Freddie Mercury (September 5, 1946 - November 24, 1991) was a British pop singer born Faroukh Bulsara in Zanzibar to Bomi, and accountant for the British Colonial Office there, and Jer Bulsara. He has a sister, Kashmira Bulsara-Cooke.
He was educated at St.Peter's boarding school near Bombay, India, where he had his first musical training (Grade V piano) and also his first experience of performing onstage, with his band, the Hectics. It was at St.Peter's where he picked up the name 'Freddie', soon even his parents addressed him by that name.
After a revolution in Zanzibar, Freddie and his family were forced to flee to England, where he pursued a Diploma in Art and Graphic Design. This knowledge was to come in useful when he designed Queen's famous crest.
With a wide vocal range of three and a half octaves, and a somewhat operatic technique, he was one of the most versatile and technically accomplished singers to work in the pop idiom, as well as the composer of many of Queen's hits, including Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody to Love and We Are the Champions.
He released two solo albums: Mr. Bad Guy (1985) and Barcelona (1988), this one with Catalan soprano Montserrat Caballé. The latter album was a surprise to critics, being the first collaboration of its kind, but was nonetheless widely acclaimed, even if it was commercially unsuccessful. One of his hits as a solo artist was a cover of the song The Great Pretender (1987), but after his death gained his first solo number 1 Living On My Own, remixed by 'No More Brothers', which was his biggest UK hit.
He was widely suspected to be homosexual, especially when he cut his hair and grew a moustache in the 'New Clone' mode favoured by gays at the time. However, he did not officially come out until his announcement that he had AIDS, one day before he died. He was a fan of Liza Minelli and Michael Jackson, the latter of which he collaborated with on some tracks, which were never published.
He was well known for his extravagance and hedonism, but also for his kindness and generosity. He adored cats and kept several, even writing a song about his favourite (Delilah, on the Innuendo album, 1991). He was a heavy smoker, which contributed to a roughening of his voice in the Eighties.
He was a Zoroastrian. His famous overbite was caused by the presence of four extra teeth which pushed his incisors out. He commented early in his career that he wished to have work done on his teeth, but regretted that he didn't have time to do it.