Why Was Freddie Mercury’s Voice So Unique?
29 years since his passing on November 24th 1991, Freddie Mercury remains regarded as a rock icon, musical prodigy and songwriting sensation. Whether it be through the living memory of Freddie in Queen’s We Will Rock You Theatrical, or through 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody which made a reported $903.7 million at the box office. Freddie Mercury’s ostentatious persona and charismatic showmanship continues to be at the forefront of public fascination.
We wanted to delve a little deeper into Freddie’s musicianship and give you a little more insight into his past and just a small handful of factors that made his sound so unique.
He Had Four Extra Teeth:
It’s no accident that Freddie’s voice is so varied and so unique. Freddie was born with four extra teeth, known as mesiodens. These additional incisors caused overcrowding in his front teeth, pushing them forward and giving him a large overbite. Whilst frequently seen covering his teeth as he was known to be somewhat self-conscious of them, Freddie refused to ever get his teeth treated as he believed that the extra room in his mouth from his upper jaw being pushed forward was what helped contribute to his incredible range (as well as giving him an iconic look!)…Right decision we feel!
His Love For Opera:
Obviously noted in the album A Night At The Opera, which features tracks such as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Love Of My Life’. Freddie’s fascination with the musical power of opera continued to propel Queen into superstardom. Whilst met with a lot of backlash upon release, this never deterred Freddie’s fascination with operatics.
This is perhaps best seen in his solo single ‘Barcelona’, released in 1987 when Freddie teamed up with operatic soprano singer Montserrat Caballe. The song’s emphasis on powerful highs and orchestral feel creates a fully immersive sound experience. The song was so popular that it peaked at number 8 in the UK singles chart on release and after Freddie’s death was featured at the 1992 olympics, where it then climbed once moew to number 2 in the UK.
Vocal Control Like No Other:
Anyone who has listened to a Queen track knows that Freddie has a unique ability that still has not been truly replicated since. His ability to blend highs, lows and mid range notes cohesively and with immense precision. This skill was due to the fact that Freddie was able to create faster vibrato and harmonics than any other singer at the time. Not only this, he was able to shift through registers effortlessly. Although he naturally held a baritone voice, he primarily sang as a tenor and of course had no problem then shifting into soprano parts. One study on Freddie’s vocal range even confirmed that he was able to vary from about 92.2 Hz to 784 Hz, meaning he was reliably able to hit notes from the booming low of F#2 to the high pitch G5 – that covers a full three octaves!
A Unique Frontman
It’s no secret that Freddie’s outrageous personality followed him onto the stage and often left stadiums bowing to his every word. Combining the vocal prowess and musical mastery of Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor, Queen were able to do something entirely different to any other act of the day. His unique appearances as Kings, jesters and of course the iconic yellow jacket are an ode to immense personality and charisma during performances.
So there you have it, as we look back to celebrate Freddie’s incredible life and musical achievement, we’ve reflected on just SOME of the factors that made him so unique, such a powerful singer and one of the greatest frontmen of all time.