We pay tribute on star's 67th birthday
Michael Baggs

11:29 5th September 2013

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5 September, 2013: Freddie Mercury would have today celebrated his 67th birthday, and despite it having been 22 years since his untimely death, the Queen frontman is still greatly missed.

Despite having been one of the most famous musicians of all time, Freddie was very good at keeping his personal life under wraps - but we think that we've managed to get ten facts together that could have escaped you.

What's the connection between Freddie's love for his cats, and his fondness for unusual clothing? And why did Larry Lurex's Beach Boys cover never take off? We've got the answers to all that and more - including Kensal Green Cemetery, 'bottomless' mic stands and plaster casts.

Intrigued? Read on and discover all...

  • Princess Diana: According to comedian Cleo Rocos' autobiography, Freddie Mercury used to disguise Princess Diana as a man so she could join them on nights out without being recognised. Rocos writes, "When we walked in... we felt she was obviously Princess Diana and would be discovered at any minute. But people just seemed to blank her. She sort of disappeared. But she loved it."

  • Bill Reid: Mercury had a very temperamental relationship with his boyfriend Bill Reid, including physical fights. The pair once screamed at each other so much during an argument that Mercury woke up with almost no voice left - on the day that Queen were supposed to perform on Saturday Night Live. Mercury only just managed to get his voice back in time for the show. On another occasion, he bit his hand so hard it bled.

  • Playing the piano: Freddie Mercury was known for his dramatic piano songs, but didn't actually have much confidence in himself as a piano player - he was convinced that he'd mess up during a live performance of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. As a result, he started trying to include less piano-playing in his songs.

  • Michael Jackson: It's no secret that Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson tried collaborating on a few songs, but the union apparently fell apart because Jackson kept bringing his pet llama into the studio. According to the biopic Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender, Mercury even rang his manager to tell him "I'm performing with a llama!" before giving up and deciding he'd had enough.

  • The Beach Boys: Freddie Mercury recorded a cover of the Beach Boys' 'I Can Hear The Music' under the pseudonym Larry Lurex, as it was being released at the same time as Queen's first album. The name Larry Lurex was supposed to be a play on Gary Glitter's name, but Glitter's fans weren't amused and the single sank without a trace.

  • The bottomless mic stand: The mic 'stick' was one of Mercury's trademarks, but actually came about by accident. Queen were apparently in the middle of a concert when the microphone stand snapped, leaving Mercury with only the top half. He liked it so much that he continued to use it in future concerts.

  • Kensal Green Cemetery: Freddie Mercury's final resting place was never known. The star was cremated after his death and only long-time girlfriend Mary Austin knew where the ashes were. However, fans discovered a plaque in Kensal Green Cemetery bearing his name - which later disappeared. The mystery continues.

  • His pet cats: Mercury absolutely adored his pet cats, and would speak to them on the phone while on tour (with the help of former girlfriend Mary Austin). He also wrote the Queen song 'Delilah' about his cat Delilah, and apparently had a waistcoat on which he'd painted pictures of all his cats.

  • It's A Hard Life: Before filming the video for 'It's A Hard Life', Mercury had only just had a plaster cast removed after he broke his leg while drunk in a Munich bar. In the end scene, when Mercury sits down on the stairs, he's visibly cautious about doing so - and definitely favours one side.

  • Overbite: Mercury was encouraged to have corrective surgery to fix his overbite, which was caused by four extra teeth forcing out his incisors. He refused, and his recognisable teeth became a much-loved part of Mercury's aesthetic.

  • 'The Show Must Go On': The final track on Mercury's final album with Queen was recorded just a few months before his death. Brian May was concerned about whether Mercury, who was suffering from AIDs and could barely walk, would be able to complete the take. Mercury consumed a measure of vodka, said "I'll fucking do it darling", and sang the vocals in one take.

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