While the sight of Freddie Mercury cavorting with extravagantly costumed drag queens and leather-clad dudes in a gay bar would hardly raise eyebrows these days, back in the mid-1980s a music video in which the Queen frontman did just that was banned from the airwaves due to its “perceived promiscuity.”
That was the assessment of then-Sony Music head Walter Yetnikoff, who refused to release the provocative video for Mercury’s 1985 solo single “Living On My Own” and ordered the video to be shelved.
Nearly 35 years later, the infamous video for “Living On My Own” is finally getting an official release, dropping Friday on YouTube — in 4K, no less!
The video was filmed at Mercury’s 39th birthday party at Henderson’s Nightclub in Munich, Germany, and features the flamboyant rocker partying up a storm with all manner of revelers, ranging from a mustached nun to a turban-wearing swami to a woman who looks like she stepped off the stage of a production of “Cats”.
Mercury’s birthday bash was as decadent and over the top as you’d expect, with a strict dress code on the invitation instructing attendees (whom Mercury flew to Germany at his own expense) to wear “black/white drag costume.” Mercury, by the way, was the only person at the bash to ignore his own dress code, sporting his iconic Harlequin catsuit, Adidas sneakers and an epaulette-enhanced jacket from the designers who created Princess Diana’s wedding gown.
The video drop coincides with the release of Never Boring, a new box set of Mercury’s non-Queen solo material, set to be released on Oct. 11.
The new set includes three CDs with 32 tracks, a Blu-ray and DVD featuring 12 promo videos, and a hardback book, in addition to remixed special editions of his debut solo album Mr Bad Guy and subsequent release Barcelona, the latter featuring his unforgettable duet with opera star Montserrat Caballé.
Rami Malek, who won an Oscar for portraying Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” explained the origin of the box set’s title.
“Freddie was extreme,” said Malek. “He was absolute, he was all or nothing, he was always or never. Freddie Mercury was never boring.”