Freddie Mercury was born Farrouk Bulsara in 1946 to a traditional family in Zanzibar. From the earliest days he stood out. His mother remembered that he had been the biggest supporter of their move to the UK in 1964, the teenager desperate to explore an exciting and progressive new society. Within just a few years, his life had diverged very far from the family’s origins and their new suburban world in Feltham, Middlesex. The Queen frontman described just how shocked his parents were – and why.
Jer admitted Freddie was forced to leave home within a few years of moving to the UK, when his passion for music proved a problem in their neighbourhood.
She said: “The neighbours were elderly and said that it was disturbing them. He was a very conscientious man. He knew it was disturbing them. I was sad when he left but he said, ‘This is the only way to move forward, Mum.”
Freddie threw himself into the artistic and musical whirl of bands and fashion in central London. And when the budding pop star came home, his parents were confronted with a new side to their son.
Years later, Freddie spoke of his family’s shock.
Freddie said: “The concept of Queen was to be regal and majestic.
“Glamour was part of us, and we wanted to be dandy. We wanted to shock and be outrageous.”
He certainly succeeded. The band soon started drawing attention and Freddie’s showmanship on stage and off was a big part of it.
However, it wasn’t just the fans whose eye were opened, the star’s conservative parents were also shaken when he returned home and very worried about what the neighbours would think.
Freddie said: “But now they see we’re making money, they seem quite happy about it.”
Jer remembers it a little differently. Many years after Freddie’s death in 1991 she said: “He used to phone me because he used to love home cooking. He’d say, ‘Mum, I’m coming home’ and he’d come in his Rolls Royce and the neighbours were all excited about it.
“But nobody bothered him, they were all very good and used to respect us and him.”