Watch Freddie Mercury's final ever interview on camera

Freddie Mercury
(Image credit: YouTube)

In 1987, Freddie Mercury was diagnosed with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS): that same year he would give his final ever filmed interview. 

During the discussion, which was orchestrated by Austrian filmmaker Rudi Dolezal, who was responsible for Mercury's documentary Lover of Life, Singer of Songs, the iconic Queen frontman discusses his excitement to be embarking on a solo career and working with esteemed operatic legend Montserrat Caballe - all the while keeping his recent diagnosis a secret.

In the interview, which took place during the promotional tour for the singer's 1987 single The Great Pretender, Mercury appears effortlessly cool, if somewhat subdued, as he leans against a jukebox while  smoking a cigarette. 

At the start of the footage, Dolezal asks the singer what he's been recently working on. Mecrury enthusiastically answers: "These last couple of weeks I've been working with this amazing woman, she's a big operatic star, her name is Montserrat Caballe, she comes from Barcelona.

"And she just called up a few weeks ago and said she'd like to sing with me. So of course, I fell flat on the floor and thought 'My god'. But I've loved her for years."

Together, Mercury and Cabelle would duet on the 1987 single Barcelona, which featured on their collaborative album of the same name, released a year later. The title track was written to become the opening anthem for the 1992 Olympic Games in the Spanish capital, however due to Mercury's death in 1991, their live performance of the song at the event sadly never happened. The duo did however famously perform the track together in 1988 to welcome in the Olympic flag, also serving as Mercury's final ever live performance.

Discussing how his dream collaboration took form, Mercury continues, "I went to Barcelona on a TV show and I said she’s the best singer in the world and I’d love to sing with her and she must have seen it. She called up the office and said she’d like to do things.

"It’s amazing. I’m into opera now. Forget rock n roll... It’s such a challenge, I’ve never thought of writing songs like that."

He adds: "I’m sure the opera critics will slam it but it’s a good challenge at this time in life."

Elsewhere, Mercury details the story behind his new single, The Great Pretender, a cover originally performed by rock'n'roll vocal group The Platters. On why he was attracted to the particular song, the vocalist states that it suited his voice well, but also that he himself had a lot of "pretending" to do - a reference perhaps to the fact he was having to put on a brave face at the time due to his secret diagnosis.

"Most of the stuff I do is like acting. So you go on stage and I pretend to be a macho man and all that. In my videos you go through all the characters and you’re pretending anyway" he explains.

"So it's a great title for what I do, and it suited to what I was doing. The meaning in the song is that he is pretending about love but I take it a stage further...The way I see it is that all this is a pretence. It’s fun."

Watch the interview below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.