Freddie Mercury: Why his parents DIDN’T go to Live Aid – Their feelings afterwards
It remains one of the greatest moments in popular culture. Not only that, but most people still agree that Queen stole the show. On July 13, 1985, 72,000 people packed into Wembley Stadium, while an estimated 1.9 billion watched on TV across the globe. Including Freddie’s parents. In a remarkably candid interview from 2006, his mum, Jer Bulsara, opened up about Freddie’s teenage pop star dreams and that legendary moment in 1985.
The interview took place at Jer’s home, just outside Nottingham. Her husband Bomi died in 2003 and she moved up from London to be closer to family, including her daughter Kashmira.
Adorably, the house was called Fredmira, combining the names of her two children.
The downstairs was decorated with photographs and video stills of Freddie, as well as the statuette commemorating his posthumous accession into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and paintings he did.
Jer remembered the moment the family was forced to flee their home in Zanzibar and how Freddie already wanted to get to where the action was: “Freddie was so excited: ‘England’s the place we ought to go, Mum.’”
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Freddie enrolled to study art at Isleworth Polytechnic and then Ealing Art College.
Jer recalled asking Freddie; “‘What are you going to do, son?’ and he said he didn’t know. I remember him filling out application forms for jobs and saying, ‘I hope I don’t get it.’”
He was interested in art but primarily focussed on becoming a pop star and sneakily knew the burgeoning art scene was a hotbed of emerging musicians.
After numerous close calls and disappointments, he finally convinced Brian May and Roger Taylor to let hin join their band Smile, which, of course, became Queen in early 1970.
Jer described going to see the band’s first gigs: “Brian May’s mum and I would ask each other, ‘Are they going to make it?’ That night I thought, ‘Yes.’”
Freddie’s dreams and provocative costumes and stage persona were far away from Jer and Bomi’s traditional background but she said she accepted it was part of the business: “It’s what a performer has to do to please the audience. As a parent, you worry but you have to let your child get on with their life.”
Freddie, however, said it wasn’t quite that simple: “My parents were outraged when I told them what I was up to.” He described what happened when he went home with his new look.
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Freddie said: “I used to go home periodically and turn up in these outrageous clothes and with my fingernails painted black and at that time my mother used to freak out.
“They used to say, ‘My God! Don’t let the neighbours see you. Come in here quick. Use the back door.'”
As Freddie built his new life and then created a new home for himself in his West Kensington mansion, One Garden Lodge, his life became very far removed from his family.
But that is not why they didn’t go to Live Aid.
Jer said she and Bomi went to most of Freddie Mercury’s concerts, but Live Aid would have been much more difficult.
Indeed no footage or photographs show any member of Queen or any other performer on that day, with their family or any retinues.
Jer explained; “It was such a huge event it would have been too complicated. So we watched it on television. I was so proud.
“My husband turned to me and said, ‘Our boy’s done it.’”
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