Today Marks 30 Years Since The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

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Today marks exactly 30 years to the day that the legacy of legendary Queen singer Freddie Mercury was marked by a very special concert.

Mercury passed away in 1991, and the singer was tributed with this special star studded tribute concert. It took place on 20 April 1992.

This tribute show also took place at London’s Wembley Stadium. This venue also saw Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance 7 years earlier.

This Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert also featured the likes of Metallica, Def Leppard and Guns N’Roses. The show of course also featured Mercury’s bandmate Brian May.

Last year, fans also paid tribute to Mercury to mark his 75th birthday. See here.

“give him the exit in true style”

Queen guitarist Brian May explained how the band felt it was important to pay tribute to Freddie Mercury following his death.

“The night Freddie died, we said: “Well, we should give him an exit in the true style to which he’s accustomed”, May said.

Speaking about the concert itself, May also said that he and the rest of the band felt a sense of pressure to do Mercury justice and to organise the perfect gig.

“It was a massive strain on our shoulders because we weren’t just performing, we were also organising everybody else. It was difficult enough just choosing the acts who would appear”, he said. “We argued a lot among ourselves about the bill, but the basic criteria for the acts finally selected was their relevance to Freddie”. 

 “I was very nervous at the Wembley tribute”, he added. “I get like that if it’s an unfamiliar situation, and I was worried about forgetting to introduce people”. 

“Queen’s manager, Jim Beach, took control of it all. He came to me with a proposal to do a show at Wembley Stadium”, promoter Harvey Goldsmith explained.

“They had a wish-list of artists, so we had to ring round to see who was available. Jim had already sorted out some names. Liz Taylor was one. She was involved in Aids campaigning through her friendship with Elton John, so when the tribute concert came up she was already interested in the cause”. 

As mentioned, the concert also featured Def Leppard. Their vocalist Joe Elliott had this to say.

“In one sense the day of the show was light-hearted and up. People popped in and out of each other’s trailers and dressing rooms all the time. On the other hand, there was definitely a real sadness, and it was obviously different in Queen’s trailer”, he said.

“Axl was in the next room to us. Elton told us he knocked on his door and Axl’s big security guy said: “Axl’s sleeping.” And Elton said: “Well I’m doing a duet with him in four hours!” And the guy shrugged his shoulders and shut the door in Elton’s face. So Elton comes into our dressing room and says to us: “What the fuck’s wrong with that guy?” Elton had a little rant and a cup of tea and then he took off”. 

Live Performances At Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

The night also saw George Michael join Queen on stage for a live rendition of ‘Somebody To Love’. See below.

It also saw David Bowie join Ian Hunter and Mark Ronson on stage.

“I felt as if I were being transported by the situation. I was so scared as I was doing it. A couple of my pals were sitting near Spinal Tap and they were speechless with disbelief”, he said.

Proceeds from the concert went towards the launch of the Mercury Phoenix Trust Aids.

John Deacon appeared on stage with May and Taylor in 1997, before retiring from the music business.