Queen: Trailer for Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992
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A Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is available to stream this weekend, as Queen and Eagle Rock Entertainment have paired up with The Mercury Phoenix Trust. The gig aims to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organisation, and will be available to watch from Queen's official YouTube Channel from 7pm tonight. The concert will echo the April 1992 charity show Queen hosted in memory of Mercury, who had died just five months before.
The concert also had an astonishing 72,000-strong audience and one billion people watching the televised performance.
Elton John also performed in memory of Mercury, as did Bowie.
Both were close to the iconic 'We Will Rock You' singer, who was known for his powerful stage presence and great sense of humour, as John later recalled.
Writing in his 2019 autobiography, 'Me', John explained one of their conversations prior to the pop icon's death in 1991 — and how he was still making jokes even during his final days.
Freddie Mercury and David Bowie (Image: Getty)
Elton John with Freddie Mercury — both were at the height of fame during the Eighties and early Nin (Image: Getty)
John revealed: "He was too frail to get out of bed, he was losing his sight, his body was covered in Karposi's sarcoma lesions, and yet he was still definitely Freddie, gossiping away, completely outrageous.
“(Freddie would say) 'Have you heard Mrs Bowie's new record, dear? What does she think she's doing?'”
The superstar added: “I couldn't work out whether he didn't realise how close to death he was or if he knew perfectly well but was determined not to let what was happening to him stop him being himself.
“Either way I thought he was incredible.”
Freddie Mercury was praised as an astonishing showman and for having a great sense of humour by all his friends (Image: Getty)
Queen and Bowie wrote 'Under Pressure' together, and by pitching Mercury's vocals against Bowie's, the song soon shot to number one in the 1981 charts.
They were both superstars already at that point, and had been friends since 1972.
However, their strong friendship included amicable competition over their songs.
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Bowie with Annie Lennox in 1992 at the Elton John Tribute Concert (Image: Getty)
Elton John also sang at the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, five months after the singer’s death (Image: Getty)
Mercury tested positive for HIV around April 1987, but only released a public statement about his illness in November 1991.
He died approximately 24 hours after he issued the statement, from bronchial pneumonia which had stemmed from AIDS.
His death was significant for the HIV/AIDS support networks, as he was the first major rock star to die from the illness.
There was no medication to prevent HIV turning into AIDS at the time.
Queen helped set up the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert after his death (Image: Getty)
In 1992, Bowie also took to the stage and sang 'Under Pressure' with Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox to Mercury’s death.
John launched the Elton John AIDS Foundation in the same year.
Brain May and Roger Tayor from Queen have already released a charity single with American singer-songwriter Adam Lambert ahead of the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert later today.
They have changed the words of 'We Are The Champions' to 'You Are The Champions' and altered some of the lyrics to honour health workers fighting coronavirus.
May explained: "It seems to me we should dedicate this one to all the front-line soldiers fighting for humanity against the insurgent coronavirus.
"Just like our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents who fought for us in two world wars, those brave warriors in the front line are our new CHAMPIONS."
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