Freddie passed away this month, 28 years ago. Over recent days his friends and bandmates have posted beautiful tributes to the icon and to the man. His mum Jer Bulsara rarely spoke in public about her son, but there was a rare and moving moment on the fifth anniversary of Freddie death.
Previously she had admitted that is was always hard to hear the song Bohemian Rhapsody. But this time she came face to face with her “beautiful boy” in the extraordinary tribute unveiled in 1996.
Freddie’s statue towers ten feet tall over the shores of Lake Geneva. Why there is nothing similar in London is another question, but more on that later when Brian May addresses the hugely disappointment of Freddie’s country having no suitable memorial to one of her greatest sons.
On November 25th 1996, the stunning artwork was unveiled amid hugely emotional scenes of Family and friends.
May added: “Montreux is very close to the heart of the band, particularly Freddie because the last few years of his life were spent here. It was a very peaceful place for Freddie because he wasn’t pursued by the press like he was in England. A lot of his final days, his final writing, his final singing were all done here.
“It is a beautiful site, very close to where…. Freddie used to live in a house on the lake when he was here and have the view over the lake. He now has the view forever. It’s very fitting.”
This week, May also remembered the unveiling of the statue and the emotions it unleashed: “I wrote this song (No-One But You) for Freddie on a rainy day when we unveiled the statue in Montreux, and I was flooded with unwelcome emotions – like anger that this was all that was left of my friend. But of course, there is a whole lot besides that is left – a rainbow of songs and recordings of a voice that seems in retrospect too pure to be of this world. I guess you WERE Made in Heaven, dear Freddie. I hope you’re dancin’ up there tonight.”
Freddie famously recorded numerous new songs during his final months in Montreux.
He could only work and sing for a few hours a day but was determined to leave as much music behind as he possibly could.
The 1991 album Innuendo includes deeply personal moving songs like The Show Must Go On and These Are The Days of Our Lives. Four years later, more material was released posthumously on the final Queen album Made In Heaven.