The Queen singer tragically died of AIDS in November 1991, aged just 45-years-old. A monumental loss to rock and yet the cultural icon Freddie Mercury is more popular than ever today following the release of his biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018. Now in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott has recounted how he was the first person Brian May spoke to after hearing of Freddie’s untimely death.
The 60-year-old said: “I only met Freddie once, I’m very good friends with Brian May.
“I was the first person to speak to him after Fred died.
“And he was the first person to speak to me after Steve [Clark] died.
The Def Leppard guitarist died of alcohol poisoning just 11 months prior to Freddie at the age of 30-years-old, so the two rock stars were certainly in the right position to comfort each other.
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Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott: ‘I was first to speak to Brian May after Freddie Mercury died’
Joe Elliott and Brian May performing at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert
On his meeting with Freddie, Elliott recounted: “So I met Fred at Slane Castle just outside of Dublin in ’86 on the Magic Tour.”
The July 5 concert was part of both Freddie and bassist John Deacon’s final tour with Queen.
The band didn’t tour again until 2005 as Brian and drummer Roger Taylor with Paul Rodgers.
The Def Leppard singer explained how Brian organised the meeting since the two had never met.
Joe Elliott had lost Def Leppard bandmate Steve Clark in 1991 too
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The Queen guitarist called up Freddie saying: “Fred you want to meet my friend Joe?”
To which the Queen singer replied enthusiastically: “Yes, of course, darling!”
Elliott explained: “So I ended up in his caravan for half an hour talking about Van Halen of all things.
“It was a nice thirty minutes y’know.”
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Elliott ended up performing with Brian and Queen at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness in April 1992.
He said: “Basically when Roger [Taylor] announced they were going to put this concert together I got a call from Brian the next day.”
May said: “I take it you’ve heard, I want you in. We both want you in.
“Will you perform at Freddie’s tribute gig?”
Elliott said how he didn’t even have to contact the rest of Def Leppard because of course, they’d do it. The band performed Now I’m Here with May, as well as Animal and Let’s Get Rocked.
The Def Leppard frontman then opened the second half of the concert with Slash and Queen.
His rendition of Tie Your Mother Down made him the first singer since Freddie’s death to perform with Queen.
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