.”
On the music video, Roger said: “He looked so ill, it was quite scary and I thought that was a very brave thing to do, and why not?”
After Freddie’s death, Queen went on to perform with the likes of Elton John, Pavarotti and Adam Lambert under the name ‘Queen+’.
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