Freddie Mercury became one of the most lauded frontmen in the history of rock music thanks to his incredible career with Queen and as a solo artist. The Bohemian Rhapsody singer had a number of famous friends, among whom he counted Elton John, Dave Clark of The Dave Clark Five and Princess Diana. But it appears there was one rockstar he clashed with.
Mercury nearly came to blows with punk legend Sid Vicious in 1977, when the Sex Pistols were exploding onto the scene.
One fateful day, Queen were recording at Wessex Studios in London while the Pistols just so happened to be recording their early material next door.
According to Queen’s roadie Peter Hince, a stand-off ensued when Vicious burst into the room.
“Sid Vicious stumbled in, the worse for wear, and addressed Fred: ‘Have you succeeded in bringing ballet to the masses yet?’” Hince wrote in his book, Queen Unseen.
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Freddie Mercury: Queen star clashed with Sid Vicious
Freddie Mercury: Sid Vicious is said to have stumbled into Queen’s studio worse for wear
Unfazed, Mercury hit back with his trademark wit.
“Fred casually got up, walked over to him and jibed: ‘Aren’t you Stanley Ferocious or something?’” Hince recalled. “Took him by the collar and threw him out.”
Mercury himself later recounted the tale slightly differently.
“I called him Simon Ferocious or something, and he didn’t like it at all,” the Bohemian Rhapsody hitmaker quipped in a TV interview.
Freddie Mercury: Queen singer threw Sid Vicious out of their studio
“I said, ‘What are you going to do about it?’
“He was very well marked,” Mercury continued. “I said, ‘Make sure you scratch yourself in the mirror properly today, and tomorrow you’re going to get something else.’
“He hated the fact that I could even speak like that. I think we survived that test,” the Queen star quipped.
At the time of the tense meeting, Queen were recording New of the World, their sixth studio album.
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Drummer Roger Taylor later looked back on the confrontation too, saying: “Sid was a moron. He was an idiot.”
Two years after the Sex Pistols burst onto the British music scene, shaking up the status quo with the dawn of punk, Vicious tragically died of a drug overdose.
In 1987, Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS but kept the diagnosis private.
Several years later, just days before he died, the Queen singer went public with the news of his condition.
He died of bronchopneumonia on November 24, 1991.
In the latter years of his life, Mercury was determined not to allow his illness to stop him working.
He and Queen put out volumes of new material and the star would work through exhaustion and pain in order to keep recording.
In an interview with Alan Light, Taylor later said: “He knew time was limited and his reserves were very limited, so we made the absolute best use of him that we could.
“There was a lot of unstated emotion, about it sort of being finalising,” he added.