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Before I began performing the music of Queen in 2012 - incredibly - I had never heard this song. After a few shows with the Queen Extravaganza, though, and absorbing the song’s cadence, it quickly became one of my favorites to perform - not only because of its breathtaking classical intricacy, but also for the way it arrests the audience’s attention every. single. time. in a way that no other Queen song seems to do. The song recently took on new meaning for me when someone (and I regrettably forget who) told me that Fred wrote it from the perspective of Mary Austin, as an empathetic love letter, fully aware of the toll their relationship had on her. I don’t know if that’s true, but it makes the lyric so much heavier for me.
When I picture the quintessential “young Freddie,” this is the voice I hear in my head. The fragility and vulnerability he displayed in the original recording of “Love Of My Life” is astounding. He was truly fearless in displaying his feminine side, which is maybe the most important thing I learned from him as a singer. As a musical product of early 90s grunge, I came up with the impression that masculinity must always sound deep and guttural, something my vocal cords never allowed me to do very convincingly. I cringe a bit when I listen to my early recordings! I was always a little shy about the fact that I could sing very softly and breathy - almost like a girl. I guess you could say Freddie gave me permission to let that side of my voice out into the open, and to embrace it.
I always dedicate this one to his memory because it feels like the appropriate thing to do. It always seems like the perfect moment in a set list of bombastic anthems to pause, and truly take into account the singular talent that was Freddie Mercury.
(S/O to Brandon Ethridge for the inspiration behind incorporating the guitar parts into the piano arrangement. Brilliant! Check out his hilarious music-geek YouTube series "WHERE'S THE F-ing BEAT?!?")