The musician Freddie Mercury called “the greatest”

The late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was never the modest type. The singer quite rightly believed in his talent and thought very few artists in the history of music could compete with his distinct brilliance. However, there was one name he’d never dare compare himself with because Mercury deemed him to be “the greatest”.

Naturally, due to being born in 1946, Mercury became enamoured with The Beatles when they emerged in the early 1960s. When Mercury arrived in Britain in 1964, he was at the perfect age to appreciate their musical expertise and immersed himself in a rock ‘n’ roll-dependent lifestyle. After leaving behind his war-torn homeland, the singer was ready to throw himself into fresh experiences, and music was his refuge.

At this time, The Beatles were entering their era of dominance, and Mercury was absorbing everything they created like a sponge. Everybody had their favourite member of the band, and for Mercury, John Lennon operated on a level of his own.

While he could appreciate each member of The Beatles and what they individually brought to the Fab Four, Lennon had a special ingredient which made Mercury relate to him. “John Lennon was larger than life and an absolute genius. Even at a very early stage when they were The Beatles, I always preferred John Lennon’s things,” the singer once admitted.

“I don’t know why. He just had that magic… to be honest, I would never like to put myself on a par with John Lennon at all because he was the greatest, as far as I’m concerned,” Mercury added.

The singer continued: “It’s not a matter of having less talent, just that some people are capable of doing certain things better than anybody else, and I feel that I’m not equipped to do the things that Lennon did. I don’t think anybody should because John Lennon was unique, a one-off, and that’s the way it is. I admire him very much, and that’s as far as I want to go. When I heard that Lennon was dead, I was shocked and dumbfounded.”

Following Lennon’s death, Mercury penned the Queen song ‘Life is Real (Song For Lennon)’, which appeared on their 1982 album Hot Space. On the track, the musician poured his heart out and paid tribute to his hero.

Although the pair had no personal relationship, Lennon praised Queen during his final interview. Speaking to David Sheff in 1980, Lennon said: “Listen to the Beatles records, but dig Queen or Clash or whatever is going on now.”

Listen to ‘Life is Real (Song For Lennon)’ below.

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