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The hilarious way Freddie Mercury teased Elton John backstage at Live Aid

Patrick Kelleher October 14, 2019
The hilarious way Freddie Mercury teased Elton John backstage at Live Aid

Elton John with Peter Straker and Freddie Mercury (Hulton Archive/Getty)

Freddie Mercury is remembered for many things – his incredible voice, his remarkable songs released with Queen – but he is also remembered for his startling wit.

Elton John has reflected on Mercury’s well known sense of humour in a new interview where his celebrity friends asked him questions for The Guardian.

When asked to share his favourite memory of Mercury, John reflected on an exchange they had backstage at Live Aid.

Freddie Mercury: ‘You looked like the f**king Queen Mother when you were on stage.’

“I had a huge area that I kind of decorated,” John said. “I made sure there were seats for everyone, so that people who were playing could sit down and have a natter.

“Freddie came over after Queen had stolen the show. I said, ‘Freddie, nobody should go on after you – you were magnificent.’ He said: ‘You’re absolutely right, darling, we were – we killed them.’ He was so excited.

Where did you get that absolutely awful hat?

“Then he said, ‘You, on the other hand, dear – you looked like the f**king Queen Mother when you were on stage. Where did you get that absolutely awful hat?’”

John wasn’t offended by the exchange, but said the comment was “very Freddie”.

(Steve Jennings/WireImage)
(Steve Jennings/WireImage)

“He was hilarious. Even when he was dying, he was exactly the same. He was lying in bed, too weak to stand, losing his sight, going: ‘Have you heard Mrs Bowie’s new album, darling? What does she think she’s doing?’ I always had the best time with him.”

Mercury ‘knew nothing about’ sport.

John also spoke about Mercury when asked by Billie Jean King if he would ever create a “championship” song that would become a sports anthem.

“Billie Jean has always gone on about ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are The Champions’ by Queen being the ultimate sports songs,” John said.

“I couldn’t ask Bernie to sit down and write a lyric like that – he’s not that kind of writer.

“To be honest, ‘We Are The Champions’ can’t be beaten: it’s so good at what it does, any sport can use it. Queen had that market sewn up, which was hysterical, because Freddie Mercury hated sport; he knew nothing about it at all. If you’d mentioned Arsenal to Freddie, he’s have thought it was something to do with gay sex.”

More: Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Live Aid, queen

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