“Play the Game” arrived on May 30. The song itself was notable for being the first Queen piece to feature a synthesizer, but it was the Freddie Mercury video that generated the real buzz.
Queen had entered the ‘80s with the release of their single “Save Me” in January 1980, but that soon seemed like a toe in the water when follow-up (ultimateclassicrock)
Freddie Mercury had already cut off his trademark long hair and stopped painting his fingernails. The “Save Me” video and the album art for turning-point album The Game – to arrive in June – showed him without those classic ‘70s adornments. The changes had caused “the grief of many of his female fans,” as Jacky Gunn reported in 1992 book Queen: As It Began, adding: “The result was that gifts of razors and bottle of black nail polish flooded the band’s offices.”
The new look, which had tightened up by the time of “The Game” video, was clearly inspired by the trends seen in the gay clubs of San Francisco; and Mercury was unrepentant if anyone had a problem with his appearance. “When I look back on all that black nail varnish, chiffon, satin, I think, ‘God! What was I doing?’” he said, pressing the point home.
Recording the comment in 2015 book Freddie Mercury: A Kind of Magic, Mark Blake noted: “As ever, he was hiding his sexuality in plain sight.” When the mustache first appeared, Mercury asked longtime roadie Peter Hince to take a picture, and on seeing the result, the flamboyant frontman declared his love for it. “He was in the minority,” Hince said.
Opinion did appear to be divided – although Mercury himself would have wanted nothing else. It’s claimed that some fans brought disposable razors to shows and threw them onto the stage. In one concert recording of the time (below) he speaks to his fans, saying: “Do you girls like this mustache? Any boys like the mustache? A lot of people are hating it – I don’t give a fuck, actually… it’s my mustache and I’m gonna keep it!”
Can you sing like Freddie Mercury? Queen and YouTube help you discover it with FreddieMeter, a singing challenge developed by Google with the support of Artificial Intelligence and charity.
FreddieMeter is a tool created to allow fans around the world to know how much their voice matches that of the legendary Queen frontman.
Analyzes the intonation, the timbre and the melody of the singer, to then assign a score included between 0 and 100.
The singing challenge develops in four steps. The first is Sing (you choose one of the four Queen songs featured in Bohemian Rhapsody, Don’t Stop Me Now, Somebody to Love and We Are the Champions). Then there is Share (once you get the score you share) and Challenge (using the hashtag #FreddieChallenge on social channels you can challenge three friends). Finally the Donate option, with which the Mercury Phoenix Trust can be supported.
Freddiemter, in fact, was developed with the support of this charitable organization founded by Brian May, Roger Taylor and Jim Beach to raise awareness and finance the fight against HIV and celebrate the 44th anniversary of the first live performance of Bohemian Rhapsody by the band.
Google Creative Lab and Google Research have created FreddieMeter using the new machine learning models available on devices. FreddieMeter is optimized for single voices and works on desktop, Android and iPhone devices. Here is the link to the initiative website: https://freddiemeter.withyoutube.com/.