[For my Redigi Throwback this week, I wanted to encourage Freddie For A Day participants and fans with a top five list.]
Queen frontman Freddie Mercury‘s early-autumn birthday inspires legions of fans to celebrate his life by dressing in one of the musician’s iconic styles, known as Freddie For A Day. What a way to get away with wearing white after Labor Day, huh? The proceeds from the event benefit the Mercury Phoenix Trust, which has given over 15 million dollars to HIV/AIDS charities worldwide. To cheer on those celebrating his legacy, I’ve selected my top five tracks to remember the fifth of September. What are yours?
1. You’re My Best Friend: A testament to his showmanship, during live performances Freddie is said to have accompanied this song on a grand piano rather than the electric used in the recording by bassist John Deacon. “Why play those things”, Freddie scoffed, disdainful of the keyboard, “when you’ve got a lovely superb grand piano?” Priceless.
2. Radio Ga-Ga: “Radio “Ga-Ga” served as a sort of ”Video Killed The Radio Star” commentary on the MTV generation’s abandonment of broadcast medium in the early 80′s. Ironically, generations beyond the burnout of music on the radio and on television, the song inspired the moniker of the reigning queen of mainstream music on the internet, Lady Gaga.
3. Under Pressure: That infamous bass line provides the base (heh) for one of the most incredible builds in a pop music. The crescendo of ”Under Pressure” when it reaches its pinnacle and Freddie pleads “Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?/ Why can’t we give love that one more chance?” is profoundly moving. It easily brings me to tears.
4. There Must Be More To Life Than This: Speaking of moving, this soaring duet is The King of Pop and the Queen front man’s “Imagine”. Michael Jackson and Freddie despair the rampant violence and injustices in the world, while holding out hope that humankind can join together in peace and love.
5. Somebody to Love: Written by Freddie (along with Queen hits such as ”Bohemian Rhapsody“, “Killer Queen“, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “We Are the Champions“), the gospel-inspired rock evokes the sorrow of “Bohemian Rhapsody“, but instead delivers a barn burner chant that rivals “We Will Rock You“. It encompasses some of Queen’s best features and really showcases Freddie’s vocal finesse.