A Kind of Magic: A Celebration of Freddie Mercury’s 70th Birthday

September 6, 2016
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November 18, 2016

To mark Freddie Mercury’s 70th birthday, Richard Young Gallery is proud to present A Kind of Magic, an exhibition of iconic photographs documenting sparkling moments in the life of the legendary musician. Shot through the lens of photographer Richard Young, a close friend, this collection of photographs celebrates the unforgettable musical legend, combining both rock and roll concert images and intimate real-life shots.

Richard Young first met Freddie Mercury properly on New Years Eve in 1978 at a small club in Jermyn Street called Maunkberry. With camera in hand, no expectations and a few hours to kill, this turned out to be one of the best nights of Young’s photographic career:

“First in the door Keith Richards, Ron and Jo Wood, followed by Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury, Rod Stewart and Britt Ekland. Although I had shot Freddie at various parties around town, this was the evening that cemented our relationship thanks to Queen’s International Publicist, Roxie Mead.”

Roxie recalls, “The sooner I persuaded the band and their manager to trust Richard the sooner the benefits would be visible across the press. Predictably, the likes of Queen and all artists of that calibre are not quick to bestow trust, but Richard with his irrepressible sunny nature was admitted to the inner circle to record behind-the-scene moments.”

These moments are featured in A Kind of Magic where the insider’s view of Freddie Mercury’s glamorous world will be on display, including extravagant private and public birthday parties; backstage and onstage shots of international concerts from Ibiza, to Budapest, Rio and Barcelona; and music video shoots. Young’s favourite memory was Mercury’s 39th birthday:

“The parties were always wild, full of laughter and unique. When you were in Freddie’s inner circle you would always be given a nickname, mine was Muriel Young. This was after the TV presenter from the 50’s, and Freddie would always say, “Come on Muriel!” I loved it. I felt I was part of his family.”

There were also many times Freddie Mercury invited Young to capture intimate portraits. In October 2013, Young’s candid photograph of Mercury at home was inducted into the National Portrait Gallery. Roxie Mead comments, “In those latter years wherever, whenever, Richard was invariably there and his photographs are a remarkable testament of this remarkable man.”

Richard Young’s archive contains an impressive number of images of Freddie Mercury that have only recently been uncovered, and this landmark birthday commemoration is a significant time to exhibit them. “This year Freddie would have been 70, I am a year younger and we are both Virgos. I have the most wonderful memories from my time with Freddie. It was a unique part of rock and roll history, and I feel so honoured that I was able to capture so many wonderful, fun and also poignant times of him over a thirteen-year period. He left us far too early.”

For further information, images or to request an interview, please contact Susan Young at Richard Young Gallery. For press enquiries, please contact Sarah Henderson, sarah@murraychalmers.com

Richard Young Gallery

4 Holland Street, London W8 4LT

Tel: 0207 937 8911

gallery@richardyoungonline.com

Freddie Mercury, Britt Ekland, Ronnie Wood and Jo Wood, New Year’s Eve Party, Maunkberry’s, London, 1978
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Freddie Mercury and Paul Prenter, John Reid’s Birthday Party, London, 1979
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Freddie Mercury, Queen Crazy Hats Party, Legends Nightclub, London, 1979
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Freddie Mercury and Elton John, House of Commons, London, 1980
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Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor, New Year’s Eve Party, Legends, London, 1980
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Mary Austin and Freddie Mercury, Freddie Mercury’s 38th Birthday Party, Xenon, London, 1984
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Freddie Mercury, Rio de Janeiro, 1985
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Freddie Mercury, Elton John and Wayne Sleep, Backstage at Live Aid, Wembley Stadium, 1985
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Freddie Mercury, Rio de Janeiro, 1985
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Freddie Mercury and Brian May, Queen in Concert, Live Aid, Wembley Stadium, 1985
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Freddie Mercury and Jim Hutton, Backstage at Live Aid, Wembley Stadium, London, 1985
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Rock In Rio Festival, Rio de Janeiro, 1985
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Richard Young, Freddie Mercury’s 39th Birthday Party, Munich, 1985
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Jane Seymour and Freddie Mercury, Royal Albert Hall, London, 1985
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Bono, Paul McCartney, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Adam Ant and Bob Geldof, Live Aid, Wembley Stadium, London, 1985
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Freddie Mercury, Queen ‘Princes of the Universe’ Video Shoot, London, 1986
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Freddie Mercury Backstage, Magic Tour, Slane Castle, County Meath, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Slane Castle, County Meath, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Wembley Stadium, London, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen Party, The Roof Gardens, London, 1986
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Samantha Fox and Freddie Mercury, Queen Party, The Roof Gardens, London, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Wembley Stadium, London, 1986
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Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury Backstage, Magic Tour, Népstadion, Budapest, 1986
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Freddie Mercury Backstage, Magic Tour, Népstadion, Budapest, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Népstadion, Budapest, 1986
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Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Népstadion, Budapest, 1986
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Peter Straker and Freddie Mercury, Peter Straker’s 39th Birthday Party, Paramount City, London, 1986
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Leee John, Freddie Mercury and Anita Dobson, Peter Straker’s 39th Birthday Party, Paramount City, London, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen ‘The Great Pretender’ Video Shoot, London, 1987
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Freddie Mercury and Richard Young, Queen ‘The Great Pretender’ Video Shoot, London, 1987
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Freddie Mercury, Freddie Mercury’s 41st Birthday Party, Pikes Hotel, Ibiza, 1987
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Freddie Mercury and Anita Dobson, Freddie Mercury’s 41st Birthday Party, Pikes Hotel, Ibiza, 1987
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Freddie and Tiffany At Home, London, 1988
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Montserrat Caballe and Freddie Mercury, La Nit Festival, Barcelona, 1988
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Freddie Mercury, Backstage at La Nit Festival, Barcelona, 1988
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Freddie Mercury, Queen ‘I Want It All’ Video Shoot, Elstree Studios, London, 1989
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Freddie Mercury, Queen ‘I Want it All’ Video Shoot, Elstree Studios, London, 1989
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Freddie Mercury, Queen ‘I Want it All’ Video Shoot, Elstree Studios, London, 1989
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Rock In Rio Festival, Rio de Janeiro, 1985
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Freddie Mercury, Rio de Janeiro, 1985
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Rock In Rio Festival, Rio de Janeiro, 1985
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Freddie Mercury, Rio de Janeiro, 1985
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Rock In Rio Festival, Rio de Janeiro, 1985
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Freddie Mercury and David Wigg, Freddie Mercury’s 39th Birthday Party, Old Mrs. Henderson’s, Munich, 1985
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Freddie Mercury and guest, Freddie Mercury's 39th Birthday Party, Old Mrs. Henderson’s Nightclub, Munich, 1985
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Freddie Mercury, Queen 'Princes of The Universe' Video Shoot, London, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Slane Castle, County Meath, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Slane Castle, County Meath, 1986
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Freddie Mercury Backstage, Magic Tour, Slane Castle, County Meath, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Wembley Stadium, London, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Népstadion, Budapest, 1986
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Queen in Concert, Magic Tour, Népstadion, Budapest, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Freddie Mercury’s 40th Birthday Party, London, 1986
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Freddie Mercury, Queen ‘The Great Pretender’ Video Shoot, London, 1987
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Freddie Mercury, Queen ‘The Great Pretender’ Video Shoot, London, 1987
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Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe, Ku Klub, Ibiza, 1987
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Freddie Mercury and Debbie Leng, Queen ‘Breakthru’ Video Shoot, Cambridgeshire, 1989
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Freddie Mercury, Queen ‘The Invisible Man’ Video Shoot, Pinewood Studios, London, 1989
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Freddie Mercury and Liza Minnelli, Queen 20th Anniversary Party, Groucho Club, London, 1989
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