An asteroid named after Freddie Mercury to mark 70th anniversary of singer’s birth

Farrokh Bulsara was born on this day in 1946; he died on November 24, 1991. Freddie Mercury would have been 70 years old if still alive today. From RollingStone.com:

To mark what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 70th birthday, Queen guitarist and actual astrophysicist Brian May announced that an asteroid orbiting around Mars and Jupiter has been named after the singer.

“I’m happy to be able to announce that the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center has today designated Asteroid 17473, discovered 1991, in Freddie’s name, timed to honor his 70th Birthday,” May said in a statement. “Henceforth this object will be known as Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury.”

Not content with the Queen singer sharing his last name with a planet, May teamed with the International Astronomical Union to reveal Mercury’s asteroid at a Montreux, Switzerland celebration for Mercury, who died in November 1991, roughly around the time Belgian astronomer Henri Debehogne first discovered the asteroid.

Early Queen, especially “Queen II” (my favorite Queen album as a whole), incorporated many elements of progressive rock, featuring all sorts of interesting chords, time changes, and wild lyrical material. A perfect example is “Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke”, penned by Mercury, which is based on the singer’s obsession with the mid-19th century painting of the same name by English artist Richard Dadd:

“Innuendo”, the group’s final album prior to Mercury’s death, had some prog-gish moments, notably on the lengthy and adventuresome title cut, which featured a stunning flamenco guitar solo by the great Steve Howe:

Although Mercury was flamboyant and extroverted on stage, he was quite shy in private (and rarely did interviews), and some of his reflective nature is found in a large number of songs, including the rather gut-wrenching cut “Who Wants To Live Forever?”, from the 1986 album “A Kind of Magic”:

2 thoughts on “An asteroid named after Freddie Mercury to mark 70th anniversary of singer’s birth

  1. Michał

    “Queen II” is one of my all-time favourite albums. “The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke” is an incredibly inventive song, how they packed so many brilliant and catchy – but still complex! – ideas into such a short song is pure genius.

    All their albums up to and including “Jazz” (the first 5 especially) have aged remarkably well and I rank them among the best things music in general has to offer. Later-day Queen was not bad at all but they did lose much of the ‘anything goes’ spirit of their 70’s albums (which bothers me more than the pop direction they took).

    On a purely songwriting-ability level they might well be the best band that ever was.

    Like

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