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Queen's Freddie Mercury

Queen’s Freddie Mercury

Dec. 16, 1977: Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury in a flamboyant pose during the rock band’s concert at San Diego Sports Arena.

This photo by Times staff photographer George Rose was published on the Dec. 20, 1977, View Section front page accompanying the review of Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn. Hilburn wrote:

SAN DIEGO – The rock concert scene may have started sluggishly in ’77, but it’s ending with a stir. There was Aerosmith’s snarl last month, Rod Stewart’s rejoice last week and now: Queen.

Already hailed as the best of the mid-’70s British arrivals, Queen is back with its most spectacularly staged and finely honed show yet. Coupled with its stylish new “News of the World” album, the tour should push the classy foursome even further into forefront of contemporary rock bands…

Freddie Mercury, the band’s flashy lead singer and occasional pianist, sang and moved with more confidence and dynamics than ever. Wearing a black and white Harlequin outfit open to the waist, Mercury pranced around the stage in a way that gave the band’s already dramatic numbers even added lure and punch.

When he sings potent, upbeat tunes like “Liar,” there are few in rock who can match Mercury’s vocal bit. But he’s equally satisfying on softer, more tender numbers.

Former Times staff photographer George Rose also photographed Queen and Freddie Mercury in 1980. Rose recently wrote in an email:

The Freddie Mercury signature jumpsuits were quite a flamboyant fashion statement. His energy and range was phenomenal. He could hit the high notes and drop to the low notes with considerable ease. Queen was the perfect arena rock band.

Freddie Mercury died Nov. 24, 1991.

For more, check out Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn’s 1991 An Appreciation – Freddie Mercury: Confident Energy.

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