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Somebody to Love

The Life, Death and Legacy of Freddie Mercury
Narrated by: Tim Bruce
Length: 15 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (105 ratings)
Regular price: £34.99
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Summary

For the first time, the final years of one of the world's most captivating rock showmen are laid bare.

When Freddie Mercury died in 1991, aged just 45, the world was rocked by the vibrant and flamboyant star's tragic secret that he had been battling AIDS. That Mercury had even been diagnosed came as a shock to his millions of fans, with his announcement coming less than 24 hours before his death.

In Somebody to Love, biographers Mark Langthorne and Matt Richards skilfully weave Freddie Mercury's incredible pursuit of musical greatness with Queen, his upbringing and his endless search for love with the story of a terrible disease that swept across the world in the 1980s, as medical treatment fought to catch up with it despite underfunding, social ignorance and homophobia.

With brand-new perspectives from Mercury's closest friends and fellow musicians, this unique and deeply moving tribute casts a very different light on both his death and the origins of AIDS itself.

An intimate listen, like Freddie and his art, it will stay with you for a long time.

©2014 Matt Richards & Mark Langthorne (P)2017 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Interesting

What a great insight to Freddie’s life .. he was the true pretender, a great showman, and the greatest singer,songwriter of all time ..
We will rock you !!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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highly recommended

loved it. Very detailed and accurate. everything I've read or seen about Freddie Mercury was in here, and more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

A brilliant, informative and moving account of the life of on of the greatest frontmen the world has ever witnessed.

RIP Freddie!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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everybody to love

intense sad truthful a brilliant listen a man that lived life in the sexual fast lane and crashed

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Could be better

Too much about the Illness that eventually led to Freddie's death and not enough about him as a person and a musician. Yes AIDs was and is terrible but knowing the history of how it developed from Africa and who was affected and the way it spread around the world just seems to be padding to cover for the lack of real knowledge about Freddie Mercury and Life with Queen

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic in every way

As a lover of Queen I decided to take the plunge with this audio book, it’s really well written, brilliantly read and absolutely engaging from start to finish . Love the asides to explain about AIDS and how it all started as well

I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

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loved it.

loved it very insightful. A must read for Queen and Freddie Mercury fans. Lots of infomation and very well told

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Excellently narrated and very interesting

I nearly didn't purchase this based on some negative reviews, however it was excellent throughout,

A necessary focus was given to AIDs/HIV and I must admit to being much greater informed as a result.

During listening to this, many times I paused the book and then using the voice activation in the car was able to get Spotify to play many tracks just discussed, several of which were not familiar to me. It was a really neat way of complimenting this.

Recommended from me.

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Shocking and brilliant,

Great insight into behind the scenes of music industry, HIV and of course Queen, was hooked with a lot of Oh Wow moments!!!

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  • Hinuki
  • Chichester, England
  • 19-12-18

great book for any Queen/Freddie Mercury fan

loved it! very interesting explaining how HIV)AIDs came into existence. The flow of the story is great!

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  • tru britty
  • 19-07-18

Stunning dual biography of Freddie and AIDS

Freddie Mercury's history has become inextricably linked with the AIDS epidemic, but he was so much more than that. It's his music that has become his legacy. His performance at 1985's Live Aid was merely the crowning glory of this charismatic performer.

Still, authors Matt Richards and Matt Langthorne made the decision to tell Freddie's story at the same time they unfolded the story of AIDS, which from the most recent evidence seems to have passed from chimp to human via an animal bite sometime around 1908 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Both stories are fascinating in the extreme. But it's Freddie's that takes up the largest chunk of the story, as the authors follow him from his birth in Zanzibar to Indian parents of Persian descent. There's the Indian boarding school, the move to London, the art school and the first band. (You can find an unearthed home movie of Freddie with his college pals on YouTube. What's amazing is how reserved and camera shy he is.)

The story gets into Queen territory when Freddie becomes a dedicated follower of Jimi Hendrix and a local London group called Smile, with Brian May on guitar, Roger Taylor on drums, some guy on bass (eventually to be John Deacon) and a lead singer, whom Freddie would eventually replace, rechristening the band Queen.

The chapters are a good mesh of band and music history along with glimpses of Freddie's personal life. Freddie dated girls, and had one long-term girlfriend (Mary Austin) in particular. But he seemed to begin identifying almost exclusively as a gay man in the mid-70s. That brought him into contact with the gay scene in New York, where AIDS was already making inroads, though no one knew it because the retrovirus has an incubation period of up to 10 years.

The authors try to pin down Freddie's infection to 1981 or 1982 and cite a Saturday Night Live performance in 1982, when Freddie was battling a throat condition, a possible indicator a person has been infected, showing up within weeks of the original infection though the virus otherwise remains dormant.

There is information about Freddie's boyfriends (including his last Jim Hutton), the Live Aid performance, the leaking of Freddie's HIV test to the British tabloid press, the last concert tour in 1986, Freddie living with full-blown AIDS (with the press hounding him for a confession), Freddie throwing himself into studio work, his final recordings and music videos with Queen, his death in November 1991, and the Freddie tribute concert organized by May and Taylor.

Narrator Tim Bruce does an excellent job. His voice is well-suited to the story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • mizeryluvkompany
  • 20-05-18

Queen Freddie Mercury.

best Queen book ive ever read or heard. tons of insight in this book. recommend.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Trystin Figel
  • 24-01-19

Beautifully written

After seeing Bohemian Rhapsody two times in theaters. It reignited my passion for queen and made me want to learn more about them and Freddy as a whole. There were so many books to choose from and I’m glad I picked this one , the origin of HIV was fascinating , and the accounts of such a wonderful man’s life was pieced together seamlessly. This book brought out so many emotions , happiness , wonder, inspiration , sadness , and hope . Highly recommend ... Still can’t get over how great of a read it was .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rabid Mongoose
  • 18-11-18

Great story, but the NARRATOR -- yikes!

I wish the author had gone a bit more into the history of HIV, but that's only because I'm in the medical field. Probably it was enough for the average person. I have to say, though, that the narrator really grated on me. It reminded me of a smarmy BBC nature commentator -- you just want information on the magnificent creatures you're watching, but you have to put up with a kind of arch, almost camp narration style that gets on your nerves. The narrator also has a habit of "upspeaking," where his tone rises at the end of sentences, almost as though he's asking a question, instead of making a statement.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Garry S. Garrett
  • 28-11-18

Worthwhile, a wee bit heavy on AIDS history

The timeline presented in this book was appreciated in light of the recent movie which oddly compressed things that didn't need compressed. The telling was difficult to follow as the authors quoted many folks and it was perplexing as there was no change of voice or tone for different speakers. I would recommend a female voice for female quotes, for example. While the book was rich with insight into Freddie's crazy little life, it was too detailed on the history and diaspora of AIDS, imo which caused it to drag on.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Beecher
  • 13-11-18

Excellent biography, with context

I loved this biography in part because it placed Mercury's life and death in the context of the overall history of the beginning of the HIV/AIDs pandemic and the world events surrounding the initial discovery of HIV/AIDs as well as the politics of the time vis-a-vis gay men and the stigma around HIV/AIDs. This aspect of the historical context of Mercury's life is not covered in other biographies and I think it's a critical part of understanding Mercury's life choices, such as his decision not to reveal publicly that he was suffering from HIV/AIDs until the day before his death. This biography includes interviews and facts not found in the Mercury bio by Lesley-Ann Jones (although I recommend that one as well, because it likewise contains interviews and facts not found here).

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Calicat
  • 23-08-18

Extraordinary Biography of Freddie Mercury

As a lifelong fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury in particular, my heart truly took an emotional ride guided by the narrator’s excellent interpretation of the text. The inter splicing of the rise and fall of AIDS and the medical history interwoven with Mercury’s personal history both enlightened me and increased my respect of Mercury through both his professional contribution to modern popular music and his posthumous contribution of money to the research of a cure for AIDS. No doubt if you’re not even a huge fan of Queen you will enjoy this book for its complete and complex look into the life of a true musical genius. When I was in Montreaux I saw the bronze statue of Freddie with his arm raised and index finger pointing upwards towards heaven - and that’s where he belongs if there is a heaven indeed.

Thank you to the authors for treating his life with respect and with brutal honesty. He would have loved the book, I’m certain!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-18

Very good!

Interesting and fascinating look on his life, society/world state of mind and origin of HIV. Narrator sounding a bit like Freddie made for a pleasant listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane Ciau
  • 07-01-18

Amazing book

The narrator was amazing and Freddy will live on for ages to come. Greatly told story of his life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan Scott Allen
  • 14-02-19

Well sourced

Very detailed description of the origin and spread of HIV/AIDS which parallels really well, if not tragically, with Freddie’s life and career. As a huge Queen/Freddie fan, I’d say this is a must read. It’s very informative and does not sensationalize Freddie’s life, but tries to explain things as they were, in so far as history and people’s memories allow.