It wasn’t until a shy art student named Freddie joined on vocals that things began to take off. Originally called Farrokh Bulsara and born to Indian parents, Mercury had already led an interesting life. Following a brief upbringing in Tanzania, he and his family would later move to Bombay before settling in England for good.
With the 1971 acquisition of replacement bassist John Deacon, the band was complete. From there, the newly-christened Queen began making its way through London’s thriving rock scene. At the time, the industry was dominated by macho groups like Led Zeppelin or contemplative groups like Pink Floyd. Yet Queen brought something different to the table.
In contrast to Mercury’s generation’s obsession with masculinity, he put forth a more theatrically flamboyant persona on stage. Despite his inherent shyness, the singer transformed into a confident showman who could whip audiences into a frenzy during gigs. Coupled with a strident three-octave vocal range, these features would make the frontman rock’s quintessential performer.