Sept 1, 2016: Freddie Mercury Honored in London

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The plaque at 22 Gladstone Avenue in Feltham, West London

Queen’s late frontman Freddie Mercury would have turned 70 on September 5, 2016 and to honor the iconic singer, a commemorative blue plaque was affixed to his first home in London on September 1, 2016. More than 950 such plaques, presented by the English Heritage charity, are ubiquitous around the city, marking buildings associated with everyone from Winston Churchill to John Lennon. In order to qualify for a blue plaque, the honoree must have died at least 20 years earlier.

Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar in 1946 but moved with his family in 1964 to the semi-detached home at 22 Gladstone Avenue in Feltham, West London. It was while living at this home that the teen (now calling himself Fred Bulsara) met drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May, who were already performing together in a band called Smile. Freddie Mercury, as he started to call himself, joined them in 1970 and suggested a name change to Queen. Bassist John Deacon joined the others prior to the recording of Queen’s eponymous 1973 debut album, and that quartet remained intact until Mercury’s death from complications of AIDS on November 24, 1991.

Related: Freddie Mercury’s funeral

May and Mercury’s sister, Kashmira Cooke, were present at the unveiling of the plaque. Said Cooke at the event, “Mum and I are so proud and pleased that English Heritage is honoring our Freddie with a blue plaque, and that he will be amongst other famous names forever. Secretly he would have been very proud and pleased too.”

In his speech at the event, May said, “The last thing we would have thought is that I would be here at this point, commemorating him with a blue plaque. It’s a happy occasion with a tinge of sadness because he should be here. He should still be here creating. As boys we conquered the world in a way that was beyond our wildest dreams, which is why we are here today. What I remember of Freddie is hard to sum up. He was a shy boy and embarrassed of still living with his mum, so he often slept on people’s floors to feel like he had broken away.”

However, a 9-year-old girl who occupied Mercury’s former room wasn’t all that impressed by the hoopla. Daria Mihailuka told The Guardian, “I’m not like his greatest fan. I’m more into modern music. I like Justin Bieber.”

Watch Queen perform at Live Aid in 1985

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2 Comments so far

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  1. DjiNNa
    #1 DjiNNa 2 September, 2019, 09:21

    I think the negative Bieber comment could have been left out. Poor timing.
    Spread Your Wings and Fly Away.
    Rock On Forever, Freddy

    Reply this comment
    • Lorelei
      Lorelei 2 September, 2021, 00:49

      I agree! Makes me think of Brian May in the movie saying “Where’s Madonna? I can understand what you were doing there, but it’s disrespectful. Nice article other than that though.

      Reply this comment

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