Freddie Mercury’s biographer Lesley-Ann Jones has revealed that Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ contains a hidden message in the form of a confession by Mercury that he was gay.
Lyricist Sir Tim Rice was close to Mercury and agrees with her explanation.
Sir Tim explained: “It’s fairly obvious to me this was Freddie’s coming-out song,’ said Sir Tim. ‘I’ve spoken to Roger Taylor [the band’s drummer] about it. There is a very clear message in it. This is Freddie admitting that he is gay.
‘In the line “Mama, I just killed a man” he’s killed the old Freddie, his former image.”
‘With “Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead” he’s dead, the straight person he was originally. He’s destroyed the man he was trying to be, and now this is him, trying to live with the new Freddie.”
‘“I see a little silhouetto of a man” – that’s him, still being haunted by what he’s done, and what he is. Every time I hear the song I think of him trying to shake off one Freddie and embracing another – even all these years. Do I think he managed it? I think he was in the process of managing it rather well.”
Lesley-Ann Jones added that her theory was then confirmed by Mercury’s lover Jim Hutton after the star’s death in November 1991. She says Hutton told her:
“You were right. Freddie was never going to admit it publicly, because he had to carry on the charade about being straight, for his family. But we discussed it many times. It was Freddie’s confessional. It was about how different his life could have been. How much happier he would have felt, had he been able to be himself. The world heard a masterpiece of imagination. It was so intricate, and had so many layers, but its message was simple.”