Freddie Mercury was a great admirer of the King Elvis Presley and looked up to him as a performer and songwriter. So much so, that the Queen frontman penned a song in tribute to the rock ’n’ roll legend two years after his death on August 16, 1977. That song was the ‘50s-style Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
Queen guitarist Brian May has since called the track a “tribute to Elvis”, adding: “Freddie was very fond of Elvis.”
But it’s Freddie’s comments from a past interview which highlight the touching resonance between him and the late, great Elvis.
In quotes from Freddie Mercury: A Life in His Own Words, the singer observed how similar his singing style is to the signature sound Elvis is known for, saying: “My voice does sound a bit like Elvis Presley’s on Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
“That wasn’t something I was trying to do, naturally, it was pure coincidence,” he added.
“It’s all sung rather low, so then you soon come close to Elvis, especially with such a 50s-type song.
“I don’t mind telling you that my girlfriend thought it was a cover song, but that is absolutely not true. I wrote it… while taking a bath.”
A decade after Elvis’ death at the age of 42, Freddie was diagnosed with AIDS.
In 1991, he died of bronchopneumonia, a complication due to AIDS, at the similarly early age of 45.
Accounts differ as to the penning and recording of the Elvis-influenced number, with Roger Taylor saying Mercury wrote it in 10 minutes while lounging in the bath in their Munich hotel during one of their stints recording in Germany.
It’s said the Bohemian Rhapsody singer then took the track to the studio and showed it to Roger and their bassist John Deacon before the three of them, alongside producer Reinhold Mack, settled down to record it in just half an hour.
Reinhold, however, remembers it taking six hours to record.
Crazy Little Thing Called Love went on to make it to number two in the UK singles chart and was Queen’s first number one hit in the US.
Both Elvis and Freddie are hailed to this day as being icons in their respective genres.
The former’s legacy as the King of rock ’n’ roll still lives on, while Freddie is remembered as one of the greatest performers of all time and a legend of British rock music.
An Elvis biopic is currently in the works directed by Baz Lurhmann and starring Austin Butler as the singer.
Queen continue to tour the world, bringing their music to millions of fans everywhere, with Adam Lambert on board sining the vocal parts made famous by Freddie.