Mark Blake - Freddie Mercury: An Illustrated Life book review

Photo-packed account of the late Queen frontman

Freddie Mercury: An Illustrated Life book cover

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With most major artists, there’s no shortage of books on them and, seemingly, no shortage of writers wanting to add their version of the story to the pile.

The latest book about Freddie Mercury, by Mark Blake, tells the no-stone-unturned story in Blake’s usual well-researched and engaging style, avoiding purple prose and striking just the right balance between quoted text and his own narrative, and manages the difficult job of making page-turners out of even well-documented scenarios: eg Queen’s show-stealing, career-resurrecting Live Aid triumph.

As the title implies, it’s packed with photos. And although probably none are previously unseen, one has to expect that until Brian May or Roger Taylor publish an autobiography, sources of anything new dried up long ago. Is it the best Freddie book out there? Having not read them all (there are a lot) it’s impossible to know and ridiculous to say. It is, however, a damn fine one.

Paul Henderson

Classic Rock’s production editor for the past 22 years, ‘resting’ bass player Paul has been writing for magazines and newspapers, mainly about music, since the mid-80s, contributing to titles including Q, The Times, Music Week, Prog, Billboard, Metal Hammer, Kerrang! and International Musician. He has also written questions for several BBC TV quiz shows. Of the many people he’s interviewed, his favourite interviewee is former Led Zep manager Peter Grant. If you ever want to talk the night away about Ginger Baker, in particular the sound of his drums (“That fourteen-inch Leedy snare, man!”, etc, etc), he’s your man.