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Rare photos of Freddie Mercury

Ian Smith

The majority of us remember Freddy Mercury for his flamboyant stage appearance and his mesmerizing vocals.

Nobody could have possibly remained indifferent when seeing Freddie parade around the stage in all his various costumes, not to mention witnessing that special kind of energy he gave, putting his everything into all of his performances. As Queen guitarist Brian May accurately remarked, even “the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium would feel that he was connected.”

Mercury performing in New Haven, Connecticut, 1977, photo credit
Mercury performing in New Haven, Connecticut, 1977, photo credit

The late artist David Bowie, who had recorded the song “Under Pressure” with Queen, and who had also performed it with Annie Lennox at the memorable Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, was one of the many to praise Mercury’s vivid performance style, saying, “Of all the more theatrical rock performers, Freddie took it further than the rest… he took it over the edge. And of course, I always admired a man who wears tights.

Mercury performing at New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, CT. photo credit
Mercury performing at New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, CT. photo credit

That is how most of us best remember the Queen frontman. In contrast to his stage persona, though, and to today’s wide recognition of Freddie Mercury as a major gay icon, he was fairly private about his sexuality and relationships during his lifetime.

During the early 1970s, the iconic musician had a long-term relationship with a woman, Mary Austin. Mercury lived with Austin for several years in London, but by the mid-1970s, he had begun seeing a man. Following that affair, he told Austin of his sexuality.

#freddiemercury & #jimhutton

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Although that meant the end of their romance together, the two remained very close in the years that followed. Retaining a deep affection and love toward Austin, Mercury dedicated several songs to her, including perhaps the most romantic of all Queen songs, “Love of My Life.”

Another important love of his life was Jim Hutton, a hairdresser whom he had met in a club in the mid-1980s. Hutton was in fact Mercury’s last boyfriend, and a recently discovered collection of candid photos of the pair gives a glimpse into the so far unseen personal side of the great artist.

Intriguingly enough, after the two first met, their relationship reportedly had a rocky beginning. Hutton was not so interested in their encounter, and Mercury had been turned down by him twice.

They would not meet each other again for another two years, but when they did, Mercury proceeded right from where he had left off. He asked Hutton out on a date one last time. The third time worked out pretty well and the two of them quickly ended up in a passionate romantic relationship.

Some two years later, the pair moved into Garden Lodge together and remained a couple until Mercury’s death in 1991. Reportedly, Mercury had offered Hutton a way out of their relationship once the diagnosis with AIDS had been made, but Hutton told him that he loved him and, in his own words, “I am not going anywhere.

Hutton stayed with him throughout what were probably the most difficult days at the end of his life and he was there when Freddie took his final breath. Hutton stated that Mercury had passed away wearing a wedding band that he had given him.

Related story from us: Polari: The secret gay language that was used when homosexuality was considered a crime

After so many years remaining private, seeing these photos today certainly puts Freddie Mercury in a different light, showing a sense of intimacy that reveals the true beauty of their love. As the cliche saying goes, sometimes a picture is worth more than a thousand words.

Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News