One more Queen prompt, not BoRhap-related this time. The story of the recording of "The Show Must Go On", the last song Freddie recorded for the band, barely a year before his death. He was so ill when the band recorded the song in 1990 that Brian May, who wrote the melody and much of the lyrics, after he and Freddie had sat down and determined some of the crucial lyrics Freddie wanted in there, had concerns as to whether he was physically capable of singing it. Brian May has said: "I said, 'Fred, I don't know if this is going to be possible to sing.' And he went, 'I'll fucking do it, darling' — vodka down — and went in and killed it, completely lacerated that vocal."
The song was the story of Freddie's long slow death to HIV/AIDS, in a time when that was still a certain death sentence, and his fight against it and determination to still live his life. This video has the isolated vocals track, with Freddie as lead vocals and May as most of the backing vocals. And even separated from the rest of the song, it still raises goosebumps.
Stage people are something else. Some people would take the news of a fatal illness and sink wholesale into depression. Others would insist on experiencing as much as possible of the world before taking the ultimate journey into the beyond. A rare few dedicate the rest of their briefer existence to creating as much as possible of their legacy before going ungently into that good night.
Many spit and rage, devoting some of their energy into flipping the bird at the Grim Reaper. Some can do two of those at once.
Freddie Mercury was one of the rare few, made even more special by channeling a justifiable rage into the music he made. The last song he recorded was The Show Must Go On. A common stage saying amongst those whose rent came from performing, back in the days of rent. The show was more important than the prima donna. More important than the leads. More important than the orchestra, the understudies, the crew... anyone who made the show was less important than the co-operative product itself.