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on 21 April 1999
This is the only biography of Freddie Mercury I have read so I'm not an authority. However - I do have a deep-rooted interest so here goes. I felt that the author was really interested in her subject and had definitely done a good deal of research. I am pleased that she doesn't try and present him as an angel (which he clearly wasn't, bless him) and some less flattering anecdotes are included as pointers to show the reader what a pain in the neck he could be when he chose. At the same time, some quite endearing memories balance this up - and if you liked the man to start with then you'll definitely still like him when you've finished the book. I think really it could have benefitted from some better photographs as these are an odd collection, some from childhood, including some old-looking photos of the area where he was born in Zanzibar, and these to my mind are not particularly interesting. The slant of the book is, I believe, that of finding out who Freddie really was by means of charting his course through life - so I suppose these are relevant - but perhaps not very exciting if it was the outrageous banana-on-head wearing, leather-clad party animal image that had prompted you to buy the book. However, with regard to the narrative, she has a nice style, and is at no time is waspish or accusatory. She deals particularly well with an interview with Barbara Valentin, one of Freddie's closest friends. All in all, one of my favourites and a pretty good read.
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on 22 September 2012
Is a good reading, but...From this book I have learnt more about Freddie's sexual partners than his own creative world. Not much is said about the sessions in studio, how "the miracle" was done, how "innuendo" went, nothing about MOTHER LOVE, that he sang after a strong dose of vodka and interrupted: "Guys i'm too tired, we'll see us later". That was the last song he ever sang. This is what a fan like me wants to know: how he worked, how he created, how he was the musician and singer he was, how the albums were done. Very few is said instead on how the band created on studio. And somewhere it seems to osessively force the gay matter in Freddie's life. Making of this a clue point of the entire book. But Freddie, as Brian recently said, wasn't only this, wasn't even only gay: "I know that all through his life Fred didn't think that whether he was gay or not was important. He loved music, he love his work, and he didn't want anything to get in the way. Anyone who portrays Fred as purely a gay story is missing a lot of the point." I completely share what Brian Said.
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on 9 May 2007
...But, like other reviewers of this book have stated, it does neglect the music.

Having been a hardcore fan of Queen for many many years, I thought I'd read it all. So I was very reluctant to buy this book, fearing it was going to be another arms-length interpritation, rushed released, cash-in book written after Freddie died. Not so, not by a long shot.

I was warmly suprised to find that Lesly-Ann Jones has certainly done her homework. She cuts down rumors and inconsistancies in other well-known Freddie books, even the one's we thought we could trust. She also manages to get exclusive interviews which really do make you feel like you know the great man personally, and she doesn't pull her punches when it comes to his sexual quirks and adventures. And, while painting all these pictures, she also covers the many complicated aspects of his life, without ever loosing thread.

But the one thing that is still lacking from the Queen industry is a book dedicated to Queen and Freddie's music making, which for me would be fasinating, (I loved watching the Making Of One Vision documentary on Queen's Greatest Video Hits II).

There are very rare photographs also in this book which, for a hardcore fan, come as quite refreshing and interesting. We all like a good picture of Freddie striking up a famous pose, but it's old hat as far as books are concerned.

If you want a detailed book on Queen as a band, this isn't it. And to be honest for such a book to cover everything would be so thick it could be used to beat whales to death. Queen: The Early Years is by far the most detailed I've read to date, it goes as far as the Bohemion Rhapsody era. I recommend you check it out.

This book has obvious passion and from the first few chapters I knew I was in for a treat. I'm also thankful that it reads like a report, not an arse-kissing fan letter. The anecdotes finally come from those closest to Freddie and are unforgettable. This was a great read indeed.
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on 20 May 2010
I'm naturally a bit cautious about any book that declares itself to be a definitive biography. This book offers an insight into Freddie Mercury's lifestyle, his parties and his complex relations with partners of both genders. It traces his upbringing in Zanzibar and his education in India and the writer has travelled widely to gain a firsthand knowledge of his life. It is an entertaining read about one of rock's most elusive characters, whose extravagant stage performances masked his natural modesty and shyness. Although the writer has had only limited access to some crucial figures in Mercury's life, she paints a sympathetic portrayal of the man himself. Yet some sections of his life receive comparatively little attention. His first years in London are hardly discussed but in my opinion the major shortcoming of this book is the lack of attention given to Mercury's music and his development as a songwriter.
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on 10 November 2011
Freddie Mercury was a genius and this book comes as close as any account ever will to describing the man and the way he lived his life, if not to explaining how he achieved his effects. It is a classic of the sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll genre, an exhaustive album-by-album, party-by-party tale of excess and excellence in a golden age of music and mayhem.

Behind the glamour, the key events and relationships that shaped Freddie Mercury are meticulously identified and illustrated. Lesley-Ann Jones' own first hand experiences of covering the band as a young music writer are deftly interspersed with expert third party research, including lots of original interviews. The result is a compelling, informative and - inevitably, given the tragic ending - moving Life. Highly recommended.
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on 21 March 2012
Not only has Lesley-Ann Jones managed to produce an exceptionally detailed reference book to Freddie's life, she has written it in such an inclusive manner that she completely sucks the reader into the the sweaty, sexy, funny and sad vortex that was Freddie's life. You know she was there at so many points, but instead of this being about her access to Freddie and her relationship with him, this really is the absolute essence of Freddie - a sculpture more than a portrait. Jones' fabulously witty and pithy, no-nonsense writing is generous and engaging, and makes a romping good read irrespective of whether readers are fans of the man or not. Buy it for your kids, your Mum and Dad and your Granny - they will all love it !!
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on 10 November 2011
The things that make this biography stand out in a crowded marketplace are the attention to detail and the fluent, eminently 'readable' writing style. Jones is nothing if not a great journalist. As you'd expect, Freddie Mercury's sadly foreshortened life contained a massive quantity of recording sessions, concerts, parties and orgies, and it feels as if we get them all here. It's compulsive reading! I read this in one long sitting (literally couldn't put it down) and as well as being exhausted, I now feel like listening to a lot more Queen, particularly the earlier albums, now I know more about the background to them. A spellbinding read.
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on 6 December 2016
How can someone who only met Freddie write about him. She has never even been to garden lodge and never attended one of his parties. I only gave 1 star as you cant give 0
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on 14 December 2011
As a long-standing Queen fan, I was very much looking forward to Lesley-Ann Jones' follow-up to the original The Definitive Freddie Mercury biography, which I had thoroughly enjoyed when first published. I was not disappointed.

The book was thoroughly researched and very objectively written, combining the background and early life of Freddie with the struggles and then ultimate rise of Queen but also revealing more insight into Freddie's character, as told by the many friends and associates interviewed by Lesley-Ann. She used her journalistic skills to the hilt, tracking down his original birth certificate, travelling to Zanzibar and other meaningful locations and setting the record straight on various misunderstandings about the man himself. Beautifully anecdotal in parts, bringing a wry smile to the lips of the reader and hugely detailed and informative, realistically reliving the 70s and 80s and not only from a musical perspective.

The Definitive Biography is not only a must for all Queen fans but also anyone who was wowed by Queen's performance at Live Aid or with a curiosity as to the real person behind The Great Pretender.
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on 30 October 2011
From the moment I picked this book up, I just couldn't put it back down. I have loved Queen's music ever since 'The Seven Seas of Rhye' but had never really followed the band or indeed Freddie Mercury's life until now. What I found in this book is a well written and entertaining yet sometimes sad biography of rocks most prominent showman. Here's a guy (Freddie Mercury) who is a musical genius, fronting a band made up of educated, intelligent musicians, an astronomy graduate, an electronics graduate and a future dentist. From the very outset, the book takes you through the initial struggles of Freddie's young life and then his roller coaster life with fame and fortune uncovering a personality that is so complex.......I won't spoil it for you.
Easy to read I take my hat off to the author for making me want more, I actually didn't want it to end but, like all good things everything has an end.
If you are a 'Freddie' fan or indeed a Queen fan then I'm sure you will love this book.
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