Today in music history: Remembering Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury, of Queen, sang onstage during a live performance at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes, England, United Kingdom, on June 5, 1982. (Fox Photos | Hulton Archive | Getty Images 1982)

History Spotlight:

Today in 1991, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury died of complications from AIDS at his home in London's Holland park at age 45, just one day after he publicly announced he was HIV positive. Mercury was known for his powerful vocal range and live performances, but also as the composer of many of Queen's biggest hits such as "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Killer Queen," "Somebody to Love," "Don't Stop Me Now," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," and "We Are the Champions." Regarded as one of the greatest singers in the history of rock music, he is especially known for his amazing stage presence and his four-octave vocal range.

Also, Today In:

1968 - Diana Ross and The Supremes were at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Love Child," their 11th No. 1 in the U.S. The song is also notable for knocking off and keeping The Beatles' massive "Hey Jude" off the top spot in the U.S.

1973 - Ringo Starr went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Photograph." His first of two U.S. chart toppers as a solo artist.

1979 - Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand started a two-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "No More Tears, (Enough Is Enough)."

1983 - Northern Irish group The Undertones split up. Lead singer Feargal Sharkey went on to become the head of U.K. Music, an umbrella organization representing the collective interests of the U.K.'s commercial music industry. The Current's Saturday morning program, "Teenage Kicks," is named for the Undertones' hit single.

1991 - Kiss drummer Eric Carr (born Paul Charles Caravello) died in New York at age 41 due to complications from cancer. Carr replaced Peter Criss in 1980 and remained a band member until he became ill in 1991. For his Kiss stage persona, Carr was known as "The Fox."

1993 - Blues guitarist and singer Albert Collins -- known as "The Master of the Telecaster" -- died of lung cancer at age 61.

1998 - The Simpsons released The Yellow Album, a second album of originally recorded songs for the program. It featured guest appearances by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Linda Ronstadt and Parliament-Funkadelic.

2002 - Jay-Z was at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with The Blueprint 2, the rapper's first U.S. No. 1 album.

2007 - Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea lost his multi-million dollar house in a wildfire that swept through Malibu, Calif., where 53 other properties were destroyed by the blaze. Flea told the Los Angeles Times his house was "burnt to a crisp."

2008 - English drummer Michael Lee died from a seizure at age 39. Lee had worked with Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Little Angels, The Cult, Ian Gillan, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Quireboys and Thin Lizzy.


Donald "Duck" Dunn, bassist for Booker T and the MG's and the Blues Brothers, was born today in 1941.

Pete Best, the original drummer for The Beatles, is 79.

ELO drummer Bev Bevan is 76.

Blondie drummer Clem Burke is 66.

John Squire of The Stone Roses is 58.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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