A Sudbury Story of Queen’s Early Days on the Anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s Death
Freddie Mercury Queen

Freddie Mercury of Queen passed away 25 years ago today.

Many of us grew up with the music of Freddie Mercury and his band Queen. His music was the soundtrack of so many parties that took place during the 1970s and later.

Mercury is famous for his live performances and theatrical style that made the audience go wild. One of Mercury’s most memorable performances took place at Live Aid in 1985 when the entire stadium audience of 72,000 people clapped, sang and swayed in unison with the music and had been dubbed “The greatest 20 minutes of rock and roll”.

Mercury wrote some of Queen’s greatest hits such as, Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, We Are the Champions and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Over the course of Mercury’s career he performed approximately 700 concerts in countries around the world.

It’s hard to believe that today is  25th anniversary of the death of Freddie Mercury – time flies!  However, we found out a great story from local accountant Barry Conroy who saw the band in Toronto way back when.

It was the end of summer 1972 when Barry hopped on his 500 Kawasaki to drive to Oshawa to see his friend who had worked in the mines in Levack until he decided to go back to his family home in Oshawa. His friend had managed to get two concert tickets to see Alice Cooper who was playing at Varsity Stadium in Toronto.

Alice Cooper’s legendary album “School’s Out” had just come out and so the two lined up with thousands at Varsity Stadium. The MC came on stage to say that Alice Cooper wouldn’t be playing because he wasn’t feeling well. People started lining up to get their money back when the back-up band came back on stage and began playing.

It didn’t take long for most of the crowd, including Barry and his friend, to leave the line up and go back to their seats to listen. The band played for half an hour before Barry said they stopped playing to introduce themselves and their band as “Queen”.

At the time Queen had not yet released their first album “Queen” though they had demos that they were trying to interest a record company to take on – “Queen” would be released in 1973. Although Barry doesn’t remember any of the songs that were played, a concert set list from a show where Queen performed in 1972 shows that they played a mix of their own material Keep Yourself Alive, Great King Rat,  Doing All Right, Son and Daughter, Jesus and as well as covers of songs such as Jailhouse Rock. Barry said Queen played for the rest of the night while the audience happily rocked out with them.

Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI became the first woman to go underground at Inco in 1939.
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contact: colin@southsidestory.ca

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