Freddie Mercury once revealed the two famous people, alive or dead, he'd most want to meet, and it'd make a hell of a dinner party

Freddie Mercury speaking in an interview
(Image credit: Getty)

It's a struggle to imagine any place or situation in the world in which Freddie Mercury wouldn't be the most interesting person in the room. Queen's beloved frontman was as charismatic and magnetic off a stage as he was on one, and his legacy as one of rock music's biggest personalities looms as large as ever, over three decades after his passing.

Still, that doesn't mean the man himself had never taken the time to fantasise about the big personalities he'd liked to have met if given the opportunity. In a 1984 interview with MTV News, the Queen singer was asked if there was anyone in history, alive or dead, who he'd love the chance to meet and talk to. His first answer was a fellow music legend, while the second was an infamous royal figure and the last of her kind.

"Who would that be and what would you talk about?" asks the MTV interviewer in footage posted on Twitter this week.

"Living or dead, the only person I wish I had met was John Lennon," Freddie replies. "'Cause he's the one that I did idolise. And I just thought that he was a very beautiful human being, and I'm sad to say that I didn't get to meet him. He's the only one"

Freddie was famously a fan of Lennon. On December 9, 1980, Queen covered his song Imagine in tribute to him, a day after the Beatles legend was shot and killed in New York by Mark David Chapman. Mercury would later say of Lennon that "he just had that magic… to be honest, I would never like to put myself on a par with John Lennon at all, because he was the greatest, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not a matter of having less talent, just that some people are capable of doing certain things better than anybody else, and I feel that I’m not equipped to do the things that Lennon did." Mercury also wrote the song Life Is Real (Song For Lennon) in the Beatles man's memory for 1982's Hot Space album.

While it was perhaps a tragic twist of fate that meant Freddie Mercury never got the chance to meet John Lennon, his second answer to MTV's question about historical figures was someone that came generations before him.

"And is there any historical figure, that's outside of the music [that you'd have liked to meet]?" pushes the interviewer.

"Outside music?" Mercury replies. "Oh, Marie Antoinette!" The last Queen of France, executed in 1793 during the French Revolution, was famously name-checked in Queen's 1974 hit Killer Queen, released as a single ahead of their Sheer Heart Attack album. Antoinette was known for her extravagance and love of expensive jewellery, and was at the centre of the Affair Of The Diamond Necklace scandal in 1784 that saw her standing with the French populace taker a fatal hit.

"What would you talk with Marie Antoinette abourt?" the interviewer asks.

"Jewels!" exclaims Mercury with a cheeky glint in his eye, before letting out a hearty chuckle.

Freddie Mercury, John Lennon and Marie Antoinette in a room? Now that's a conversation we'd love to be a fly on the wall for. Watch the MTV News interview clip below.

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Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.