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Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography [Hardcover]

Lesley-Ann Jones
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

13 Oct 2011

This is the definitive biography of Freddie Mercury. Written by an award-winning rock journalist, Lesley-Ann Jones toured widely with Queen forming lasting friendships with the band. Now, having secured access to the remaining band members and those who were closest to Freddie, from childhood to death, Lesley-Ann has written the most in depth account of one of music's best loved and most complex figures.

Meticulously researched, sympathetic, unsensational, the book - like the forthcoming film - will focus on the period in the 1980s when Queen began to fragment, before their Live Aid performance put them back in the frame.

In her journey to understand the man behind the legend, Lesley-Ann Jones has travelled from London to Zanzibar to India. Packed with exclusive interviews and told with the invaluable perspective that the twenty years since Mercury's death presents, Freddie Mercury is the most up to date portrait of a legendary man.

Fully revised and updated edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (13 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444733672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444733679
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 16.4 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Lesley-Ann Jones asserts that Freddie Mercury's was a "big, extravagant, multifaceted life", and the rock journalist has certainly done a sterling job of documenting it here. (Daily Telegraph, Australia)

'A timely update coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Queen and the 20 years since their frontman's death'. (The Sun)

Exactly the sort of tribute Mercury himself would have wanted ... full of perceptive and moving insights. (Spectator)

Rock journalist Lesley-Ann Jones is lucky enough to have known the man. She toured widely with Queen and formed lasting friendships with the band. It took a while for everyone to open up, but she eventually gained access to Freddie's colleagues and friends, and so we have this thoroughly researched portrait of the man behind the rock legend. (Brisbane Times)

Book Description

The defintive biography of one of music's greatest legends.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A KIND OF MAGIC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 30 Oct 2011
It's hard to believe that Queen celebrates their 40th Anniversary this year, and even more significant is that it also marks the 20th Anniversary of the death of their lead singer. In `Freddie Mercury - The Definitive Biography', author Lesley-Ann Jones takes us on a fascinating journey through his life from Zanzibar in 1946 to his death in Montreux in 1991.
The early chapters in the book cover his childhood in Zanzibar, his resentment at being sent to school in India at the age of eight, and his early tastes for music, and how his life would change once he arrived in the UK in 1964.
What makes this book stand-out for other biographies is that Jones has certainly done her research (she was side-stage at Live Aid), and her determination to find a copy of Freddie's original birth certificate. She also travelled back to Africa and India and spoke to family and friends, people that knew Freddie first hand. There is still local resentment toward him, with one claiming "he gave up his family name.....and wasn't proud of Zanzibar", hence the lack of tributes, memorials or statues to him in his homeland.
Moving to England would change his life forever, as he dabbled with several bands before convincing Brian and Roger to do more original material. As he cleverly put it "If I was your singer, that's what I'd be doing". This would lead to the formation of Queen, and their first gig in 1971.
The fact that he didn't own a TV when they made their first Top of The Pops appearance, forcing him to watch it in a TV shop window in Oxford Street is just one of the many fascinating pieces here.
The great thing though out this book is that it's not a Queen book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive and Brilliant 28 Jun 2012
By Edward
Who was Freddie Mercury?

Showman or Frontman? Shy Guy or Great Pretender? In her book, Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography, Lesley-Ann Jones helps to peel away the layers of media nonsense and rumour to paint the picture of a man she met several times and watched perform live (most notably side of stage during THAT Live Aid Performance).

I took to the book as a casual Queen fan, growing up with the music as a boy and then a teenager, Freddie was long gone before I really got into collecting music seriously. But I remembered watching Live Aid and of course that barnstorming performance from Queen. My knowledge of Freddie himself and Queen's recording history was a little hazy based on red top newspaper headlines surrounding Mercury in later life and the odd documentary I had seen of the band play on TV. A mate at college had all the albums and subjected me to them in his car when he used to run a gang of us around. When music is forced on you, sadly, you don't always appreciate it and I honestly did switch off.

But, as you grow older, your musical tastes change and mature. You have the opportunity to delve into the musical archives of friends and relatives and the digital download has made it even easier to collect a back catalogue quicker.

Stood in the bookshop I thumbed through the hardback and found myself engrossed enough to want to buy it. Surely the best advert for any book?!

Jones plays a blinder for any casual Queen fan by starting the book off with Live Aid.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The whole story and legacy of Queen and Freddie Mercury have moved on so far since Lesley-Ann Jones's original book in the mid-90s that there is plenty of scope for an update, but this book goes way beyond a mere update and is very timely what with the movie coming out next year.

The research is very impressive - how many rock writers would actually travel to somewhere like Zanzibar to ensure they nail the detail and give the full flavour of their subject's birthplace? And she makes a point of correcting many of the of the inaccuracies that have occurred and probably been repeated in other accounts There is no doubt that certain people in the story - the band members for instance - remain tight lipped to this day but Jones seeks out many of the key players in Mercury's private and professional life, so comes as close as anyone is going to in terms of telling the proclaimed 'definitive' story.

What is best about the book, however, is not so much the truly scary stuff about about AIDS setting in, nor even intriguing snippets such as Freddie's friendship with Michael Jackson - it's the atmosphere it evokes of the music industry in the 70s and 80s. For music fans, whether they are into Queen in a big way or not, the chapters about the band's seemingly eternal struggles to gain a record deal, the characters around the band and the lives they all led, are priceless.

Lesley-Ann Jones combines her journalistic skills and experience with her love of the music and comes up with a terrific read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved Freddie/Queen's music - very much enjoyed the book.
Published 1 day ago by valerie plater
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read
Published 1 month ago by Chefy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Very interesting for fans of Freddie !
Published 1 month ago by Mrs R S Fluin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great read
Published 2 months ago by doreen owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This book is excellent
Published 2 months ago by Mrs A L Chivers
5.0 out of 5 stars .
A good read - bought this second hand. It said nearly new - I think it was brand new and it only cost about a quid plus postage!
Published 5 months ago by LR
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically Freddie
One of the best biographies I have read. Well written, well researched, fantastically written! I cannot recommend this enough for Queen fans and folk who have an interest in the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ms. S. Gillett
4.0 out of 5 stars Life story
Good book bought for the wife she loved it and has read it from cover to cover, very good coverage
Published 8 months ago by Mal
5.0 out of 5 stars Difinitive Freddie Mercury
Brilliant read on a brilliant artist by a brilliant author; can't put it down. I know know far more about Freddie than I did
Published 9 months ago by Toughconsumer
5.0 out of 5 stars a lot of things about freddy mercury which were unknown by me
the life story of freddy and the band i read with great interest of the trials and tribulations to get to be one of britains greatest bands
Published 10 months ago by ian coltart
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