When Freddie Mercury died in 1991, aged just 45, the world was rocked by the vibrant and flamboyant star's tragic secret that he had been battling AIDS. The announcement of his diagnosis reached them less than 24-hours before his death, shocking his millions of fans, and fully opening the eyes of the world to the destructive and fatal disease.
In Somebody to Love, biographers Mark Langthorne and Matt Richards skilfully weave Freddie's pursuit of musical greatness with Queen, his upbringing and endless search for love, with the origins and aftermath of a terrible disease that swept across the world in the 1980s.
With brand new perspectives from Freddie's closest friends and fellow musicians, this unique and deeply moving tribute casts a very different light on his death. An intimate read, like Freddie and his art, it will stay with you for a long time to come.
The team behind the ill-conceived Michael Jackson biography 83 Minutes returns to weave together the histories of Freddie Mercury and HIV/AIDS, the disease that took his life, in this clunky and poorly constructed work. Richards and Langthorne use a handful of broad historical coincidences to tie man and illness together in the name of heightening the melodrama that so intensely suffuses their narrative from its beginning. Clarity-fogging run-on sentences do the heavy lifting of actually delivering information about the spread of HIV so that more energy can be spent on speculating on Mercury's sexuality. The authors' consistent insistence that Mercury was gay rather than bisexual is faintly stunning, given Mercury's passionate relationships with women such as Mary Austin and his own statements confirming his love for both men and women many of which are not included in this book, apparently because they violate the authors' thesis. It's a shame that Richards and Langthorne's ostensible purpose to pay tribute to the needless victims of AIDS and homophobia is overshadowed by their desire to sensationalize the life and death of an international music icon.