(hennemusic) Queen revisited the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on latest episode of their 50th anniversary video series The Greatest. Following the singer's November 1991 passing of complications from AIDS, Freddie's bandmates were determined to give their best friend the 'biggest send off in history'.
The episode sees Roger Taylor and Brian May reflect on the making of that historic day, joined by Joe Elliott and Taylor Hawkins recollecting appearing on stage in front of 80,000 people and live on radio and TV to a billion people in 76 countries around the world.
The concert idea was conceived on the night Freddie lost his fight for life. Brian, Roger and John Deacon gathered at Roger's house and decided they would organize some kind of tribute to Freddie, the exact form of which would take shape over the coming months, with the concert formally announced on February 12 at the BRIT Awards ceremony where Roger and Brian collected an award on Queen's behalf for their Outstanding Contribution to Music.
"We drew up a list of people that we'd like to be on the show," explains Taylor, who eventually took it upon himself to start making phone calls across the music industry.
Every artist Queen approached accepted their invitation to perform alongside them at London's Wembley Stadium.
"So suddenly, we're performing with David Bowie and Robert Plant," recalls May. "You know, you look around and who is this, you know, Tony Iommi's beside me, who's a lifelong friend, you know, the most amazing artists of our lives."
The show was packed with countless, extraordinary moments that live long in the memory - but just as memorable is the message of AIDS awareness that from that moment became inextricably linked to Freddie's name.
"Obviously, losing Freddie has brought it home to us. You know, in a big way," says Taylor. "And many other people that I know, I mean, as time goes on, it becomes more, more of a threat and the threat is growing, I think. I don't think the awareness is growing. So this seems like, especially for us, a good time to do this."
Following the tribute concert event, May, Taylor and manager Jim Beach set up The Mercury Phoenix Trust (MPT) in memory of Freddie Mercury; the Trust is a core part of Queen and Freddie's legacy, with the passion and power behind the music forming the bedrock of the MPT. Read more and watch the episode here.